Bristol Rovers celebrate after Judicial Review is dismissed

Gazette Series: An artist's impression of how Bristol Rovers' new stadium in South Gloucestershire will look An artist's impression of how Bristol Rovers' new stadium in South Gloucestershire will look

A JUDICIAL Review into complaints planning permission for a Sainsbury's to be built at Bristol Rovers' current ground has been dismissed.

Judge Mr Justice Hickinbottom has ruled the action brought by TRASHorfield (Traders and Residents Against Sainsbury's Horfield), against Bristol City Council's approval of the plans, should not be upheld.

The decision today follows a two-day hearing at Bristol Civic Justice Centre last Thursday and Friday, means Rovers can afford to go ahead with a new stadium in South Gloucestershire.

The club already has planning permission for the 21,700-seater at the University of the West of England in Stoke Gifford. The project was in doubt when TRASHorfield announced it was taking its case to Judicial Review because the club cannot afford to build the new stadium without selling its current ground to Sainsbury's.

Club staff and fans celebrated the news outside court this lunchtime.

Toni Watola, Rovers' director of finance, said on Twitter: "We always felt we had a strong case and we are delighted. This is another step towards the new stadium."

Club chairman Nick Higgs said: “I am delighted that common sense has prevailed, and the right decision has been made here today.

“This delay has cost us a lot of time and money, but we are now able to push forward once again.

“We will now work closely with our partners at UWE, Sainsbury’s, South Gloucestershire Council, Bristol City Council and Buckinghams to finalise the outstanding contractual issues which have been slowed down because of this process.

“Once these have been ironed out, we still aim to be on site to start the build in the summer, with the hope of moving into the new stadium during the 2015/16 season.

“The new stadium is not only vital for securing the future of Bristol Rovers, it will also be a massive boost for the local economy, creating many much needed jobs at two different sites.

“We will also be providing state of the art sport facilities to the local community – something that Bristol and South Gloucestershire has been crying out for for some time."

He added: “I would like to thank everyone who has supported us through this process, especially all those who worked on the BristolsNotTrash petition.

“It is great news that a small minority group has not been allowed to derail a project that will have such wide reaching benefits to the local community, but we must not lose sight of the costs associated with the delays which for the football club alone amount to over £1million.”

“The stadium project is a very exciting development for South Gloucestershire and we were pleased to be able to grant formal planning permission for the scheme in January last year.

“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.”

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