"Six in bits"? Greenbelt grab nodded through with barely a wimper

Bristol City Football Club are to get a new stadium on the city’s greenbelt at Ashton Vale after councillors voted 7-2 in favour of the controversial development last night.

At a very long meeting featuring a very short debate – skillfully dominated and dictated by Labour old-stager John Bees – the lack of experience of some members of the committtee proved to be a predictable problem.

Lib Dem rookies Fi Hance and Simon Rayner, both clearly unhappy with substantial elements of the plans, failed to ever really assert themselves or their views much at all during the debate allowing Bees to seize the meeting by the scruff of the neck and force a result for the football club with the minimum of fuss.

Ultimately, Rayner and Hance failed to convince their own Lib Dem colleagues – let alone the Labour and Tory establishment figures who were always unlikely to turn down the application – of their genuine concerns.

However, the football club didn’t get it all their own way, the councillors followed officer advice and turned down the ‘Southlands’ housing ‘enabling development’ section of the application that might leave the football club with a funding headache.

The meeting also helped draw out a few facts about the considerable levels of public subsidy going in to the project.

After considerable pressure from councillors, planning officer Richard Mathews finally agreed that waiving £7.5m of s. 106 planning gain payments represented “a public subsidy”.

“If you want to call it that,” he insouciantly told the meeting revealing an odd attitude to large sums of public money and very little interest in the importance of properly funded public services.

Well yes actually Richard, we do want to call it that. If developers are not paying for basic public services like transport, education, health, libraries and so on then the public have to. We can’t just go without them. Therefore developers are being subsidised.

It’s not like most of us are on senior planning officer wages so can afford private education for the kids and private healthcare for ourselves and are in a position not have to give a toss. The majority of people need public services to exist and new, large scale housing developments without them represent an expense for us all to cover.

Under further pressure, when he resorted to making little sense, Matthews appeared to admit that the land at the council-owned Alderman Moore’s former allotments, which will be turned into a housing estate called ‘Moorelands’ by the club, is worth at least £5m and he indicated that this land would be given away by the council to the club for nothing.

That’s £12.5m of public subsidy floating around there then.

Meanwhile, it was something of a personal nightmare evening for Matthew Cockburn, the council’s transport development supremo.

Either poorly briefed or with a lot to hide, he apparently had little idea of the cost of anything to do with transport on the development, and stumbled and mumbled hopelessly through his presentation and then questions from councillors.

However he did eventually confirm – when pressured – that a stadium development would add £5m to the cost of the proposed BRT across the stadium site. Although he claimed some of this cost would be offset by land the football club was setting aside for the BRT route. When pushed on what the value of this land might be, he gave no answer beyond saying that avoiding compulsory purchase of the land would save us some money in legal costs.

So what? It doesn’t even cost in the hundreds of thousands let alone millions to pay lawyers to compulsorily purchase land. Compared to the £5m costs involved, we’re getting little in return if we believe – the admittedly unreliable – Cockburn.

He was equally vague about the impact of the club’s totally flawed transport and travel plans too and offered little in the way of enlightenment about what we might be paying for in terms of transport at the site.

Although most of us probably went away from the meeting with some vague impression that the club would be paying something towards something to do with something transporty at the stadium.

On the basis of this woefully inadequate performance on our behalf, perhaps Mr Cockburn should consider taking a job a little more suited to his abilities? Working on the council’s Park ‘n’ Ride hotline maybe? He certainly shouldn’t be planning complex and costly transport solutions for major developments that’s for sure.

I wonder how much Mr Cockburn’s vagueness and waffling is going to cost us? It’s in the millions anyway.

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63 Responses to "Six in bits"? Greenbelt grab nodded through with barely a wimper

  1. Spud says:

    Jeez, couldn’t you just have said something positive about Rayner and Hance’s refusal to go along with the crowd?
    Rookies they may be, but at least they stood by their principles and voted no.

  2. thebristolblogger says:

    Too many progressives/liberals/environmentalists are more concerned with preserving their abstract “principles” than power.

    Half the time they don’t seem to care if they win or lose if they can show their “principles” are intact and better than everyone else’s.

    Principles aren’t worth a bucket of warm piss if they get well and truly shafted every time they’re confronted by power.

  3. Geoff says:

    Answer me this:

    If the Southlands development is worth £5.5m to the project and is considered not financially important enough to be considered a vital enabling aspect of the over all plan then why is the £7m waiving of fees accepted as large enough to put the whole development at risk? which is what the developers said in their application.

    Either they are both going to stuff the project or neither are going to stop the project – or am I being a bit dim?

  4. chris hutt says:

    “Matthew Cockburn, the council’s transport development supremo.”

    More Dumbo than Supremo. He really looked like someone way out of his depth.

    As for Hance and Rayner, give them a chance. They’ve only been in office a few months and are on a steap learning curve. I think they’re both smart enough to learn a lot from that humiliating debacle.

  5. Seebag says:

    What a disgrace, and it’s not even the case that we have a football team worth the name.

  6. Paul Mizen says:

    There was a question that I did not understand, that suggested that because the stadium contained few environmental and sustainable features in it’s construction, it could hinder the chance of getting The World Cup. Could somebody please explain.

  7. Yes, FIFA has been pushing its ‘Green Goal’ programme for some years now, and it influences the choice of host countries and cities for the World Cup. We put out a Green Party press release about it, together with a more detailed statement from Tony Dyer that went to Cabinet, and I believe Neil Harrison put in a statement to the planning committee on similar lines.

    When the ‘rookie’ councillors raised it, it was embarrassing to see the planning officer explaining that Bristol’s current planning policies give no leverage to make the applicants improve their proposals, which are very weak on sustainability. I think it was said that this issue must be dealt with in the negotiations before it comes back to committee in six months – but I see nothing about that in the final resolution that was passed.

    So the club’s neglect could well lose Bristol its chance to host a World Cup.

  8. Paul Mizen says:

    Thank you Peter. So, if BCFC are genuine in wanting the World Cup, it would be in their and everybody else’s interest to build a “sustainable” stadium.

  9. Bonkers! says:

    7-2 in favour??? This is completely absurd!

    1. Where is the logic in building a stadium when one already exists? The inability of councillors to percieve the real environmental and social impact of this develoment indicates a degree of incompetance beyond all morality. We should seriously question who should be making decisions on our behalf and for the future of Bristol.

    2. Everything has political underpinnings, so if you think this decision has been made aside from aspirations for Bristol to host the world cup you are extremely naive.

  10. Martyn says:

    “sustainability”… oh, yeah – that after thought which should really take precedence in all serious planning applications, especially for a city aspiring to green capital status. Don’t councillors know concrete has one of the highest carbon footprints?

  11. Ashton Vale Supporter says:

    I also want to congratulate Simon Raynor and Fi Hance for being the only two Coucillors who stuck to their values and ethics and voted against the stadium. We need more Councillors like them.

  12. Richard Lane says:

    Martyn

    Could you explain what alternative green materials could be used to build a stadium and what is the comparrison in cost terms?

    I have to say that for people to believe they can use other materials instead of concrete and steel, to build this stadium they are living in cloud cuckoo land.

    It beggers belief what people on this site expect.
    Not one person has put up an alternative practical choice of materials, or come up with a way of making the proposed stadium more ecolocically acceptable.

    I think the truth is that nothing is acceptable in the eyes of protesters.

    Here’s a thought, the worlds population is increasing and if we recycled everything possible for new buildings, housing, protection from the elements and peoples places of entertainment then we’d soon run out of materials and have to start making them again.

    Bonkers

    You have the choice, vote them out.

    What would you do if you had the choice of repairing your bike for £80 and still have an old bike which is expensive to maintain, or buy a new bike that had a three year guarantee and was cheaper to maintain?

    I think your user name is very apt.

  13. Richard,

    If you’re really interested in the ways a stadium can be ‘greened’ – as this one needs to be if it’s to be in with a decent chance of hosting world matches – you’ll find some of the ways more progressive clubs have tackled it by looking at Tony Dyer’s statement (pdf) to the last Cabinet meeting. It’s not exhaustive, but it’s a start.

    As for the embedded energy in the concrete, steel etc, there was a claim in the planning meeting that the extensive use of polycarbonate would reduce the load-bearing need, and therefore the materials required. A more reliable way of reducing mass would be to stay in the same stadium, or to build one to be shared with another club. (My own preference would be straw bales, but I don’t suppose that would draw in the corporate hospitality market)

    None of these things were taken into account when the committee ‘weighed up’ the merits of the stadium proposal – in fact it’s hard to know quite what they did weigh up. There was certainly no attempt to test, to quantify, or even to list, what the benefits to the city actually are.

  14. chris hutt says:

    Richard, surely the most suistainable option is to upgrade the existing stadium rather than demolish it to build a new one and to demolish a perfectly good existing Sainsburys to build a new one.

    Of course you will say that it cannot be done but we have an acknowledged expert in such imaginative upgrades in George Ferguson. I’m sure he could show how the existing structures could be given a new lease of life at a fraction of the cost, as he has done with the Tobacco Factory and the Paintworks.

  15. thebristolblogger says:

    Reuse is, of course, the nearest this city has to a vernacular in architecture.

    Not just the Tobacco Factory but Watershed, Arnolfini etc. Even the doomed Museum of Bristol, once that modern art no-nothing tosser Paul Barnett was sidelined from implementing his ugly modernist rebuild plan, is basically a reuse project (if a botched one).

    Why not Ashton Gate? All this talk about ‘iconic’ stadiums is, frankly, embarrassing and all a bit up-itself and London.

  16. Richard Lane says:

    Peter

    None of those things you mentioned had to be taken into account.
    As you know the recent planning meeting was about the basic question of if a stadium could be built on greenbelt/brownbelt land, it agreed that it could.

    Details about green issues, transport, parking and materials will be discussed in more detail at the later hearing.

    There was no question of it’s green credentials in terms of bidding for the world cup as that is the councils bid, that will include green related things regarding transport, disposable cups, ticketing with transport links and any others the council see fit to include in it’s bid.

    As for the stadium being green/sustainable, it is designed to meet the needs of the club which are at present not attainable or sustainable at the present site when in competition with other clubs, which is the nature of football a competetive industry.

    The plans as they stand are for the main football club of the region to catch up and compete with it’s competitors.

    Chris

    The existing stadium would have to be mostly demolished and rebuilt, would only produce a stadium with a capacity of under 30,000, would not have the additional commercial ventures to give financial stability to the club, would not give the capacity to allow for possible future world cup or international games, meaning the structure would be under used and would still be surrounded on three sides by residential housing.

    George Ferguson likes making silk purses from sows ears, which I also like doing. He has no experience of stadium design or a track record of this as far as I know and you can’t fit a quart into a pint pot which would be needed at Ashton Gate.

    The present Ashton gate site has a limited capacity and in past years regularly had attendances over 30,000 when the capacity was then 42,000.
    This was whilst the team were playing at the top level, this level is attainable again after years of stagnation and under funding by previous administrations.

    The existing Sainsbury store has been trying to increase in size for many years, it suffers from having little storage and as a result needs restocking more frequently, I believe this also means some goods need returning to the depot when there are over stocked items meaning further journeys between the store and the wharehouse.

    The existing site has only one vehicle, one pedestrian and one cycle access point and is therefore difficult and dangerous for many people with disabilities to reach other than by car.

    The fact is that the existing sites for both the football club and the Sainsbury store are too small for their owners future requirements.

    Both new structures will be infinately better in terms of their green credentials even after allowing for the increase in capacities than the existing structures.

    Blogger

    All the buildings you mentioned except for the Tobacco factory required extending in some way and all of them were a change of use,
    an increase in size is not possible at Ashton Gate so a change of use is required.

  17. Just reread the “Six to Fix” – My comments in brackets.

    1. Cut congestion – better transport for all
    (park and ride bus fares increased, some routes lost, no progress with transport authority)
    2. A clean and green city: Better street cleaning, a ‘parkie’ in every park and fight the loss of Green belt. (hmm)
    3. Boost Bristol’s Bobbies (not seen anything on this)
    4. 3 new libraries, 1 new school and 1 new pool (library on Gloucester road now on hold, school decision – deferred)
    5. Beat Gordon Brown’s recession in Bristol: Extra help for small businesses and Council tax kept as low as possible (what help? and Council Tax -I hear Social services is already £4m overspent)
    6. 50% recycling by 2010 & no incinerator

  18. Seebag says:

    If we are going to be green should we not avoid football altogether. After all, the energy wasted in building and maintaining stadia, the huge numbers of miles travelled to view this pointless lottery as to which team are going to manage to put a bag of air into a net more times than the other side, the ridiculous and inequitable rewards that neanderthal thugs receive for playing this game and the social costs of aggressive tribalism all suggest to me that the whole so called sport should be kicked into touch, never to be seen again.

  19. Richard Lane says:

    Seebag

    I personally would love it if you avoided football
    alltogether as well.

    It seems the only way you will be truly green is when you stop using modern mediums, walk somewhere in grass and sackcloth clothing and offer your opinion on things that don’t happen anyway because they haven’t been invented.

    That is unless it’s a game with funny shaped balls that true neanderthals play

  20. Jon Rogers says:

    We are working hard on our “Six to Fix” manifesto pledges. Not easy in a recession, but some progress to report. I think we even have a degree of cross party support…

    (1) Cut congestion – better transport for all

    (a) We have speeded up the implementation of the new 20mph zones. We are pushing for all residential roads to be 20mph where requested.

    (b) Negotiating to get a cashless ‘smart card’ for buses across the city. Working with UWE, Univ of Bristol, First bus, Wessex Connect and our Park & Ride services. Discussions with other Unitary Authorities also.

    (c) Supporting Post’s campaign to switch off traffic lights. Not afraid to challenge the status quo. Innovation and imagination.

    (d) £100,000 extra has been set aside for pedestrian safety

    (e) Cycling City project back on track

    (f) Pushing for an ITA

    (g) Pushing on with timely decisions on Rapid Transit, improved bus networks, South Bristol Link route and even the M32 Park & Ride.

    (h) two adults for price of one on off peak Park and Ride

    (i) working with First Bus to improve services and minimise impact of recession.

    etc, etc.

  21. Jon Rogers says:

    (2) A clean and green city: Better street cleaning, a ‘parkie’ in every park and fight the loss of Green belt.

    (j) 135 acres of Bristol Green Belt land have been struck from Labour’s list for housing and industrial development. We have also challenged the Labour Secretary of State’s Regional Spatial Strategy plans for Urban Extensions.

    (k) The new park keeper service with a parkie for every major park will be launched in February.

    (l) Increased overnight mechanical street sweeping: on main routes and redeploy handcart staff to cover side streets more thoroughly.

  22. Jon Rogers says:

    (3) Boost Bristol’s Bobbies

    (m) We have written with surrounding councils to Home Secretary to demand a fairer allocation of Police funding.

    (n) Better joined-up working between Police and Council with associated drop in crime figures

    etc, etc

  23. Jon Rogers says:

    (4) 3 new libraries, 1 new school and 1 new pool

    (o) New libraries in Whitchurch and Lawrence Hill moving forwards – as Paul comments, there are some issues with third in Bishopston.

    (p) New Bishopston primary school agreed and management arrangements being worked out. Planning meeting rescheduled for beginning of December.

    (q) Feasibility study commissioned for new swimming pool in east Bristol.

    (r) A new school also agreed for St Pauls

    etc, etc

  24. Jon Rogers says:

    (5) Beat Gordon Brown’s recession in Bristol: Extra help for small businesses and Council tax kept as low as possible

    (s) Benefit claim waits dramatically cut, getting help to people who need it.

    (t) 46 new council houses being built – the first new ones for 30 years.

    etc, etc

  25. Jon Rogers says:

    (6) 50% recycling by 2010 & no incinerator

    (u) Labour’s dirty Incinerator has been
    cancelled.

    (v) Plan to get recycling rate up to 50% approved and moving forwards. Already reversed Labour’s decline and should reach 40% in next few months. 50% expected by end 2010.

    (w) Signed up to 10:10 campaign to cut Council’s carbon emissions. Costed plan.

    These are my “off top of head” thoughts on progress. Others may like to correct any or add to them.

    Jon

  26. chris hutt says:

    BristolwestPaul, you mention “park and ride bus fares increased”. The alternative would have been for Bristol tax payers to pay an even greater subsidy to keep the fares artificially low to benefit out-of-Bristol car users. Is that what you favour?

  27. Martyn says:

    The M32 Park & Ride can’t come any sooner as far as I am concerned. Since Cabot Circus and its lure of volumous cheap parking has been attracting more visitors to take part in the theatre of consumerism, the traffic has been stacking up to (and beyond) the StPauls roundabout every weekend. Now that more local car users are being forced back onto the side streets the level of congestion is beginning to feel like any other day of the week.

  28. Meanwhile, back at Ashton Vale….

    Richard, you’re mistaken. This was more than a simple planning application to be measured up against local planning policy to check it was in keeping with ‘material planning considerations’.

    Because breaches of the green belt were involved, and because the applicants were pleading a special dispensation for the ‘enabling developments’, the rules changed.

    Development in the green belt requires the applicant to show that there are ‘very special circumstances’ why permission should be given. Normally this would mean the national interest or some specific operational requirement that couldn’t be met anywhere else. To my mind, the club barely attempted to do that – all we got was some stuff about how Bristol’s city pride demands a bigger stadium, and they hadn’t found anywhere else to put it. The first part was all spin; the second was, at best, debatable.

    ‘Enabling development’ is usually sought as the only means by which ancient monuments or listed buildings can be protected and maintained, eg by developing a corner of a country estate. At the meeting, officers admitted they couldn’t quote precedents for it being used in more conventional applications such as this one. Just as in the ‘green belt’ grab, the test is subjective; it means the committee must decide whether the benefits of the stadium – this stadium, not the idealised dream stadium of the world cup hype – clearly outweighs the disbenefits that come with the enabling development.

    In practice, the committee had no chance to do that. It would only be possible if all the disbenefits were to be defined (including the other enabling development on the Ashton Gate site) to set against a clear appraisal of new benefits this stadium (warts ‘n’ all) means for Bristol. That lengthy report from the officers totally failed to sum up the pros and cons. In practice, it should have given more detail of the alleged funding gap; the value of the lost Sec 106 revenue; the impact of the failure to provide ‘affordable’ homes; the precedent set by loss of green belt; and the impact on local people of the loss of Green space. The applicants (and, perhaps, the officers) should have explained and justified the real, measurable, benefits for the people of Bristol (benefits exclusive to Bristol City owners and fans don’t count in this).

    Without all that, there was no chance of informed debate, and therefore no chance of an informed decision. So it’s no surprise that we didn’t get one.

  29. Seebag says:

    For Richard Lane
    I personally would love it if you avoided football
    alltogether as well. – I do

    It seems the only way you will be truly green is when you stop using modern mediums – eh? how is commenting on a blog not green?

    , walk somewhere in grass and sackcloth clothing – now you’re just being silly

    and offer your opinion on things that don’t happen anyway because they haven’t been invented. – if anyone understands this point could they please explain it

    That is unless it’s a game with funny shaped balls that true neanderthals play – substitute nets with different posts and I’d be saying the same about rugby, and if your’e going to argue that gentlemen play football I’d be very interested to see how you make that case.

  30. “46 new council houses being built – the first new ones for 30 years.” Jon Rogers

    Well this is a lie. I opened a shelterted housing scheme in 1989 – 20 years ago – in Begbrook. Know that was not the last scheme finished. I assume the new housing being built relates to the prefab replacement scheme put in place by Richard Eddy and was a deal that involved bulldozing council tenants out of their homes.

    Jon if you are going to quote things on here try getting your facts right. Glad to see you are doing lots of pushing – how about some real action?

  31. Chris says:

    Seebag – presumably you’re not aware of the server(s) running 24/7 to power this blog and others?

  32. Seebag says:

    That will be the servers running whether or not I comment would it?

  33. Chris says:

    Well, naturally yes. But by continuing to visit and comment you are causing a demand which will be need to be met. Perhaps if you show there’s no need for the servers by discontinuing your presence, the servers can be switched off forever more.

    Now that would surely be green.

  34. Jon Rogers says:

    Sorry Paul

    “Sheltered housing” is not the same as “council housing”. There has been quite a lot of sheltered housing in Bristol. Council houses are ordinary houses, built by the council, for council tenants.

    Jon

  35. Rosso Verde says:

    On Transport all I’ve noticed are ever higher prices and cuts to services (Sunday number 7 has been completely cut for example)

  36. Paul Mizen says:

    Tomorrow, council to propose no housebuilding on Greenbelt. Is this true?

  37. Richard Lane says:

    Seebag

    Being silly? you started it with your stupid stereotypical biased quotes.

    Peter

    You use the English language to say very little.

    You do not acknowledge that this greenbelt land you think so highly of is a former tip, with methane gasses emitting into the atmosphere or that it has no chance of it benefiting the flood plain because of it’s height above that flood plain.

    As for the enabling development on greenbelt and precedents, because the officers didn’t have the answers at the meeting doesn’t mean some don’t exist and what is normal?

    You are typical of all green protesters I have come across, that being you hold high principles on green issues and try to impose your will on others yet live in an urban community (built prior to the greenbelt imposition) and use all modern amenities to decry the modern world.

    Your whole argument is based on how you interpret the situation relating to your green views, not on reality and is only your opinion.

    The reality is, it’s a former tip, Ashton gate is not big enough for the club to compete and is too expensive to develop into a larger stadium if and when the club became more successful.
    The present stadium is underused due to it’s restrictive size, the transport issues will be addressed
    The adjoining developments will help give sustainability to the stadium, more people will benefit from it moving from it’s present site.
    Housing will be built on part of the development which is needed nationally and locally (even if it’s not affordable).
    Visitors to that area will have a hotel to stay in, there will be food outlets to buy meals from, it makes the BRT more financially viable by providing passengers, it makes the possibility of the Portishead railway line opening more likely
    It benefits the people of Bristol who would like to see other events different from football ie: rugby, american football, music events, religious gatherings.
    It gives the business community of Bristol a conference centre of 1,000 capacity that has been needed for years, it gives better facilities for all football supporters visiting (and some of those will be from Bristol)
    It will provide employment during construction and maintaining/servicing the site for many years.

    Finally the bit you seem to hate so much, it gives the city of Bristol the venue to actually bid for the world cup.

  38. chris hutt says:

    Bravo for Richard for putting his case so effectively.

    However I think you’re clutching at straws in suggesting that the stadium is going to have a significant bearing on the viability of a Portishead railway service.

    Travel demand to and from a stadium tends to be massive and uni-directional for very short and infrequent periods of time, so not at all suited to the capacity of public transport which really needs constant, two-way and regular off-peak demand to make it viable.

    The best way for most people to access a stadium would be walking or cycling since those modes can cope very well with that pattern of demand. Walking is already well established as a means of accessing the existing stadium but cycling appears to be minimal.

    It’s a pity the new stadium plans haven’t made more of the potential to build on walking and to encourage cycling. Since the new stadium will be further away from the residential areas and therefore less walkable it might just be that cycling could perform a useful role, if anyone had thought about providing attractive cycling routes to the stadium.

  39. Sorry Paul

    “Sheltered housing” is not the same as “council housing”. There has been quite a lot of sheltered housing in Bristol. Council houses are ordinary houses, built by the council, for council tenants.

    Jon

    This is a new definition – sheltered housing owned by the council is council housing.

  40. Deano says:

    “Your whole argument is based on how you interpret the situation relating to your green views, not on reality and is only your opinion.”

    Change the word “green” to “football” and we have Richard Lane.

    Richard says;
    “The present Ashton gate site has a limited capacity and in past years regularly had attendances over 30,000 when the capacity was then 42,000. This was whilst the team were playing at the top level”

    City spent four seasons at the top level playing 85 home league games – they only had attendances of over 30,000 on four occasions, hardly a regular occurence, and only 1 of those 4 was over 32,000.

    “The existing stadium would have to be mostly demolished and rebuilt, would only produce a stadium with a capacity of under 30,000”

    The club currently have existing planning permission to redevelop three stands to a capacity of 30,000 – that still leaves a fourth stand that could be redeveloped to increase the capacity beyond that – certainly to the 32,000 that would have been enough to cope with 84 of those 85 home games.

    “would not have the additional commercial ventures to give financial stability to the club”

    What additional commercial ventures? The existing proposals for Ashton Gate include a 1,000 seat conference centre and corporate hospitality and media facilities. What other commercial ventures are you thinking of?

    The simple facts are that the club cannot afford to build a new stadium except by selling off its assets and getting public subsidy either direct (i.e land) or indirect (by waiving s.106 obligations and planning policies). The simple fact is that the chairman of the club gambled on buying some Green Belt land because he was sure that the RSS would be adopted and his newly acquired land would be excluded from the Green Belt – but this didn’t happen.

    “Finally the bit you seem to hate so much, it gives the city of Bristol the venue to actually bid for the world cup.”

    No it doesn’t. Because the stadium that the planning commitee is “minded to approve” is not a World Cup stadium. It will cost a lot more money to turn it into a World Cup stadium – money that the club has spent the last few months convincing planners that it doesn’t have. So I imagine that will be yet more public subsidy.

  41. Richard Lane says:

    Chris

    I only said it makes the portishead line more likely, not that it would have a significant effect on it’s viability. That would only come if it went through to Portishead and encompassed a park and ride as well.

    Deano

    The other commercial ventures to assist in the running of the new stadium would be the hotel,
    fast food outlets, increased revenue by more use, increased revenue from better on site catering, larger anticipated crowds, a more desirable venue for international matches, improved parking for these events,
    I could go on but it gets boring.
    These things are not possible at the existing site.

    I think you are missing the point in regards to the existing stadium, there is no chance of increasing the stadium to over 30,000 as the one remaining stand not included in those plans has already been built and cannot be increased in size.
    Since that planning permission was granted
    the plans for one end have been changed and the
    new capacity would be under 30,000, it would cost more than the new stadium to develop.
    Would not have the advantage of increasing in size for any eventual requirements and would still be surrounded on three sides by residential housing.

    I think there is also a question of why this land ever ended up as greenbelt when that definition is that it should not have been used before or is agricultural land, this land plainly is not either.

    There has also been building on this land in the form of the David Loyd centre and the park and ride site.

    It seems to be OK for tennis followers and their elitist clubs and people working in offices to park their cars but not for football and it’s followers.

  42. Deano says:

    Richard

    The Hotel and restaurant will not contribute to the running of the stadium. The land that those facilities will be built on is to be sold to a third-party for approx £1.5m.

    “increased revenue by more use”

    The proposal is for 30 events at the stadium including up to a maximum of 3 concerts and 22 conferences – we have already established that a 30,000 seat stadium including a 1,000 seat conference centre can be built at Ashton Gate – so there is no difference between the two sites.

    “larger anticipated crowds”

    see above

    “better on-site catering”

    see above

    “a more desirable venue for international events”

    see above

    “improved parking for these events”

    There will only be 990 car parking places at the new stadium compared to 500 at the existing stadium. The club anticipate that these will largely be reserved for Corporate guests with only 350 being available for general use. The club are negotiating access to the park and ride site which is exactly what they proposed for the redevelopment of Ashton Gate.

    I could go on but it gets equally boring showing that all these ARE possible at the existing site despite your opinion that they are not.

    “I think you are missing the point in regards to the existing stadium, there is no chance of increasing the stadium to over 30,000 as the one remaining stand not included in those plans has already been built and cannot be increased in size.”

    I don’t think I need to comment on the ludicrous nature of this statement. The Atyeo stand is as capable of being rebuilt as any other stand and it was originally intended to be far larger than it currently is.

    ” it would cost more than the new stadium to develop.”

    Costs for the new stadium development as specified in the financial appraisals submitted by the club to the planning committee were estimated at £120m of which £72m were construction costs. The club’s own estimated costs for the existing redevelopment of Ashton Gate are £62m of which £47m are construction costs.

    “Would not have the advantage of increasing in size for any eventual requirements”

    What eventual requirements? We have already seen that the club only had one game in excess of 32,000 the last time it was in the top flight?

    If you mean the World Cup, surely that is the council’s bid not the club and, in any case, was declared irrelevant at the planning commitee meeting.

    “I think there is also a question of why this land ever ended up as greenbelt when that definition is that it should not have been used before or is agricultural land, this land plainly is not either.”

    The definition of Green Belt has nothing to do with what the land is or was used for. You are confusing the terms Green Belt and “green field”. Green Belt is land that is designated as such to restrict the spread of urban development.

  43. Richard Lane says:

    Deano

    You say all these things are possible at the existing site and then go on to say that there are 490 more parking spaces at the new stadium, that is a lot of parking regardless of who uses them.
    So there is a marked difference between the two sites, mainly that it affords an awful lot more room.

    Your ludicrous statement that the Atyeo stand could be rebuilt larger would be true if you could knock down the houses behind it, because that is what limited its size when built
    It was not finances, it was to do with angle of light and an imposing structure being too close to the houses.

    See before re: residential housing on three sides.

    So it is established that the present ground could not be increased to 30,000.

    It matters not that the bid for world cup host status is the councils, this new venue would be the only one capable of holding it, so not Ashton Gate.
    This may be irrelevant in the present planning process but is none the less still relevant to it’s possible expansion if only temporarily.

    As for attendances in the top flight there were many games where at the time it was acknoweledged that figures of attendance were stated to be lower than actual attendances.
    There were also cup games that attracted well over 30,000 during that same decade.
    This was all in a stadium which had an official capacity of 42,000.

    The cost of building the new stadium are £65 million, you are confused with the overall costs which included Southlands and the other developments.

    These other developments and the expected profits are to pay for the new stadium as well as the sale of the existing ground, nobody has come up with a way of actally paying for the existing ground to be rebuilt whilst advocating this massive expenditure with no way to recoup the costs, please feel free to enlighten us how this could be done.

  44. Martyn says:

    Imagine what amazing things you could achieve if you spent £65 million on the whole city, not just a football stadium and another car park!

  45. ht says:

    Yeh. For £65 million, they could concrete over every blade of grass in Bristol.

  46. Paul Mizen says:

    Am I the only one who finds all these planning issues so complicated? Take today. Lunchtime, on the local news , there was Cllr. Simon Cook advocating a new arena on the greenbelt at Ashton Vale next to the proposed football stadium. Two hours later, I’m in the Council House listening to the announcement of the Proposed Core Strategy, with a big issue made of how it will protect the 100 acres of greenbelt land within the city till 2021. I quote from the document.”Green Belt areas on the city fringes will be maintained to safeguard Bristol’s attractive setting”. “Countryside…….will be safeguarded by maintaining the current extent of the Green Belt.” And there is more. As there is announced the very same day an alternative bid for an arena at Temple Meads, the “no alternative site” argument does not stack up for using the Green Belt. So my point is ,why are the council,through Simon Cook, advocating building on the Green Belt whilst at the same time making a big issue of protecting it?

  47. chris hutt says:

    It’s called politics, saying one thing while doing another.

  48. Deano says:

    Richard, you gave five different examples of how the new site provided something that was not possible at the old site – now you are left grasping at the straw that 490 extra car parking spaces (only 350 of which will available to the general public) will be available whilst at the same insisting the that new stadium will see City regularly attracting crowds of over 30,000 compared to the 15,000 they currently get. 350 car parking spaces for 15,000 extra fans – and this is a good reason to dig up green belt and throw public money around?

    “So it is established that the present ground could not be increased to 30,000.”

    I repeat, the stadium plans put forward by the club to redevelop the existing stadium showed that they could provide a capacity of 30,000 WITHOUT redeveloping the Atyeo stand. Look it up, the plans can be inspected at the Planning Dept in Brunel House. Do some research instead of typing whatever comes into your head.

    “As for attendances in the top flight there were many games where at the time it was acknoweledged that figures of attendance were stated to be lower than actual attendances.”

    The figures for attendances came from Bristol City’s own application for planning permission. Are you suggesting that the club provided false information to a planning committee?

    In direct contradiction of your unsubstantiated claim, the current application mentions that actual attendances are LOWER than sales figures suggest as all Season Ticket Holders are counted regardless of whether they actually attend.

    “There were also cup games that attracted well over 30,000 during that same decade.”

    Your pathetic attempt to expand the timeframe to a decade will be ingnored for the self-serving change of reference point that it is. In the four seasons that City were in the top flight they had 11 home ties in the FA and League Cup plus games in the Anglo-Scottish cup and the Gloucestershire Cup as well as friendlies. The highest attendance for any of these was for a League cup tie against Nottingham Forest which drew a crowd of 25,695. I repeat, do some research.

    “This was all in a stadium which had an official capacity of 42,000.”

    and the club was unable to fill it.

    “The cost of building the new stadium are £65 million, you are confused with the overall costs which included Southlands and the other developments.”

    Once again I repeat the club’s own estimated costs for the existing redevelopment of Ashton Gate are £62m of which £47m are construction costs. Lots of things may have changed but I still believe that £65m is bigger than £62m let alone £47m so please explain your contention that “it would cost more than the new stadium to develop”.

    I also understand that you provided a written statement to the cabinet on 1st October (where you said you question the motives of those opposed to a Tesco – which reminds me, how is your campaign for a “much needed” Tesco going – presumably you will still be campaigning for it?). You also spoke at that meeting.

    You were followed at the microphone by Guy Price who spoke on behalf of the club and said that the stadium would cost “£90m plus”. Did you correct him on his “error”?

    “These other developments and the expected profits are to pay for the new stadium as well as the sale of the existing ground, nobody has come up with a way of actally paying for the existing ground to be rebuilt whilst advocating this massive expenditure with no way to recoup the costs, please feel free to enlighten us how this could be done.”

    I am glad to see that you are finally beginning to admit that the reason for building a new stadium rather than redeveloping the existing one is nothing to do with capability and everything to do with a lack of money.

    As for “enlightening you” – why? when you have done nothing but lie and misrepresent opinion as “facts” over the course of your postings. Here’s an idea, the redevelopment will cost £47m – your chairman has recently sold off £45m worth of shares and also paid himself a dividend of £9m. Why don’t you ask him to invest in your club instead of expecting the “silent majority” who don’t attend football games to subsidise your choice of recreation?

  49. Richard Lane says:

    Deano

    Your first paragraph is contradictory in every sentence and as such not understandable.

    In your second paragraph you admit that I was correct and the Atyeo stand cannot be rebuilt to increase capacity(do some research).

    I expanded the dates to give examples of how the club regularly got attendances over 30,000,
    I did not say they would now get 30,000 as you imply that I did. This figure is I believe achievable with more regular success and to achieve that level of success a new stadium with plenty of room is required.

    So are we agreed that the old ground could only hold 29,000, I’ve done my research.

    You are confused again, the figures I was referring to were past attendances wich were under stated by the previous administrations and was usual practice for football clubs at the time. They were nothing to do with this recent application, so most of what you were writing on this subject was a pathetic attempt to deflect from the issues.

    Many figures are being misquoted, here they are as I see them;
    120m all developments (inc AG)
    90m Ashton vale
    65m new stadium
    25m Other A/vale developments (now reduced)
    30m Ashton Gate
    62m at last estimate redevelop Ashton gate

    These are all random figures and will be misquoted, Guy Price quoted the correct Ashton Vale development figures.

    You are correct I did provide a statement and spoke to the council meeting, it’s much harder than you might think.

    If you read my lead on the petition correctly (do some research), it was for a much needed supermarket, only the title mentioned Tesco and this was to counter the anti Tesco brigade.

    Thanks for your concern about this, I am very happy as it has been very successful in achieving it’s aims.

    Nothing I have said is a lie, if I am guilty of anything it is of underestimating your hostility. Now I know what you are about I will be slightly more guarded before quoting.

    You seem to know a little about me, how about having the balls to put your name to this debate.

    Richard Lane

    Every new ground built has seen an increase in attendances and has generally come with greater success for the football club, even if some are short lived it is generally accepted that the clubs are in better positions than would otherwise be expected, (there are of course exceptions, I’m sure you’ll research and tell me).

    Could you please tell me where the extra 490 parking spaces will come from at Ashton gate, it does not matter who will park in them.

    The reason for building a new stadium is everything about capability.
    The capability to expand if and when needed, this is not possible at Ashton gate.

    You have avoided the question about how to finance the rebuilding of Ashton Gate,
    or are you suggesting that one man should pay for this?

    Please explain how this can be done with extra parking better corporate facilities, better stands and facilities for supporters, because the old plans are not a patch on the new stadium plans.

  50. Deano says:

    Richard,

    I think that those who read your comments and my responses can decide for themselves who has based their posts on facts and who has been making up statements to suit their argument. I am happy enough to let them decide. But just to correct yet again some of your misleading comments.

    You continue to insist that the ground will only hold 29,000 despite there being a previous planning application that provides for a capacity increase to 30,572. This is indicative of your refusal to accept the facts if they do not support your argument. The planning applications are 98/03709/P and 98/03708/F and can be inspected at the Planning Dept, Brunel House by appointment by anybody who wishes to see whether myself or Richard is being honest about this.

    “Your first paragraph is contradictory in every sentence and as such not understandable.”

    It is perfectly simple to understand Richard, you gave five different examples of how the new site provided something that was not possible at the old site. I showed that, in fact, four of those examples are perfectly feasible at the current site if it was redeveloped whilst the final one offers only marginal improvement.

    “In your second paragraph you admit that I was correct and the Atyeo stand cannot be rebuilt to increase capacity(do some research).”

    I admitted no such thing. The stand can be rebuilt and its capacity increased, whether the resulting impact on Ashton Drive residents is acceptable is another matter. The club has shown that they are quite capable of ignoring the concerns of local residents when it suits them, obviously in this instance it doesn’t. Regardless, the capacity of AG can be increased beyond 30,000 WITHOUT rebuilding the Atyeo stand.

    “I expanded the dates to give examples of how the club regularly got attendances over 30,000”

    If you expand the timescale to cover the entire decade of the 70’s (a decade which saw City’s most successful post-war period of on-pitch performances including four seasons of top flight football) you find that in that entire decade the club had attendances over 30,000 for just 4 home league games (2 in 76-77 and 2 in 77-78) and 3 home cup ties (1 in 71 and 2 in 74). In other words from over 230 home league and cup games the club managed to get a crowd beyond 30,000 for just 3% of matches. This excludes friendlies, Gloucestershire Cup and Anglo-Scottish cup ties none of which were above 30,000.

    “You are confused again, the figures I was referring to were past attendances wich were under stated by the previous administrations and was usual practice for football clubs at the time. They were nothing to do with this recent application, so most of what you were writing on this subject was a pathetic attempt to deflect from the issues.”

    You are the one confused. The past attendances which you insist were wrong were used to support the planning applications for redevelopment of Ashton Gate. If you are right about understating attendances then Bristol City FC gave incorrect information to the planning committee when they applied for permission to redevelop AG.

    The link to the current application is that if the club were willing to provided inaccurate information on earlier applications, there is every possibility that they have done it again.

    “If you read my lead on the petition correctly (do some research), it was for a much needed supermarket, only the title mentioned Tesco and this was to counter the anti Tesco brigade.

    Thanks for your concern about this, I am very happy as it has been very successful in achieving it’s aims. ”

    So, you are saying that a petition that is called “Yes to Tesco” and “asks the council to allow the building of a Tesco store at Ashton Gate” is nothing abut a Tesco and has been successful despite the plans to build a Tesco at Ashton Gate having been withdrawn? Interesting conclusion but somehow not entirely unexpected.

    “65m new stadium”
    “62m at last estimate redevelop Ashton gate”

    Thank you for confirming that your earlier statement that AG “would cost more than the new stadium to develop” was wrong.

    “You seem to know a little about me”

    I know nothing about you apart from what you have chosen to make public. That was your decision. Everything I have posted in response to you is in the public domain and can be checked by third parties and discusses the matter at hand.

    Having seen how other indiviuals who have dared to voice reasoned opposition to Bristol City’s plans (or even just have similar names) have had their email addresses, phone numbers and even addresses published on various websites with the obvious intention of trying to get some of the more fanatical supporters to abuse that information I am not going to do the same. You will have to debate the argument not the individual, and use facts that are facts rather than opinion.

  51. Richard Lane says:

    Dean

    Just to correct you (once more)
    Ashton gate cannot be increased to accomodate 30,000 and cannot certainly be increased to accomodate World cup games Or possible International matches. That is why a new stadium is planned.

    You persist in avoiding the obvious restraints regarding the possible expansion to the existing stadium.

    You dismiss the fact that parking on the new stadium would be nearly double that of the existing stadium. This existing parking would also be reduced once redevelopment was carried out, thus making it even worse.

    The proposed extra facilities would not be of a simmilar standard at the existing stadium when compared to the new stadium.

    You still have not come up with a way of financing the redevelopment plans.

    I believe you are using references to proposed stands which are unfortunately out of date. The plans you quote are indeed for the
    redevelopment of Ashton gate but they were assuming that a two tier stand was to be built on the site of the present covered end, this has been reduced to a single tier stand holding only 5,200.

    The Atyeo stand cannot be increased in capacity as you keep claiming without knocking down the houses behind it. (By the way it’s in Ashton Rd not Ashton Drive)

    As for figures of attendance, the present administration can only use official figures.
    You know I was refering to unofficial figures which were frequently manipulated to seem lower, this was common practice in years gone by and you are trying to twist reality.

    I wouldn’t mind anyone checking the figures and printing the correct capacity of each existing and each proposed stand.

    As for the Tesco petition, it was only named (Tesco) as a point of reference to the petition opposing a supermarket at Ashton Gate.

    The building of a supermarket remains very much on the cards and by showing the level of public support for this plan convinced the prospective buyers. So my petition was succesful, be it called Tesco, Morrisons, Waitrose or sainsbury it was described on my petition as a supermarket which it will be.

    Cheers

    Rich

  52. deano says:

    “Ashton gate cannot be increased to accomodate 30,000 ”

    The fact remains that a planning application was granted permission to increase the capacity of Ashton Gate to 30,572.

    “You persist in avoiding the obvious restraints regarding the possible expansion to the existing stadium.”

    You persist in avoiding the obvious fact that a planning application was granted permission to increase capacity to 30,572.

    “You dismiss the fact that parking on the new stadium would be nearly double that of the existing stadium. This existing parking would also be reduced once redevelopment was carried out, thus making it even worse”

    You fail to recognise that adding 440 car parking spaces whilst increasing the capacity at a stadium by 10,000 will do little to reduce the impact of increased car parking. The fact that so many fans travel by car is a problem that 440 spaces will do little to resolve. The amount of car use is a major problem whether it is at the new stadium or the old. As such, the small increase in car parking is a red herring.

    “You still have not come up with a way of financing the redevelopment plans.”

    You have yet to completely convince of a need to redevelop at all – you are currently regularly failing to fill your existing capacity. However, I have already pointed out that you have a wealthy chairman who has quite clearly demonstrated that he has the wealth necessary to invest in the club and redevelop the existing ground. You also have 15,000 fans and, you say, several thousand more waiting in the wings to occupy the extra seats you want to provide. But apparently neither the chairman nor the fans are prepared to invest……why?

    “I believe you are using references to proposed stands which are unfortunately out of date. The plans you quote are indeed for the
    redevelopment of Ashton gate but they were assuming that a two tier stand was to be built on the site of the present covered end, this has been reduced to a single tier stand holding only 5,200.”

    The plans I am referring to are in black and white and available to view by anybody who wants to look at them. Where are the details of the plans you are talking about regarding the covered end? As this stand currently holds 5,500, I am interested as to why the club had plans to reduce its capacity to 5,200 when the entire argument for new development is based on the need to increase capacity?

    “The Atyeo stand cannot be increased in capacity as you keep claiming without knocking down the houses behind it. (By the way it’s in Ashton Rd not Ashton Drive)”

    As I said in my previous comment; “the stand can be rebuilt and its capacity increased, whether the resulting impact on Ashton Drive residents is acceptable is another matter. The club has shown that they are quite capable of ignoring the concerns of local residents when it suits them, obviously in this instance it doesn’t. Regardless, the capacity of AG can be increased beyond 30,000 WITHOUT rebuilding the Atyeo stand.”

    As for your reference to official and unofficial figures, I agree with the club that we should only use official figures. I am not the one trying to use unsubstantiated attendances to support my case.

    The figures for the stands are as follows;
    Williams current 5553, proposed 11543
    Wedlock 5500, proposed 7100
    Dolman 6195, proposed 7680
    Atyeo 4249, no change

    That adds up to 21,497 currently although because of design and safety issue capacity is below 20,000. But the redevelopment would see a capacity of 30,572.

    “The building of a supermarket remains very much on the cards and by showing the level of public support for this plan convinced the prospective buyers”

    Priceless. Did Steve or Colin tell you that directly?

  53. Richard Lane says:

    Dean

    The Atyeo stand is not capable of being increased in capacity under current planning restrictions, so the houses would need to be removed or the ground moved southeastwards, resulting in reduced capacity at the other end .
    By the way it is still in Ashton Rd and not Ashton Drive as you keep saying.

    The current covered end has a capacity of 5,5000, as you say. This was reduced since the plans you refer to were passed, from I believe 6,500. This stand needs rebuilding to pass the new safety certification requirements.

    Current plans to rebuild this stand with modern day facilities, that is where everyone can see the pitch restrict it to 5,200.
    That is why it is being reduced in capacity.
    So with the new stand at 5,200 the new capacity would be 28,672 and not 30,572.

    The whole stadium needs bringing up to modern day standards to meet safety issues, meet the requirements of supporters, improve corporate facilities (to raise revenue for the club) give the club a chance to compete with other clubs (it is a competitive industry which you don’t seem to take into account) and to give the city of Bristol and an awful lot of it’s residents good modern facilities for the future.

    An attendance of say 10,000 people at a football matche is made up of about 20,000 people who attend on different occasions and at varying degrees of frequency.
    6,000 every match 2,000 every other match 1,000 every few games 500 every six games and 500 every now and then.
    So an average attendance of 15,000 people is made up of about 30,000 people who attend at different times, these are approximate figures which if you want you can research.

    The object is to get more of them attending more frequently by improving facilities and being more succesful on the pitch.

    Having a new stadium usually results in increased attendances and more success, obviously not guaranteed.

    At present the stadium is never used to capacity for various reasons. The main reason is one of poor facilities and restricted views, there are many occasions when people try to purchase tickets in ones and two’s and find that there are none available together, this often results in lost custom/reduced attendance.
    You don’t seem to take into account the teams fortunes or economic climate when carrying out your assesments of the situation.

    For many years this club has consistently underachieved and with the proper leadership and investment I believe this club could compete at the highest level and be successful. This would have many benefits for the city and it’s people, some people just cannot or will not grasp this and you are one of those people.

    It does appear that you are living in the past and as time goes on things change, please keep up.

    I have not persisted in avoiding the stadium capacity issue, I have consistently confronted it.

    You on the other hand HAVE persisted in avoiding the issue of the possible need to expand the existing stadium for, which as I’ve explained not possible.

    Your petty insults are much appreciated as this shows a lack of understanding of my statement regarding the petition, I should have said “convinced them of public support for the scheme” perhaps you would have understood then.

    Do you not think that a business will not take note of public opinion wether it be for or against the proposal?

    So are you going to admit there is a possibility that the stadium might need to be expanded further but can’t?

    Also are you proposing that to finance the rebuilding of Ashton Gate, which as we know can’t be expanded further Steve Lansdown should pay for it?

    And are you also saying that with an increased capacity of 28,672 but with reduced parking (so less than 500 spaces) this would be better than a capacity of 30,000 and twice as many parking spaces?

    Priceless, did Chris or Charlie tell you that or did you do your own sums?

    Cheers

    Rich

  54. Deano says:

    “Priceless, did Chris or Charlie tell you that or did you do your own sums?”

    umm sums. Sorry but aren’t you the guy who insisted that £65m is less than £62m?

    While we are talking about figures…..

    “Many figures are being misquoted, here they are as I see them;
    120m all developments (inc AG)
    90m Ashton vale
    65m new stadium
    25m Other A/vale developments (now reduced)
    30m Ashton Gate
    62m at last estimate redevelop Ashton gate”

    In the Development Appraisal, it was estimated that the club would raise £12m towards the funding of the stadium from the other A/vale developments. The club has also consistently stated that they need to sell (not develop themselves) Ashton Gate as retail to raise £20m towards the new stadium. But according to your figures the club will be spending £55m on those developments to raise £32m (12+20)! umm. Sums.

    You will forgive me if I hold the opinion that you sometimes type whatever figures suit you at the time, often without thinking them through.

    I note you still refer to “Current plans to rebuild this stand with modern day facilities, that is where everyone can see the pitch restrict it to 5,200.” I repeat, where are these plans? The plans I refer to are available to view at Brunel House, where are the ones you refer to?

    You also completely miss the point. At the time the redevelopment plans were submitted, the capacity of the covered end was 5,995. This was than reduced to 5,500 and now, according to you, to 5,200. The primary reasons put forward for rebuilding the new stand completely is so that it can be built to modern standards and provide unrestricted viewing for 7,100 spectators. That is the plan approved and given planning permission. The approved capacity would therefore be 30,572 not the 28,672 that you have typed (or even 28,972 which would be the figure if we all did our sums correctly). umm, Sums.

    “The whole stadium needs bringing up to modern day standards to meet safety issues, meet the requirements of supporters, improve corporate facilities (to raise revenue for the club) give the club a chance to compete with other clubs (it is a competitive industry which you don’t seem to take into account) and to give the city of Bristol and an awful lot of it’s residents good modern facilities for the future.”

    All of which can be done at the present location, and therefore does not justify a new stadium subsidised by an awful lot of residents who have no interest in football.

    “You don’t seem to take into account the teams fortunes or economic climate when carrying out your assesments of the situation.”

    No Richard, that is the entire point, I am entirely aware of your club’s fortunes and of this country’s economic climate. What I am not is biased by an idelogical attachment to a football club into refusing the face the fact that your club is a private commercial venture. Just like certain other organisations you want the benefits of private ownership but still want to be able to call on public subsidies when need to. (A similar antipathy to political ideology is why I find your earlier reference to the Green Party’s Charlie Bolton so laughable – football fans and Greens deserve each other, they both only care about their own particular brand of fanaticism!)

    Most of the rest of your post adds nothing to the debate, so I will move on to;

    “I should have said “convinced them of public support for the scheme” perhaps you would have understood then.”

    Well yes, I would have. I often find it a problem to understand what people mean when they write something completely different. What you appear to be saying is that your petition for a new Tesco supermarket convinced Sainsbury’s of public support to relocate their existing store. That’s perfectly clear.

    “So are you going to admit there is a possibility that the stadium might need to be expanded further but can’t?”

    No, because the club has planning approval for redevelopment of the existing stadium that involves its expansion. Are you saying that this planning approval doesn’t exist?

    I will meet you halfway, I will concede that at some point in the future the club may become tremendously successful and regularly attract crowds in excess of 30,000 if you will concede that this has not been the case since the 1950’s and is not the case now.

    “Also are you proposing that to finance the rebuilding of Ashton Gate, which as we know can’t be expanded further Steve Lansdown should pay for it?”

    But of course, it can be expanded further, it has planning permission to do so. Regardless, I am proposing that if Bristol City FC is unable to attract private finance for any scheme, and if the clubs own supporters are so obviously unwilling to put their hands in their pocket, than the rest of the city’s residents should not be forced to subsidise other people’s private ventures.

    “And are you also saying that with an increased capacity of 28,672 but with reduced parking (so less than 500 spaces) this would be better than a capacity of 30,000 and twice as many parking spaces?”

    No. I am saying that the tiny number of additional parking spaces provided by the new stadium fails to offer a justifiable reason for building it and that these extra car parking places are the only additional facility that you have so far produced as being available at the new stadium that can’t be provided at a redevelopment of the existing stadium.

  55. Charlie Bolton says:

    ‘A similar antipathy to political ideology is why I find your earlier reference to the Green Party’s Charlie Bolton so laughable – football fans and Greens deserve each other, they both only care about their own particular brand of fanaticism!)’

    I think that’s a bit unfair to Rich, myself.

  56. Richard Lane says:

    Dean

    Please forgive me but your financial statements are as clear as mud to me.
    Where on earth did you get the figure of £55m from?

    If they make £12m from developments on Ashton vale and sell Ashton gate to a developer for £20m then £32m is the correct figure they have recieved. They then have to build the stadium which is estimated to cost £65m so there is a shortfall of £ 33m which is considerably smaller than the shortfall of £62m for redeveloping Ashton Gate, do your sums.

    This is where the cost of redeveloping Ashton gate is more expensive than building a new stadium.

    Your the wizzo with the research, find the new plans for the covered end yourself. They do exist and are more up to date than those you refer to, as I’ve said things change.

    The club don’t need to be tremenously succesfull to have a stadium of 40,000 plus, they had one before and attracted capacity gates on many occasions. It could also be used for possible world cup or international matches if it had this capacity.
    The idea of this is probably abhorant to you but many people would like that scenario even on a temporary basis, which as I keep saying is NOT possible at the present stadium site.

    It seems you are still saying that having a redeveloped stadium with reduced parking half that of a new stadium is more acceptable than building roughly the same size stadium but with twice as many parking spaces.
    Unbelievable.

    I will meet you half way. The existing stadium may well have plans for expansion but they have now changed as time itself does, the existing plans are now for 28,672. For whatever reason it cannot now be expanded to 30,000 and offer the same benefits as the new stadium.

    Sums

    Dolman stand 7,680
    Williams stand 11,543
    Atyeo stand 4,249
    Wedlock stand (new plans) 5,200
    ————-
    Total 28,672
    DO YOUR SUMS
    I may only be a simpleton in your eyes but I think my sums are correct. ummm

    The new stadium will have far more corporate facilities, hospitality boxes, better parking better transport, better access into the stadium seating for every attendee, better and more food outlets, toilets, disabled facilities, press facilities, all in all a much better stadium in a less constrained site away from the major housing of Ashton with the added ability to expand if required.

    Cheers

    Rich

  57. chris hutt says:

    Rich – “If they make £12m from developments on Ashton vale and sell Ashton gate to a developer for £20m then £32m is the correct figure they have recieved. They then have to build the stadium which is estimated to cost £65m so there is a shortfall of £ 33m which is considerably smaller than the shortfall of £62m for redeveloping Ashton Gate, do your sums.”

    Just one thing I’d like clarified, if you can Rich. The missing element here seems to be the cost of buying the land for the new stadium. Is that included in the £65 million? If not I’d be interested to know how that is dealt with.

  58. Richard Lane says:

    Chris

    I honestly haven’t a clue, it’s a very good point though.

    I’m pretty sure Steve Lansdown bought it, but if it’s included in the development cost or not I don’t know, I don’t think it has been revealed.

    Cheers

    Rich

  59. chris hutt says:

    Thanks for the honest reply Rich.

    One option I suppose is that Steve Lansdown will continue to own the land and allow the stadium to be built on it. But then who owns/controls the stadium?

    Since a lot of public money is going into this we really ought to know exactly how the future of this investment/subsidy is being secured.

  60. thebristolblogger says:

    You’ve hit on one of the big questions there Chris.

  61. chris hutt says:

    Scattergun approach pays off?

  62. Paul Mizen says:

    Why can there not be a “sell-on” clause like there are in many football transfers? If a player with potential is sold to another club, and then his value increases, his first club benefits from some of his extra value. If the stadium or other parts of the development are sold at a profit, then the public money is returned, pro rata, or with interest. Is that too simplistic?

  63. Richard Lane says:

    Chris

    At present Steve lansdown owns the majority of shares in the club, so I suppose he also owns the majority of Ashton Gate.
    When the club eventually move to the new stadium, there will be no difference from the existing situation.

    It is after all, his money that he’s forked out so I suppose he can do what he wants (within reason).

    There seems to be an inference by some that something is amiss, this is a normal transaction of someone purchasing piece of land and then trying to develop it.

    Paul

    Your scenario is too simplistic, there is not any public money being put up to fund the stadium which could then be returned.

    People are saying there are council subsidies but this is how I understand it to be.
    Because the car park at one end of Ashton gate is council owned, some people see this as the council subsidising the new stadium.
    If it was the council putting up the money for developments and taking that risk as well, then
    perhaps they would be entitled to the profits. They are not though.

    BCFC own the lease on this land and it is them not the council which can realise the full value of that land (With planning permision of course).

    The same applies to the allotments which are at the moment just that, allotments.
    This land is being sold to the club and the club are putting up the money to develop this site and will use the profits towards the stadium.

    As for the so called subsidy of £5m plus from the BRT, this is because the route has been diverted around the new stadium.

    The main thing missed in this theoretical subsidy is that the original land route for the BRT went across land it doesn’t own.
    There would have to be a compulsory purchase of this land By the BRT and a protracted legal battle which would most probably nullify any extra costs to the BRT of the diversion.

    Please bear in mind that the land for the new route of the BRT is being given to the BRT by the club.
    This new public service will of course be subsidised by the people attending the stadium and using the BRT.

    Once all developments are complete the council
    will benefit from increased rateable income from the housing, commercial properties and the stadium which should be a tidy sum every year.

    I understand it is normal to levy a form of levy/bribe called a 106 agreement on the profit of big developments to go towards council services.
    As this development is non profit making, where is this levy/bribe to come from?

    This new development will be available to the citizens of Bristol wether they choose to use it or not.
    There are many subsidies paid for by the city council to private concerns that are not used by all of it’s citizens.

    If these examples are to be classed as subsidies, then I think the council and it’s citizens have got a good long term deal.

    Cheers

    Rich

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