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UPDATE: BRISTOL ROVERS IN THE HIGH COURT

15 May 2015

A High Court judge has heard opening arguments in a week-long legal battle over the future of Bristol's Memorial Stadium site.

The hearing is to settle an ongoing dispute between Bristol Rovers and Sainsbury’s over a land deal involving the club's current home in Horfield.

Mrs. Justice Proudman, sitting in London, was told the football club agreed a deal with the supermarket chain in 2011, as part of its plans to move to a new ground on the Frenchay campus of the University of the West of England (UWE).

The terms of the deal were that Sainsbury's would buy the Memorial Stadium for £30 million and lease it back to the club for a peppercorn rent until its move to the new ground was completed - at which time a new supermarket would be built on the site.

The club would use the money towards financing the building of the new 21,700-seat stadium.

At the time the deal was made, the court heard, there was no planning permission or infrastructure in place, the costs were uncertain and Bristol Rovers were still negotiating with UWE.

Lawyers for both sides today outlined their cases to the judge, as a six-day hearing got underway.

Mark Wonnacott QC, for Sainsbury's, said the supermarket giants believes it 'lawfully terminated' the contract when various conditions were not met.

But the club's barrister, David Matthias QC, argued the contract is either still running, or has been terminated in breach of its terms.

The hearing continues.

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