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BillytheBee donned his Barbour coat and took the spaniel for a stroll down to Kew Green to hear what MP Zac Goldsmith and the locals had to say about Brentford Football Club moving half a mile closer to their turf.

Kew residents held a public meeting hosted by Tory MP Zac Goldsmith on Monday evening to discuss the proposed development of Lionel Rd by Brentford FC.

The meeting was busy as 300 plus locals and Brentford fans crammed into the pews of St Mary’s church on Kew Green to state their cases for and against the development. Many residents I overheard talking before the meeting were largely unaware of what was going down at Lionel Rd .. coming down to get more of an idea of what it was all about more than anything else.

Leading the case for the development was Brian Burgess whereas in opposition was the Gilles Dixon of the Kew Society, Richmond councillor David Linnette and Jon Freer, assistant director of Environment at Richmond Council.

The meeting was lively enough but in general good natured, as opposed to the previous meeting in Chiswick which by all accounts ended up in a bun fight. Brian Burgess explained that the application had gone into Hounslow Council and would be reviewed in early December. He very eloquently stated Brentford’s case for a need for the stadium and it’s benefit to the local community – with over £2m being set aside to be allocated to community and schools projects in addition to the learning space within the stadium.

Brian also highlighted the fact that the stadium development will be bringing much needed housing to the area at time when London needs more housing. And this is when it all started to kick off.

Gilles from the Kew Society felt that the development which will consist of 900 flats – 12 blocks each 16 stories high and a hotel – was far too huge. The residents fear that it would have an enormous effect on the skyline, parking and traffic congestion.

Gilles told the audience “I’m not against development. I’m against this development. I suggest Brentford pull their application, rethink it and re-apply when they get into the Championship”. A bit harsh. So he wants us to delay our application by 6 months?

Brian Burgess addressed the parking concerns telling the audience that Brentford had sourced over 1,000 potential parking spots in local business land on the Great West Road. Brentford fans on the floor also suggested that their travelling habits to games would have to change. No-one in their right mind drives to Chelsea or Arsenal unless they fancy getting a parking ticket or parking 30 minutes walk away from the stadium.

It was highlighted that Saracens rugby recently moved to Copthall Stadium in Mill Hill and with the match-day parking restrictions now put into place, residents are actually finding parking outside their homes even easier now on match days than before the stadium was built. It was also suggested Brentford look into a park-and-ride system.

Tory Kew Councillor David Linnette, who sits on the planning committee for Richmond (please note the planning application has been put into Hounslow not Richmond. Linnette was at the meeting to no doubt back some of his constituents and also give a bit of knowledge of the planning procedure), backed the view of the Kew Society but with some reservations.

He felt that the objections to the skyline views would not hold up in a planning meeting as it did not show demonstrable harm. But he did support their view over overdevelopment at the stadium and went even further to say he didn’t feel that Lionel Road was the right location.

He finished off by saying “If any of you have been to Griffin Park to see Brentford play, the chances of them getting promoted is very slim and you will be left living next to an empty stadium”. I found out afterwards that he was actually a Brighton fan – so much for solidarity. Cheers!!!!

A Brentford fan from the floor did hasten to remind residents that not too long ago, the council was looking to approve a waste disposal site at Lionel Rd and with all the benefits that this new stadium would bring coupled with the promise of the club working with the local community to try and improve various local scenarios , they should be encouraging the new development not lambasting it.

The lack of affordable housing within the development was highlighted on more than one occasion. This is something that the club will have to look to dealing with if the powers to be feel it is an essential requirement.

A quick show of hands in the room highlighted that only around 10% of people in attendance actually had an issue with the building of the stadium itself. The main issue with the Kew residents was the scale of construction in and around the stadium and the amount of housing needed to make the construction feasible. Zac Goldsmith also highlighted the fact that he wasn’t actually against Lionel Rd stadium. It was the other stuff that worried him.

There where a number of side issues which cropped up by the locals which are worth mentioning.

One resident was disgusted at the thought of building more tower blocks because apparently tower blocks breed social depravation, people with Rottweiler dogs and people living in their own faeces. A rather warped Daily Mail-esque attitude .. But to be expected I suppose. The most worrying thing was she wasn’t an 80 year old set-in-your-ways type person. She was probably late 30s, very good looking and probably went by the name Harriett or Penelope (is that stereotyping? Probably).

One resident was also worried that the sewage system would be able to cope with 20,000 people (plus the 910 extra people in the flats) all flushing their toilets at the same time. But not as worried as another resident who was wondering if a feasibility study had been made as to whether the hospitals would be able to cope with such an influx of people.

I checked up some distances. Walking 20 minutes to the game from the pre-match meeting venue is deemed acceptable for when we travel to away games. Any longer is touch and go. From the facts below, not many people will be looking at Kew Gardens or Brentford as their get-off point to walk straight to the ground EXCEPT in the case of Brentford (and South Ealing/Northfields) if fans are still looking to use The Griffin/Nelson/Lord Nelson as their pre-match hang-out.

Gunnersbury and Kew Bridge are the most likely embarkation points. With South Ealing for folk heading from West on the Picadilly line.

The Griffin to Lionel Rd – 0.9miles. 17 minutes walk
The Globe to Lionel Rd – 1 miles. 19 minutes walk
The Lord Nelson to Lionel Rd – 0.9 miles. 18 minutes walk
Gunnersbury station to Lionel Rd – 0.7 miles. 14 mins walk
Kew Gardens Station to Lionel Rd – 1.1 miles. 22 minutes walk
South Ealing station to Lionel Rd – 1.3 miles. 25 minutes walk
Kew Bridge station – 0.2 miles. 3 minutes walk
Brentford station – 1.1 miles. 22 minutes walk

In short the residents in general seem fairly chilled towards the idea of a new stadium development. But vehemently against the idea of a mass housing development to go alongside the stadium. They feel Brentford FC’s plans are too grandiose. However, in defence Brentford have said this is what needs to be done to balance the books (to an extent) and make the development economically feasible.

Parking is also a big issue with some residents against the idea of introducing controlled parking to their streets. Congestion they feel with be intolerable with the Kew Bridge area already being choc a block as it it. The defence of additional parking on the Great West Road and fans changing their habits and coming by public transport was acknowledged at least.

The skyline was the final big issue for the locals. Looking from Kew Green, the 22 storey Green Dragon estate blocks peer over the skyline. Whether buildings 6 stories lower would cause an issue is highly debatable. Some people may argue that they are only shielding the residents from the beautiful view of the M4 elevated section anyway.

With the application now in, the club are still looking for fans backing the scheme to write into the council NOW to show their support. Information on how to do this is on the BIAS website.

From the fans’ perspective, many fans see the need for the move to Lionel Rd and back it in principal. The underlying fears some fans have is ensuring that when we move, the new ground doesn’t become just another new-build stadium but takes on board fans’ feelings on what made Griffin Park feel like home – using the move as a perfect excuse to identikit Brentford with any other football club (because apparently that’s what you have to do if you want to become a successful football club … Says some marketing person .. Somewhere … Sometime ) instead of working hard on keeping the club unique.

But that’s a whole new article.


The meeting was live tweeted to the @beesotted followers – just as we do on match days. Check the comments below – some serious .. others tongue in cheek:

@paulypauluk: @Beesotted hahaha I guess people not in flats don’t use hosptials then. Have you a klaxon handy? (In reference to a residents fear that there wouldn’t not be enough hospital space)

@alimullaley: @Beesotted If we need any more incentive to get promoted this season, shoving the cheap jibes back down their throats is it! #lionelroad (in response to councillor Linette’s jibe that Brentford won’t get promoted and the stadium would be empty)

@marmytodd: @Beesotted how do the sewers cope at stamford bridge with all that shit on and off the pitch (in response to one residents fear that the sewers would not be able to cope with an extra 20k people all long to toilet at the same time)

@mrneilyoung: @Beesotted At Strand on the Green meeting 1st complaint was that football fans have drinking problems. Brian will tell you. Amazing opinions

@monkeybasketkid: @Beesotted following this #lionelroad meeting is nearly as entertaining as following a match. Keep it up!

@mark_bee: @Beesotted why no complaints about the old beechams site! Must be close to 1000 ppl there plus offices due too!

@Russtybee: @Beesotted Thought Tories wanted house building to stimulate the economy? Only if miles away from Tory voters…

@JBEE75: @Beesotted can kew bridge be used as a car park on match days ? (In response to the parking problems)

@brizinorth: Watching @Beesotted’s commentary on #BrentfordFC’s planning meeting this evening. Sky and/or the Beeb – you are really missing a trick.