An increase in capacity to 66,000 for next season at the London Stadium will not happen in the foreseeable future club insiders have admitted.
New planning permission would be required to take the capacity to 66,000 despite it already having that number of seats already installed at the former Olympic Stadium.
The planning authority, which happen to be part owners of the stadium, would insist on additional facilities including extra toilets and catering kiosks to cope with an extra 9,000 match day fans.
That would need to be funded in some way and at the moment there is no provision within the 99-year contract with West Ham to cost or recharge that large investment. It would require renegotiation or possibly a new contract and the strong likelihood is that the government stadium owners would take the opportunity to try to recoup some of their massive operating losses sustained since re-opening the stadium last July.
Instead, the club will concentrate on the more modest increase from 57,000 to 60,000 capacity which does not require planning permission or the funding of extra facilities and is within the terms of the existing contract.
West Ham hope to announce a 60,000 capacity for next season at the London Stadium but they still have a number of hurdles to jump first to get there. They need to come to a mutual agreement with a stadium owners E20 Stadium LLP who will, in turn, instruct operators London Stadium 185 to request an increase to the SAG (Safety Advisory Group) which includes Newham council, Met police, Westfield, Tfl, London Ambulance service and London Stadium 185.
Newham council would then need to grant a general safety certificate for 60,000 in pitch mode and the Sports Grounds Safety Authority would need to issue a license for 60,000 following an inspection.
Only then could we offer the extra 3,000 seats to season ticket holders on the waiting list.
Yesterday David Gold admitted on twitter: “66,000 is proving to a bit more difficult than we first thought but we will continue to pursue our aim. dg”
60,000 will do for now, let’s have 66,000 for when the Spuds open up their little 61,000 toilet.