|Lionel Road Development Breaks Ground|
New home for Brentford Football Club has been a long time coming
A ground breaking ceremony took place this Monday as the Muttitt family put the first spade into the ground in what will be Brentford Football Club's new home.
The search for a new ground has been a long journey for Brentford's supporters who helped defeat a ground share at Woking in 2001 let alone the proposed take over bid in 1967. Luke Kirton was elected Brentford ward councillor as representative of the A-Bee-C party formed by Brentford fans and the new trust Bees United came into being.
Brian Burgess led Bees United and brought the current owner Matthew Benham on board which paved the way for the new stadium at Lionel Road, which is expected to be finished in December 2019, part-way through the 2019-20 season.
The new development has not been without controversy as local amenity groups objected to the perceived over-development of 910 homes in order to finance the stadium. The original stadium as approved was then quietly amended last December to make it Premier League and Premiership Rugby compliant and reducing the proposed capacity from 20,000 to 17,250. London Irish have been granted a licence to play at the stadium although the commercial ground-share agreement with BFC has yet to be agreed.
A family of Brentford supporters, Robert Muttitt, 70, together with his son, Peter Muttitt, daughter, Nicki Todd, and one year old granddaughter Sophie, were chosen to have the honour of putting the first spade into the ground.
The Muttitt family association with Brentford goes back to the Club’s golden period in the 1930s when Robert’s father, Ernie Muttitt (pictured), joined Brentford from Middlesbrough. He played for the Club from 1932 to 1947 and was inducted to the Brentford Hall of Fame in 2015. Robert’s support for the club naturally began from an early age and he even recalls having his first ‘swimming lesson’ in the player's big bath!
Robert said: “We were so delighted to have the chance to take part in the ceremony today. I have so many old memories of the Club, swimming in the player’s bath, watching my father and others train on Tuesday and Thursday nights and playing football and cricket outside the old wooden entrance on Braemar Road. Now I am looking forward to the new ground, a great future and new memories – which hopefully will include my family and I watching Brentford play in the Premier League.”
Guests at the ground-breaking included Leader of Hounslow Council, Councillor Steve Curran, Ruth Cadbury MP for Brentford and Isleworth, fans, staff and players from BFC, representatives from the developer Be Living, the architects and other consultants who have worked on the project.
The site enabling works will be continuing this month, allowing for the start on site for the stadium and phase one residential work during April.
The development will deliver a 17,250 capacity stadium, 910 much-needed new homes, a new base for Brentford FC Community Sports Trust and other commercial elements to help regenerate the local area. The new stadium is due to be completed during the 2019/20 season.
Councillor Steve Curran, Leader of Hounslow Council said: “It’s great to see the new stadium development underway. Brentford FC is a very important part of local life with bold ambitions for the future, matched by the scale of the wider regeneration programme for the area. This includes the addition of 910 much-needed new homes along with businesses which once built, will revitalise the whole area.”
To keep in touch with progress and developments on the new stadium, please register your interest at www.brentfordcommunitystadium.com