Trust responds to Friends' of Bishop Park

In response to a recent article in the Hammersmith & Fulham Chronicle where the Friends of Bishops' Park outlined some of their objections to the redevelopment of the Riverside Stand of Craven Cottage, the Fulham Supporters' Trust today submitted the following letter to the newspaper for publication:


Dear Chronicle,

The Fulham Supporters' Trust were disappointed to learn of the Friends of Bishop's Park's objections to Fulham Football Club's planning application to redevelop Craven Cottage (Bishop's Park group raises concerns over Fulham FC stadium plans, Chronicle, 17 February 2012) and wishes to respond to some of the points raised.

Previously, Fulham Football Club currently was granted planning permission to increase the capacity of Craven Cottage, their historic home, and this would have necessitated the demolition and rebuilding of not only the Riverside Stand, but also the Putney and Hammersmith Ends of the ground. After extensive consultation with supporters and local residents, the present proposals, currently under consideration by Hammersmith & Fulham Council, have limited the redevelopment to just the Riverside Stand, with this approach endorsed by 89 per cent of respondents to a consultation. The Friends of Bishop's Park neglect to mention that the increase in the height of the stand would be screened by the Johnny Haynes Stand and the floodlights would be removed, thus eliminating any excess light pollution.

The proposals to extend the riverside walk behind the Riverside Stand - a level of public access which is not present at the moment - have been received enthusiastically by local residents. When considering previous applications to expand Craven Cottage, the Council has recognised that “a riverside walk is a long standing aspiration and would be of significant public benefit”. Objections to public restrictions to its use on a match day ignore the fact, at present, that access to public footpaths and roads is far more severely curtailed at all of London's other Premier League grounds. The closing of the gates on a match day is designed to ensure the safety of spectators and members of the public alike and the proposals will alleviate existing congestion, both before and after games.

The encroachment onto the River Thames is necessary to provide the walkway, but the Environmental Impact Assessment stresses that any building into the river will not have an impact on flood capacity, but will minimise any adverse impact on wildlife and support the biodiversity of the river. The Friends of Bishop Park also object to the operation of two cafés, conveniently ignoring the success of the Johnny Haynes café on Stevenage Road and the additional opportunities and views of the river that the new cafés would provide.

The Fulham Supporters' Trust believes that these proposals offer significant benefits to the local community and economy as well as having clear planning merit. We endorse wholeheartedly the plans and hope that Hammersmith & Fulham Council look upon them favourably.

Yours sincerely,

Fulham Supporters' Trust

The Trust also submitted a reponse to an Evening Standard piece about the impact the Riverside Stand development would have on a local sailing club, but the Standard chose not to print our letter.


Trust meets with Fulham Foundation Chief Executive

A delegation from the Fulham Supporters’ Trust met with the chief executive of the Fulham Foundation, Stephen Day this afternoon.

The Fulham Foundation, which was renamed from the Fulham FC Community Sports Trust in August 2009, has charitable status but retains close links with the football club. The Foundation runs several sports-related programmes in a number of London boroughs and Surrey.

The Foundation, which employs thirty full-time staff, worked with more than 25,000 young people during the past year, providing over 220,000 opportunities for them.

Despite being commended both locally and nationally, the Foundation’s work still has a low profile amongst Fulham’s supporters. The Trust is keen to work with the Foundation to boost awareness amongst the club’s fan base and support the Foundation’s activities.

By the end of the season, the Fulham Supporters’ Trust committee hopes to have made a contribution towards one of the local projects that the Foundation is currently supporting. The Trust would like to kindly ask all Fulham supporters to consider signing up for the Fulham Foundation Lottery, which helps fund much of the Foundation’s excellent work.

You can read more about the work of the Foundation on the Club’s official website.


Westminster Hall debate on football governance

A delegation from the Fulham Supporters' Trust attended a debate on football governance at Westminster Hall yesterday afternoon.

More than 20 MPs attended the debate, which was on the Culture, Media & Sport Select Committee's report on football governance, and gave their view on the current state of British football.

Former Trust chair Tom Greatrex, now the Labour MP for Hamilton & Rutherglen West, spoke about the importance of ensuring that football clubs are no longer seperated from the grounds at which they play and how governance reform could offer fans a greater say in the running of their clubs. You can watch read Tom's speech here or watch the debate here.

Responding for the Government, the Sports Minister Hugh Robertson praised the Select Committee's report and said:

We do not want to be having these debates in a couple of years' time. It is important for the footballing world to realise that this is an opportunity for the football authorities - the FA, the Premier League and the Football League - to come together, to work together, and then to present the Government and Parliament with a solution. I very much hope that they will respond positively by the end of the month.

You can download information about Supporters Direct's proposals for a club licensing system here.



A delegation from the Fulham Supporters' Trust went to Westminster this week as Supporters Direct unveiled their proposals for football club licensing at the House of Commons.

Supporters Direct's plans are in response to the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee's report on football governance and aim to end the era of unsustainable debt, leveraged buyouts and reckless financial gambles in English football. There is cross-party support for the introduction of a licensing system, similar to that operating in Germany, as the event was hosted by Jessica Lee, the Conservative MP for Erewash, and the meeting also heard from the Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Simon Hughes.

The founding chair of the Fulham Supporters' Trust, Tom Greatrex, now Labour MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, said the licensing idea crossed political boundaries, saying: "Nobody seriously doubts the ability of (fans) to contribute in a constructive way. It's right to recognise the role of fans in the new licensing arrangements as guarantors of the best interests of clubs and their communities."

William Gaillard, an advisor to UEFA President Michel Platini, also offered his support, describing the Bundesliga model and outlining some of the ways in which European football's governing body have moved towards licensing, such as introducing Financial Fair Play.

Whilst in Westminster, the Trust also took the opportunity to meet with Fulham season-ticket holders Andy Slaughter and Steve Pound (Labour MPs for Hammersmith and Ealing North, respectively).

The licensing proposals may be read here and the Trust will keep members informed of progress with the proposals.


Craven Cottage planning application


On 12th January, 2012, Fulham submitted a planning application to increase Craven Cottage's capacity to 30,000 from 25,700. Fulham plan to develop the Riverside Stand in order to increase capacity up to 30,000, as well as undertaking wider facility improvements at the venue.
Following exhibits at Craven Cottage and a consultative exercise with fans and residents, the club made the formal submission of a planning application to Hammersmith and Fulham Council for permission to redevelop the Riverside Stand.
In a statement on the club's official website, the club said: "Fulham Football Club today submitted an application to the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, for the redevelopment of the Riverside stand at its Craven Cottage home.
"The application will take the club's current capacity to 30,000 seats and, further significant funds will be invested to open up the Thames River walk from Hammersmith to Putney for the first time in recent history."
Fulham will hold exhibitions on January 25th. and 28th. to showcase the final design submitted and provide feedback from the second consultation. As soon as the plans are put on show at the Hammersmith Town Hall, the Trust will view them and report back.