Monday, June 22, 2009

Fairly assessing the proposed new Bristol City stadium

The Bristol Evening Post reports, again how a new stadium for Bristol City is crucial to the success of the bid to have World Cup football in Bristol. I think what we need to keep in mind here is how the city can best come to a fair decision. There are certain factors that, under current planning law and guidance, are not legitimate planning criteria against which the application should be judged. These include: World Cup games in Bristol aspirations; Bristol City FC premiership aspirations; support for the application from the local media for the stadium; support from political party leaders for the stadium; support from a multi-millionaire and major supermarket chain for the stadium proposal. These things therefore, at least in theory, should not affect decision making - I sincerely hope that this is the case.

I agree with a lot of what Andy, Tony and Rob said (below), commenting on the Post story. Tony's blog is well worth a read (

It is not the stadium plan that is the most contentious thing here; it is the way in which the local people and the council are being hoodwinked and pressurised into giving it a green light.The constant press releases from the football club, and the incessant white noise in the evening post serve to crank the pressure to approve the scheme. The England world cup bid could easily fail; the Bristol bid (dependent on the stadium) could also easily fail: then the football club will have landed their only real prize, and the rest of Bristol will be left with a vague sense of having been duped.Evening Post - wake up to yourselves, it is not your job to campaign for Bristol City Football Club, or Tesco. How about being impartial for a change?????

Andy, Bristol

The article says: "The council's local plan has Ashton Gate earmarked for housing. But times have changed since the plan was written."The times may have changed but the need for affordable family housing hasn't. One thing does remain and that is we don't need another supermarket in this area of Bristol.Are the powers that be really going to rush through a planning application that could damage the area forever, for the sake of two or three potential World Cup games in nine years time. Let's do it right. A development at Ashton Gate that will benefit the local community and a new stadium for City that it can afford. Tesco a 'white knight'? More like the Grim Reaper for Southville and Ashton.

A large car park, a supermarket in a tin shed and a petrol filling station - is that the best anyone at Bristol City can come up with for their old ground?It would be a complete waste of a great opportunity. OK the World Cup in Bristol would be great, but it will only last for four weeks. We will be stuck with the consequences for a lot longer.

Rob, Crews Hole Report


  1. Typical two-faced Glenn Vowles rhetoric.

    You have been campaigning vociferously against the Tesco application for a car park in the Friendship, not agreeing when council officials say they can only judge the application on what it actually is.

    If you are sincere and truthful in this article I expect you to immediately withdraw your objection to the Tesco application - yeh right, course you won't.....

    This proves you greens are the same as all other aspiring political parties - twisting words to suit your own means.

    Whatever you say, you can't get out of this one but I bet you will feebly try !!

  2. Clearly you are targetting this blog and use negativity and personal insult Sharon - if your argument was valid you would not need to resort to such tactics.

    No, there is no inconsistency here at all!
    Yes to planners and cllrs exercising good sense but within reason and on solid ground not mere aspiration!! All I've said on this blog post and others is true and Tesco's plans for the Friendship do not fully compare BCFC/Tesco plans either in scale or nature.

    Tesco's plans for the Friendship do indeed go far beyond just applying to build a car park - fact. Everyone knows they plan to have a store there and that they have no intention whatsoever of running a pub (yet thats what the planning application is about!!). Its clearly absurd that the council dont take that into account as part of the planning application because its plain, because of the implications for the area and because the Tesco Express would be there on into the future.

    As for the World Cup/Tesco at Aston Gate/new Bristol City stadium plans I'm all for a bit of good sense and judgement being exercised by planners and Cllrs on the planning committee. I've even suggested that the guidelines to Cllrs be made a bit more flexible on this blog! However, its clearly going far to far to expect planners to consider premiership football and world cup bid ambitions, multi-millionaire aspirations to maximise development profits and the market domination aspirations of a major supermarket chain!! Even within the more flexible planning I've argued for these criteria do not fit, not least because such aspirations are very transient and uncertain. Premiership football and the World Cup may or may not happen. Even if premiership football arrived it might not last that long!! Planner and cllrs need to look at what would remain in Bristol in the longer term, whether its a Tesco Express in The Frienship, or a huge Tesco store on Ashton Gate or a football stadium plus associated development in and adjacent to green belt land.

    If/when you choose to comment on other blog posts of mine I'd be grateful if you could avoid personal insults like 'two-faced' and 'twisting words to suit'. These terms imply an intention on my part that does not exist and even if it did, you, as a perfect stranger to me, are not in a position to assess my intentions. Why not stick to attempting to point out inconsistency, lack of logic, poor reasoning, absent/poor/partial evidence and so on??

  3. This reply just proves me right, Glenn.

    Looking back I think "two-faced" may have been too harsh and taken as a personal insult and apologies for that.

    However, I still stand by what it means - you agree with how things should be done in one instance but then immediately in another say it should be done in a different manner just to fit your own purpose.

    You can't pick and choose when it suits you, stick to one stance and keep with that.

    Until then your politics are nothing better than the main parties.

    If you can't stand the justified criticism don't play in politics but don't rant at people just because they may disagree with your opinions.

    And I've let my 30 year old green sister run over our disagreement, and she's no shrinking violet when it comes to politics, but she agrees with me in this instance that you can't proceed in 2 different ways just to justify your own views, be consistent.

  4. Thanks for the apology Sharon.

    I've compared the two planning situations and explained why my position is consistent and is in fact one stance.

    In the Friendship case planners should take into account the reality that Tesco intend to run an Express Store not a pub (though the planning application is for just that!) and that store would be there for yrs. In the BCFC case planners cannot and should not be expected to take into account the aspirations and ambitions I listed because they are far too transient and uncertain.

    Do you accept this distinction between the two situations??

    I'm for more broad and flexible guidance to planners but they simply have to make judgements upon what is reasonably solid and what will remain in place for yrs, whether in Knowle or at Ashton Gate dont they?

    I dont understand how you can make a judgment from this single issue to the whole of my green politics in any case. If I wanted to be like the other parties would I not have joined them (I'd have most likely been elected many yrs ago instead of continuing to campaign for a relatively small party)? I'm certainly not playing in politics as I spend a lot of time, effort and, if I have it, money - standing in local and general elections as I have is no small task.

    I very much welcome your involvement, your scrutiny and your questioning - it keeps the debate lively and me on my toes!! I wish more people would engage (as long as debate stays reasonable). Perhaps you could give me several clear examples of where I have ranted - its a word you keep using about me. I dont think it is justified as a general rule. I feel I most often try to present a reasoned argument based on any decent evidence/examples/illustrations available, which is the opposite of ranting.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. I've removed the comment before this one. It used inappropriate language and was pure name-calling and insult directed at another commenter. If the person who sent the comment would like to rephrase it and put in at least a bit of genuine argument that's fine...

  7. OK - My comments were along the line of:

    I feel Bristol City FC have a large hooligan element, as is demonstrated by a long history of violence against other football supporters.

    Is it therefore right to reward an overall negative effect on the community - i.e. fights, binge drinking, vomiting along North Street etc with a nice new ground?

    As a fan of the other footballing side of Bristol, shouldn't the neutrals come together to push for BRFC to have plans approved ahead of Bristol City, considering the vast majority of neutrals who have has a run in with the CSF (hooligan firm) would surely choose Bristols genuine family club, and not the club who's only real tradition is finding some sort of pride in necking lots of cider and looking for a ruck?

  8. Also, the cost of tickets will surely go up, and this therefore will increase crime, as the DSS weekly dole payment will hardly cover it!

  9. What an absurd couple of comments. The veiled insult in the last post is simply dumbfounding, and the previous one is basically blinkered and ridiculous. "The genuine family club" - tell that to Horfield locals and business owners. Ask what their views are on "family clubs" and cricket bats. Every club has a hooligan element that attaches itself to the club, and shock horror - you may wish to sit down - that includes your own club too. Wake up and smell the coffee. We know we have our element, but 18,000 of us do not condone the actions of the 100 (max) idiots that try to pass themselves off as fans.

    The ground for City is vital for money coming into the area. If we get the world cup, then the amount of extra money again coming into the area would be immense. Your own club would benefit financially by way of providing training grounds for visiting nations. This isn't about rewarding anyone, and I cannot see that your argument is based on anything other than jealousy. Your club could and have submitted plans for a new stadium, and yes, they have been rejected. Just as were City's application to build a bigger stand at Ashton Gate. Neither decision was based on the people that attend the games, but about the viability of the proposals and the positive and negative effects on the local area. But whether or not the proposals were accepted would make no difference. Your board would not be able to afford to build a new ground. They won't (or can't) even stump up the cash to rebuild the Mem despite planning permission being granted. Get all of the neutral support for a ground you like, but you still won't build it because you do not have the right people in charge of your club to allow this to happen.

    It is understandable given that the club will need to fund the building of a new stadium that they will be looking to sell the Gate to the highest bidder. As no property developers are likely to be able to top, or even come anywhere near Tesco's bid, then it is clearly going to be Tesco that have their offer accepted subject to planning consent. Maybe it is the irony that the supermarket that effectively rendered BRFC homeless in the 80's will be going a long way to rehoming BCFC that is frustrating you, I don't know.

    But the long term commercial prospects that the new stadium may offer to the area cannot be ignored, and I feel that this is what will need to be taken into account. Will smaller businesses be forced to close if Tesco build a store there? Possibly, yes. But the harsh reality is that this is natural progression. The introduction of supermarkets in the 50's also prompted this, however I'm sure the majority of people will still shop there. Smaller businesses will always be eaten up by larger ones, it is simply the way of the world, and if it benefits the larger populus then I see no reason why the planning consent for both the stadium and the supermarket should be turned down.

  10. Hmm - 100 fans max - what utter, utter tripe.

    Rest assured many of us will fight as hard as possible to prevent Bristol City 1982 Ltd using Lansdown (head of a firm of poor quality financial advisers, masqaurading as independent, clearly breaching regulatory guidelines wherever possible) money to buy success.

    100 hooligans out of 18,000.

    First, dont flatter yourself with 18,000, thats on a good day, and when you are back in Leaugue 1 where you belong, you'll be back to about 9,000. You have about 9,000 fans and 9,000 fair weather fans.

    The hooligan element is more like 2,000.

    Face it, if you draw your support from Knowle West, Bemmie, Hartcliff etc what do you expect - choirboys?

    True, BRFC do have an element, like any club, but nothing compared BCFC - it's part of the culture. WHat little culture you have revolves around the wurzels i.e. necking cider and thinking its all a great laugh to be proud of being alchoholics!

  11. Didn't I see you leaving at half time when 1-0 down?

  12. BRFC have never had a planning application turned down by the Council.

  13. My god you really are delusional, aren't you? Firstly. We were averaging gates of 15000-16000 when we were last in your division (more than double that which you could manage, I believe).

    Secondly. Yes. About 100 idiots. Doesn't sound like a lot to you maybe, but I would say that's about right. To quote 2000 is ludicrous. Cardiff, Stoke, Millwall and Leeds combined don't have that many! And ask Swindon fans for their view of your "family club".

    Thirdly. Not sure you'd have seen me leaving at half time when 1-0 down (mainly because I've never left early in my life)....but what would you have been doing at a City game anyway Closet City fan after all, maybe?!? And what relevance does this have to this debate?

    Further, what happened to the Severnside project? Wasn't that thrown out several times?

    Finally, you are on here, so say trying to give your backing to Glenn Vowles, whilst simultaneously insulting him and his constituents. You draw your support from Southmead, Easton and Fishponds, which all hardly have angelic reputations, do they?!? Your reasoning has everything to do with your inbred tunnel-visioned "footballing" beliefs and nothing to do with politics. Try taking a balanced, neutral view of the situation if you are capable of such thoughts.

  14. Sorry...further... "Rest assured many of us will fight as hard as possible to prevent Bristol City 1982 Ltd using Lansdown (head of a firm of poor quality financial advisers, masqaurading as independent, clearly breaching regulatory guidelines wherever possible) money to buy success." WTF?!?

    A poor quality financial advisers does not get to be worth over £140m!!!! Do you actually have any knowledge of business, or simply any common sense. Your attempts at reasoned debate really are something special!

  15. Quote:

    "As a fan of the other footballing side of Bristol, shouldn't the neutrals come together to push for BRFC to have plans approved ahead of Bristol City"


    severnside never went to planning stages as BRFC couldnt raise the cash (a predicament that they are facing now) - as I said BRFC never had a planning permission declined

  16. Quote:

    "I feel Bristol City FC have a large hooligan element, as is demonstrated by a long history of violence against other football supporters."

    "The hooligan element is more like 2,000.

    Face it, if you draw your support from Knowle West, Bemmie, Hartcliff etc what do you expect - choirboys?

    True, BRFC do have an element, like any club, but nothing compared BCFC - it's part of the culture. "


    Season 2007/08

    Total attendances at football matches in England and Wales increased by 1% to more than 37 million.

    During the period of the 2007/2008season, the total number of people arrested in connection with all international and domestic football matches involving teams from England and Wales was 3,842. This represents a small increase of 109 arrests primarily due to lower police tolerance threshold in some areas.

    The total number of arrests represents just 0.01% of all spectators. The last 4 years have seen the lowest number of football related
    arrests since records begun. This trend is continuing, but there is no complacency.

    Of the 3,842 arrests, just 373 were for offences of violence.

    Number of Arrests at home matches:

    Bristol City - 24
    Bristol Rovers - 17


    So BRFC has never had planning permission denied and the only reason BRFC has not gone ahead with their stadium is due to financial problems. The violent behaviour that you covered so nicely is not backed up by facts, BRFC had 17 arrests with crowds that were on average 1/3rd of BCFC's and BCFC had 24 arrests - extrapolating this it can be shown that in proportion of the number of fans that turn up at the respective stadiums it is BRFC who has the bigger issue when it comes to violence. I will ignore this as personally I dont think that a combined number of 41 arrests covering 46 matches in Bristol as a whole is a large number as is certainly not a reason for BRFC and BCFC get stadiums that they meet their needs.

  17. I am a Gashead and i am totally for BCFC 1982 getting the world cup as long as they going through the proper channels and it is conducted fairly. Having the tesco sale and new ground fast tracked is not being conducted fairly i am afraid.

    Btw regarding rovers planning permission,

    We got refused at serverside, hengrove and mangotsfield before planning permission was even given. Having said that it we are ran by numpties.

  18. Planning for the new mem was put in on the 7th January 2008 and approval granted on 2nd April 2008.

    BCFC have put in the stadium plans on 15th June with a target determination date of 1st Oct - details of the Tesco plans have not been published on the Council website yet.

    No special fast tracking is needed - the Council needs to come to a decision within their target dates, for a major application that is 13 weeks.

    As to severnside,hengrove and mangotsfield, land has to be bought and plans drawn up and then submitted - no plans were submitted and as I said earlier Rovers have never had planning permission refused because they have only ever made one application and that one application was given approval within 13 weeks.

    I do agree with your comments regarding your board, I hope you get your stadium started soon as you need the extra income generated to keep the Rovers competitive in League 1 and the championship.

  19. Well it appears my hook really found a bite on this one.

    I'll leave you to continue maiming police dogs, and demanding your money back from season tickets if you aren't promoted.

    My question: Look at north st on a matchday. WHat is this City obsession with baseball caps? ABout 50% of male fans wear them! I don't get it!

    Also, there are far more than 100 fans wearing designer gear on matchday (paid for by MY tax dollars) so I guess these are the family fans you are talking about.

    City traditions:

    1. Wear a cap, pref Burberry
    2. Neck loads of Cider, well, it's part of tradition, we are the Cider Army!
    3. Spit on your own players if not immediately promoted
    4. Only turn up if you are in the top half of the table
    5. Say things like "are kid" "ow bis", "come on sit-ay, mind" etc
    6. Only have 3 chants, as not imaginitive enough to handle more
    7. Big fat builders gut comes in handy
    8. Terrorise anyone in the wrong colour shirt
    9. Keep it quiet on matchday in the ground, it's Ashton Library after all
    10. Think than 2 seasons in championship make you a "Big club" (plus some success over 25 years ago)

  20. I think your "facts" were discredited earlier in this discussion - if you get facts wrong and so badly wrong then any further "facts" or views can pretty much discounted.

  21. im sorry but are those city facts or rovers facts? you can not write on here and say that some rovers fans are saints can you? really? if you can then you must be a true muppet? so what happenend when you beat city 1-0, did your"fans" clap and go home????? NO! anyway what the hell has this got to do with BRISTOL trying to get a world cup game or two here? do you think man utd and man city fans are doing this?, teams in london?, brimingham? leeds? NO just proves how small minded some people are in this city and F all will happen here either because one side will get hump and feel their not getting the rub of the green!

  22. The title of my original blog post was 'Fairly assessing the proposed new Bristol City stadium'. For me this means considering all the pros and cons, in their full context.

    Loyalties to any particular football club are not a factor in my mind at all (I come from a family of City supporters from Knowle but married in to a family of Rovers supporters in Knowle - I've taken a general interest in the progress of both teams without being a strong supporter of either!).

  23. so what do have against it then?

  24. Apologies guys I was just being lighthearted!

    Rivalry is the best part of being a football supporter!

    OK - truth is that I don't want City to get a new ground because it would compromise Rovers standing in the city - all young kids would support City, wouldn't they?

    I had the choice and I chose Rovers for reasons above, didn't like atmos at the City games my uncles took me to, and all the City kids in my class came from scumbag famalies!

    I'm sure there are decent sheetheads out there, so please accept my deepest sympathy for the large, powerful hooligan element within your club which give you a bad name throughout the land, like Millwall and Cardiff.

    I'm sure most sane parents would not want their children involved in this sort of thing, so I urge them to take their kids out of the Gate and into the Mem!!

  25. so your saying sags head dont have any hooligan element at all? and is "family club"??? yeah....and city are looking to david villa to sign!

    every single football clubs has a hooligan group,you will be hard to find one that doesn't

    if you choose city or the blue few, thats fine by me as long they support the local team, but dont say if you join city they will turn you into a hooligan!

  26. Yes, every club has a hooligan element. That's like saying every school has bad behaviour, but we all know some are worse than others.

    Torquay and Wrexham fans every bit as bad as Leeds and Cardiff?

    It's the scale of the problem. At the mem it's a minimal problem, at the Gate its Ginormous innum!

  27. in the two seasons there been two minor ploblems (cardiff & wolves in 07/08)at ashton gate.


Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.