Prior to Brentford's Sky Bet Championship win over Fulham last week, senior Club officials held another meeting with a fans consultation group as part of the process to plan for the final games at Griffin Park and the move to the Brentford Community Stadium. Earlier this year the Club pledged to put together a consultation group to discuss the stadium move - which is still subject to final planning hurdles. This group will meet regularly to ensure fan opinions are considered when the Club makes the switch to the new ground.
The minutes from the meeting can be seen below:
Final season at Griffin Park/Looking ahead to the new stadium
Fan Consultation Group – key discussion points
Saturday 2 December 2017
Mark Devlin (MD)
Alan Walsh (AW)
Kurt Pittman (KP)
Sally Stephens (SS)
Andreas Kikilias (AK)
David Hayes (DH)
Minutes of last meeting and action points/update
MD reviewed the action points from the last meeting. An outstanding action point relates to the planned visit to West Bromwich Albion to see how they’ve displayed memorabilia from the Club. This visit has had to be postponed on two occasions and will now take place in the New Year.
New stadium project update
AW provided a brief update on the progress being made by the stadium project. The RIBA Stage 3 Developed Designs are in the final stages of agreement. (Note: this is the fourth of seven Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) stages that will take the project through to Stage 7 where the stadium is in use).
Good progress is being made on site with the completion of the demolition of the Capital Court building and clearance and preparation works on the main site are well underway. The contractors are preparing the ground on the main site to be ready for piling work to start in February 2018.
We are still aiming for a mid-season move in 2019/20 which won’t be easy but is the direct result of the quicker construction timetable and our desire to move to the new stadium as soon as it is practically possible.
No commercial agreement is in place with London Irish at this point but we are continuing discussions with them and we hope to have an agreement with them in due course. Both sides are keen to come to an agreement but this has been delayed by the Club’s ongoing discussions with London Borough of Hounslow (LBH) to approve the final planning amendments.
The planning amendments for the stadium and enabling residential development will be considered at the LBH Planning Committee meeting on Thursday 7 December. The Planning Officer’s report (available on the LBH website) is very positive and recommends approval subject to some conditions. If Hounslow Council resolves to approve the planning amendments, the next steps are as follows:
- Take action to meet the required planning conditions, including providing updates on the Construction and Logistics Plan as well as updated information on a number of other elements such as the counter terrorism measures and more details on drop off points and cycle parking.
- Sign the new planning permission together with a Deed of Variation to the original Section 106 Agreement that outlines our obligations to LBH in relation to the Brentford Community Stadium development. (Some changes are necessary given the reduction in size of the stadium and other changes to the stadium and the enabling residential development).
- The GLA could then have reassessed the decision however it has already confirmed that the scale of the amendments being proposed does not warrant this review.
- A statutory judicial review period of six weeks is triggered once the Deed of Variation to the Section 106 Agreement is signed.
- We also need to finalise contractual arrangements, mobilise the project teams and prepare for the stadium groundbreaking launch event.
Accessibility and Inclusivity fan consultation
SS provided a brief update on the fan consultation meeting held on 16 November to discuss accessibility and inclusivity at the new stadium. Representatives from our architects presented the latest accessibility designs for the new stadium including plans for access routes, viewing platforms, toilets, catering, vertical circulation, information and signage and the sensory room.
A copy of the slides presented at the Accessibility and Inclusivity fan consultation meeting was available for attendees to review.
SS reported that attendees at the Accessibility and Inclusivity fan consultation were very positive about the new facilities, particularly the fact that all areas within the stadium (and every ticket type from General Admission through to all the premium seating areas) will be accessible to all. The main area of concern related to the number of accessible parking spaces available – it was felt that 12 spaces was insufficient but it was accepted that the constraints of the site make accessible parking a difficult issue to address. Attendees were keen to stay involved and support any future design reviews.
The group agreed that we would like to be seen as leading the way in making the new stadium as welcoming and inclusive to everyone, rather than just meeting the guidelines and minimum requirements.
SS explained that the new stadium project team work with the Communications and Marketing teams at the Club to manage communications for the project. There is a forward plan linked to the key events on the project, together with a plan of key messages month by month which gets reviewed regularly.
The recent time lapse video showing the demolition of the Capital Court building was sent out via The Buzz eNewsletter to all Season Ticket Holders, Members and other subscribers before being posted on both the Brentford Community Stadium and Brentford FC websites.
There are a number of different audiences addressed in the communications plan. Fans will always be the first priority but we also need to communicate with local residents, businesses and politicians and we use different approaches to do this.
The group discussed communication preferences in terms of quantity and frequency and the types of messages. It was agreed that communication should continue to focus around key milestones. We are also looking to provide a livestream webcam in the New Year so that fans can check on progress on site whenever they want to – but we will wait until there is a more significant amount of activity on site before launching this.
KP thanked those that have provided input on the survey that will go out to fans to find out more information on what supporters want from the final season at Griffin Park. He also anticipates there will be a number of different surveys going out to supporters on different topics over the coming months. The stadium team may also conduct more stadium logistics surveys to capture things like transport intentions.
Migration/ticketing and planning
KP explained that work on the ticketing options is progressing and that, whilst a range of options are still being considered, we have taken on board the general view that the length of tenure as a supporter should be key to securing access to tickets at the new stadium.
KP also said that the Club is currently undergoing a tender process to find the right ticketing partner to help us go through the migration and beyond. We are looking for innovative partners, able to support the smart, state-of-the-art technology we want to implement at the new stadium. MD added that we will also be looking for an overall technology partner and it’s important for all of this work to be integrated.
The group discussed how best to allow fans at the new stadium to bring along friends family and whether a ‘Friends and Family Block’ could be trialled. It was also acknowledged that we need to find a way to help those sitting near each other currently to do the same at the new stadium should they want to.
KP would like to undertake another assessment of the customer journeys to help inform the process and asked supporters to contact him via the firstname.lastname@example.org email address if they would like to participate.
KP encouraged the group to share any other thoughts and suggestions via the email@example.com email address.
Transport to and from the new stadium was discussed briefly. DH updated the group on the South Western Railway consultation taking place this month that is proposing an increase in the number of fast trains from Brentford station from December 2018 (but at the moment is also suggesting less trains will stop at Kew Bridge station). We agreed that we should look to make representations as part of the consultation on behalf of the Club for trains to stop at Kew Bridge on matchdays once the new stadium is open.
We discussed car parking options and whether it would help to encourage local businesses to offer their parking spaces if we donate a percentage of any profits to charity.
Ron has catalogued the Club memorabilia that we currently have. Once we have decided on the best approach for displaying memorabilia, we can consider how best to manage the process, for example can we raise some money and ring fence this to help manage memorabilia? The display cabinets could change over time, with fans loaning particular items for a period of time.
MD reiterated that this group is open to all fans and isn’t restricted and encouraged other fans that would like to participate to get in touch.
The Club – look at the way West Bromwich Albion have displayed memorabilia inside their stadium as a well executed example
All – continue to feedback thoughts and suggestions via firstname.lastname@example.org
All - if other fans would like to join this forum, please also email at the address above.
Next meeting: Saturday 10 February 2018 at 10:30am in the Hive.