A consultancy firm claims the redevelopment of Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park ground will create hundreds of jobs and generate millions for the local economy.
The club commissioned Regeneris Consulting to compile a report on the likely impact of Palace’s plans to build a huge new stand which would increase the ground’s capacity by 8,000 seats. Regeneris’s findings claim the redevelopment should bolster the local economy by £15 million a year, with a large proportion of that money remaining in Croydon.
Luke Bonnici, a senior consultant at Regeneris, said: “The redevelopment is a very exciting project which has significant potential. The biggest strength of the club is the fact it works with local organisations. They do a lot of work with young people in south London but they also use local companies for a lot of their catering supplies. They do a lot of work with a local brewery and a local pie shop. More and more we see [companies behind] projects like this wanting to be a big part of their local community and working with and promoting it. If the club continues with its commitment to work with local businesses a large proportion of the extra money generated from the redevelopment will remain in the local area.”
The club uses around 20 businesses based in Croydon, including the Cronx Brewery. During the 2016/17 season it also bought around £3.4 million of goods and services from London-based suppliers. The report references the increase in off-site expenditure that Croydon can expect to see if the plans to increase the stadium’s capacity from 26,000 to 34,000 are approved by Croydon Council on April 19. According to the Regeneris study, the number of visits made annually to Selhurst Park would increase from around 500,000 to 628,000. As a result of this, visitor and off-site expenditure would increase to £12.6 million a year, a jump of up to £3 million (31 per cent) compared to the current estimated expenditure.
Mr Bonnici said: “As the club are a Premier League club, they attract fans from all over the UK. While we can only make assumptions at the moment, our figures are based on an increase of fans coming from all over the country, increasing the amount of weekend and overnight stays in hotels in the borough.”
A further element the study looked at is the increase in jobs the redevelopment will provide for the borough. According to the report, the total number of full-time, part-time and matchday jobs at the club would increase by 70 per cent from 983 to 1,667, generating £3.4 million in additional wages. Further to this, building the new Main Stand at Selhurst Park would also lead to the creation of the equivalent of 430 temporary construction jobs each year over a three-year period. Of Crystal Palace’s current employees, around 25 per cent of the club’s permanent staff live in the borough of Croydon and 61 pet cent live in south London. The expansion is therefore expected to create a strong employment opportunity for local job hunters.
Mr Bonnici insisted that people shouldn’t be cynical about the company’s findings given that Palace contracted it to compile the economic report as part of its planning application to Croydon Council. Mr Bonnici said: “We [Regeneris] pride ourselves on working independently. The report was done for the club but we were saying what we wanted to say, not what the club was telling us. At the end of the day, the club will employ more people, the club will have to spend more money on catering supplies. We don’t currently know where either will come from but based on [current] trends they will in the majority be from the Croydon area or south London. The redevelopment will definitely not be a negative for the borough.”
Source: Croydon Advertiser