New plans for the Queensland Road area have been unveiled for public consultation by Arsenal FC as part of the Emirates Stadium regeneration programme. In addition, the Club is consulting residents on revised on-street coach parking proposals for the 2008/09 football season.
In order to give local residents the opportunity to see the proposals and to have their say, a Public Exhibition will be held at the Emirates Stadium in the Woolwich Restaurant (East Club and Box entrance) on Tuesday 11th September (1.00pm-8.00pm) and on Wednesday 12th September (10.00am - 6.00pm)
The Existing Queensland Road Proposals
In 2002, as part of Arsenal's new stadium proposals, Islington Council granted planning permission for the regeneration of the Queensland Road area involving a mixed use development of new residential, commercial and leisure uses, including new offices for Arsenal FC. The proposals are still valid but have not been implemented, partly as a result of changes to the Club's requirements, changed market conditions and the need to make the best use of the land.
- A new Queensland Road to the south of its current alignment
- Development along the south side of Queensland Road, involving commercial uses at ground floor level and three storeys of residential above
- Development along part of the northern side of Queensland Road with two levels of commercial uses with four residential towers rising to between 11 and 14 storeys above
- Development along the northern side of Queensland Road with a nine storey office building (subsequently reduced to eight storeys) to be used partly as offices for Arsenal FC
- A vehicle access point to the stadium undercroft via Queensland Road
Reviewing the 2002 Proposals
Events have moved on since 2002, requiring a review of the original Queensland Road proposals. In particular,
- Arsenal FC, which was to have occupied much of the nine storey office block along the western part of the northern side of Queensland Road, has relocated to a new building above the north-east pedestrian access bridge stairways.
- The market for commercial office space has proved to be weak and has raised questions about the viability of this part of the development
- The viability of the original scheme has been further questioned because land acquisition has proved to be significantly more expensive than originally planned
The New Proposals for Queensland Road
The new proposals for Queensland Road follow the same regeneration principles as the 2002 scheme. The new proposals comprise:
- The replacement of the eight storey commercial building on the northern side of Queensland Road with a similar sized residential building
- An increase in height of the four residential towers, with the lowest remaining at 11 storeys and the tallest rising from 14 to 21 storeys
- An overall increase in the number of market and affordable residential units from 288 to around 725
- The creation of a vibrant commercial and leisure destination comprising a Multi-Screen Cinema, Health and Fitness Centre, Restaurants and Bars to replace the previously proposed leisure uses for which there is already a planning permission
- An increase in car parking spaces from 177 to approximately 300, to be shared between residential and commercial users
The original 2002 planning permission for the new stadium required "that at least 40 coach parking spaces shall be made available for use within the stadium during any major event". In the run up to the opening of the stadium two factors emerged which made it impossible to comply with this planning condition;
- The Metropolitan Police did not support coaches accessing the stadium undercroft during a major event, because of the security risk. This remains the situation today.
- It became apparent that dropping passengers off outside the stadium, parking coaches within the stadium during the match, then picking the passengers up after the match in the same on-street location as the drop-off, would cause unacceptable congestion, additional vehicle movements and much confusion for spectators at times when the area is already very busy.
To take on board these new facts the coach parking condition was revised in 2005. The condition agreed by the Council, following public consultation, is "that at least 40 coach parking spaces shall be made available for use within the stadium during any major event or at other locations(s) outside the stadium previously agreed by the Council".
Locations outside the stadium were agreed as Queensland Road, the Sobell Centre, Hornsey Street, Drayton Park and Finsbury Park. These arrangements worked effectively during the 2006/07 season and have been extended to cover the 2007/08 season and 2008/2009 season.
With the 2007/08 season's experience now available, actual coach numbers parking around the stadium has averaged at only 17 coaches per game - less than half of the anticipated number. In particular, Hornsey Street has only been used three times and Drayton Park and Finsbury Park have not been used at all. This is part of a long term trend, which is expected to see coach numbers decline further in future years.
The redevelopment of Queensland Road will mean this site will no longer be available for coach parking from the 2009/2010 season onwards. However, those remaining sites currently used for coach parking - Sobell Centre, Hornsey Street, Drayton Park can accommodate the forecast demand for coaches- with Finsbury Park being used in exceptional circumstances. Arsenal is currently awaiting approval from Islington Council for these coach parking arrangements.Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 11 Sep 2007