Plans have been approved for a new basketball arena at Ashton Gate and 510 homes on the green belt in Ashton Vale. Bristol City Council has approved planning permission for the two closely linked developments after hearing concerns about damage to the environment.
The Ashton Gate Sporting Quarter will sit directly west of the existing Ashton Gate Stadium. The development will include a sports and convention centre, a 232-room hotel, 125 apartments, offices, shops, a gym, a club museum, and a multi-storey car park.
The Longmoor Village scheme will see up to 510 homes built on a meadow north of the metrobus route and west of Silbury Road, near the Long Ashton park and ride. The meadow, a former landfill, is popular with dog walkers and is a haven for local wildlife like bats.
Billionaire Steve Lansdown, owner of Bristol Sport, is hoping to sell the Longmoor Village site with planning permission to a housing developer. The sale of the land will help pay for the sports and convention centre, giving a new home to the Bristol Flyers basketball team.
Andreas Kapoulas, head coach of the Bristol Flyers, said: “This development represents a huge opportunity for the club and the city, it’s a game-changer. Our vision is to grow the sport and the positive impact it has on the community. It’s a once in a generation opportunity.”
The basketball arena will have a seating capacity of 3,626, and will also be used for events and conferences. Two five-a-side football pitches will be built on the roof as well as an outdoor gym. The existing buildings on the site are occupied by Wickes, Midas and Nationwide Platforms, but these will be demolished.
The meadow at Ashton Vale is currently protected as a green belt, like much of the countryside around Bristol. The development control committee A on Wednesday, October 5, heard arguments from developers that this protection should be removed due to the benefit of homes and the arena, and also from campaigners that it should continue to be protected.
Danica Priest, an environmental campaigner, said: “Longmoor Village is a disaster waiting to happen. Over 6,000 residents signed a petition to save Ashton Vale. Don’t let our voices be drowned out by promises of profit, if you do then it will be more than our voices underwater.”
Councillors on the committee voted unaimously for the sporting quarter, but raised concerns about the Longmoor Village scheme, with five voting in favour, one against, and three abstaining. On the Ashton Gate Sporting Quarter, they raised concerns about the lack of affordable housing and the potential impact of worsening parking and congestion problems. On Longmoor Village, they also raised fears of noise coming from a nearby recycling plant and building on protected countryside land.
Councillor Richard Eddy, chair of the development control committee, said: “This city and its people owes Bristol Sport a huge debt of gratitude. I think it’s great that Bristol Sport has pushed business development and encouraged conventions and conferences as well as the entertainment at the stadium. I see this as the culmination of their efforts.”
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