One of the oldest sailing clubs on the Thames says its sport will be ruined if Premier League Fulham Football Club gets the go-ahead to redevelop its Craven Cottage ground.

Fulham plans to rebuild its Riverside Stand and construct a Thames-side walk by extending out 10 metres into the river. It will increase the capacity of the ground to 30,000.

But members of two nearby sailing clubs say the new stadium will have such an effect on wind conditions that racing will be virtually impossible.

Ranelagh Sailing Club at Putney , established in 1889, is among the objectors to the scheme currently being considered by Hammersmith and Fulham Council. They have been joined by nearby South Bank Sailing Club.

Christopher Edwards, a Ranelagh club captain and spokesman , said: ”This stretch of the Thames is already very demanding because of the tide and wind conditions.

“If this development gets approval it will ruin sailing on the river. Because of the effect it will have on wind conditions it will make part of the river a no-go area for us.

“We are at our wits’ end. We fear for the future of our clubs if it goes ahead..

“We are not opposed to all development of the ground just the effect the present scheme will have on the river. Because of the strong tides it is vital boats can sail close to the Fulham side of the river. This will be impossible.

”Trying to race on the river once the new stadium is built will be like trying to play a football match when one half of the pitch is out-of-bounds.”

A statement from Fulham Football Club said: “Regarding the effect on sailing, the club employed a highly respected group of consultants in the field of wind study, to conduct a survey on all aspects of the wind to determine any detrimental effects a new stand would have.

“The findings of this research – which have been issued to the sailing clubs opposite the ground - suggested that any changes to wind due to the structure are complex, with both better and worse wind speeds being anticipated by the proposed development depending on the direction the wind comes from.”

The statement goes on:” By encroaching into the river, the club has been able to design a walkway that will enable us to open the stretch from Putney to Hammersmith for the first time. 

" The walkway will be open to the general public, closing only on match days.  It will provide a cafe and potentially a restaurant offering sublime views of the river, and be available for use by everyone, not just paying customers.”

Hammersmith and Fulham Council says it has received a formal application but no date has yet been set for a decision.
The application involves partial demolition of the Riverside stand and the western ends of the Putney and Hammersmith stands.

It will involve the expansion of the Riverside stand and development of a new upper tier to provide additional seats with new accommodation including lounges and suites, plus work to the other two stands, to create a 30,000 seat capacity stadium. Also involved are the new extended section of riverside walkway and a new river wall.

Story dated February 20th 2012







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