Fulham FC has been given the green light to increase the capacity of their Craven Cottage stadium to 30,000 after proposals for a new stand were approved by Hammersmith and Fulham Council's planning applications committee.
Craven Cottage has been home to the west London club since 1896 and has undergone a host of renovation work in the past decade. The team was moved to nearby Loftus Road, home to rivals Queen's Park Rangers, in 2002 while the ground was being upgraded, returning in 2004 and following Fulham's gradual success on the pitch, the board believes that they need an increased capacity to compete with other Premiership teams in terms of matchday revenue.
Officials have stated that, subject to various conditions, the ground's Riverside Stand, which is the nearest to the River Thames, will be partially demolished and replaced with a brand new 4,300-capacity stand, allowing Craven Cottage to hold 30,000 supporters, up from the current 25,700. It will include an upper tier, which will wrap around the current structure, creating a new hospitality space, river façade, new roof and four residential units.
Alistair Mackintosh, chief executive of Fulham Football Club, said: "This is extremely exciting news and we are all delighted with this outcome. Craven Cottage is synonymous with Fulham FC and it is vital that the Club is given every opportunity to develop the facilities available to ensure that it can continue to prosper and compete, and remain at its home for the long term."
Craven Cottage is currently one of the smallest grounds in the English Premiership with only Reading, Wigan Athletic, Swansea City and QPR having lower capacity stadiums, so officials believe that this move is essential for the club. As part of the deal, Fulham will make a £600,000 contribution to restoring nearby Bishops Park as well as an annual £40,000 payment to maintain the area for the next decade.
Fulham kick off their Premiership campaign at home to Norwich City on August 18th before making the trip to Manchester United seven days later.
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