BRISTOL CITY’S NEW STADIUM PLANS HALTED

Bristol City Football Club’s plans for a brand new stadium have taken a major hit after councillors refused permission for a new Sainsbury's superstore at Ashton Gate.

The Robins hoped to sell their existing stadium at Ashton Gate to the supermarket chain and use the money to help fund a new £92 million venue at a different site.

Club officials and Sainsbury's are now considering whether to appeal against last night's dramatic decision.

A club spokesman said: “Last night's decision will, at the very least, delay the stadium plans, and does indeed call the viability of a new regional stadium into question.

“We remain ambitious as a football club, both on and off the pitch, which, at the moment, is more than we feel able to say for our city's planners.

“However ambitious we might be though, we cannot move forward without the funds that the sale of Ashton Gate will generate,” he added.

Sainsbury’s wanted to move its existing store off Winterstoke Road to the site of City's ground.

But after a four-hour meeting at the Council House, members of the Development Control committee turned down the plan much to the bemusement of both parties.

“We had worked extremely hard with Bristol City Council planning officers and felt that we had addressed all planning issues,” continued the club spokesman.

“We deeply regret their decision to ignore their officers' professional advice, as well as the advice of independent planning experts.”

The new stadium is crucial to Bristol City’s hopes of becoming a host city for England's bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

Posted on 22/07/2010