This post was first published by Croydon Advertiser on 12/04/2018.
These are the lengths Crystal Palace are going to to improve the Selhurst Park experience for disabled fans
More wheelchair seats and two sensory rooms for those with autism are among the proposals.
Full plans for the Selhurst Park development, which were revealed to the public on Wednesday (April 11), state that the number of wheelchair spaces will increase by more than 65 if planning permission is granted.
The current 1924 grounds have 26,000 seats, including 128 for wheelchair users.
The proposed 34,000-seater stadium would have at least 192 of these accessible seats, with the club promising to exceed this figure.
The number of wheelchair spaces a stadium should provide is based on overall capacity – clubs are required to provide 150 wheelchair spaces, plus three more for every 1,000 above 20,000 spectators.
The club have been criticised in the past for failing to provide enough space for disabled fans.
But the plans, which have been recommended for approval, also include accessible viewing areas as well as two sensory rooms in the main stand area.
These rooms cater for those with conditions such as autism and aim to provide a calmer environment away from matchday crowds.
As for parking, disabled bays currently make up 3% of the bays at the stadium – but this proportion would double to 6% under the proposals.
New accessible toilets on the upper and lower concourses, more refuge areas for wheelchair users and more wheelchair positions in hospitality seating are additionally noted in the plans.
A draft report to Croydon Council’s planning committee states: “The Club has worked in conjunction with the Disabled Supporters’ Association to ensure that the facilities at Selhurst Park Stadium are of a standard that provides a safe and enjoyable visit when watching Premier League football.
“The Club recognises that the built environment has a fundamental affect upon people’s lives and that inclusion is an evolving and an integral part of the whole process of the design, construction, management and maintenance of buildings and public space environments.”
In the planning committee report, the council notes the proposed accessibility measures “represent a significant improvement over the existing situation and go beyond minimum planning requirements”.
It adds: “The approach taken weighs strongly in favor of the development.”
Although council officers have recommended the plans are granted, the members of the council’s planning committee must still vote in favour of the scheme, while it must also be rubber-stamped by the Mayor of London.