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SAINSBURY'S APPROVED

PUBLISHED

17:36 16th January 2013

Councillors have voted to approve the Sainsbury's plans for the Memorial Stadium site.

The committee voted 6-3 in favour of the proposed store.

This will now allow Rovers to go ahead with building the new UWE Stadium at Frenchay.

Last week the planning officers’ report was published recommending that the proposals be granted planning permission, and tonight councillors acted on that advice.

The decision will now be referred to the Secretary of State, who now has 21 days to comment on the scheme.

During the meeting Chairman Nick Higgs spoke in favour of the plans. He said: "We are here this evening to consider the Sainsbury’s mixed use application, I would like to draw your attention to the bigger picture and the importance of saying yes to this proposal.

“The application in front of members tonight provides Bristol with the opportunity to build an international sports stadium that can compete with cities such as Cardiff, Swansea and Reading, to whom we are consistently missing out on hosting national events.

“It could also help Bristol Rovers to spring up to top flight football, and bring a huge investment to Bristol.

“The new stadium is designed to FIFA and International Rugby standards, giving a capability to host international matches. This would bring sporting recognition to the region, with the additional revenue and business opportunities that would follow.”

The approved design of the new Bristol Rovers stadium is initially with a 21,700 capacity, but this can be extended to 26,000 and ultimately 35,000 should success dictate.

The new stadium will include a 1000 seated conference centre and banqueting hall, exhibition space, bars, restaurants and 28 executive boxes,  community space, gymnasium, jogging track, teaching space and shared car parking with UWE.

Nick continued: “In the event that planning permission is granted tonight it will open the door to a cascade of development investment in the greater Bristol area of over £150m of investment.”

These investments include;
-Over £40m being spent on the new Stadium and associated facilities.
-£75m of residential development being built on UWE land, including existing UWE car park 20, which will be relocated to the new stadium.
-£20m retirement village on the car park 20 land, a partnership between UWE and SGC.
-£25m worth of Academic buildings, paid for by the proceeds of the land sale.
-£2m on sports pitches and pavilion

Nick said: “The results of the above would create 1000s of construction jobs and hundreds of permanent full time and part time jobs for local people.

“Bristol Rovers would also wholly own its new state of the art stadium and the club and stadium would be debt free.

“As chairman of Bristol Rovers, I can say that we have been looking for an opportunity to do this for 25 years.

“In these austere times, it would be a travesty not to take advantage of the development investment on offer and jobs that would be created for local people if this application is approved.”

Councillor Colin Smith, who voted for the development, said a new stadium for Bristol Rovers will be beneficial for sport, leisure and employment for the region.

Councillor Steve Comer made the point that most of the shops on Gloucester Road are specialist and would not be competing with Sainsbury’s. He also says that the majority of people will use a supermarket and continue to shop in independent stores.

The Sainsbury’s development will include 65 housing units, including 23 affordable units, community space, 572 car parking spaces and a Memorial Square to partner the current Memorial Gates.

Sainsbury’s will be require to fund a number of measurements to help mitigate the potential impact of the development.

Access to the site will be from a mini roundabout, and there will only be changes to one junction – the junction between Gloucester Road and Filton Avenue, with drivers allowed to turn left into Filton Avenue once again.

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