City claim part-victory over new stadium site

June 17, 2011

Bristol City Football Club has cleared one of the last hurdles with its controversial plans to build a new £92m 30,000-seat stadium at Ashton Vale in the face of fierce opposition from a group of local residents. 

It follows last night's decision at a Bristol City Council public rights of way committee to accept planning officers' recommendation that the northern part of the proposed site, some of which has been subject to landfill, did not meet the necessary statutory tests to be registered a town or village green. This means that the land is free for development.
Residents had claimed the site, owned by former chairman and football club majority shareholder Steve Lansdown, has been used as a recreational area for many years and should be protected with town green status.
An independent inspector ruled in September 2010 that the land should be protected – but the final decision rested with Bristol City Council. Public rights of way committee chairman Peter Abraham, said after last night's meeting: "We concluded that the statutory tests had not been met for the northern part of the site and this should not be registered for a town and village green.

"However we agreed with the officer's recommendation that the southern part should be registered. I hope that this decision will draw a line under this long-running and divisive issue, and that all parties will accept the committee's decision."

Bristol City's chief executive Guy Price said: "I think it was the right decision for the committee to make and it's an encouraging one. It's our final major hurdle out of the way but we have other issues we have to look at, discuss and resolve internally. Once we've made any decision we'll announce that to our supporters."
Meanwhile football stadium opponents now say they will apply for a judicial review of the committee's decision.

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