Here are my notes from yesterdays forum, happy to clarify any points if necessary.
Lionel Road Fans Forum
Presented by : Brian Burgess & Chris Gammon of Lionel Road Developments Ltd
John Roberts of AFL Architects
Griffin Park is no longer suitable as the club cannot earn enough money to survive, the club has purchased the site at Lionel Road and owns the freehold, we are not tied to any company. A feasibility study has been completed and an all day presentation to the board was carried out last Tuesday (29/01/13) and the go ahead was given to prepare a full planning application for submission in May. The planning application will be a full application for the stadium and a outline application for the residential development. We have generally had positive support from current and previous councils regarding the development. It is hoped that planning consent will be granted by Autumn 2013.
This was the last chance for comments on the main design aspects due to the tight time constraints imposed by the club.
Griffin Park is a very saleable asset, although valued at £10m in BFC accounts it is expected to make significantly more than this. We already have outline planning consent for a residential development at GP. The site will eventually be sold to a housing developer who will then apply for full planning consent.
The Stadium will open in 2016, these are tight timescales but it is achievable. It was noted that we can only have traditional terracing in the Championship/Premiership for three years and wouldn't want to make changes to Griffin Park.
The part of the east/west stand that appears to be open on the previously released drawings will not be, this is a graphical representation used to predict sight-lines, floodlight coverage and acoustics. These drawings and graphics are being refined via various workshops (with structural engineers etc.)
The design is a single bowl (not bowl shaped but contiguous), with an upper tier on the South Stand (this is the main stand) for corporate entertainment, and upper tiers behind the East and West goals. The railway is only one metre away from the back of the North Stand, which makes access and sizing an issue. The North Stand is very similar to the New Road stand at Griffin Park and will hold 4,000. The tiered design is similar to Cardiff's with the upper tier half the size of the lower tier (1.5 tiered design).
There is potential for a hotel to be attached to the West Stand
This is the tightest of all sites that AFL have worked on and is very unique.
The stadium costs will be funded from the sale of Griffin Park and the three corner plots at Lionel Road. Each corner plot could go to a different developer to maximize profit. The club has also identified two other sites which it is in negotiation with to either purchase or partner with, these are in Lionel Road on the west side of Lionel Road South and in between the eastern railway line and Capital Interchange Way.
Differences with this plan and the Barratt plan
Barratt's proposal had a plan for car parking under the pitch this required huge construction costs as the weight of a pitch is considerable. It would have required a large initial cash flow and probably would have delayed development, the Police were not too keen on this for security reasons, it would have also caused access issues. They have spoken to a lot of experts and agreed that putting parking elsewhere is the better option. Barratt were taking on the whole development and trying to recoup the cost by selling all residential units, which given the market was no longer viable, Barratt were aiming for a 20% profit on the entire development.
We are expected to share with a rugby club and stadium has been designed around this. As reported in the press we have been in conversation with several clubs. The club would consider either tenancy or shared ownership of the stadium, most Rugby clubs seem to prefer shared ownership.
The pitch is sized for both Rugby and Football, to allow for Rugby we have to have longer run-offs behind the goal but the width will be consistent across sports. The venue would have been suitable and met key criteria for the 2015 Rugby World Cup if it had been ready in time.
The pitch is sized for FIFA and UEFA international matches.
The club have different different financial projections for different scenarios depending on what division the club is in, on average 35-40% increase in crowds when going to a new stadium. Colchester was cited as a poor example as they do not have the facilities that are being proposed here.
The stadium is designed for safe standing but that does not necessarily mean we can have it, this hinges on a law change (if we are in the Championship or Premiership). Safe standing is based on a 1:1 ratio (the same as the seated capacity) as we have not got the room for additional facilities or exits for more than 20,000 fans.
The site lines and restrictions to seated fans makes it a lot easier to configure behind the goal areas for safe standing as opposed to along the side.
Away fans will be situated in the North East corner, designed to be flexible for the number of away fans. This will initially be 500 in the lower tier and additional 500 in the upper tier, it can then expand along half of the North Stand to give a total away following of 3,000.
The football club have stated their preferences that they do not want away fans behind the goal as it gives the away side an advantage. In theory you could also give the away team half of the North Stand and behind the goal as well which would allocate them a total of 7,000 seats. The configuration is flexible, obviously moving season ticket holders etc has to be taken into account by the club.
Most premiership clubs have away fans situated in the corner, the railway along the back of the North Stand causes exit issues. Away fans will have the sun in their eyes.
Initial and future sizing.
The club could chose not to open the Upper Tier initially to save on operating costs if attendances were low, eg. are we still in League One. There is the potential to increase the capacity to 25,000 (or even 35,000) by extending the North Stand over the railway. This is very expensive and not easy to do.
If we decide to only build it with 15,000 we would not have the Upper Tiers on the East and West Stands. There is access for building and plant via the side if this needs to be done at a later date. AFL have only been asked to design a 20,000 stadium.
Championship football would make it easier for the board to commit to a 20,000 capacity.
Planning consent will be for 20,000 regardless.
Number of Bars/Kiosks in the concourse is recommended to be between 30% and 50% occupancy at any given time, we are nearer 50%. It is hard to recreate the four pubs theme as it is very tight and we have to allow for escape stairs.
Toilet gender split is 70%/30% Gents:Ladies, this is to cater for Rugby where more women attend.
The 1st floor on the West Stand is a future fit out area, potentially for a hotel or other facilities, there is also another fit out area on the 1st floors of the East and South Stand, the latter could used as the offices for the Rugby club.
The upper concourse is accessed via the 3rd Floor.
South stand has the changing room, press room etc. The concourse in this stand is much bigger than the other stands so can be used for exhibition space, similar to Stamford Bridge.
The South Stand bar is accessible from both inside and outside the stadium, this could be used outside of match day, potentially for residents.
Second Floor will host the BFCCST, Learning Zone and Media Room, all these areas are flexible and double up as hospitality areas on match days. Third floor has more hospitality, with approximately 12 boxes. Rugby fans tend to prefer larger boxes (16+ people), whereas football fans usually prefer 8-10 people.
The boxes could also be used a breakout space during conferences. Additional corporate facilities are on the fourth floor. It was mentioned that the conference market is declining, particularly for multiple day events and most conferences are now one day only.
The Gantry is located at the top of the South Stand, there is also a permanent TV studio. There has been dialogue with Sky TV regarding the suitability of the studio. TV points will be installed in the concourse.
Non sporting uses (eg Music events)
Acoustics and dynamic frequencies would need to be looked at for music concerts as these are different to those that are required for a football crowd. There is an access point onto the pitch to allow for stage construction etc. The crowd would still be limited to 20,000 for safety reasons.
Opinion is that people do not want to be cooped up in a box but would prefer a premium seating option (padded seats & arm rests). Payment for this would probably require a five year term with an up front fee and then an ongoing monthly payment. The customer could then choose to partake in a either 3 course meal, a buffet, use the bar or nothing.
The ticket would be transferable to friends or clients and there could potentially be dual tickets for Rugby and Football. An outside marketing agency was used to sell 2,800 premium seats at Brighton and we are talking to them.
Access to the club shop will be from outside only,
Hotel on the West Stand
There is potential for a hotel to be attached to the west stand, this is sized at 140 rooms over 12 floors. Hotel financing is poor at the moment, so it is more likely to be 5-10 years before we could realistically sell the plot for this. Lack of car parking will be a problem but this is the only plan with potential as the commercial market is dead and there is no market for retail, except perhaps a Tesco Express at the bottom.
It was discussed about parking for the club shop and this will be looked at. There is very little parking, the land that would normally be used for parking we are selling for development.
Disabled car parking will be looked at.
Aim is to make the stadium as noisy as possible by directing sound correctly so it can be heard from all stands
The North Stand is too low for flood lights to be installed along the roof, therefore Pylon or single pole based flood lights are the preferred approach. Griffin Park currently has lighting at 400lx, the plan for the new staidum is at least 800lx. Sky TV now require 1700lx for HD and 3D coverage!
There will 24/25 rows with approximately 48-50 steps to the top of the stand. Concerns were raised about the number of steps and the positioning of the entrance to the concourse, however it was pointed out that the same number of steps will have to be walked up whether it is to the seats pitch side or within the concourse. The terrace depth will be 760mm, the UEFA idealistic depth is 800mm, however this is still much deeper than what is at GP.
We have maximised the rake of the seats as much as possible, this will make it a fantastic viewing point as it will be quite steep.
Access to the East Stand will be via a new footbridge over the railway line and into Capital Interchange Way. There is also tunnel owned by Network Rail which goes from Capital Interchange Way direct onto the London Bound platform at Kew Bridge. In an emergency all fans must be in a safe area (usually the concourse) within eight minutes.
There is a choice of disabled viewing platforms either at pitch level or at the back of the Upper Tier in all areas of the ground. AFL would like to talk to a disabled supporters group of representatives if we have one. There will be lifts on all four sides of the stadium.
The stadium will have the maximum sustainability rating and will be classed as "BREEAM Excellent" we could potentially install solar panels but that takes up valuable advertising space.
Undersoil heating will be installed and operational from day one
Approximate cost is £2,000 per seat, however treat these figures with caution as the likely total cost is expected to be nearer £50m, other stadiums builds may exclude some costs when quoting their per seat cost.
There is a potential shortfall for financing and this could be raised via sponsorship. Saracens sold their stadium naming rights for £8m. Aim is to get the club operating at break even, we have a highly visible site from the air and the M4 and in general we would expect to sell more perimeter boards, raise more from match sponsorship etc. Even in League One we would double our income.
The club are in consultation with local residents to help mitigate their concerns, lack of car parking should mean less traffic than usual for a new stadium. The club will attempt to solve the existing problems at Kew Bridge Station and also the traffic coming over Kew Bridge, we want to give them something that is better than what they already have.
On average fans arrive at the ground over a two hour spread before kick-off but all try to leave within 30 minutes. There will be a transport survey being carried out at one game this month, please assist the club by taking part if asked.
Ideally we would like to keep away fans away from the Chiswick area, coaches will be parked in Capital Interchange Way. Away fans will exit on the A4 or over the new footbridge into Capital Interchange Way.
The club would like more people to travel by bicycle or tube, there is plenty of capacity on the trains and the tube particularly for Saturday games where the peak demand would not be any greater than normal peak evening travel.
The junction at Kew Bridge Road and Lionel Road South will be redesigned, this was something that Hounslow council have already been looking at as there will be a new Cycle Super Highway running down Brentford High Street towards the Chiswick Roundabout.
South West Trains are introducing 10 carriage trains soon and there have been platform extension works being carried out across the network.
The 235 bus will be extended to the new Barratt development (Great West Quarter?), possibly some investigation into whether changes could be made for the E2 and E8 that currently terminate at Commerce Way.
And finally the Dug Outs
They will be on the South Stand, the same side as the dressing rooms and in front of the Paddock.
Discussions here please. http://www.griffinpark.org/forums/sh...d.php?t=103127