CHELSEA DISABLED SUPPORTERS ASSOCIATION (CDSA)

 

COMMITTEE MEETING

1st MEETING MINUTES, 2017-18 SEASON

 

Vialli Suite, Stamford Bridge Stadium

Wednesday 18th September 2017, 4.00pm

 

Attendees                             Group represented/ role

Alexander, Chris                  CFC Finance Director

Carey, Steven                       Ambulant season ticket (“ST”) holder

Chapman, Robert                Ambulant Rota supporter member

Collins, Eamon                     CFC Disability Liaison and Supporters Club Supervisor

Cornwall-Jones, Linsay      Non-ambulant Rota supporter member

Flatau, Bob               Assistant Facilities Manager and Disabled Officer

Hayden, Lisa                         Non-ambulant ST holder

Hayes, Tim                Non-ambulant match supporter member

Hickey, David                       Stadium Project Team

Law, Matthew                       Honorary committee member

Piggott, Diane                       CFC Disabled Liaison Officer and Supporters’ Clubs Manager

Regan, Andy                         Forum Chairman

Rosen, Hugh                        Stadium Project Team

Smith, Graham                     CFC Head of Ticketing and Head of Supporters’ Liaison

Sukhanova, Alexandra       Stadium Project Team

 

Apologies

Powell, Mick             Ambulant match supporter member

 

The Chairman welcomed new committee members and all introduced themselves.

 

 

MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING

 

There are no changes to the minutes and no action points arising.

 

Changing Places feasibility study

 

The Club reported it had looked at two options. The first was for a Mobiloo fully equipped Changing Place toilet facility vehicle, which we now have available at every match day. This is currently positioned by the Millennium hotel.  The second option, was for a permanent facility. We have had the planning application approved for new East Stand facilities, which include, a fully equipped Changing Place toilet, a new ambulant equipped toilet & a Sensory Room. The Sensory Room is now at the final design stage & has within the room another non-ambulant toilet.

 

The Sensory Room is specially designed and includes equipment that will assist those who find the match day crowd too daunting. These new facilities are due for completion by the end of the year.

 

1 & 1 IPhone friendly website for CDSA

 

A representative commented that our website would have needed to be designed for 1 & 1 in the first place.  As it wasn’t, this is no longer an issue.

 

 

NEW STADIUM UPDATE

 

For a stadium with a 60,000 spectator capacity, current regulations require a minimum of 250 wheelchair positions with companion seats and additionally 250 amenity seats for ambulant spectators. The wheelchair and ambulant positions are to be divided within all seating categories on offer and located in different tiers throughout the stadium. The guidelines also require the provision of toilets for wheelchair users at a ratio of one accessible toilet per 15 wheelchair positions. 

 

The new stadium design accommodates approximately 252 wheelchair positions with immediately adjacent companion seats. There are also circa 262 amenity seats and 39 accessible toilets. The design is still at a concept stage and we are continually looking at opportunities to improve.

 

Quality of view

 

All wheelchair positions will be located on a “super-riser”.

 

A super-riser is the name used to describe a row which rises to double the normal height row above the seating row immediately in front of it.

 

In practice this means that if a seated spectator stands up in front of a wheelchair position, then the view from that wheelchair position to the near touchline will still be unobstructed; this is a successful design achievement.

 

Changing facilities

 

The new stadium will have at least two changing facilities. 

 

Accessible counters

 

There will be accessible lower-height counters throughout the stadium for all retail outlets, including ticketing, merchandising and food & beverage.

 

Vehicle drop-off

 

There will be dedicated drop off and pick-up points for vehicles as close to the grounds as possible on a match day prior to road closure and after road re-opening times; location to be agreed with the police.

 

Car park

 

There will be an underground car park in the new stadium. There is a minimum regulatory requirement to allocate 5% of the total number of car parking spaces to accessible parking. The new car park, which is smaller than the existing car park (at the insistence of the transport authorities), will dedicate approximately 12% of its capacity to accessible parking spaces, with accessible lifts from the car park serving all floors of the stadium.

 

Sensory room

 

There are plans for a sensory room in the new stadium for spectators who attend matches but are not comfortable in large crowds.

 

Wheelchair positions - lower tier detail

 

On the super risers located at the top of the Lower Tier, there will be circa 185 wheelchair positions with adjacent companion seats which will provide an excellent view of the pitch. These lower tier wheelchair positions have step-free access from and to Fulham Road and Fulham Broadway Station across the grounds for comfortable and convenient ease of passage. 

 

The angle of rake of the new lower tier will be similar to the existing lower tier in the Matthew Harding Stand so the wheelchair positions on the new lower tier will therefore have a much better view than the current pitch level positions.

 

Visiting supporters

 

Ground regulations prevent supporters of opposing teams being situated in tiers above each other, so visiting supporters will be seated over three tiers in a segregated area in the south west corner of the stadium.

 

The current maximum number of visiting supporters to be admitted will be 3,000 (for a Premier League game), which is the same as the existing stadium.

 

Around 27 wheelchair positions are to be provided in the segregated area for visiting supporters.  If a visiting club chooses not to occupy all of its allocated 27 wheelchair positions, then the number of unused visiting supporter wheelchair positions may be made available for sale to home supporters (still being considered operationally) located only in home areas.

 

Hospitality areas

 

There will be wheelchair positions provided in all categories of hospitality offering (the number will depend on the size of the capacity of the lounge). Every VIP Suite and Executive Box will have the flexibility to accommodate a wheelchair position.

 

Assistance dogs and powered scooters

 

Dog stations will be provided; and powered wheelchairs and accessibility scooters will be accommodated subject to dimensions. 

 

Accessible toilet provision

 

The regulated travel distance for wheelchair spectators from the wheelchair position in the bowl to an accessible toilet is a maximum of 40 metres.

 

The new stadium complies with this regulation throughout; in some areas the travel distance is much less for wheelchair spectators.

 

Development programme

 

With the construction of the new stadium not starting for several years from now, the process of turning concept design into detailed construction information continues. During this process we will continue to try and maximise all accessible provisions.

 

We will not be moving to a temporary venue until 2020 at least because we have statutory approvals, legal matters and planning to work complete. We also want to complete as much work on site as possible before we vacate the site, including demolition of the non-stadium elements in the grounds like the Club offices, the Club museum and the health club. 

 

The demolition of the health club is likely to be in the second half of next year. 

 

All major developments in London have some complications interfacing with public transport infrastructure or adjoining properties. Such matters that we have to finalise are normal but always take time.

 

The planning permission has a shelf life; the permission will hopefully be implemented within the statutory timescale.

 

The project team explained why it is likely the temporary relocation of the Club will be for approximately four seasons.

 

By way of previous stadium construction examples in London, Wembley Stadium took about five to six years to complete and included the demolition of the old stadium to enable the new one to be built on the same site. Supporters will recall the Club closed the original stadium with our FA Cup Final victory in 2000 and the Club opened the new stadium with our FA Cup Final victory in 2007.

 

The Emirates Stadium at Ashburton Grove took 2 ½ years to build with no existing stadium on site requiring prior demolition.

 

The Stadium at White Hart Lane will require about three years and they were able to build a good percentage before the demolition of the old stadium.

 

By contrast, on our constrained site we will need a full year to demolish and remove the current stadium. We will then excavate down several metres, so the height of the new stadium will not impact too greatly on the neighbourhood while the pitch itself will remain in the same geographical location. 

 

Only after completing demolition and excavation, can we then start constructing the new stadium, which is likely to take three to four years after demolition.  We are trying all we can to minimise the construction period. We also have to build spectator access concourses over the railway lines. The overall project is an incredibly complex one but hopefully one that will result in a fantastic legacy for future generations. 

 

The long time required to obtain the necessary approvals prior to construction of the new stadium is normal. It took the north London clubs many years to obtain their land and respective planning permissions. 

 

By way of comparison as well, the phased stand-by-stand construction to develop the current stadium at Stamford Bridge took about eight years from 1994 to completion in 2002; we cannot repeat that method of phased construction this time.

 

We are also mindful of the neighbourhood; we want to liaise fully with our neighbours, both residents and businesses.

 

We want supporters to enjoy the next couple of seasons at our historic home as we continue to plan for the journey ahead.

 

We will continue our dialogue and communication with CDSA committee members and the wider supporter base as the project progresses. 

 

 

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

 

Thomas Cook

 

A representative mentioned that the train recently didn’t have toilet access and there were no suitable tables.  The Club said we always take Virgin trains if we can otherwise we have to take what we can get or don’t run one.  We make it clear on booking if it’s not a Virgin train.

 

Raised wheelchairs

 

It was mentioned that the motorised wheelchairs are sometimes raised in the West Stand which obstructs the view behind.  Also some ball boys insist on not sitting as low as possible or kneeling, having ignored requests by stewards.  The Club will look into this.

 

Leicester away

 

The Club confirmed that the driver of the accessible vehicle didn’t follow instructions from the company.  The Club has raised this and all those travelling have received a refund.  A representative commented the driver got lost and also failed to follow the convoy.

 

A representative commented that the view at Leicester for wheelchairs was awful.  The Club will look into this.

 

 

 

 

The meeting finished at 4.55pm.                                       .