Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Supporting our local football club - the Lionel Road Project

Two Queens Park Rangers supporters and a Swansea City fan were given the opportunity to progress their footballing education last night when they and other members of Hounslow Council's Executive were guests at Brentford Football Club as we watched our local team demolish Morecambe 3-1 to climb to second place in the League Two table.

Earlier we had been given an update by the Club and its partners on its ambitious plans to build a new 20,000-seater stadium at Lionel Road, a little over half a mile up the road from the Club's current home at Griffin Park.

Whilst the planning detail itself is a matter for the Sustainable Development Committee and one in which we cannot interfere, the Council is being asked to give its support to the principle of the build, and I don't think I'm giving any secrets away when I say there is a general feeling of enthusiasm and goodwill towards the Club as it attempts to turn around its fortunes off the pitch as it has already begun to do on the pitch.

In this modern day and age it is unsustainable for a professional football league club to only be in operation for about 25-30 days each year, and the size and physical location of Griffin Park does not lend itself to expansion on any significant scale. The unwelcome spectre of groundshares as far away as Woking were looming over the Club just a few years back, and there had also been talk of relocating to Feltham Arenas and Western International Market, amongst other sites, before Lionel Road became the preferred option.

Since then the Club's development partner has successfully acquired the land, and the Project at last looks ready to roll.

Speaking personally as a Brentford supporter (although not in recent years as regular an attendee as I would like to have been) it has been a pleasure and a privilege to lead for the local authority on this Project and if, as looks increasingly likely to be the case, it comes to fruition there will be few as happy to have played a part as me.

No comments: