Bristol Rovers' plans for a Sainsbury's supermarket at the Memorial Ground and a new stadium at the University of the West of England are delayed a week
A DECISION over whether a stadium can be built in South Gloucestershire has been delayed until next week.
Secretary of State Eric Pickles had been due to announce today (February 26) if he would give the go ahead for Sainsbury’s to build a new supermarket on Bristol Rovers’ ground in Horfield, Bristol. If they are given the green light, Rovers’ can progress with its plan to build a new 21,700-seated multi-use stadium at the University of the West of England in Stoke Gifford.
But the minister has asked for more time to make his ruling. Mr Pickles wrote to Bristol City Council saying he needed more time to consider the Sainsbury’s proposal. He is new expected to make an announcement next Tuesday, March 5.
The supermarket plans, which have been backed by Bristol City Council, need approval from the Department for Communities and Local Government. They were the subject of a bitter campaign by nearby independent traders who fear their shops will be forced to close if a large Sainsbury’s store opens nearby.
A spokesman for Rovers said: “The club understands, from Bristol City Council, that the Secretary of State’s department has informed them that the decision in respect of Sainsbury’s planning permission will not now be released until March 5.”
The stadium won planning permission from South Gloucestershire Council in July 2012 and earlier this year, the council agreed to a Section 106 financial deal with the football club.
Construction work is due to begin soon by the club aid it could not afford to build a new stadium without selling its Horfield ground to Sainsbury’s.
Councillors in South Gloucestershire have welcomed the plans, which will provide the district with a large, multi-use facility which will be used for concerts and conferences as well as sporting fixtures.
Chairman of the council’s planning committee Dave Hockey said: “This is a very exciting development for the stadium project and we are delighted to be able to grant formal permission to proceed.
“The stadium will bring many economic, cultural and sporting benefits to the people of South Gloucestershire and surrounding areas and we have been extremely supportive of Rovers and UWE’s plans throughout the development phase.
“We look forward to seeing construction work begin on the site.”