Update for fans on the TV Gantry in The New Road Stand
We would like to apologise to any fans who have had their matchday experience adversely affected by a necessary change to the gantry on the New Road side of the ground. The new gantry was erected last week and in place for our opening home game of the Sky Bet Championship season, a win over Ipswich Town on Saturday. Due to the change to the gantry the sight lines have been affected for some fans and we apologise for this. If any supporters no longer want to sit in their current seat, we will be able to change their Season Ticket position, subject to availability. If the new seat is of a lower value, a refund will be issued.
We have no option but to make changes to the gantry this season following discussions with Hounslow Council’s Safety Advisory Group. The local authority has been concerned about the gantry structure for more than two years and informed us that changes must be made this summer. If the gantry was not changed, we were faced with a removal of the safety certificate for certain areas of New Road and the potential closure of the middle blocks of that stand. The council were consulted and were working with us whilst planning for the impending move to the Brentford Community Stadium but with delays on that project, improvements at Griffin Park had to be made.
When it became clear a change was needed, we investigated a range of options. It was also a desire to improve the provision we were offering to gantry users. Last season, Brentford had the smallest gantry in the Sky Bet Championship which put pressure on our ability to provide the facilities expected by the EFL broadcast partners and by visiting teams. An improved gantry enables us to be a better host when our matches are chosen for live broadcast and for opposition clubs, which is a benefit when requesting reciprocal facilities when travelling away.
We investigated the installation of a permanent structure in New Road but the costs of such a move were prohibitive. With focussing all available resources on producing the best First Team possible, it was decided not to proceed with a permanent structure and look for a different solution. Plans for this were completed within the past few weeks and the gantry was installed last week. The project has not been finished and there will be some finishing touches that it is hoped will be an improvement for supporters. It will be completed with two retractable entrances which are not expected to adversely impact the views of supporters when the match is in progress.
We have been working with one of the leading firms in the market on the new facility. The company involved have worked at grounds all over the country and are used by broadcasters for temporary structures. The advice from these professionals is that the new gantry is the best that can be done within the restrictions of Griffin Park. The new gantry has been positioned six inches lower than the old one, in order to ensure it is structurally sound, and is twice the width. Cladding has been placed around the outside to ensure small items such as mobile phones or bottles do not fall from the structure when it is in use. This was at the request of the council.
When the gantry was completed, sight lines were checked from seats in the New Road stand. It is accepted, however, that there are times when the ball is in the air or when supporters are standing that views have been compromised more than expected. We will be working over the next two weeks, after tomorrow’s match against Nottingham Forest and before Sheffield Wednesday visit at the end of the month, to make things better for supporters in that area. It should, however, be considered that we have a duty to provide a gantry facility in the most cost-effective way possible and the existing design is the only one which passes all safety requirements.
We have contacted all Season Ticket Holders affected directly and apologise for not doing so in advance of the Ipswich fixture. Dialogue between fans and us, including BIAS, will continue in order for the best possible solution to be found.