Club could now face a future outside the borough
The Linford Christie Stadium
March 13, 2023
Queen Park Rangers could be forced to look for a new stadium out of the borough if space is not made for them when the Linford Christie Stadium is redeveloped.
The Friends of Wormwood Scrubs hope to upgrade the stadium and plans could even include a lido to go alongside new changing rooms, sports pitches, and a new athletics track.
QPR previously said in 2018 that if it could not build a new pitch at the Linford Christie Stadium it would be forced to look outside the West London borough of Hammersmith and Fulham to ensure a long-term home.
The LCS is currently home to Thames Valley Harriers and youth football team Kensington Dragons while other sports such as Lacrosse and Gaelic football are also played at the venue.
A recent Wormwood Scrubs committee meeting gave an update on plans to do up the Linford Christie Stadium.
Committee member Miriam Shea said, “I think it is great that this project which has been in the works for a very long time is finally getting close to fruition. Kensington Dragons are a great community group and asset.”
Council officer Steve Hollingworth added, “We are still talking to Thames Valley Harriers about the clubhouse but also expanding our discussions around the track and actually what is the most urgent. We have a site meeting in the next fortnight to make sure we have the right priorities.
“I’m sure they are keen to still deliver the clubhouse but we want to make sure they have a useable track first and foremost.”
A report into plans to redevelop the stadium shows Kensington Dragons, with support from the Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust (WSCT), are undertaking a major upgrade to the sports pitches within the stadium.
Surveys have now been completed for the pitches and the works are expected to be completed in around a year, according to Steve Hollingworth.
Running club Thames Valley Harriers are also planning to upgrade their clubhouse and add a cafe and public toilets.
The report said, “The facilities within LCS are in need of significant upgrading, to meet 21st-century sporting requirements, including compliance with National Athletics League standards, and to be fitting for Thames Valley Harriers who are currently National Athletic Champions. The track is several years past the date on which it should have been replaced.”
It added: “The viewing stand is very ‘tired’, with no usable storage facilities in the space beneath it, and the immediately adjacent toilet facilities have not been usable for some years.
“The changing rooms and their toilet facilities, while still in use, are a disgrace to Linford Christie Stadium, Wormwood Scrubs Charitable Trust, and Hammersmith and Fulham.”
A consultation held by the Friends of Wormwood Scrubs claimed many parts of the Linford Christie Stadium are in a state of ‘dire disrepair’ and that over 1,200 people said they were interested in an outdoor swimming pool at the venue.
But if the plans go ahead, without a space for QPR, it could leave the football team in a tricky position.
A report by consultants Harch Regeneris in 2018, said, “The Linford Christie Stadium could be the club’s last chance to build a sustainable long-term future in the area that has been its home for a hundred years. It is also an opportunity to promote physical activity and improve the health and wellbeing of West Londoners by creating an innovative community sports hub with a professional football club at its heart.”
QPR has been looking to leave its Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium at Loftus Road for around a decade and the report into the club’s future said it may have to look further afield to survive.
The five-year-old report added,, “Despite calling it home for over 100 years, the Loftus Road stadium creates several challenges for the long-term financial sustainability of QPR.
“Given these challenges, the time is fast approaching when a decision about the club’s future needs to be taken. Maintaining the status quo is not sustainable and should the club’s proposals to redevelop the Linford Christie Stadium site not materialise, the club could be forced to look outside the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham for a new home to ensure its long-term sustainability.”
QPR has previously squabbled with Hammersmith and Fulham Council after the club’s majority shareholder Ruben Gnanalingam said the borough was “not easy to deal with”.
The council previously told the Local Democracy Reporting Service in 2021 it was a huge supporter of QPR and “willing to bend over backwards to help them as we have done with Fulham FC and Chelsea FC.”
QPR told the Local Democracy Reporting Service it would not make any comment about the club’s future or the plans to redevelop the Linford Christie Stadium.
Jacob Phillips - Local Democracy Reporter
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