Brentford Football Club (BFC): Lionel Road Liaison Group Meeting

Notes of the meeting held in the Sponsors Lounge, Griffin Park at 7pm on 3rdDecember 2012.

Attendees: Dorothy Boland, Robert Colvill (Strand on Green Association), John Ormsby (West London River Group), Derek Collett, John Burgess (Brentford Community Council), Kath Richardson (Brentford Chamber of Commerce, Brentford TW8)), Ann Hawker, Mike Simson, Martin Tewkesbury (Friends of Stile Hall), Marie Rabouhans, Robert Hare (West Chiswick and Gunnersbury Society), Richard Merritt, Philip Marchant (BIAS), Councillors Ruth Cadbury and Steve Curran, Donald Kerr (BFC)

Project team: Brian Burgess (BB), Chris Gammon (CG), Steve Lancashire, Chair (SL), Patrick Kinsella (PK), Ben Sykes (BS), Richard Watson (RW), Richard Jones (RJ), David Ellis (DE), John Roberts (JR) Neil Tootill (NT), Dave Hughes (DH)

1.0          Welcome and Apologies

1.1             SL welcomed everybody to the meeting, particularly those attending for the first time, and invited individuals to introduce themselves.

1.2             Apologies were received from;

–        Bela Cunha

–        Andy Miller

–        Cllr Matt Harmer

–        Cllr Mel Collins

–        Cllr Colin Ellar

–        Terence Thorn

–        Peter Eversden

–        Lee Doyle

2 .0    Notes of 1st October 2012 meeting

2.1         SL asked if there were any corrections or omissions to the notes of the previous meeting. He made the point that they were notes rather than minutes.

2.2         It was agreed that the first point made under the Environment section of Item 4 related to the concern for the impact that crowds using the stadium  on match days might have on the riverside.

2.3         The notes were then accepted

3.0     Matters arising

3.1         There were no matters arising.

4.0     Terms of reference

4.1         A revised terms of reference paper had been circulated and the terms paragraphs were accepted.

5.0     Membership

5.1         SL introduced the membership list section and again emphasises this was an incremental list and invited those present to comment on it and particularly suggest others who might be invited

5.2         Group members made the following suggestions

–        Kew House Free School – SL reported email contact has been made and they were invited to the meeting.

–        Fountains Leisure Centre – SL agreed to make contact with them and invite them to future meetings.

–        Gunnersbury Park – SL reported Richard Gill (Park Manager) was on the distribution list and invited to meetings. He thanked Marie Roubahans for raising it and advising that she was a member of the Management Committee

6.0     Project update

6.1         SL emphasised this was the main item for the meeting and that those presenting were very keen to hear the views and concerns they had. He noted that the architects had brought an indicative model which showed massing on the Lionel Road site and the neighbourhood, which some people had had the chance to view and discuss.

6.2         BB had written a brief report, which had been circulated. He referred to this and a number of slides and made the following specific points, some of which were a re-cap on what was said at the previous meeting for the benefit of people who weren’t at it and to remind those who were.

–        There are two sites, both of which the club now own. Griffin Park (this has an outline consent for a residential development) and the old railway goods yard at Lionel Road South, which the club bought in June.

–        The strategy is to get detailed planning consent for the stadium and outlined planning consent for enabling development on the corners of the site.

–        There are two main financial drivers to this project. First, for the outline permissions at both Griffin Park and the corners of the Lionel Road site to produce land values that will generate income for the Club to cover the costs of building the stadium and any planning obligations. The Club will not be the developer of these sites. Second, to design and build a stadium that will generate sufficient revenue to make the Club more sustainable.

–        The professional team had given a presentation to the Directors of the Board responsible for stadium development in October. A number of options were presented to the Board, who gave the go-ahead to work up a particular approach and report back to them at the end of  January in order for them to decide on the most feasible scheme.

–        The objective is to submit a detailed planning application for the stadium and outline for the three surrounding sites by the end of April/beginning of May.

–        The Club is very keen to maintain its community feel of the club for which it is well known, winning national awards.

–        A major element of that work is the Community Sports Trust, which is active across 4 boroughs, runs the Kew Bridge boating arch, and has offered to work closely with Gunnersbury Park. It has outgrown the space it had at Griffin Park and now has separate offices currently. The intention is to bring them back into the new stadium and make them more integral to the club.

–        The Learning Zone (currently in Griffin Park) works with c 2,500 children each year to improve literacy, numeracy and IT skills and will have a purpose built facility.

–        Bees United, the supporters trust, has a golden share, which can prevent asset stripping. Whoever owns the club cannot sell Griffin Park or new stadium without convincing the supporters trust. Ultimately there could be a vote of bees united members to approve. This provides a form of community asset lock.

–        BB addressed a specific concern a Griffin Park representative raised last time. He explained the outline planning consent was renewed at end of March and is valid until March 2018 and explained the Griffin Park site is being worked up purely for the Club to put a value on it. Whoever the stadium site is sold to will then put in a detailed planning application. BB showed two slides which gave some idea what a house-led scheme and, second, what an apartment-led scheme might look like and explained the rationale behind the current approaches, specifically in relation to heights and pedestrian and cycling connections.

6.2         JR then gave a stadium update

–        Challenge is finding the most economical way of fitting 20,000 spectators into stadium and have looked at different schemes, including the previous one  and having a continuous lower tier seating bowl with two upper tiers at either end

–        Looking at likely requirements of a rugby club, the needs of wheelchair users, a family area, access for emergency vehicles, segregating the home and away fans . These are all requirements set by the footballauthorities.

–        The roof lines are planes which are generated by technical sightline requirements for football and rugby.

–        The end solution probably won’t look like this, but are presented to give an indication of the height of the stadium. There will be a 6 month process to develop these.

–        There is a small portion of upper terracing in the main south stand which is the VIP area and there will also be executive boxes and lounges.

6.3         BS then gave a masterplan update

–        Three sites in the triangle around the stadium enable its development – to the east, west and south (near Kew Bridge station).

–        From a master plan perspective there are quite a few variables which are relatively fluid. For example infrastructure improvements to the stations, stadium capacity, how we might deliver the scheme by phasing.

–        Surrounded by railway tracks makes it more difficult to construct.

–        One of key determining factors at capacity of any site to have development is the amount of parking the space can create. One of key variables is the extent to which parking is completely outside stadium footprint. That will determine how many parking spaces. We have run master plans on three options and determined one of these isn’t viable so this will not be pursued.

–        The model shows the current position with regard to creating enabling development. One of key pieces of work is a visual impact assessment of development. This scheme will be quite tall – we are looking at a range of heights (8-19 storeys).

–        We have started working with local authority to select viewpoints and have established the following, which were displayed on a map and then on various photographs.

–        BS asked the Group if the most appropriate views had been identified. He was keen to engage to assess the scheme from as many views as we can with the objective of creating the most moderated scheme possible. He also made the points that the pictures are difficult because they are taken from a specific orientation point and a particular season.

–        The views shown were from Wellesley Road, Kew Bridge, Gunnersbury Park, Kew waterside, world heritage buffer zone, Kew Green, Kew Palace (first floor)

6.4         SL thanked the meeting for their patience and invited questions and comments, emphasising the Project Team were very interested in clarifying anything and listening to local residents’ views.

6.5         Stadium presentation:

Questions raised and discussed were:

  • Griffin Park’s capacity
  • Floodlighting
  • Heights of the stands
  • Advertising on the roof and its angle
  • Spectator sound
  • Spectator arrival and departure routes on match days
  • Provision for some spectators standing
  • Emergency vehicle access routes
  • What new bridge at north east corner will carry
  • The capacity required if the team got into the Premiership
  • The phasing of the stadium and other construction
  • Other stadium uses – e.g. pop concerts

6.5       Masterplan presentation:

The following matters were raised and discussed:

–        Parking provision for club and residents – the amount and location

–        Estimated heights at each of the three corners, specifically in relation to ground level

–        How local residents will get in and out of their homes on match days

–        Commercial viability

–        Timetable and scheme freeze

–        Housing size mix on the enabling sites

–        Conservation areas, including Thorney Edge which needed adding

–        Building below ground level

–        A concern was expressed that financial considerations may produce an unacceptable development proposal, driven by financial and not planning considerations, and would lead to the application being rejected. The height lines shown in the master views appear totally out of character with the area. . BS responded stating the six tall Council housing blocks would not be used as a precedent. The intention is to consider how best to moderate the visual impact. There will be some chance to moderate the impact through working with the club.

–        Some were concerned that the area would not be able to absorb  the extra people. . This is a much denser footprint and doesn’t quite have the same attractions as the St George scheme on the river There was scepticism that it would be possible to market the units at the price required to make it viable. BB explained the scheme has to go back to the Board for them to decide to proceed to planning. The Project Team will have to assess what the cost of all the variables are – then the agents will advise what the value is of Griffin Park and the three outline sites with outline planning consent is.

–        It was agreed that views from Brentford, down river from Waterman’s Park, The Butts, Holland Gardens. St Pauls, the important memorial in Gunnersbury cemetery as well as Thorny Edge conservation area were needed. At least one of the photos shows the water tower, which is a key landmark for the skyline, almost vanishing.


–        SL concluded the item by thanking everybody for their clear comments. He emphasised there are financial drivers and the architects and Club have heard the views and will do their best to mitigate. The Club wants to be neighbourly.

7.0      Public exhibition dates

7.1          SL  indicated that there was likely to be two public exhibitions during the engagement and consultation process. The first will be in January. In principle, they will be on three (different times of day) sessions in a week to encourage as much access as possible. He will be identifying a catchment area and drop a letter in every house and shop in it. The week proposed is the week beginning 14th January 2013 and looking at Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. There are some  logistics to be sorted out making sure spaces are available. A newsletter will be published and circulated to as many properties as we can get into during week of 7th of January. Details will also be posted on the website.

7.2         Is the exhibition before the final decision?  SL explained it is before in order to gather as many local views as possible.

7.3         SL explained it was proposed to hold it at Griffin Park. It was felt it would be better to have a site nearer the proposed ground and SL agreed to look into the availability of the Steam Museum and any other space people could suggest.

7.4         Saturday is being explored as it is the day of the Bees United AGM. The exhibition will be in the morning before the AGM, so people going to the AGM could also go to the exhibition.

7.5        SL agreed to advertise the dates on the local websites and in the local paper when known.

8.0      Any other business

8.1         SL agreed to put the presentation slides on the website along with a picture of the model

8.2         CG explained the intention was to sell the corner sites with outline planning. Such a permission can determine heights and other parameters.

9.0      Date of next meeting: Agreed as Monday 21ST January 2013, 7 – 9pm at Griffin Park.



3rd December 2012 @ 7pm

Venue: Griffin Park Sponsors Lounge/Hospitality Suite (Main entrance in Braemar Road)


  1. 1.     Welcome and apologies 
  1. 2.     Notes of 1st October meeting: enclosed 
  1. 3.     Matters arising 
  1. 4.    Terms of reference: see enclosed paper 
  1. 5.     Membership: see attached list
  1. 6.    Project update: Brian Burgess (his report enclosed), John Roberts and Ben Sykes to present the latest thinking on proposals for:                                                                                                            stadium

Lionel Road masterplan

Griffin Park

  1. 7.     Public exhibition dates
  1. 8.    Any other business
  1. 9.    Date of next meeting