Mixed reactions as judge rules out objection to plans for Mem

March 28 2014

CAMPAIGNERS say they are "profoundly disappointed" following a decision that gives Sainsbury's the go-ahead to redevelop the Bristol Rovers Memorial Stadium site.

CAMPAIGNERS say they are "profoundly disappointed" following a decision that gives Sainsbury's the go-ahead to redevelop the Bristol Rovers Memorial Stadium site.
The football club needed to sell the ground to Sainsbury's in order for them to build a new £40m stadium at Stoke Gifford, which is to seat 21,700.
Judge Mr Justice Hickinbottom dismissed claims put forward by TRASHorfield that the council acted unlawfully in granting planning permission for the supermarket.
The judicial review hearing took place on March 13, and the verdict was given a week later.
The campaign group say that they are going to "carefully review" the details of the judgement before making an announcement regarding future plans. However, TRASH is still entitled to appeal the decision.
A TRASH spokesman said: "We would like to acknowledge the tremendous support we have received from the local community for this campaign.
"Our thanks extend to the thousands who have campaigned with us, stood by and encouraged us, and shown unwavering solidarity to the campaign.
"We also thank you for the many donations that made it possible to finance and pursue this critical democratic process."
The group banked over £3,000 in a recent raffle to ensure there was enough money to cover costs. They had already raised £20,000 through donations from the local community and traders.
Now that the supermarket has been given the go-ahead, work is expected to begin on the new UWE Stadium in the summer. The club hopes to be moving into the ground during the 2015/16 season.
Rovers chairman, Nick Higgs, said: "I am delighted that common sense has prevailed, and the right decision has been made. This delay has cost us a lot of time and money, but we are now able to push forward once again.
"The new stadium is not only vital for securing the future of Bristol Rovers, it will also be a massive boost for the local economy, creating many much needed jobs at two different sites.
He added: "I would like to thank everyone who has supported us through this process, especially all those who worked on the Bristol's Not Trash petition.
"It is great news that a small minority group has not been allowed to derail a project that will have such wide reaching benefits to the local community, but we must not lose sight of the costs associated with the delays which for the Football Club alone amount to over £1 million."
The plans for the stadium include a club shop, banqueting and hospitality suite, convenience store, gym, jogging track and teaching space.
The Green Party has spoken out, saying that they regret the judge's decision, but accept the outcome nonetheless.
A spokesman said: "We are pleased that the opportunity was taken to challenge the council’s processes as it is essential for the public to hold public bodies to account and to make sure that the processes they follow are lawful.
"The TRASHorfield campaign has raised large sums of money from the public which shows that many local traders and residents felt that the planning process had unlawfully overridden their objections.
"The very fact that this case got to court demonstrates that there was a case to be answered by Bristol City Council."Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West whose petition in support of the Sainsbury’s plan raised more than 13,000 signatures, said: “It has been such an emotional rollercoaster over the past few months because not just the fans but the vast majority of people who live in the city want Bristol to step up to the plate and be a national and global city that everyone can be proud of.
“It is a victory for common sense – Bristol should never be held to ransom by minority interest groups.”