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QPR change new stadium plans

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Queens Park Rangers have decided to go for a more modest version of their planned new stadium, according to a report in The Times.

Queens Park Rangers hope to draw up plans soon for a new 30,000-seat stadium on the site of the Linford Christie athletics track in west London.

The club have scaled down their ambitious project, announced four years ago, to leave Loftus Road for a 40,000-capacity ground, which they had hoped to be playing in by next year.

That scheme was part of a wider regeneration plan for the area but has been bogged down by delays and political uncertainty. The club now aim to build a smaller stadium on council-run land in the shadow of Wormwood Scrubs prison.

They intend to knock down the Linford Christie Stadium, home to the Thames Valley Harriers, and build a new ground with a new athletics track adjacent to it. The estimated construction cost is said to be substantially cheaper than the reported £200 million cost of the original plan.

The proposed stadium would be funded by the QPR owners — Air Asia chief executive Tony Fernandes and Indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal — and property developments, including a £175 million joint venture project with Genesis Housing Association, which already has planning permission, and the sale of Loftus Road, which is a mile to the south and has been the club’s home since 1917.

Their present ground has a capacity of 18,238, and many of its facilities are outdated and inadequate. The ground has no potential for conference and corporate events to generate income on non-match days.

There are doubts about who owns the stadium and the surrounding land. The council holds the Wormwood Scrubs land in trust for the “use by the inhabitants of the metropolis for exercise and recreation” under an act of parliament. It is unclear whether the club would buy or take a long lease on the site given the planning constraints

The club may also face local objections, while access to the site could be a problem, especially as the stadium is adjacent to Hammersmith Hospital.

QPR had planned to build a new home on the Old Oak Common site on the north edge of Wormwood Scrubs and take advantage of a £10 billion regeneration over hundreds of acres of west London. However the club ran into problems acquiring land from Cargiant, a used-car dealership,

The scheme had the backing of then mayor of London, Boris Johnson, but Sadiq Khan, his successor, branded the UK’s biggest regeneration project “a mess” in a review that called on the government to reduce the financial burden it could place on Londoners.