Brentford will review the construction of its new stadium in two weeks after the bulk of the work was paused last week due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with the Championship club saying it is not possible to “reliably forecast” when the venue will be complete.
Work on the new 17,250-seat stadium was temporarily halted after EcoWorld London, which is delivering the stadium project, decided to close construction sites under its control until further notice.
Only essential works are continuing at the stadium to ensure it remains safe and secure, and Brentford announced on Friday evening that the situation will be further assessed later in the month.
Brentford had been due to move into the new stadium for the start of the 2020-21 season but the uncertainty caused by the postponement of professional football in England raises questions over whether this will be the case.
Brentford chief executive Jon Varney and chairman Cliff Brown said in an open letter to supporters that the stadium was due to achieve “practical completion” in April ahead of the club’s move to the facility in July.
The letter added: “Last week Buckingham Group, stadium principal contractor to the developer, EcoWorld, had to take the serious, but prudent decision, to urgently pause the bulk of the works underway to allow time for the position to be assessed. This was a very important action and was fully supported by both the club and by EcoWorld with whom we are in constant dialogue.
“At its recent peak over 400 people were travelling to and from work on the stadium site each day. In light of current government COVID-19 guidelines, Buckingham Group have now decided that it is imperative that they dramatically scale back activity at the stadium site for the present and this has been implemented.
“Subject to review again in two weeks’ time it is intended that for now works will be mainly targeted at electrical safety, care and maintenance and security areas and any activities will be conducted strictly in accordance with current government Covid-19 guidelines. The absolutely minimum and essential requirement during this period is to ensure, as far as possible, that the site is made and kept safe at all times especially in respect of hazardous unfinished electrical installations and, where feasible, other dependent critical live safety and related systems.
“Given the evolving situation regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic it is not possible at this stage to reliably forecast when the new stadium will be fully complete.”
Brentford also announced that it has taken the decision to furlough a number of its staff through the government’s COVID-19 job retention scheme, with employees “simply unable” to carry out their day-to-day duties from home.
Brentford’s new stadium will also serve as the home of the London Irish Premiership rugby union team. The wide-ranging stadium development will also incorporate a purpose-built location for the Brentford FC Community Sports Trust, as well as a public square with shops, cafes and restaurants, and more than 900 new homes for sale and rent.
Brentford currently plays at Griffin Park.
Image: Brentford FC