Long post but interesting, it involves the old East stand so thought it was relevant for here.
Ps it's not me!
Got to meet a couple of people closely involved in the project, yesterday at the ground, and had an interesting Q&A session. They were pretty open with me, and they were happy for me to share the below info to the public (apart from some other confidential things that I have left out).
Reason why there has not been much communication from the club with regards to the development, is that since the planning permission was granted earlier in the year, there has been 'slow but significant progress' with regards to the discussion with the relevant parties (e.g. london underground etc) as well as the partners that will be involved in the construction process. They want to get all the finalization of the construction process/timeline (by mid-2018) so that it's ready to go (to avoid delays whilst we are away in a temporary stadium - not decided yet), before they start knocking down the non-football buildings like the hotels, apartments, gym and museum. They still hope to start demolishing these buildings around October 2018.
So until they have the final 'construction' plans ready, there isn't anything significant to announce in terms of update. However, whilst the final legalities are being sorted out (which they do not anticipate being a problem: the granted planning permission cannot be challenged in court anymore, and includes the permission to build over the railway tracks), the project team together with Herzog & de Meuron, have been looking of ways at improving the inside of the stadium which HdM will be fitting out themselves (with obvious consultation with the M&E people and the fans), so it will not be cheap!
One possible change is that the Northwest and Southwest corners of the stadium, which are at its narrowest and smallest in terms of height (I would have included the plans on here for clarity, but happy for someone to show me how to upload directly from my computer), will now be a 2 tier area instead of the 3 tier like the rest of the stadium. The lower tier will remain the same, but the middle & upper tiers in these corners will become one. This will increase the area of concourse in those corners which was very tight, and would also mass the supporters 'better' as the upper tier in those 2 corners in the last plans were very small indeed. I personally liked the idea, and one of the guys said that he thinks they've got the design of the tiers and inside the stadium pretty much as best as they can now in terms of optimizing the experience inside the stadium. HdM are just finalizing how the 2 tier corners will blend with the rest of the 3 tiers on either sides of them. The away fans may be moved further sideways, than originally planned, to this new 2 tier area of the Southwest corner.
Also of note, we're looking more at a final capacity in the 59,000s rather than a 60k+ capacity. Even if we incorporated standing in the future, it would only add approx a further 1,000 seats. They don't think it is about cramming more seats in just for the sake of beating Tottenham's new ground capacity: there is always be newer and bigger stadiums. The seat widths are already 'cosier' than NWHL, but will still definitely be better than current seats. They did confirm that we will not be able to expand further in the future (when I pointed out that the West stand was only built 17 years ago and we're already going to tear it down due to demand), and this is a stadium for the next 100 years.
They are confident that by the time the new stadium opens (be it in 5-6 years' time), it will be the best football stadium in terms of fan experience, possibly even in Europe. They admit that NWHL will be an 'incredible' stadium but it has been designed to host other sports and events, whilst Abramovich was adamant that this would be a football only stadium. They will also have learnt about the best (and bad) bits of the new stadia being constructed in Europe (not just NWHL - they will also likely have their 'own version of the tunnel club'). They are hoping that by the time the stadium opens, the 'journey' of getting to your seats from outside the ground will be seamless with the new technology that might be available by then. They are very much banking on the 'next generation stadium' concept in terms of experience and technology even if the outside will be gothic looking and iconic in its own way (the outside look has not changed since the last published plans).
Personally, it was reassuring to know that slow but steady progress was being achieved, and the project is still very much on. Expect to have a separate microsite up and running on the web over the next 6 weeks, with regards to the new stadium after which, once the final design plans are confirmed, we'll start seeing more information/renders as time goes. They will be engaging with the fans and community throughout this process (as they have done upto now) onto the construction phase to still see what they'd like incorporated inside the stadium (like different memorabilia, finishing, etc) as the final fit outs by HdM won't be done until much later during the construction.