PM backs MPs over Sainsbury’s

August 04 2014

DAVID Cameron has told MPs that he hopes Sainsbury’s will “press ahead” with their plans for a new store on the Memorial Stadium site.

DAVID Cameron has told MPs that he hopes Sainsbury’s will “press ahead” with their plans for a new store on the Memorial Stadium site.
The Prime Minister was replying to Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie, who said that the “speedy completion” of the deal with Rovers was vital for jobs, business growth, homes and rail infrastructure as well as the sporting facilities.
Ms Leslie asked him: “Does my Right Honorable Friend agree that the speedy completion of the Sainsbury’s and Bristol Rovers deal is a key part of Britain’s fight back to prosperity ... Will he do all he can to hasten the completion of this Sainsbury’s deal?”
Last month, Ms Leslie and Bristol’s three other MPs, Stephen Williams, Dawn Primarolo and Kerry McCarthy wrote to Sainsbury’s chief executive Justin King, telling him that it was crucial that final details were sorted.
Sainsbury's responded, confirming its commitment to Bristol, but failed to give a concrete answer for its planned store on the Memorial site.
In the the MPs' letter, they also said if Sainsbury's were to pull out of the project, it would be “catastrophic” for Bristol.
The MPs told Mr King: “We welcome the fact that after a long period of expensive legal proceedings, the sale of the Memorial Stadium site to your company now triggers extremely exciting, and indeed game-changing, developments for the city of Bristol.
"Bristol is in desperate need of an arena fit for the 21st century. Such a ground would not only benefit Bristol Rovers FC, but also the university and wider business community across the South West.
“Because of the obvious importance of these plans to our city, we write not only to welcome this development, but ... urge you to conclude any last remaining elements of this agreement with Bristol Rovers FC as soon as possible.
“We note from the financial press that your company has announced the shelving of a number of proposed developments. We sincerely hope that this does not affect the Memorial redevelopment, as the consequences could be catastrophic for Bristol and, it goes without saying, the reputation of Sainsbury's in the South West.”
The plans for the new stadium experienced delays last year when a legal challenge was launched by campaign group TRASH.
The judicial review, which questioned the validity of the planning permission granted to the development, was rejected by a judge.
A further move to stop the project – by having the stadium site listed as a war memorial – was also thrown out.