Eric Pickles gives Sainsbury's the green light for Bristol Rovers' Memorial Stadium, meaning University of the West of England stadium can go ahead
A £40MILLION stadium in South Gloucestershire can go ahead after the government this week gave final approval for Bristol Rovers to sell their current ground to a supermarket chain.
Communities minister Eric Pickles announced on Tuesday he would allow Sainsbury’s to build a new store at the Memorial Stadium, in Horfield, despite strong opposition from independent traders on nearby Gloucester Road.
Westminster approval was the final hurdle in a lengthy battle for both developments to go ahead.
It means Rovers can now afford to build the new 21,700-seater stadium on University of the West of England land in Stoke Gifford. The stadium, which will also be used for concerts and business conferences, already has planning permission granted by South Gloucestershire Council last summer and has been widely welcomed as the district’s first large venue.
Rovers chairman Nick Higgs said: "This is great news as we move one step closer to making a reality of our dream for a new stadium at the UWE Campus."
He said a financial deal with Sainsbury’s still needed to be signed but work was due to start on the new stadium this summer.
"There are a couple more bridges to cross; the section 106 which we hope Sainsbury's will sign in the next few weeks and the three-month Judicial Review period," said Mr Higgs. "But we are currently on course to start work in the summer."