English Championship football club Queens Park Rangers has released a new report which claims that the development of a new stadium away from its current Loftus Road home would benefit the local economy by around £60m (€67.3m/$76.7m) per year.
The study by consultants Hatch Regeneris was commissioned by QPR after suggestions from fans and local residents to quantify the club’s economic and social benefit to its West London home. QPR has played at the 18,439-seat Loftus Road (pictured) venue since 1917, but it has long been assessing means by which it can address its stadium situation with redevelopment of its current home deemed unfeasible due to lack of available land around the site.
QPR has seen plans stall for a project announced back in December 2013 for a new 40,000-seat stadium and is now assessing the merits of redeveloping the Linford Christie Stadium athletics venue, which is located around a mile from Loftus Road, the third smallest stadium in the Championship.
The report details that a new 30,000-seat stadium, with an adjacent community sport and athletics facility could deliver a boost of in excess of £20m per year to the local economy. An estimated 720 full-time jobs would be created by a larger stadium with an increased number of fans spending money in the local area on matchdays, as well as the increase in QPR’s supply chain spending.
QPR’s current economic value to the local area is estimated at £39m a year, which would be lost if the club were forced to look further afield for a new home. QPR has said the proposed community stadium would be contained within the existing Linford Christie Stadium site and not encroach on the green open space of nearby Wormwood Scrubs.
While the report suggests redevelopment of Linford Christie Stadium could cost up to £265m, it adds the project would generate the equivalent of 490 full-time jobs. Land freed up by the demolition of Loftus Road has been targeted for up to 550 new homes and 18,500 square feet of shops in an estimated £175m investment.
Overall, the report states that the combined project could support around 1,285 full-time jobs and inject around £59.7m per year into the local economy, £20m more than Loftus Road does at present, in addition to generating £26.2m in taxes for the Treasury.
QPR said in a statement: “The Linford Christie Stadium could be the club’s last chance to build a sustainable long-term future in the area that has been its home for a hundred years. It is also an opportunity to promote physical activity and improve the health and wellbeing of West Londoners by creating an innovative community sports hub with a professional football club at its heart.”
The report went on to warn that a move outside the W12 postcode “would go beyond the loss of an anchor institution from the borough, the direct employment it supports and the wider benefits… generated. This move would expect to have a negative effect on the social value and associated cost savings generated through the club’s work with its local community.”