American Express Community Stadium


1997: Brighton & Hove Albion football club sold the Goldstone ground in Hove, its home for 96 years.

1998: The Falmer site next to the University of Brighton was first identified as a possible location for a new stadium.

May 1999: Residents of Brighton and Hove were offered the chance in a referendum to say if they wanted a stadium and, if so, if they agreed with the Falmer site. Of those who voted, 68 per cent supported a stadium at Falmer.

1999: The football club began playing its matches at Withdean stadium in Brighton. September 2000: Brighton & Hove City Council published its Local Plan, seeking to allow a football stadium development at Falmer.

2000 to 2002: University of Sussex representatives attended meetings of a working group that brought together the interested parties - the main participants being the football club, Brighton & Hove City Council and the University of Brighton.

October 2001: The football club applied to Brighton & Hove City Council for planning permission to build a new ground at Falmer.

June 2002: Brighton & Hove City Council planners voted to grant the planning application. They attached 32 conditions to that consent, including a clause that "provision and retention of car parking provision at Sussex University - must be agreed prior to permission being given to begin work'.

June 2002: In preparing its submission to the forthcoming public inquiry, the University commissioned a study to look at the impact of a stadium on parking, traffic management and spectator stewarding.

July 2002: The Vice-Chancellor and the Finance & Business Director briefed the University's governing body (the Council) on the salient points to be aware of as far as they affected the University.

August 2002: The football club applied to Lewes District Council for planning permission to develop a transport interchange on land north of the stadium site.

December 2002: Senate (the University's academic body) received a report on latest developments and the Council (the University's governing body) had a brief discussion about the stadium.

February to October 2003: The University reported to a public inquiry, presided over by an appointed government inspector. The inspector's job was to hear all sides and make a report and recommendations to the Deputy Prime Minister (John Prescott). The football club, the two planning authorities (Brighton and Lewes) and a wide range of other interested parties including the University of Sussex put evidence to the inspector at the inquiry hearings.

June 2003: The University of Sussex reached agreement on some issues of direct concern. These issues included agreement with Brighton & Hove City Council on a variation in the user clause in the University's lease, which previously prevented Sussex from using and developing the campus for anything except direct teaching and research. In addition, it was agreed that if there was a stadium, an access route would be built to campus through Stanmer Park. As a result, the University withdrew from the inquiry.

July 2003: The Vice-Chancellor briefed the University's governing body (the Council) on latest developments.

August 2003: The University signed a licence agreement with Brighton & Hove Albion for identified car parks on campus to be used if the stadium was built.

December 2003: The inspector's report on the evidence he had heard at the inquiry was sent to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM). The inspector (Mr J. R. Collyer) recommended that all four applications connected with the stadium proposal be refused planning permission.

July 2004: The Deputy Prime Minister announced that the public inquiry would be re-opened "as soon as possible", with seven other sites in Brighton and Hove to be considered against set criteria.

February to May 2005: The inquiry reopened and a new inspector (Mr D. H. Brier) heard further evidence, focusing on whether there was an alternative suitable site elsewhere in Brighton and Hove. He prepared a further report and sent it to Mr Prescott.

October 2005: The Deputy Prime Minister announced his decision to grant planning permission for the stadium. In reaching this decision, the government considered detailed information from Sussex on transport management and car parking.

November 2005: Lewes District Council decided to launch a legal bid in the High Court to call for a judicial review of the government's decision to grant planning permission. One of the grounds for the challenge was that the Deputy Prime Minister had made an error of fact in his decision.

November 2006: The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government invited parties to make further representations to enable her to reconsider the application.

February 2007: Representations were submitted by the city council, the football club, Lewes District Council, Falmer Parish Council and several other bodies and individuals.

July 2007: The government granted formal planning permission.

April 2008: The club and City College Brighton announced plans for the college to build a building next to the stadium.

June 2008: The club shortlisted three building contractors.

December 2008: The club started construction work on site.

May 2009: Multi-millionaire property developer Tony Bloom took over as Albion chairman, became the club's biggest shareholder and committed to funding the vast majority of the £93million stadium development through interest-free loans.

November 2009: Work began on construction of a new link road into the University of Sussex campus and a new bridge and traffic lights at the A270/Stanmer Park link road junction.

December 2010: The new link road onto campus opened.

June 2011: The football club moved into the newly built stadium.

July 2011: A new footbridge opened over the railway line, giving full disability access to both sides of the track.

August 2011: The club started playing at Falmer from the start of the 2011-12 season.