News and views from north Bristol's urban village

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Failure of Memorial Stadium May Not be the Best Thing for Local Residents

Local residents around the Memorial Stadium on Filton Avenue are said to be "delighted" by the news that the planned development of the ground has been delayed by the withdrawal of a main contractor.

Spokesman for the Residents Opposed to the Stadium Expansion (ROSE) pressure group, said: "We've said all along that it doesn't make financial sense to shell out millions on a new stadium that is in the wrong place. It seems we have now been proved right. It now seems more likely than ever before that this development will never get off the ground, something we have campaigned long and hard for."

The campaigners may want to pause before breaking open the bubbly and think about the consequences of the failure of the Stadium to redevelop.

I lived through a similar story in Brighton many years ago. Although work has now started on a brand new out-of-town stadium for Brighton and Hove Albion, their former ground (the Goldstone Ground on the Old Shoreham Road in Hove) has already been converted into a soulless retail park, housing such wonderful attractions as Toys R Us, DFS, Homebase and Carpet Right.

The fact is that if the memorial Ground is not redeveloped and the clubs which use it have to move elsewhere, the residents of Horfield will be facing much more difficult battles against infinitely more aggressive opponents that Bristol Rovers.

The lifestyle implications of having a retail park at the bottom of Filton Avenue, not to mention the damage this would do to the independent shops on Gloucester Road, seem to me far more damaging than a larger Memorial Stadium, which was of course there long before any of the present residents moved into the neighbourhood.

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