PLANNING approval for a supermarket in Bristol means a multi-use stadium can be built in South Gloucestershire, sparking celebrations across the district.

Bristol City Council’s planning committee has given approval for a new Sainsbury’s store to be built on Bristol Rovers Football Club’s current ground in Horfield.

The go ahead means the club can sell the land and pay for a new 21,700-seater stadium to be built near the University of the West of England’s Frenchay campus.

Rovers chairman Nick Higgs said the new stadium would create thousands of jobs and give Bristol a facility to rival other cities.

He said: “As chairman of Bristol Rovers, I can say that we have been looking for an opportunity to do this for 25 years.

“In these austere times, it would be a travesty not to take advantage of the development investment on offer and jobs that would be created for local people.”

Bristol councillors voted 6 to 3 to allow the supermarket plans after objections were raised by independent traders on nearby Gloucester Road.

The decision has been welcomed in South Gloucestershire.

Cllr John Calway (Con, Longwell Green) said: "This flagship project is a massive boost for South Gloucestershire, our local economy and for our continuing efforts to secure a sporting and cultural legacy to the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“I pay tribute to the council officers who have worked tirelessly with UWE and Bristol Rovers over many months to get us to this all-important milestone."

Chairman of one of the authority’s two planning committees, Cllr Dave Hockey (Lib Dem, Frampton Cotterell) said: “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.”

In July 2012, South Gloucestershire Council gave the green light to plans for the stadium, which will be used for football matches as well as concerts, conferences and other sporting events.

On Friday, Rovers announced it had signed an agreement with the council to pay for road and transport improvements in the vicinity of the university.