Bristol Rovers get go-ahead for £40m stadium
BRISTOL Rovers have been handed their planning permission documents for their new £40 million stadium at Stoke Gifford.
This follows the signing of Section 106 agreements – legally binding contracts on a range of issues linked with the project.
Work is expected to start in the summer with the stadium ready for the start of the 2015 season.
South Gloucestershire councillors gave planning permission last July but it has taken until now for the agreements to be finalised.
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Club chairman Nick Higgs said: "I'm delighted that all the legal agreements have now been finalised and the planning permission is now live.
"We hope Sainsbury's can now do the same with Bristol City Council over the supermarket plans at Horfield and we hope to start work on the UWE Stadium in June or July."
John Calway, leader of South Gloucestershire Council and the Conservative Group, 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."
Lib Dem Councillor Dave Hockey, who is chairman of the council's planning committee which gave consent, said: "This is a very exciting development for the stadium project and we are delighted to be able to grant formal permission to proceed.
"We had extremely positive negotiations over the scheme's Section 106 provisions and are confident that the measures agreed with Bristol Rovers and UWE will address concerns raised by local people, especially in relation to transport, parking and crowd control before, during and after events.
The Liaison Group to be set up from the start of construction will enable local residents to be involved.
"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."
The latest step towards the new stadium follows a landmark decision last week when Bristol councillors gave permission for a new Sainsbury's store at the club's current ground in Horfield.
The decision was crucial for the club because it needs the funding from the store to help pay for the stadium.
Work on the store will not start until the 21,700-seat stadium is finished.
The decision also means a windfall of more than £1 million for the city council because of a levy that the supermarket chain will have to pay.
Under new Government rules, developers have to pay a Community Infrastructure Levy based on a formula which takes into account the size of the new development.
The new UWE Stadium is being built as a result of a unique partnership with the University of the West of England which owns the brownfield site.
Part of the deal means that a new car park will be built for students as well as fans on match days which will unlock the existing Car Park 20 at UWE's Frenchay campus for redevelopment.
The university is hoping that hundreds of new homes and a retirement village will eventually be built on the site and adjacent land.
If these plans go ahead, they will help fund a new £25 million academic block at the university.
In all, the new stadium will trigger £150 million of new investment and create hundreds of jobs as well as thousands of temporary construction jobs.