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Planners recommend Selhurst Park development

Crystal Palace FC’s plans to redevelop their Selhurst Park ground in South London look set to be given the green light by planners.

Planning officers at the London Borough of Croydon have confirmed their recommendation to the Planning Committee to grant planning permission for the application at its meeting on Thursday 19 April.

The officers said in an environmental statement for the project they recommended the application because the stadium fabric is increasingly outdated. The report said:

Sightlines are sometimes poor and facilities struggle to keep pace with rising expectations. The proposed new development will not only allow some overdue modernisation to take place but will contribute significantly to the Club, its fans, its employees and contractors, the local community and the local economy.

Current fans will benefit from the availability of more and better accommodation. A larger number will be able to attend, helping the Club address the growing numbers seeking tickets.

Furthermore, new ground development also provides an opportunity to increase, not only the number of regular seats for season ticket holders and general sale but also, to increase the scale of hospitality that can be offered. Clubs without significant hospitality offers are at a competitive disadvantage compared to those with modern facilities.

This boost to revenues will over the long term help the Club compete in the Premier League and reduce the risk of relegation, thus bringing sporting as well as economic benefits.

The officers said a lack of facilities on site means there is little to attract fans to attend the site, other than to watch matches or to tempt supporters to remain on site after the game and make the most of post-match hospitality.

Consequently, fans currently arrive shortly before ‘kick off” and tend to leave immediately after the ‘final whistle’ which leads to a ‘last minute’ swell of spectators arriving before a match.

This tends to put additional strain on the public transport networks and can be problematic, given the requirement for security checks (for spectators entering the stadium).

Key features of the redevelopment include:

  • An increase in capacity of Selhurst Park from 26,000 to more than 34,000, overhauling a stadium which has been the club’s home since 1924.
  • Capacity in the new Main Stand alone will hold 13,500 fans, with more than 10,700 of these General Admission seats. Inspired by the club’s rich heritage and its roots in south London, the design pays homage to the original Crystal Palace on Sydenham Hill.
  • Improved facilities for supporters with disabilities and a substantial increase in wheelchair spaces, making Selhurst Park compliant with Accessible Stadia Guidelines for New Stadiums.
  • New community facilities, supplementing the work of the Palace for Life Foundation, which delivers health, education and sporting programmes for more than 13,500 local children and young adults.
  • An estimated 700 new matchday jobs.
  • A new museum, documenting the club’s rich history and its place in the South London community, as well as new retail and restaurant units.
  • A bigger pitch, increased from 101.5m x 68m, to 105m x 68m, making Selhurst Park compliant with UEFA regulations and eligible to host tournament football.
  • Premium hospitality and entertainment facilities for more than 2,500 supporters, including a new Tunnel Club, and between 16-28 boxes, which will give members a unique vantage point as the players prepare for the match and conduct post-match interviews.
  • Improved sightlines in the Arthur Wait Stand with the removal of the TV gantry, and improved concourses.
  • Redevelopment of the upper Whitehorse Lane Boxes into mixed bar/box use.