Bristol Rovers and the University of the West of England are to join forces with ambitious plans for a purpose built state-of-the-art stadium. The plans enable both Bristol Rovers and UWE to develop their high aspirations of becoming ‘dominant forces’ in the South West.
The Stadium, to be named the ‘UWE Stadium,’ is managed by Gleeds, an international management and construction consultancy, who have recently been appointed by UWE and Bristol Rovers football club to oversee the exciting project.
The 70 acre area adjacent to the universities Frenchay campus, will play host to the 20,000 all-seater community stadium and will be capable of holding both rugby and football matches at international level. In addition to this, the stadium will also be used for holding major concerts or events and can house teaching rooms, facilitate internships and to provide facilities such as a gym and social spaces that will be available for use by the wider community.
The land bought from Hewlett Packard in October 2008 was originally obtained with the aim of expanding the existing Frenchay campus from 80 acres to an estimated 150 acres in order to accommodate greater teaching facilities from Fishponds and Bower Ashton The overall scheme is thought to be in the region of £60 million, a significant investment for quality facilities by both parties. Bristol Rovers are to sell their current ‘Memorial Stadium’ to Sainsbury’s to assist with the finance of the new project, making a new stadium a financial reality. A fact the elated Bristol Rovers’ chairman Nick Higgs says ‘is what the club have been striving towards for many years.’
Gleeds have subdued fears from local residents regarding the expected high volume of traffic congestion, as well as possible noise pollution from other events. The stadium is strategically located with excellent transport facilities, including
the A4174, Abbey Wood and Parkway train station as well as various bus services. The transport links will allow volumes of fans to be evenly distributed. The stadium will be a bowl design, which will minimise the impact to the local skyline, and reduce light and noise pollution.
The audacious plans have gained acknowledgment from all areas of the sporting world including Sir Steve Redgrave who toured the site whilst meeting Vice-Chancellor, Professor Steve West, student representatives and Bristol Rovers chairman Nick Higgs.
Five time Olympic gold medallist and rowing legend Sir Steve Redgrave was introduced exciting plans as he visited UWE’s centre for sport recently. The project is ground breaking for the University as it will make them the first and only University campus with a 20,000 seater stadium, a facility that Sir Steve Redgrave believes is ‘extremely positive and may help
encourage the next generation of British sports stars.’
“I am delighted to have been invited to meet the team involved with what I’m sure will be a superb sporting venue” said Sir Steve. “It is fantastic that, by pooling their resources, UWE & Bristol Rovers will allow students at the university to have access to the same state-of-the-art facilities as professional sportsmen and women.”
Construction on the site will begin mid-2012 and as plans continue to develop and progress,
Terry Langdon, Director of Gleeds and responsible for the scheme promised to
deliver “above and beyond” the expectations of Bristol Rovers and the University.