Hammersmith & FulhamNews

Veterans warn of evictions due to sale of homes to Chelsea FC

By Ben Lynch, Local Democracy Reporter

More than 40 veterans living in purpose-built accommodation next to Chelsea FC ’s Stamford Bridge stadium are facing eviction from their homes, amid plans for the site to be majority sold to the residents’ illustrious neighbours. 

Hammersmith and Fulham council is calling on both Chelsea and Stoll – the charity which owns the complex – to pause the sale while a solution is found for the veterans.

Guy Cholerton, 58, who served for more than 20 years in the Coldstream Guards and is one of those liable to be evicted, said:  “You build some good friends here. If you haven’t seen somebody in a couple of days, you think, ‘I’d better go tap on the door and make sure they’re all right’. 

Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions is located in Fulham Road, next door to Chelsea FC’s home ground (Picture: Ben Lynch)

“In the civilian world outside, is anybody concerned if they don’t see you for two or three days?”

Mr Cholerton said some of the complex’s residents would struggle to settle elsewhere. Not just those who are elderly – with several tenants above 90 – but also people with children.

He said: “At the moment, I’m dealing with ill health, I’ve just completed cancer treatment.

“So I’m dealing with mental health issues. Am I going to lose my home? Am I going to lose my job?”

Stoll’s chief executive, Will Campbell-Wroe, said the charity was ‘fully committed’ to helping each resident find suitable accommodation.

The top of Stamford Bridge is visible from inside the complex (Picture: Ben Lynch)

Currently home to 157 flats, Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions was established in 1915 to provide respite for those returning home from the front and includes a communal space and medical centre which also serves 6,500 patients.

In October last year, Stoll’s Board of Trustees agreed to sell the 1.2-acre site to Chelsea for a reported £80million. The sale is expected to be finalised early this year.

Mr Campbell-Wroe said the deal was necessary due to the cost of refurbishing the properties.

Veterans living at Stoll Mansions have raised serious concerns about plans to evict those on assured shorthand tenancies.

Of the 157 flats at Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions, about 20 will be retained under Chelsea’s plans. Those who are on secured tenancies will be re-housed elsewhere, with support from Stoll. But those who have lived in the complex for less than five years, about 40 flats, will have to make their own arrangements.

Sir Oswald Stoll Mansions was established in 1915, to provide homes for soldiers returning from the front (Picture: Ben Lynch)

Cllr Ben Coleman, Deputy Leader of Hammersmith and Fulham council, said: “People who have fought for our country should not have to face such a stressful predicament. 

“The Stoll residents include men and women who served in the Second World War, Korea, the Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Many of those I have met have suffered the consequences of war.

“I have asked Stoll and Chelsea FC to halt the sale until they meet with their tenant veterans to find a solution that deals with their fears and meets with their full satisfaction.”

Mr Campbell-Wroe said: “I personally have met regularly with residents and fully intend to continue this. We have also been in regular and ongoing contact with officials from the council throughout.

“Ultimately, what we’re fighting for is our community.”

Chelsea FC was also approached for comment.

Pictured top: Guy Cholerton served for more than 20 years in the Coldstream Guards (Picture: Ben Lynch)

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