Bristol Rovers Football Club has announced proposals for a new stadium on the outskirts of the city.

The club plans to relocate to a brand new 20,000-seater venue on land at the University of the West of England. It means the Pirates will leave Memorial Stadium which has been their home since 1921.

Chairman Nick Higgs was delighted to finally make the news public. He told "It is a very exciting day, a significant day for the football club. We have got a fantastic working relationship with UWE, and started talking about this proposal two years ago.

"The topography of the site, suits a cut into the site, and we have managed to design this to make the proposal incredibly economical. If we built the same stadium out of the ground, it could double the cost.”

It will be funded by the sale of the Memorial Stadium land to a retailer in a similar situation to neighbouring club Bristol City. But before anything can progress planning permission for both sites would have to be granted which the club hopes will not be as problematic as City found.

“We have taken soundings from both local authorities and had favourable responses. There will be problems along the way, but we are confident that both sites are suitable for what we are proposing,” Higgs added.

"We will be asking for an extension of the current planning permission on the Memorial Stadium site which will give us a back up should there be a problem in the future."

The new stadium will be set at a far distance from housing and will be screened by trees. There will also be community facilities including a gym and commercial area.

Capacity could be increased up to 25,000 without any major structural alterations. The plans also include the possibility of removing the roof to further increase capacity to 35,000 if required very similar to Stadium:mk in Milton Keynes.

Rovers will start a consultation process in the next few weeks with local residents and businesses before submitting a planning application in autumn. If accepted, work on the site could begin in the New Year meaning the club could be playing in the new stadium during the 2013/14 season. 

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Posted on 09/06/2011