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Final stand… One family’s bid to block Roman Abramovich’s £1 billion new Chelsea stadium

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 12/01/2018 BENEDICT MOORE-BRIDGER
a close up of a building © Provided by Evening Standard Limited

Roman Abramovich’s £1 billion Chelsea stadium plans have been thrown into disarray by a family who say the new building will block out their light.

Nicolas and Lucinda Crosthwaite, who have lived in a cottage next to Stamford Bridge for 50 years, claim the proposed 60,000-capacity venue will cast a permanent shadow over parts of their home.

Mrs Crosthwaite has lodged a complaint with Hammersmith and Fulham council and taken out an injunction, along with her husband and children Louis and Rose. The family remain defiant despite reportedly being offered a six-figure sum to waive their claim.

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The new stadium was granted planning permission one year ago and has been signed off by the Mayor of London. But the club say work cannot go ahead while there remains a risk that the injunction could successfully stop the redevelopment.

Chelsea are now calling on Hammersmith and Fulham to intervene, with councillors meeting on Monday to discuss the issue.

The family want the east stand to be “cut-back or redesigned so as not to cause interference”, and highlighted the “disproportionate amount of hospitality seating” which takes up more space than normal seating. Chelsea claim the new stadium will “further enhance the economic, cultural and social services they provide”, while a public consultation of 13,000 residents earned it 97.5 per cent support.

Other homeowners affected by a loss of light have been compensated.

The club believes the land can be compulsorily acquired by the council to override the injunction, if councillors decide it would contribute to the economic, environmental or social wellbeing of the area. Chelsea also say they will lease the land off the council and cover any liabilities or costs.

However the family believe the club’s attempt to effectively sidestep the injunction is not in the public interest and possibly illegal.

A report for councillors, drawn up by head of planning and regeneration John Finlayson, recommends the council buy the land, currently owned by Chelsea and Network Rail, and lease it back to the club.

It states: “There is a compelling case in the public interest for the council to acquire the land for planning purposes and enable the development to proceed and the public benefits to be realised.” Otherwise the “development would not proceed as proposed”. The Crosthwaites declined to comment.

With a current capacity of 41,000, Stamford Bridge is well behind rivals like Manchester United, Arsenal, West Ham, and Tottenham’s new stadium.

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