It’s really nice that Tory Councillor Peter Abraham of Stoke Bishop is such an enthusiastic cheerleader for a Tesco superstore to be built miles from his ward in Ashton on the site of Bristol City’s current Ashton Gate stadium.
It’s even nicer that he’s also right behind the efforts to bring the 2018 World Cup to Bristol and that it’s been pencilled in to be hosted in Steve Lansdowne’s new, as yet unbuilt, ‘Greenbelt Stadium’ in Ashton Vale. You know, the stadium he doesn’t actually have planning permission from Peter’s council for yet.
But has Councillor Abraham really thought this all through before shooting his gob off? Because some World Cup arrangements might come as a bit of a shock to Councillor Abraham and the well-heeled residents of Stoke Bishop he represents.
If Bristol becomes a World Cup host city, it also has to provide a dedicated “fan park” throughout the tournament. This is a large open area set up with giant screens to allow fans who don’t have tickets to watch the matches.
The obvious venue for this might be Ashton Court but if a new stadium in Ashton Vale is hosting matches then the Police would almost certainly rule Ashton Court out because of traffic constraints.
So where else is there a large open space relatively close to the city centre’s transportation hubs that can be made available to show live matches for the length of the tournament?
Yep, Cllr Abraham may not have realised that a successful bid could see The Downs on his own doorstep hosting potentially rowdy football fans on 25 separate days over the course of the tournament with the show open from 2pm until Midnight and average crowd sizes of around 20,000!
Jumpers for goalposts anyone?