|Fulham to Take Over Management of Matchday Traffic|
New initiative will save taxpayers over £100,000 a year
Fulham Football Club will take over the management of traffic and road closures on match days from Hammersmith and Fulham Council at the start of the next season.
The council says that from August, when the new season begins, both Fulham and Queen’s Park Rangers football clubs will become fully responsible for traffic management on match days around their respective grounds - saving taxpayers over £100,000 a year.
The clubs currently pay nothing for this service, which includes closing roads to motorists, except for residents living in nearby streets, and keeping traffic flowing safely in the area.
Since 2002, the job has been carried out by the Metropolitan Police, with major support from Hammersmith & Fulham Council, which pays for all traffic management costs. The council has been providing and putting up parking suspension signs and road barriers, and also has had to send a lead officer to each match to help deal with parking and safety issues.
H&F’s budget for traffic management last year was £138,000 but since December, stewards at both Fulham and QPR have been taking part in trials where they have been responsible for all aspects of traffic management. The trials have proved so successful that the council has already saved £30,000 between those two clubs, and recents trials by Chelsea FC around Fulham Broadway means H&F has saved another £24,000.
Cllr Greg Smith, H&F Council’s cabinet member for residents' services, says: " It is good news for local taxpayers that the football clubs are playing ball. It is no secret that councils across the country are tightening their belts and if this pioneering scheme was brought in for all English football league teams, collectively, local authorities could save taxpayers a small fortune."
Chief Inspector Steve Riley of the Met Police, said that they would no longer be able to continue because it is a matter for the clubs to deal with. They will however still have a presence around the grounds and will carry out enforcement.
Ch Insp Riley says: " Football matches are private events and, rightly, the management of traffic and supporters linked to those matches is an issue for the clubs to deal with.
" Police will continue to provide support to clubs at matches across the borough. The change will mean that more officers are able to concentrate on their core role of policing the borough 24/7. Police will continue to work with the clubs and local authority to make sure the transition is effective."
Rangers could well be on their way to the Premier League and if they get promoted, this could lead to some small changes around the club’s ground. This would include occasionally suspending extra spaces for television transmission vehicles on Loftus Road, between Uxbridge Road and Ellerslie Road. Any closures or suspensions would still be clearly flagged up to residents with advance warning signs.
There will be no major changes for residents and those wanting to gain access to their roads will need to carry identification and valid residents’ parking permits or visitors SMART cards, as they currently do.
April 20, 2011