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Plans to rebuild Ashton Gate revealed… the Hypermarket nightmare is ditched…or is it?

February 5, 2013

At last.. the Bristol Sport group managing affairs of the football and rugby clubs, has come up with new plans to redevelop Ashton Gate. This is the option many people have been supporting for as long as the Ashton Vale stadium proposals were first made public.
As history has now shown, the club and the council leaders at that time colluded in secret to force through planning consents for the building on greenbelt and the construction of the biggest hypermarket in the South West at Ashton Gate. It began with great fanfare over hopes for bringing a world cup game to Bristol, misleading the public on the way with the potential financial burden to the city.
But the plans were shown to be wrong on many counts. Contrary to local strategic core planning, damaging to communities, gerrymandering the planning committee’s….etc. The most damaging aspect perhaps the way in which fans and local residents most of whom are but two sides of the same coin, were set against each other in an unprecedented way. The fans used as a battering ram for a supermarket chain, to indimidate locals into submission ..that the residential community should be sacrificed at the altar of blind faith and ambition for the beloved red shirt.
What the club and landowners and council leaders at that time discounted was the tenacity with which locals would fight back..they were not for lying down and letting their greenbelt be destroyed and their residential and shopping streets blighted.
The campaigns started with the fight against Tesco, the original supermarket vultures who had their sights on hoovering up the region. Hear what what the odious Terry Leahy thinks of the ‘medieval high streets’ and the ‘costs outweigh the benefits’? This former leader of the empire of horseshit burgers knows how to undercut the local shops and drive the high streets out of business, as his bulging bonuses testified.
Sainsburies then waded in with and even more monstrous shed, the cathedral of hypermarkets dwarfing even the parish hall sized Asda Bedminster.
But its the town green law that appears to have finally scuppered the over ambitious developers. Enshrined in English law is the ancient laws of protection of Town and Village green. That doesn’t just mean a duck pond as the ignorant would have it. It means amongst other things the open land that generations have used for recreation and enjoyment. Ownership of land is not just a blank card for sending in bulldozers. Especially when it comes to a wildlife rich greenbelt on the edge of a sprawling metropolis.

So where are we now? The club says it will continue to challenge the town green decision when it finally comes up for discussion again in October, yet at the same time it is going ahead with the laudable plans to redevelop the gate.
Something doesn’t quite add up there. I say to Martyn Griffiths chairing the Bristol Sport Group

now is the time to move on from Ashton Vale.

There is a new feeling in the city with new administration, mayor and maybe a new sense of co-operation.
The biggest gesture the club could now make would be to focus its energy on making Ashton Gate stadium an exemplary example of how a football club and now rugby club can cement its place in its traditional home in the heart of the community, rebuild for the future and put to rest the years of battling and community conflict.

  1. Bobs permalink
    February 6, 2013 1:13 pm

    Spot on.

    Could not agree more.

  2. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    February 8, 2013 1:56 pm

    Even those who dare not say “stay at Ashton Gate” are finding their voices. As Delboy always said, “you know it makes sense”. In this case it most certainly does. C’mon Bris. C’mon you Reds.

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