Tony Fernandes: QPR "must move" if it wants to survive

by Tom Walker | 20 Nov 2014

The owner and chair of Queens Park Rangers Football Club (QPR), Tony Fernandes, has said the club must move away from its Loftus Road home if it is to exist as a top flight club.

Fernandes’ comments come as QPR is in the midst of a drawn-out legal planning process over a possible new site for a 40,000-capacity stadium at Old Oak Common in West London – three miles away from its current home.

Loftus Road has the smallest capacity (18,360) out of the 20 Premier League clubs and is only the 52nd largest venue out of the 92 professional clubs playing in the English league system.

“We need to move on from Loftus Road if we are to sustain a top-flight football club,” Fernandes said.

“Old Oak is the only realistic place for us to move – close to our fans and our roots, with great transport links, and the opportunity to be at the heart of the most exciting new development in west London for years.”

The club faces, however, a significant fight to secure the Old Oak site.

In October, the landowner blocking the club’s move to Old Oak revealed a £5bn alternative plan for the west London site featuring 9,500 homes and a large retail park.

The alternate plans – drawn up in collaboration with AKT II, AECOM and Space Syntax – have been formulated by managing director of car supermarket Cargiant Tony Mendes, who is expected to make further architectural appointments “over the coming months” ahead of submitting an official planning application next year.

The QPR plans, designed by architecture practices Populous, Farrells and CZWG, include redevelopment of the Old Oak Common with thousands of new homes to be delivered with easy access to the planned Crossrail/HS2 interchange, as well as a commercial space to include a 350-bedroom luxury hotel, studios, offices, cinemas and restaurants.

Fernandes said the club wanted to create a “new destination” for London – an opinion shared by London mayor Boris Johnson, who has made the Brownfield site one of his top priorities for regeneration.

“The choice at Old Oak is between a stadium-led regeneration, generating activity, passion and publicity in a new district with a beating heart, or a dormitory town of buy-to-let flats, driven by housing developers leaving little for the local community,” Fernandes said.

“Old Oak is the biggest regeneration since the Olympics and we have a responsibility to future generations to get it right. We need a comprehensive planned approach with a stadium as its beating heart, led by a football club with a stronger interest in the local community than any other kind of business.”

QPR’s plans for Old Oak

• The Old Oak regeneration area is in excess of 300 acres in size – QPR’s team control over 100 acres in this area

• 24,000 new homes, including affordable homes • 2 million square feet of green space, new parks, green roofs, garden squares, civic squares and tree-lined promenades

Related stories

PLP reveals £5bn alternative to QPR's Old Oak masterplan

QPR stadium plans in jeopardy after landowner refuses to sell

QPR launches stadium consultation process

QPR announce 40,000-seater stadium plans in heart of Old Oak development

The owner and chair of Queens Park Rangers Football Club (QPR), Tony Fernandes, has said the club must move away from its Loftus Road home if it is to exist as a top flight club. Fernandes’ comments come as QPR is in the midst of a drawn-out legal planning process over a possible new site for a 40,000-capacity stadium at Old Oak Common in West London – three miles away
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The new stadium will replace the club's current Loftus Road ground
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