Bristol Rovers chairman Nick Higgs was already planning for life without Bristol Rugby
Bristol Rovers chairman Nick Higgs had been planning for life without Bristol Rugby a long time before they announced that their future lies in a ground-share with Bristol City.
The rugby club, who are owned by Bristol City majority shareholder Steve Lansdown, have confirmed that they will play either at a new stadium on land at Ashton Vale or at a redeveloped, 26,000-capacity Ashton Gate.
Bristol Rugby have been tenants at the Memorial Stadium since the football club took sole ownership in 1998 - but a long association between the two clubs will come to an end before Rovers' scheduled move to their proposed new stadium at Stoke Gifford at the start of the 2015/16 season.
Work is scheduled to begin at the site this summer, providing the Secretary of State rubber stamps approval for Sainsbury's to build a superstore on the current Memorial Stadium site – a decision that is due to be revealed on February 15.
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And Higgs today confirmed that Bristol Rugby's decision to up sticks and move across the city makes no difference to Rovers' plans going forward whatsoever.
He said: "It's business as usual as far as our plans for the stadium are concerned. We never entered any revenues coming from the rugby club in to our planning for the new stadium.
"There was obviously provision for us to house them, but it wasn't central to our business planning. The fact they are moving out makes no difference to us whatsoever.
"We have a very good working relationship with the rugby club so it isn't really a big surprise. We'd known for some time that it was unlikely that they would be coming to the new stadium with us.
"Chris Booy (rugby chairman) called me on Monday and we had a long chat about it and I fully understand their position."
Bristol Rugby recently renewed their agreement to extend their stay at the Memorial Stadium until the end of next season and Higgs added: "I don't know what will happen after that.
"We discuss the licence on a season-by-season basis so we'll sit down again at the end of this year and see where we are both are at that moment in time."