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[ Project focus: The Amex Community Stadium] The waiting game

When it came to the new stadium, achieving a high energy efficiency, low water usage project was a key planning condition

The route to the first competitive game being played at The AMEX Community Stadium was long and, at times, arduous. Here’s how it happened:

Although it’s been a long road to a new home for the football club, the new stadium

development project itself ran smoothly

David Merchant is NG Bailey’s best practice manager and

says: ‘Within NG Bailey we have best practice engineers, and their remit is to be involved in all projects and ensure that our combined experience is utilised on all projects. This includes input into the design process in conjunction with the commissioning managers, installation, supply chain management, site logistics and coordination, new products and off-site solutions.’

Game on Brighton is renowned for being an environmentally conscious city and has the only Member of Parliament from the Green Party. The city’s council is rightly proud of its green credentials, and when it came to the new stadium, achieving a high energy efficiency, low water usage project was a key planning condition. To achieve this, the main fit-out is based around a

decentralised plant solution incorporating air source heat pumps, integrated lighting controls and ICT elements, allowing the stadium to operate at optimum efficiency. As one of the primary renewable energy technologies,

the air source heat pumps from Mitsubishi Electric extract ambient heat and pump it into the hot water system in the building. NG Bailey’s Phil White, comments: ‘To ensure compliance

with Part L of the Building Regulations, the design underwent a number of iterations of building simulation modelling utilising IES software. This allowed us to design the stadium utilising optimum solutions that reflected the best use of

March 1998 Falmer – next to the University and A27 dual carriageway – emerged as a possible contender for Brighton & Hove Albion FC’s future home. February 1999 Brighton and Hove Council announced that a referendum would ask the people of Brighton and Hove whether they favoured Falmer. July 1999 The football club returned home to the temporary facility of the Withdean Stadium. After two years’ exile in Gillingham, the club played its first match in Brighton and Hove since it left the Goldstone Ground on 26 April 1997. May 2002 Brighton and Hove City Council’s Planning Committee voted overwhelmingly (11:1) in favour of the club’s stadium at Falmer. However, the secretary of state’s office ‘called in’ the application, meaning the club had to face the additional hurdle of a public inquiry. October 2003 The public inquiry closed, and Brighton & Hove Albion’s Martin Perry, declared: ‘We have done everything we can to present a very strong case for the stadium to be built.’ July 2004 John Prescott then announced he would re- open the public inquiry to ensure that Falmer was the best available site for a stadium. October 2005 The club received confirmation from John Prescott that he had given plans for a new stadium at Falmer the go-ahead. November 2005 Lewes District Council announced it would challenge John Prescott’s decision in the High Court.

October 2006 Lewes District Council withdrew its legal challenge 24 hours before the case was due to be heard in the High Court. July 2007 More than nine years after plans for a new home at Falmer were first unveiled by the Club, Brighton & Hove Albion finally received a ‘yes’ decision from the government on their planning application to build a new stadium.

October 2008 Work finally began on the new stadium. July 2009 The first steel work was erected, and the East Stand started to take shape. Work on the North and South Stands started shortly after. November 2009 One year after building started at Falmer, the arch over the East Stand was erected. This was a major milestone towards the completion of the stadium. The arch is 165m long and extends the length of the East Stand.

June 2010 The club officially named the ground as the American Express (AMEX) Community Stadium. July 2011 Work was completed. August 2011 The first game of the 2011-12 season against Doncaster Rovers took place – Brighton & Hove Albion won 2-1.

September 2011 ECA Today 35

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