London, March 7 (IANS) London Mayor Sadiq Khan has given his approval to Chelsea’s new $612 million stadium, saying the venue would become a jewel in the capital’s sporting crown.
The new stadium is to be built on the site of Chelsea’s current home in the British capital, Stamford Bridge. It has been designed by architects Herzog and de Meuron, who also designed the iconic Birds Nest Olympic stadium in Beijing and the widely acclaimed Allianz Arena in Munich, reports Xinhua news agency.
The mayor’s office on Tuesday said the plans approved by Khan will see current English Premier League (EPL) leaders Chelsea’s match-day capacity increase from 41,600 to 60,000.
The project will include the construction of an elevated walkway over the nearby London Underground’s District Line, directly linking the stadium to Fulham Broadway station.
Khan said he was satisfied the new stadium was a ‘high-quality and spectacular design’ which would significantly boost capacity for the five-time English champions.
Champions League 2011-12 winners Chelsea’s proposal was approved unanimously by Hammersmith and Fulham Council’s planning committee in January.
The club’s application also includes an investment of $15 million in community activities, such as employment and skills training, as well as a contribution of nearly $5 million towards affordable housing in the local area.
Mayor Khan said: “London is one of the world’s greatest sporting cities and I’m delighted that we will soon add Chelsea’s new stadium to the already fantastic array of sporting arenas in the capital.
“Having taken a balanced view of the application, I’m satisfied this is a high-quality and spectacular design which will significantly increase capacity within the existing site, as well as ensuring fans can have easy access from nearby transport connections.
“I’m confident this new stadium will be a jewel in London’s sporting crown and will attract visitors and football fans from around the world.”
A spokesman for Chelsea said: “Following a review by Mayor of London Khan, we are delighted he has chosen to support the council’s decision. This is the latest significant step toward redevelopment of the stadium and the delivery of the extensive local community programme.”
The Stamford Bridge stadium was first opened in 1877.