300 rugby players 'did not die for BOGOFs'

April 26 2014

THE fight is not yet over for campaigners, who believe that building a supermarket on the Rovers' Memorial Ground is a "travesty".

THE fight is not yet over for campaigners, who believe that building a supermarket on the Rovers' Memorial Ground is a "travesty".

A petition has been set up to put pressure on Sainsbury's to withdraw their redevelopment plan, which is funding Bristol Rovers' move to a new stadium in Frenchay.

Campaigners say that the Memorial Ground is an important part of the city’s heritage, and that a superstore is not the right way to remember the three-hundred Bristol rugby players who died in the First World War.

TRASHorfield, who believed that the council acted unlawfully in granting the supermarket planning permission, lost their legal challenge at the end of March.

The group then confirmed that the case would not be taken to the Court of Appeal as they were unable to raise the money necessary to test Judge Hickinbottom's decision.

The judge ruled that the council had followed the proper planning process, however, TRASH still believes that the judgement is "flawed".

Jamie Carstairs, who set up the petition to protect the Memorial Ground, said: "It is a nationally significant and special war memorial. It is deeply offensive to me and many others that Sainsbury’s wish to build a supermarket on this ground – whatever next, a Sainsbury’s Local on the Cenotaph in the centre?

"Sainsbury’s have attempted to allay concerns, by planning what they are calling a ‘Memorial Garden’. What Sainsbury's propose with this token gesture constitutes a misunderstanding of the meaning behind the memorialisation.

"The war memorial commemorates the three hundred Bristol rugby players who were killed in the First World War. The people of Bristol chose to memorialise them in this way - with a sports ground for future generations.

"These men did not die for BOGOFs - a ‘Memorial Supermarket’ is a travesty."

The petition has so far received over 500 signatures.

Other alternative ideas have been put forward by campaigners, such as a memorial school and a velodrome.

However, Bristol Rovers chairman, Nick Higgs, has confirmed that the development has received the support of the the former rugby club and British Legion.

He said: "TRASH lost their appeal against Sainsbury's and now they're just trying to find another angle to stop the development."

He added: "If they believe that the whole of the site is the war memorial, then how come a third of it was allowed to be sold off for housing?

"They've got to move on - I'm just becoming a bit tired of it all."

 Aerial view of Memorial Stadium