Chelsea drink-venue plans ruffle feathers


More music at Chelsea FC with drinking license Image: Coliseum GSVA

It is one of London’s most desirable neighborhoods – so Chelsea (an affluent area in West London, England, UK) has always seemed an unlikely setting for a huge football stadium.

‘Daily Mail’ stated that but given that the Premier League club Chelsea F.C. set up home just off the fashionable Fulham Road in 1905, its well-heeled residents are used to thousands of fans packing their streets a few times a month.

The Chelsea Football Club is an English professional football club based in Fulham, West London, UK. Founded in 1905, they play their home games at the Stamford Bridge. The club competes in the Premier League, the top division of English football. They won their first major honor, the League championship, in 1955.

The Stamford Bridge is a football stadium in Fulham, adjacent to the borough of Chelsea in West London. It is the home of Premier League club Chelsea. With a capacity of 40,341, it is the ninth largest venue of the 2022-2023 Premier League seasons and the 11th largest football stadium in England, UK.

Now, however, the neighbors are rankled over a plan to convert part of the 41,000-capacity stadium into an all-day drinking and music venue – open every day.

‘Daily Mail’ further stated that the club submitted licensing plans to the Hammersmith and Fulham Council in the month of November which, if granted, would allow live and recorded music to be played, and alcohol to be sold between 10 am and 11 pm with the concourse “accessible to the public 24 hours a day”.

Writer Kate Reardon, 54, who lives nearby with her two young children, fumed, “It appears they’re applying for some sort of version of Glastonbury meets Munich’s Oktoberfest for stadium-capacity crowds, 365 days a year. It will destroy our lives. Already on matchdays, locals have profoundly compromised access to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital because ambulances can’t get through. If alcohol is sold until 11 o’clock at night, and they’re open 24 hours a day, how on earth will they police the noise and the disruption?”

Added Reardon, “Thousands of families’ lives in the neighborhood are going to be ruined.”

Briony Eastman, 70, who lives in Britannia Road next to the Stamford Bridge Stadium, remarked, “I moved with my young family to this neighborhood 28 years ago knowing about the football matches and have lived here happily, accommodating the football crowds, as there are excellent transport facilities, shops and schools. But we didn’t expect it to become a music and film venue, where alcohol can be freely drunk on the premises and in the Fulham Road, risking the area becoming an unacceptable place for people, families and communities wanting to be safe.”

Jeremy Lyon-Lee, 48, who has lived in the area for nearly 10 years with his wife and their three children, said he was concerned about how it would affect the area’s value – “There are knock-on implications for house prices if it becomes known as an area that is congested and polluted with lots of nuisance.”

Average house values in Britannia Road last year were £1.85 million.

It has been suggested that the application by the club, owned by a consortium led by an American billionaire, is merely intended to “improve fans’ experience on matchdays” and does not extend to standalone concerts or one-off events.

The Chelsea Football Club declined to comment on the entire issue.

The Oktoberfest is the world’s largest Volksfest featuring a beer festival and a traveling carnival. It is held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.

The Glastonbury Festival is a five-day festival of contemporary performing arts that takes place in Pilton, Somerset, England (UK). In addition to contemporary music, the festival hosts dance, comedy, theater, circus, cabaret, and other arts.

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