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Ashton Gate redevelopment: Latest Sporting Quarter plans

The Ashton Gate Sporting Quarter project has finally received planning permission, following months of negotiations between Bristol Sports Ltd and the Bristol City Council.

Plans for theย Redevelopment

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Photo by Icon sport

The plans for the redevelopment include a new major basketball arena, a conference, a hotel, a number of flats, car park and new offices at Ashton Gate stadium.ย  The Bristol City Council has given the project planning permission.

The original plans had been approved eleven months ago, but they were only in principle and nothing was officially signed. Meetings and negotiations between planning officers, architects and Bristol City owners, Bristol Sport Ltd, were held, with costs, where and what would be built being the priority of the conversations.

Planning permission was formally registered by the city planners on August 23, with the plans published publicly in the first week of September 2023. While not everything has been finalised with a few minor details to be decided on, work should commence in the next few months, most likely in the Summer of 2024.

Council planning officers have outlined 54 individual conditions regarding the development, with more than half already met (30) and a further 24 to be sorted out before construction can commence.

Another delay to the start of the project is the clearing of the Sporting Quarter before any work will go ahead.

Obstacles and Delays

One major stumbling block now is the design and building from the A370 Long Ashton Bypass slip road onto the site for the housing, with concerns over flooding impacting the area if the design isn't appropriate. The Environment Agency has already conducted its survey and is happy that the building and structure are safe.

One the major stumbling blocks has only come recently with Bristol's biggest waste management firm starting legal proceedings against Bristol City Council over the Longmoor Village housing plan, which means the Sporting Quarter is on hold too. The basis of the application is to quash the site being built as the waste company feels that their operations will be interrupted with complaints from the residents who eventually move into the new housing development due to noise, amongst other things.

The Bristol City Council has until September 28th to decide if the complaint is justifiable. If it is, then the project's plans will have to be changed, and, therefore, delayed further.

A Brief History of Ashton Gate

Ashton Gate

Ashton Gate is the home ground of Bristol City FC. It was built in 1n904 and has a capacity of around 27,000. Originally, it was a sports ground called Bedminster Cricket Club. In 1904, it was transformed into a football stadium and became the home of Bristol City FC.

The stadium has undergone major redevelopment in recent years. In 2015, work on the stadium was done to increase capacity. The stadium has also hosted international football matches and has been a venue for rugby union and rugby league games.
It was named after the nearby Ashton Gate, which was a tollgate on the road to Bristol. The stadium has seen some incredible moments, like Bristol City's promotion to the top flight in 1976. It's also been a venue for England U21 matches.

Ashton Gate Stands

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Ashton Gate has a unique feature called the Dolman Stand, named after former president, Harry Dolman. It lies opposite the Lansdown Stand, and was built in 1970, making it the oldest of the four stands.
When it was initially built there was a family enclosure in front of it, which has since been converted into a seating area. It was only in 2007 that the original wooden seats were replaced by more modern plastic seating. The stand itself was redeveloped in 2015, increasing the capacity, which is around 6,200 as of now.
The West Stand, or as it was renamed in 2017, The Lansdown Stand was named in honour of majority shareholder, Stephen Lansdown, a man who funded the Ashton Gate redevelopment. The stand is the largest in the stadium with a capacity of 11,00 and was the last to be completed in the last redevelopment of the stadium. It has two tiers and comes with multiple executive boxes.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the stand are the solar panels on the roof, which power the entire stadium. Beneath the stand are the changing rooms, the team benches and the tunnel in which teams run out from whilst entering the pitch.
The Atyeo Stand is the smallest out of the four stands, with a capacity of around 4,200. Built in 994, it was to replace the open terrace that once was located there.
It is named after Bristol City legend, John Atyeo, a man who played 645 times for Bristol City, scoring 345 goals in the process and making him the clubs top goal scorer. After he died in 1993, the club decided to dedicated and name the stand after him a year later.
The South Stand is the only stand in the stadium not to be named after anyone and is just known as the South Stand. It has a capacity of 6,071.

 


Philip O'Rourke

Philip O Rourke is a Dublin-based journalist and author of Forgotten Football Clubs, 50 Clubs Around the World. He appears on the Forgotten Football Clubs podcast and, in his spare time, travels around Europe to different football stadiums, trying to watch as many different clubs as he can.

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