Chelsea suffer move setback
Boris Johnson's re-election as London Mayor may have dealt the first blow to Chelsea's hopes of transforming Battersea Power Station into their new home.
On Friday, the Blues confirmed they had submitted a bid to build a 60,000-seater stadium on the 39-acre site in Wandsworth, hours before Johnson was declared the winner in the battle to run the capital for the next four years.
The mayor is one of the people Chelsea will need to convince to allow them to redevelop the Grade II* listed Battersea Power Station but his chief of staff and deputy mayor for planning, Sir Edward Lister, has said: "I don't think the site is suitable for Chelsea, and nor do a lot of people. It's not a goer."
Lister claimed the transport infrastructure was not "geared up" for 60,000 football fans, despite the Blues having offered to make a "significant contribution" towards the £900 million cost of a proposed extension to the Northern Line.
Chelsea also face fierce competition for the power station, with a number of interested parties having submitted what were sealed bids. That prevented the Blues' billionaire owner, Roman Abramovich, from knowing precisely how much he needed to offer to beat off any opposition.
Even if Chelsea succeed, they cannot move anywhere before convincing fan-led group Chelsea Pitch Owners to sell them the freehold to Stamford Bridge.
Were that to happen, they would then need the permission of English Heritage to revamp Battersea Power Station itself. The club have already said they would restore the building's four iconic chimneys and west turbine hall.
An English Heritage spokesperson said: "We were, of course, aware that Chelsea FC has taken an interest in the Battersea site. Our understanding is that they are one of a number of bids.
"It will be our role to look at and advise on the impact of any proposals that come forward. Full planning permission and listed building consent were granted in 2005 for a mixed-use scheme promoted by Parkview.
"Permission and consent were again granted in 2011 for a different mixed use scheme promoted by Treasury Holdings. English Heritage provided consent for both conversion schemes, alongside Wandsworth BC and the Mayor or London.
"The power station is listed at grade two star in recognition of it powerful scale, celebrated silhouette, and that, as a power station it was the first to rationalise large-scale distribution of power - the 'Cathedral of Power' provided a fifth of London's electricity.
"The building is a masterpiece of industrial design. It is one of London's most prominent landmarks and one of a few with a genuine claim to the title 'iconic'."