Local support for Bristol City FC Stadium Plans
Tue 2nd Nov 2010 | Football Stadiums & Facilities
Bristol City Football Club understands that an independent poll has confirmed that an overwhelming majority of Bristolians supports plans to build a new world-class stadium at Ashton Vale, Bristol.
The poll carried out by ComRes on behalf of ITV shows that 64% of people who live in Bristol think that plans to build the stadium on the planned site in Ashton Vale should be allowed to go ahead. The poll also shows that a majority of people living in the immediate vicinity of the planned stadium also think that the stadium should go ahead on the site.
Planning permission was granted for the £92 million stadium and neighbouring wetlands and wildlife area by the City Council in February this year, following a three-year application process.
However, in September the Council received an independent planning inspector's report recommending that the site - half of which is a former landfill site - be given special designation as a town green.
The report was invoked by a small number of residents who live nearby and are against the stadium plans.
Commenting on the results of the poll, Bristol City FC chief executive Colin Sexstone said: "We are not surprised by the outcome of the poll. The numbers speak for themselves; 64% of people living in the city back our plans to build a new world-class stadium for Bristol on this site. More than 21,000 people have already signed the City United petition, so even before the results of this poll were published by ITV we knew of the phenomenal and overwhelming support for the stadium plans.
"The priority for us now is to press on, to find a solution to the village green challenge that works for everyone, and to make the stadium happen. We believe that we have uncovered compelling new evidence to put before Bristol City Council before it makes a decision on village green status, but it the meantime we remain willing to talk to anyone about the site.
"Even locally, the poll shows that a clear majority of people living in the vicinity of the new stadium and wetlands development support the plans. We appreciate, of course, that that doesn't mean that everyone living nearby supports our plans. Change on this scale can be difficult for local communities, and we appreciate that our plans have caused division and
differences of opinion. Whilst we remain utterly committed to building this new stadium at Ashton Vale, we do want to take as many people as possible with us because we want to build a stadium for everyone in the community to benefit from. We will continue to listen hard and work hard to do just this."
The development is expected to bring upwards of £150million investment to Bristol and provide more than 6,000 new jobs, all of which would increase if England wins the World Cup bid. If the village green recommendation is overturned, and if FIFA pick England to host the 2018 World Cup when they meet in Zurich on 2 December, it would secure Bristol's dream of becoming a FIFA 2018 World Cup host city, as well as a contender for the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
The City United stadium campaign has also won the full backing of local MPs, heads of business, other sports clubs and community leaders.
Steve Lansdown, Chairman of Bristol City FC, who originally bought the land with a view to building an international standard sporting venue, said: "The planning process was comprehensive and exhaustive, and the 'exceptional circumstances' required to develop on this site were proven - largely because of the immense value it would bring to the community, and in particular a much-needed boost to the regeneration of South Bristol.
"I bought the site specifically to give BCFC a new home and Bristol a world-class stadium that is capable of hosting World Cup football. Bristol City FC has been at the heart of the community for over 100 years, and we want to stay at the heart of the community for another 100 years.
"We fully appreciate that change can sometimes be difficult for local communities, but we want to do our best to be a good neighbour to the local community in Ashton Vale - the stadium plans already include a new wildlife and wetlands area, for example, which we hope will become a much-valued new amenity for the community."
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