A Christmas Gift For You

More news buried in the depths of Christmas . ..

It looks like Bristol City FC have submitted their revised planning application for their new stadium to meet the requirements of the planning committee meeting back in November:

The covering letter (above) and the other files here give more details. Some of the highlights are:

The application sees the withdrawal of the refused “Southlands” residential development and the causeway road linking it to the stadium. There’s a nice little implied threat in the letter about this too:

“our client has considered alternative options such as seeking a further independent review of viability calculations but has decided to withdraw this element as a measure of goodwill and reaching an acceptable solution for the Stadium proposal”

This roughly translates as:

“You have seen through our claims regarding the financial viability of the project and we know damn well that if we challenge this it will likely end up with our financial projections entering the public domain and being subjected to a greater level of scrutiny by individuals less accommodating than Bristol City Council.

“However, we will make it look like we have a case anyway and out of the kinddness of our hearts we have decided not to pursue it, despite having implied during the original application that it would be almost impossible to proceed with the stadium if Southlands was refused permission”

The Travel Plan was another major concern at the original planning meeting but is nowhere to be found in the new application – even though there’s supposed to be a 28-day consultation period prior to the relevant planning committee meeting and the developers assure us there will be a meeting in early February 2010.

At present, Development Control South and East meetings are scheduled to meet on 27 January and 17 March. Presumably they are talking about an Extraordinary meeting then? The date of which the planning officers have arranged with the developers without telling the general public?

Moving on, the northern pedestrian link has been removed – this was a footbridge from the stadium site to Ashton Vale Road in the industrial estate.

Instead, there is a proposal for a new eastern footbridge over the Portishead railway line (and the proposed BRT route) to Baron’s Close – which leads to the Wedlock Way roundabout on Winterstoke Road – to provide the pedestrian link to the stadium asked for by Bristol City Council.

This will be subject to a separate planning application. So it’ll be interesting to see how the city council approach this. Will they insist that the footbridge is constructed before the stadium itself?

There has also been talk of pedestrian access across Winterstoke Road. But how will this be funded? Any potential S.106 developer contributions towards a pedestrian route across Winterstoke Road have already been waived and will have to come out of the public purse instead …

With no sign of the updated Travel Plan including use of Park and Ride facilities – for Long Ashton and elsewhere – and the implementation of a Resident Parking Zone (RPZ), the problem of supporters’ travel and car parking persists. This was a major cause of North Somerset’s refusal to grant planning permission for the stadium’s road access and could still present a major hiccup.

The pedestrian link mentioned above also raises the question that if an RPZ is imposed in Ashton Vale and Long Ashton, supporters may be tempted to continue to park in the Ashton Gate area and use the new pedestrian link to get to the stadium.

If this massive Sainsbury’s is built, this means residents around Ashton Gate may still have the parking problems associated with a professional football stadium plus further aggravation from traffic associated with a giant superstore.

Of course, Bristol City Council do currently have a car park at Ashton Gate on a long-term lease to the football club, which would be directly opposite the new footbridge for the eastern pedestrian link … Shame they’re so keen to build a superstore on it isn’t it?

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6 Responses to A Christmas Gift For You

  1. dreamingspire says:

    Happy New Year, BB!
    In the Memorial Stadium planning applications, the travesty of a Travel Plan was and remains a serious bone of contention. Not only cannot you move several thousand people in 30 minutes with half a dozen buses that are stuck in the gridlock, neither is there anywhere near the Mem for those buses or the footpaths on the roads for the people. It seems that the City Council cannot count and cannot measure the space not available when it comes to travel planning for events, although it IS at last beginning to understand vehicle volumes going (or not going) through a few junctions. Look very carefully for the City Stadium Travel Plan, count the numbers and work out the spaces needed – and then holler loudly about it.
    As for the Mem, we look forward to it being moved to the wide open spaces of South Glos.

  2. Richard Lane says:

    It could also be translated as “we can’t waste any more time at present on this issue and risk delaying the stadium build date, with FIFA coming to evaluate Bristol and the new stadium we would be better exploring other ways of raising revenue”.
    It depends how cynical you are.

    Why would they need a footbridge before the stadium is built?

    There is a travel plan which was recommended to be approved by the city planners, it was also deemed to be robust by North Somerset planners and then totally ignored by the committee. The question was raised by the councillor for Horfield but deemed not relevant for discussion at that meeting but could well be debated at the new meeting.

    To correct this article.
    The new supermarket is not being built on the car park which is leased to the football club, that is staying as a car park and is why it has the value of a car park and not the inflated figure of £4m which has been bandied around by the opposition.

    The supermarket is being built on the stadium site and the carpark of BCFC, that is why this land is more valuable than the council owned carpark.

    Of course Ashton will be used by supporters for parking, there is probably not a development for a stadium in this country which can provide enough parking. With the additional parking found by the club off site and a new travel plan which currently does not exist for the present stadium, even with RPZ for Ashton vale I doubt parking will be any different than at present.

    If I may be so bold, I suggest you spend more time campaigning for something positive to be done in Bristol rather than trying to stop things being done. For example improving the urban train network around Bristol.

  3. Tony D says:

    “The new supermarket is not being built on the car park which is leased to the football club, that is staying as a car park”

    The detailed plans for the proposed Sainsburys superstore have, as yet, still not been made public – although they have public discussed building over the car park areas on stilts (because the proposed store is so large).

    However, the previous plans for Tesco showed a Petrol Filling Station in the middle of the council-owned car park and the indication I was given from those working on the new proposal is that this has not changed.

    Therefore, the council-owned land will not simply be “staying as a car park” unless those behind the new Sainsbury have completely changed their position.

    Is this the case Richard, have the new developers told you they will now not be building a Petrol Fillling Station on the council owned car park?

  4. Richard Lane says:

    I said that the supermarket will not be built on the council car park.
    The planned store is on stilts above the existing football ground car park perhaps to prvide more facilities for the local community, as you say no one is sure yet.
    A petrol filling station might or might not be built on part of the council car park, that will not mean it will not remain predominately a car park. The council will benefit from increased commercial rates if this is the case, they will also have an increased land value at the end of the term of the lease.

  5. Tony D says:

    Richard,

    “I said that the supermarket will not be built on the council car park.”

    Presumably you mean that the actual footprint of the store structure itself will not be on the council-owned car park…..

    Firstly, “as you say no one is sure yet”.

    Secondly, whether or not the structure of the store building itself is on the council-owned car park itself is irrelevant to the value of the land. The council-owned car park land is needed to enable the building of the superstore and thus will have, at the very least, a similar value to the rest of the land even if it is only intended to use it for a car park or “predominately a car park”

    Therefore, if the value of the entire 3.8 hectare site with planning permission for a supermarket is £21m (as stated in the officer’s report) and the council-owned land is roughly 20% of that, then £4m is not in fact an “inflated figure” but a fair reflection of its commercial value, is it not?

  6. Richard Lane says:

    Tony
    If someone wanted to buy the stadium for £20m and use it as a stadium the council car park being a separate plot would not be sold, it’s only value is that of a car park.
    The land being sold is not owned by the council, a lease for a car park is being sold/transferred, this will probably be used for a car park but it could remain unused depending on the success of the proposed supermarket.
    Therefore its only value is for car parking which I will agree makes the BCFC plot more desirable, somewhat like a house in Downend as opposed to Easton.
    If the store were to be built on stilts as has been suggested then the car park may not even be needed as there would be extra parking beneath the store.
    That being the case then the club could keep the lease and continue to use it for parking.
    We don’t know yet.

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