This weekend’s Cancer ‘EXCLUSIVE‘ by Ian “The Tumour” Onions claiming Stevie Lansdown has ditched his Tesco on Ashton Gate plan in favour of a Sainsburys on Ashton Gate plan asks more questions than it answers.
Like where the hell did this story come from? Is it true? And who was the source?
The story certainly didn’t appear to come from the club who initially met Onions’ story with a firm “no comment” and then kicked the story further into the long grass today, assuring fans on their website that the existing ‘Tesco’ application is set to go to a planning meeting on November 11.
Nor did the story come from the Supporters Club who told the Blogger on Saturday, “[We] can confirm that the existing application has NOT been withdrawn.”
Why on earth would the club give the Cancer a story and then decline to comment on it beyond rejecting one of its central claims? Namely, that “[the] planning application which was due to be heard next month at a special council meeting is expected to be withdrawn.”
So where else might this story have come from?
Well, Bristol’s Lib Dems seem happy to talk about it. Their Deputy Leader, “Sweaty” Cook appeared on BBC Points West on Saturday evening merrily commenting on the non-story.
He then popped again in today’s Cancer. “I can’t really say anything,” he announced before er, saying quite a lot more on the topic!
Meanwhile on this blog over the weekend Gary Hopkins smugly told us: “Well I did warn you to expect suprises (sic).”
Well, I suppose it is a surprise of sorts Gary, that the Lib Dems are now telling the football club who to sell their ground to from the front page of the Evening Post.
Although it’s somewhat less of a surprise that the club’s ignoring you.
Who’s idea was all this then?
Even if BCFC are in talks with Sainsbury it makes sense that they aren’t withdrawing the application.
If it passes, then it gives Tesco the opportunity to renegotiate and outbid Sainsbury. It also sets a precedent: if the current plan is passed, then it would be difficult to reject Sainsbury’s plans next year.
However, if the current plan is rejected then it’ll give Sainsbury handy pointers for what not to do in their own plans.
The argument has changed from “should there be a new supermarket / City ground?” to “which supermarket should it be?”. Clever. Gotta admire how these guys work.
Shrewd observation by roomaroo above.
I would add that having the current application go to the Planning Committee but fail could serve as a face saving device for the council, who will then appear to be slightly less of a pushover.
Then when they approve a new supermarket application in the spring they can pretend that they have driven a hard bargain and forced concessions on the applicants.
So it makes some sense for BCFC and the Council not to withdraw the current application even if they expect that it will be rejected on the 11th.
However weren’t we earlier led to believe that the FA needed a ‘minded to approve’ on both applications by the 14th to include Bristol in their World Cup bid?
If that still holds true then might they be hoping for a ‘minded to approve’ but with reservations over the amount of additional retail space being created in the area which would point towards a Sainsburys type ‘compromise’?
Avon wildlife trust now have a letter to upload objecting to the developement.
Given Tesco apparent withdrawn (for now) and the clubs unwillingness to comment to either the media or the planning officers on the status of the application – I expect they’re sweating away trying to decide what to do. Only one slightly disinterested bidder isn’t a strong negotiating position to clinch a quick or profitable deal. As for Sainsburys, they will be in no hurry to move unless they get an huge shed on stilts (Ikea style) with lovely views of the park. It could take the club a very long time to realize this is a no-goer.