Pub popular with fans 'hopeful' about future without Rovers

April 01 2013
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A Horfield pub manager remains positive after Bristol Rovers Football Club received the final go-ahead to build their new stadium.

Pub popular with fans 'hopeful' about future without Rovers

A local pub manager remains positive after Bristol Rovers Football Club received the final go-ahead to build their new stadium. The Wellington, Horfield

The Wellington has been a popular pub over the years on match days for Bristol Rovers fans because of its close proximity to the Memorial Stadium.

However, after the final approval was given for the development of a Sainsbury's supermarket, the club is now looking forward to moving into a new 20,000-seated stadium, which is to be built on the University of the West of England’s land in Stoke Gifford.

Final approval was given by the Secretary of State, Eric Pickles, on March 12 for Sainsbury's to redevelop the Bristol Rovers Memorial Stadium into a new supermarket.

“Trade does dramatically increase on match days,” confirms James King, The Wellington's newly appointed manager. “It practically doubles.

“However, the amount of people we attract on match days does deter quite a few people,” he added.

James says that he is not overly concerned about the Bristol Rovers move. “We’re just trying to remain hopeful about the pub's future.”

James has been managing the local pub for over five weeks, but has been working for Bath Ales for two and a half years.

He has high hopes for the pub and confirms that The Wellington will be undergoing a refurbishment after the summer. “I just want to create an astounding environment for our customers,” he says.

The development of a new Sainsbury’s supermarket has caused mixed responses from local residents, with campaigns being set up to oppose the build. One of the major concerns raised was the potential impact it would have on local retailers.

However, James believes that the new Sainsbury's could significantly increase the pub’s footfall. 

Bristol Rovers’ chairman Nick Higgs said: “The new car park which forms part of the Sainsbury’s development will allow improved access to the north end of Gloucester Road, which currently suffers with car parking issues. We hope this will help to regenerate what is already a very popular shopping street.

“There will be a huge boost to the local economy, with thousands of construction jobs, and hundreds of full and part time jobs for local people.”

Mr Higgs said the club was delighted that the Secretary of State approved Sainsbury’s planning application, and that no further scrutiny is required.

“Since being at the stadium we have built up strong relationships with many local businesses and the local community - we hope these can continue when we move to the new stadium as it is only 1.5 miles away,” he said.