Bristol mayor George Ferguson has given an initial support to Bristol City FC’s plans to redevelop their Ashton Gate ground … if plans to build a new stadium at Ashton Vale finally fail.
The club made its announcement in The Post today that it had examined a £40million plan for their existing ground.
Matches would continue at the ground and stands rebuilt over three years, with a final version holding more than 26,000 fans ready for the 2016/17 season.
One of the club’s hopes is for a new railway station to be built on land near the Ford car dealership so fans would have a rail link with Temple Meads and walk to the revamped ground.
Soon after, he released a statement in which he urged the city to get behind the new plans. The mayor has previously stated his opposition to Sainsbury’s plans to redevelop Ashton Gate, a key part of the club’s financial plan to move to a new stadium at Ashton Vale.
“This is tremendous news and a ‘win win’ for all concerned. This announcement should be welcomed by City fans and the wider Ashton community alike. Hopefully all can now unite behind this fine new stadium for Bristol,” he said.
“We must now pull out all the stops to work closely with the club to take these plans through planning so that this long-running issue can be resolved once and for all whatever the outcome of the Ashton Vale legal process. The threat of the massive new supermarket and petrol filling station will be lifted and hopefully Ashton Vale residents will be able to drop their legal proceedings when planning is granted.
“City supporters can celebrate that they will be able to stay in their historic home of Ashton Gate, and raise a glass to their future success in a bigger and better Wedlock’s!
“I shall also back the club in their desire for a new Ashton Gate railway station to coincide with the development which will provide a major public transport boost for this whole area and give easy access to Bristol’s premier conference and exhibition centre from all stops from Temple Meads and eventually from Portishead.
“This represents a huge boost to the regeneration of South Bristol, bringing crucial jobs and investment to the city. What better prize could I expect in my first three months as mayor?”
Part of the plans include the first executive boxes at Ashton Gate – which is now the only league stadium in the country without such facilities – which the club hopes would help to plug the £14.4million hole in its finances reported in December last year.
A consultation exercise will be launched before a formal planning application is submitted in June or July.
But Bristol Sport Limited (BSL), the holding company for both Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby, said it had not given up on plans to build a new stadium at Ashton Vale.
A new public inquiry into the controversial town green application on the site of the proposed new stadium was set for October 2013 – delaying Bristol City FC’s plans for a new stadium for at least another year.
Landowners said problems with childcare provision for the town green applicant’s lawyers was the reason for the delay, adding they had wanted a decision made as soon as possible.
However, campaign group Save Ashton Vale Environment (Save) insisted the delay was due to the landowners’ insistence for an extended hearing.