Plans for revamped Memorial Stadium

August 24 2017

Bristol Rovers will look to develop their current ground at their Memorial Stadium in Horfield, owner Wael al-Qadi confirmed in early August, after failing to agree on plans for a new 21,000 capacity stadium at the University of West of England.

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Bristol Rovers will look to develop their current ground at their Memorial Stadium in Horfield, owner Wael al-Qadi confirmed in early August, after failing to agree on plans for a new 21,000 capacity stadium at the University of West of England.

Despite many planning disputes over the land during the last decade, including a lengthy high court battle with Sainsbury’s after it pulled out of a deal to build a supermarket on the land, there is support locally for a sensitive development of the ground, which is similar in size to Everton’s stadium.  

The club was purchased by Jordanian Football Association member Al-Qadi's family in February 2016, shortly before the club won promotion to the third tier of English football. 

Wael Al-Qadi has declared that he’s keen to include a safe standing area as part of a revamped Memorial Stadium. The UWE proposal would have involved the sale of the Memorial Stadium, where Rovers have played since 1996 but Al-Qadi says that redevelopment was always an alternative if the club failed to agree terms with UWE.

Campaigner Jamie Carstairs raeacted to the decision by asking  what a fitting and proportionate redevelopment would be and emphasising the importance of creative solutions to match day transport and parking issues. He called for  constructive dialogue to help bring about a successful planning application.

Jamie said: “Friends of the Memorial Ground (FOMG) broadly welcome the recent proposal to rebuild Bristol’s famous sports ground. 

“It is heartening that a revitalisation of this very special war memorial sports ground will herald its centenary in 2021, granting a new lease of sporting life for the coming decades.

“The Memorial Stadium is embedded in the local community: around it are people’s homes and gardens; nearby pubs, cafes and food outlets sustain visiting football fans. The sports ground gives character and historical significance to the residential area.  Dwane Sports Limited now have the opportunity to enhance the site’s huge potential, and its Bristol Rugby heritage, and make it Rovers’ own – for football.

“Previous redevelopment proposals have foundered for not respecting the war memorial status of the site and ignoring the valid concerns of local people.  

“Avoiding these mistakes is possible through genuine consultation with neighbours and nearby residents, as well as with Rovers fans, community groups (including The Bishopston Society), local councillors, and the council.  

“Bristol Rugby former players and FOMG would support landscaping improvements around the listed entrance gates and their professional restoration.  

"Dwane Sports Limited, being the owners of the gates, could apply for a grant for this work (http://www.warmemorials.org/grants/).  

“The revamped sport ground could once again proudly be Bristol’s great war memorial, actively honouring the war dead through sport, as intended by its founders.”