Plans for a 4,000-seater sports and convention centre as part of a major development at Ashton Gate Stadium have finally been submitted to council planners.
And work could begin on the Sporting Quarter as early as the start of next year, with the first events taking place there in 2024 – if planning permission is given.
The Sporting Quarter plans next to Ashton Gate Stadium were first unveiled back in 2018, but have gone through a couple of consultations with local residents and been scaled back a bit before a formal planning application has now been submitted.
As well as the centrepiece sports and convention centre, which will provide a new home for the Bristol Flyers basketball team, the plans include a multi-storey car park, hotel, gym, residential buildings and offices and an improved ‘fan village’.
The development is being funded by around 500 new homes that Bristol Sport’s owner Steve Lansdown is also seeking planning permission for on land between Ashton Vale and the David Lloyd Sports Centre on the edge of Bristol – half the site where a new stadium was proposed and rejected almost ten years ago.
Council planners in both Bristol and North Somerset are also being asked to give approval for the 500 homes on that green field site, which is being called Longmoor Village, and the two plans are directly linked, and submitted together.
Ashton Gate’s chairman Martin Griffiths said the plans for the Sporting Quarter have changed and ‘improved significantly’, thanks to the feedback they received from local residents, who viewed the evolving plans over the pas couple of years.
“We first unveiled these proposals in September 2018, and it has been a long road to get to this point,” said Mr Griffiths.
“We wanted to make sure we had the best possible plans in place to deliver this next exciting phase of Ashton Gate’s development,” he added.
“Last autumn, and despite the difficulties presented by Covid, we launched another round of consultation over our proposals, along with the associated Longmoor housing development, we also held events with neighbours in February. We would like to thank everyone who provided feedback and comments,” he said.
The changes to the plans have seen the blocks of flats scaled back, and lowered by five storeys, one of the hotels removed and the entire site less densely developed.
“Based on the feedback received we have made significant improvements to the Sporting Quarter scheme.
“The tallest building has now been reduced by five storeys; community facilities have been increased with sports, fitness and well-being facilities added on the roof of the Sports and Convention Centre, plus the northern entrance, near Ashton Road, has been totally pedestrianised for non-matchdays.
“The linked proposals of the Sporting Quarter and Longmoor developments offer significant regeneration benefits.
“The highway and transport improvements, the delivery of much needed jobs, the critical need for additional housing and the economic growth that will come from building a world-class sporting and entertainment quarter here in South Bristol,” he added.
The Sports and Convention Centre could host 4,000 watching basketball one day, and then a similar number attending a music concert or theatre performance the next night.
Ashton Gate Stadium has applied for the Longmoor Village application at the same time, and Mr Griffiths pledged that the land that’s now to the south of the metrobus road – which was built across the large field to the west of Ashton Vale since the stadium relocation plans were rejected – will not be built on for housing.
“I would like to stress that the southern field next to the site will remain green and will not be built on,” he said.
“We will be working with councillors, residents and local wildlife organisations to enhance this space for the benefit of the wildlife and the community.
“It means that the Longmoor development will capture a biodiversity net gain with increased protection for habitats and fauna as well as improved connections for pedestrians and cyclists,” he added.