Bristol City Council have given the green light for our new 30,000-seater stadium at Ashton Vale.
City gaffer Gary Johnson and Chief Executive Colin Sexstone kicked off proceedings with persuasive presentations to the nine-man decision committee in a sitting that ended up lasting well over four hours!
But after eventually hearing the arguments for and against the project inside a packed council chamber, councillor’s reached a positive verdict voting 7-2 in favour.
Speaking to bcfc.co.uk after the verdict was reached, Sexstone said: “To get the permission in the Green Belt, albeit with some reservations, was the big hurdle to cross.
“There are other hurdles that we still need to cross, but that was the big one. We’ve got to be very pleased because a lot of hard work has gone into this.
“There were a lot of contentious issues in this and emotions were going to be high. We understand that but overall this is very good news and we’re very pleased.”
However, the one negative of the night came when the council rejected the Southlands part of the development.
City needed the council to grant planning permission for 62 houses and 54 flats on site which would have aided the funding towards the stadium by an estimated £10m, but that was turned down on the advice of the planner’s report and deemed my one member of the committee as “a step too far”.
The club now have a number of options open to them and it’s likely that either revised proposals will be resubmitted or that something else will be put on the site (maybe that Arena Bristol’s craved for so long?)
The decision now means that City can prepare to begin work on the new stadium which should be open for the 2012/13.
It also means that Bristol is on course to be selected as a host city for the 2018 World Cup should the FA be successful in their bid to bring it back to England.
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