Crystal Palace’s updated planning application for a new Main Stand at Selhurst Park has been approved by local councillors, paving the way for transformation of the home of the English Premier League football club.
Croydon Council’s planning committee first gave the application the green light four years ago, but it was delayed by COVID-19 and the club in August submitted minor adjustments to the scheme to adhere to new London Plan requirements.
This required fresh approval before planning permission could be granted and any work could begin, together with the signing of Section 106 agreements and approval from the Mayor of London’s office.
Palace first revealed plans to increase Selhurst Park’s capacity from around 26,000 to 34,000 back in December 2017, with the redevelopment of the stadium’s Main Stand central to the project. It had been hoped that work on the project would begin at the end of the 2018-19 season, with a completion date having been set for last year.
The Main Stand development intends to overhaul Selhurst Park, which has been the club’s home since 1924, transforming the match-day experience and providing new year-round community facilities.
The new five-storey Main Stand, featuring an all-glass front, intends to be a tribute to the club’s early days when it was based in the shadows of the original Crystal Palace on Sydenham Hill.
Under the original plans, the new stand’s capacity will increase from around 5,400 to 13,500, with more than 10,700 general admission seats. Improved access will also be provided for disabled supporters, while Selhurst Park’s pitch will be expanded to make it compliant with UEFA regulations, deeming it eligible to host tournament football.
A new Tunnel Club will also be introduced, along with a club museum and community facilities. Supporters’ views from the Arthur Wait Stand will also be improved, while the upper Whitehorse Lane Boxes will be renovated into mixed bar/box use.
Following the Council’s decision yesterday (Thursday) evening, Palace said none of the changes to the planning application will alter the size or scale of the scheme. The amendments instead focus on fire safety requirements and revisions to the landscaping scheme to reflect consultant advice received on security, landscaping and sustainable drainage.
Once planning permission is formally approved, the club will be able to agree plans for the acquisition of six houses in the local area and the relocation of residents, and to conclude ongoing discussions with supermarket group Sainsbury’s to acquire a piece of land required for the development.
Crystal Palace chairman, Steve Parish, said: “I would like to thank Croydon Council for their continued support for the stadium redevelopment, which will bring substantial investment into the borough, as well as breathing new life into Selhurst Park.
“We would have liked to have started the project sooner, but our plans were delayed by financial constraints caused by the COVID pandemic. In the last couple of years our focus has been on bringing our exciting academy development to fruition, but our attention will now turn to the stadium project.
“It has long been our ambition to extend and modernise Selhurst Park, making it a home fit for the 21st century. We are looking forward to getting started on the project. There is a lot of preparatory work to be done in the coming months and we will update on a likely timetable in due course.”