Queens Park Rangers Football Club (QPR) is awaiting the outcome of a public consultation to see if its plans to move to and expand the Linford Christie stadium in west London has a future.
The club wants to leave Loftus Road and turn the Linford Christie Stadium into a 30,000-seater arena.
The venue is currently losing money and as a result Hammersmith & Fulham Council has organised a public consultation to determine what should happen to it.
The consultation draws to an end today, with residents voting on whether to keep the stadium as it is, to make some minor improvements or to do a full scale redevelopment with expansion up to a 45,000-seater stadium.
While QPR’s plans to move into the ground are not officially part of the consultation, the club’s chief executive Lee Hoos has urged Hoops fans to have their say before it is too late.
“This is about making sure that QPR has a sustainable future in the area that has been home for a hundred years. We love our home but unfortunately it is just too small and old for the club to survive here in the long term, and redevelopment on site is not possible,” he said.
“A stadium with all the best characteristics and much-improved community sports facilities would keep QPR and QPR in the Community Trust in [London] W12 for the long term and allow us to do more to benefit the local community.
“We’re very grateful to all those QPR supporters and local residents and stakeholders who have taken part already to say they want QPR to stay in the area.
“We urge everyone to take part over the next 48 hours if they haven’t done so already. The Linford Christie Stadium serves the whole of London so it is not just local residents who can take part.”
QPR’s response to the consultation outlines a desire for the community stadium to retain popular aspects of Loftus Road, such as proximity [of the stands] to the pitch.
However, the council is not impressed by QPR’s attempts to use the consultation for its own gain.
“QPR’s proposals are less about keeping football in the borough – and much more about them playing property developer in White City,” a council spokesperson said.
“The Council is a trustee of the Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust. And as a trustee we can’t just give away over £100M worth of land to QPR’s multi-millionaire owners. Linford Christie Stadium is a vital community asset in an open green space. We want to protect and enhance its use for the environment, athletics, recreation and the long-term benefit of all our residents. We will consult residents early next year about how we can best achieve this.”
“The Council is very proud to have QPR in our borough and has long made it clear to their owners and executive team that we will go out of our way to help QPR improve their current stadium or will work with them to look at other alternatives. However, we cannot just give away land for free or hand land to QPR’s owners well below its potential value – and just because QPR’s owners have decided to campaign for the council to do that. We believe QPR deserves to be invested in and call on its owners to do just that.
“We’d be interested in discussing with QPR’s owners the idea that they give up some ownership of the club to ensure the community and QPR’s fans have a greater voice in the club’s future.”
The council’s consultation document adds: “The findings of this consultation and any proposals that come forward in the process will need to be approved by the Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust Committee. They may also need approval from the Charity Commission and the Mayor of London, as well as the Ministry of Defence (because The Act also requires the Ministry of Defence’s consent for any building on the Scrubs because the Army has always been entitled to its use).
“Following that, we’d draw up specific development proposals on which residents would again be consulted before any formal decisions are taken. We believe in doing things with residents, not to them.”
*Image above is of Loftus Road
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