Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish has unveiled “ambitious” plans to redevelop Selhurst Park, creating “a new Crystal Palace for a new era.”
The project, which is expected to cost between £75-£100m, will increase the capacity at Selhurst Park from 26,000 to more than 34,000, overhauling a stadium which has been the club’s home since 1924.
It will transform the match-day experience for supporters and provide new facilities for the community while retaining the ground’s uniquely passionate Premier League atmosphere, said a club statement.
“The centrepiece of the redevelopment is a stunning new five-storey stand featuring an all-glass front – a homage to the club’s earliest days when it stood in the shadows of the original Crystal Palace, erected on Sydenham Hill.
“A central vaulted arch, with the famous Eagle crest, is a reminder of the iconic 1851 Exhibition Hall, and eagle wings flank the 41-metre structure.
The project is being designed by leading stadium architects KSS, the firm behind the redevelopment of iconic sporting venues, including Twickenham, Wimbledon and Anfield.
The roof of the new stand will be designed to funnel sound down to the pitch and the Arthur Wait Stand opposite.
Plans will be submitted to Croydon council in January and, subject to planning permission being granted, work would begin in the next 12 months.
The existing main stand will remain in full operational use throughout the build process, minimising the impact on the stadium capacity in the coming seasons, say the club.
Key features of the redevelopment include:
Capacity in the new stand will increase from around 5,400 to 13,500, with more than 10,700 General Admission seats – an increase of around 6,000 on existing numbers
Improved facilities for supporters with disabilities and a substantial increase in wheelchair spaces, making Selhurst Park compliant with Accessible Stadia Guidelines
A bigger pitch, increased from 101.5m x 68, to 105m x68m, making Selhurst Park compliant with UEFA regulations and eligible to host tournament football
Premium hospitality and entertainment facilities for more than 2,500 supporters, including a new Tunnel Club, and between 16-28 boxes, which will give members a unique vantage point as the players prepare for the match and conduct post-match interviews
A new museum, documenting the club’s rich history and its place in the South London community
New community facilities, supplementing the work of the Palace for Life Foundation, which delivers health, education and sporting programmes for more than 13,500 local children and young adults
Improved sightlines in the Arthur Wait Stand with the removal of the TV gantry, and improved Arthur Wait concourse
Redevelopment of the upper Whitehorse Lane Boxes into mixed bar/box use
“The inspiration for the project is the club’s rich heritage and its roots in South London” say the club.
The original Crystal Palace – a huge glass house built on a cast-iron frame and considered an architectural marvel – was moved to Sydenham Hill in 1854, after being showcased in Hyde Park for the Great Exhibition of 1851. When the club was founded in 1905 it played its matches inside the historic Palace grounds, which hosted early FA Cup Finals.
Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish said: “We need a stadium that reflects who we are, how far we have come and where we want to go – a stadium that South London can be proud of, a home worthy of our incredible support and unique atmosphere and this great Premier League we represent.
“We have worked long and hard and looked at several options over the years, including returning to the original site of Crystal Palace, which wasn’t viable.
“While we can’t go back to it, we can build a new one and today I am proud, in conjunction with our partners KSS, to introduce a new Selhurst Park with a new Crystal Palace for a new era.
“We are creating a new home worthy of our club, our supporters and our community, and a celebration of our 112 years in South London”.
Nick Marshall, director of architects KSS, said: “Our brief was to create an impressive sense of arrival and an experience the fans can be proud of, retaining the special atmosphere at one of the best grounds in the country.
“It’s already one of the best places to watch football and we certainly don’t want to ruin that, it has to be driven by the fan experience.
“There’s going to be a great relationship between the new stand and the Arthur Wait stand, which is going to work fantastically. “It’s a very exciting project and we are privileged to be working on it with Crystal Palace.”
In a statement the club say it is collaborating with Croydon council on “relevant issues.” The club say it will be working with the local community, businesses and other interests, holding a series of local events to show plans and invite feedback.
A formal planning application is due to be launched by the end of January 2018.
CROYDON NORTH MP STEVE REED, in whose constituency Selhurst Park stands, has given a cautious welcome to the plans.
“It’s exciting that Crystal Palace want to create a world class stadium and bring investment and jobs to our community” he said in a statement..
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to build a stadium the whole of Croydon can be proud of, but it must be done with the consent and support of the club’s neighbours in Thornton Heath and South Norwood.
“Local people already experience significant disruption on match days, so we must make sure they have access to the incredible new facilities on their doorstep.
“I’m delighted Crystal Palace have made it clear they want to work with residents, businesses and the council to get this right for everyone.”
(To view a video of the planned new stadium please Google Crystal Palace FC News – video link at end of main club statement)