Chelsea FC complete purchase of veterans housing complex as charity closes in on deal for new homes

Chelsea FC's stadium, Stamford Bridge
Stamford Bridge, Chelsea FC's stadium, is right next door to Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions -Credit:James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Chelsea FC have completed their purchase of the veterans housing complex Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions, just weeks after residents fearing eviction were promised none would be made homeless. Stoll, the charity which runs sites including the Mansions, has also confirmed it is in the final stages of buying 128 affordable homes in the Kings Road Park estate.

Chief Executive Will Campbell-Wroe told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) he expects residents will be able to begin moving in between January and May/June next year. One resident the LDRS spoke to said the latest announcement is ‘terrific news’, especially when considering where things stood just months ago.

Veterans living in the Mansions, which include people who have served in countries from Northern Ireland to Afghanistan as well as war widows, raised the alarm after Stoll’s Board of Trustees agreed to sell the site to Chelsea FC last October for a reported £80 million. While most of the residents were due to be supported, with some able to remain on a part of the site not being sold, a contingent of around 40 flats were to be left to make their own arrangements regarding housing.

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Guy Cholerton served for more than 20 years in the Coldstream Guards
Guy Cholerton served for more than 20 years in the Coldstream Guards -Credit:LDRS

One of those the LDRS spoke to, Guy Cholerton, told of the potential impact on his mental health if the deal was to go ahead as-planned, with concerns about whether he would be able to retain his job. Stoll however announced at the end of March that no veterans would become homeless, and that it would support all of those having to leave the Mansions.

And now, as the completion of the sale to Chelsea is finalised, a further update has been provided on the new housing due to be provided. According to Stoll, it is ‘concluding Heads of Terms’ with St William Homes to purchase 128 affordable properties in the Kings Road Park development, located roughly halfway between Imperial Wharf and the Mansions.

Mr Campbell-Wroe told the LDRS the homes are expected to be completed in January 2025, and that all residents who wish to move to the estate should be able to do so between then and May/June time. He added there is a three-year window in which veterans can leave the Mansions, and that the charity has other sites available for those who wish to live further afield.

Mr Campbell-Wroe said: “The completion of the sale marks a transformational moment for Stoll, and forms a central part of our long standing mission to house and support many more veterans to lead fulfilling, independent lives both now and in the future. We understand that any transition to a new home will be challenging for many of our residents, and we are committed to providing every resident with an enhanced programme of financial, wellbeing and rehousing support – as we have been throughout this process.

“The properties at King’s Road Park will provide a higher standard of living along with being more comfortable, sustainable and energy efficient.”

Stamford Bridge clearly visible from Stoll Mansions
Stamford Bridge clearly visible from Stoll Mansions -Credit:LDRS

Mr Campbell-Wroe added that for those who choose to live somewhere other than a Stoll property, the charity will provide them with 12 months of support. Those who do move to another Stoll site will remain on the same tenancy they are on now, and continue to receive the same level of support currently provided.

On the sale of the site, Mr Campbell-Wroe said: “We are also very grateful to Chelsea for its longstanding support for Stoll, through ongoing fundraising initiatives like its Big Stamford Bridge Sleep Out, and its support of the veterans throughout this process. We look forward to continuing to develop this positive partnership with the club.”

Jason Gannon, Chief Operating Officer at Chelsea FC, said: “We are delighted to increase our footprint at Stamford Bridge and take a significant step towards ensuring the long-term financial sustainability of the club. We appreciate the opportunity to work with the Stoll throughout a competitive tender process and we are pleased to help ensure those veterans that wish to remain inside the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham will be able to do so. Our thanks go to both Stoll and the local council, whose leadership has been essential to the process."

Cllr Ben Coleman, Deputy Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham Council and the Labour parliamentary candidate for Chelsea and Fulham, said: “It has been my privilege to champion the vets who served our country and we are delighted no veteran will now be made homeless and the entire community can stay together in Fulham, where they belong and where we are proud to have them.”

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