EXCLUSIVE British war heroes face missing once-in-a-lifetime chance to revamp their homes after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich scrapped club’s £1bn stadium development
- British service heroes living near Chelsea’s ground were set to receive £7,000 each from the stadium’s planned redevelopment
- Veterans living in Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions – in the shadow of Stamford Bridge – were promised the windfall as part of the stadium plans
- Their homes were going to be knocked down and rebuilt further west to make way for the new stadium
- They would have received compensation to improve their accommodation to give them new floors, fixtures, kitchens, dishwashers and washing machines
- Club owner Roman Abramovich wanted to increase the size of the stadium to 60,000 as part of a £1bn redevelopment
- But the Russian billionaire scrapped the plans as part of a row with the Government over his visa
British service heroes face missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of cash to redevelop their accommodation after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich shelved his £1bn new stadium plans, MailOnline can reveal.
Veterans living in Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions – in the shadow of Stamford Bridge – were promised a windfall of £7000 each for the disturbance of having their homes demolished and rebuilt as part of the development.
Their new homes would also have afforded them a choice of floor coverings, fixtures, kitchens, curtains and paint colours.
A range of fridge-freezers, oven and hobs dishwashers and washing machines were also to be installed in the updated homes.
But the Russian billionaire’s decision to scrap the stadium plans and ditch his visa application in the on-going row between Britain and his own country over the Salisbury nerve agent attack has almost certainly ended the veterans’ hopes of new housing.
Army veteran Ian Camps, 63, who had completed seven tours of Northern Ireland said today he was ‘disappointed’.
British service heroes living in Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions (pictured) – in the shadow of Stamford Bridge – on a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of cash to redevelop their accommodation after Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich shelved his £1bn new stadium plans
Chelsea owner Abramovich has scrapped £1bn plans to renovate the club’s stadium (pictured) in the on-going row between Britain and his own country over the Salisbury nerve agent attack
Army veteran Ian Camps, 63 (pictured) who had completed seven tours of Northern Ireland said today he was ‘disappointed’ by the decision to scrap the plans because it meant Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions would miss out on the cash needed to modernise the accommodation
Abramovich, 51, who transformed Chelsea after he bought the club for £140million in 2003, vetoed the stadium revamp yesterday after the Government failed to grant him a UK visa
‘This is a big blow. The money would have helped take Stoll Mansions into the 21st and 22nd centuries,’ he said.
‘It is an old place and more than 100 years old and needs more than just a lick of paint.
‘I was due to get a spanking new kitchen with state-of-the art facilities and now I don’t know what is going to happen.
‘It’s a sad day as it would have meant a big improvement for us all. I live and breathe this place and I also have PTSD.’
The flats, built 102 years ago, where retired service personnel live and receive treatment for PTSD, overlook the club’s main entrance at Britannia Gate. The accommodation was going to be moved further west to allow a new stand.
The new stand would have helped add around 20,000 extra seats taking the capacity to 63,000 and also led to 300 new veterans’ homes.
But a Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions’ spokeswoman said today: ‘We are examining what happens next. It is too early for us to know.’
Stoll describes itself as ‘a small charity with very small financial reserves’ which relies on fundraising to deliver its services every year.
The Russian’s money would also have been spread around Britain to help other veteran organisations as well as helped fund a high-tech new housing complex on the 1916-built site.
Veterans had been promised that no rent increases would be levied on them to help pay for the redevelopment and the work would not be completed until 2021.
Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions, built 102 years ago, where retired service personnel live and receive treatment for PTSD, overlook the club’s main entrance at Britannia Gate (pictured)
Veterans living in Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions were promised a windfall of £7000 each for the disturbance of having their homes demolished and rebuilt as part of the development. Pictured is an architect’s image of how the foyer at the new housing was going to look
Their new homes would also have afforded veterans a choice of floor coverings, fixtures, kitchens, curtains and paint colours. Pictured: How the new lounges were going to look before Abramovich pulled the plug on the stadium plan
A range of fridge-freezers, oven and hobs dishwashers and washing machines were also to be installed using the compensation money from the proposed new stadium. Pictured: How the bedrooms would have looked in the new Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions with Abramovich’s cash
The oligarch’s lawyers had been in talks with Stoll’s management and local business for several years to expand the stadium.
But Abramovich, 51, who transformed Chelsea after he bought the club for £140million in 2003, vetoed the stadium revamp yesterday after the Government failed to grant him a UK visa.
He had been waiting for a Tier 1 visa – dubbed a ‘golden visa because its applicants must invest at least £2million a year in the UK to receive one.
But he lost patience waiting for the Home Office to rubber stamp his papers and vowed to take his money elsewhere. He took Israeli citizenship to gain access to the UK.
In mothballing the project, the club said in a statement: ‘Chelsea Football Club announces today that it has put its new stadium project on hold. No further pre-construction design and planning work will occur.
‘The club does not have a time frame set for reconsideration of its decision.
‘The decision was made due to the current unfavourable investment climate.’
The decision has plunged businesses around the stadium into doubt. The owners of Indian restaurant Dipna Brilliant called it a ‘shame’. Meanwhile Cafe Brazil opposite where Chelsea players Willian and David Luiz are regulars said they wanted the development to go ahead.
Meanwhile Mr Camps, a father of three daughters, added: ‘The veterans deserve the best and as the Government doesn’t pay enough to look after them and this money from Chelsea would have gone a long way to helping me and other service people.
‘I am really disappointed and I hope Chelsea carry on with the plans in the near future.’
Another veteran Terence, who declined to give his surname, said: ‘People here have given their all for their country and many have PTSD and are elderly.
‘They deserve the best and that money from Chelsea would have been fantastic and improved all our lives.
‘It’s nobody’s fault here. The Government and Russians have to take a long, hard look at themselves and give Chelsea a helping hand out of this mess.’
Mr Abramovich, pictured with his third wife Dasha Zhukova, has effectively been banned from Britain and can only come on a tourist visa, leaving him unable to work here. He took Israeli citizenship to gain access to the UK
But Ann Widdowfield, 71, who has lived in Stoll Mansions with her ex-naval serviceman husband William for more than 20 years said she was delighted with the news that they wouldn’t have to move.
‘My reaction when I heard he had withdrawn his plans was ‘hooray’! I am the one singing ‘We are the champions today and not Chelsea,’ she said.
‘There are people in their eighties and nineties here living here. They shouldn’t be told they are being upped and moved at their ages.
‘We could do with proper central heating and a lot of modernising, but I always felt there had to be another way of improving things in here rather than knocking our homes down and moving us even it was going to be a hundred yards or so.
‘The money should come from the government and not Chelsea anyway. I hope Chelsea leave us alone now.’
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