Rumours abound in the latest twist to the Earls Court redevelopment, is that Chelsea Football Club have waded into the site with a proposal to move from their current Stamford Bridge home to a new 60,000 all seater stadium on the site.
Chelsea are considering a move to the prime west London site just half a mile from their existing home amid growing concern they are losing ground to rivals with bigger and bigger stadiums. Discussions have been kept secret because the move could torpedo a plan by the leading architect Sir Terry Farrell to transform Earls Court into a new residential enclave with more than 8,000 new homes. The scheme enters the latest phase of public consultation this week and is being undertaken with fellow landowners, Transport for London and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham.
A new stadium would not be ready until 2015 because Earls Court is scheduled to host the 2012 Olympic volleyball competition before the exhibition centre is demolished. After 73 years in which it has hosted gigs by the likes of Led Zeppelin, Oasis and Madonna, its economic viability has been compromised by the establishment of major new concert and conference venues elsewhere in London, including the 02 arena at the Millennium Dome.