Bristol City stadium town green bid could destroy the reputation of Bristol
BRISTOL'S reputation could be destroyed by a town green proposal to stop the new £92 million football stadium being built at Ashton Vale, according to a leading firm of property consultants.
King Sturge, the south west's largest firm of international property consultants, has described the ploy by residents who live near the site as a spoiling tactic to stop the stadium being built.
Jeremy Richards, partner in charge of the firm, said the town green application would seriously damage Bristol's business image both nationally and internationally.
He said: "Bristol is almost unique among UK and European cities in not having a major sports venue.
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"The recent reversal of plans for a city stadium was a major set-back for Bristol's credentials, and this new threat to plans for the Ashton Vale development just reinforces the image of Bristol as a city that cannot deliver an international venue.
"Research has shown the economic prizes won by cities that have hosted international sporting events. Without that Ashton Vale development, Bristol will again sink back into the background.
"More to the point, Bristol is currently competing with cities throughout Europe to attract inward investment and the jobs that go with those investments.
"While the community battle over Ashton Vale may seem like a local issue, it is being reported and viewed throughout the world, in this age of global news media.
"This latest Bristol blockage to creating something big has every prospect of damning the city's image", Mr Richards warned.
He argues that delivering the new home for Bristol City, to support the World Cup bid, will be a major plank in Bristol's bid to attract inward investment and jobs.
He said: "I applaud the stadium opponents in choosing this 'town green' proposal – it's a clever initiative for their very local aims but it has the potential to destroy Bristol's hopes of economic development. This is a moment for Nimbys to think about the greater good."
The club launched a national campaign last week to collect evidence to fight the town green proposal.
An independent inspector has recommended that the entire 42-acre site should be designated as a town green following a public inquiry in May. The inspector could be asked to review the case if "significant" new material is produced. The deadline for submissions is Thursday, October 7.
The final decision whether to register the scrubland as a town green lies with the city council which backs the stadium plans and has granted planning permission.
Three petitions which have been launched by the club and supporters have already raised more than 16,000 names.
They hope to raise a total of 30,000 – one for each seat at the new stadium before the deadline.