UWE’s 21,700 SEATER STADIUM GIVEN THE GREEN LIGHT AFTER HIGH COURT LEGAL CHALLENGE BY CAMPAIGNING LOCAL RESIDENTS AND GLOUCESTER ROAD BUSINESSES.
By George Gill
Bristol Rovers FC have been allowed to build a large capacity stadium next to Frenchay Campus. Local campaign group TRASH (Traders & Residents Against Sainsbury’s Horfield), led an unsuccessful challenge in the High Courts against the proposal.
The stadium, which will be the largest in Bristol, will also be the future venue for UWE-UOB varsity games. It will also provide job opportunities for students and graduate but some students doubt the benefits for the wider UWE community.
Previous UWE business venture, the Exhibition and Conference Centre, remains routinely empty. An anonymous senior academic staff member told the Western Eye: “the ECC is vice-chancellor Steve West’s white elephant.”
The campaigners oppose what they call a “goliath” supermarket which will be redeveloped at Bristol Rovers’ Memorial Stadium. Sainsbury’s plan includes concessionary measures to Horfield residents such a “homezone” buffer area designed to reduce disturbance.
Local communities remain divided over the development with many UWE students and Bristol Rovers Fans happier than Bishopston’s left-voting constituents. They have not sought an appeal but remain “profoundly disappointed,” reported on their website.
A counter campaign group was headed by Bristol North West MP Charlotte Leslie in favour of the proposed developments. It triumphed the TRASH campaign group both in the High Court and in amounting over 13,000 signatories, twice its competitor. TRASH criticise the petition arguing its support was not from local residents whereas theirs is.
Bristol’s Gloucester Road has the highest number of independent traders than in road in the UK and is treasured by its local community. A vast number of students live near Gloucester Road and enjoy the choice of its many butchers, greengrocers, pubs and coffee shops, among other small businesses.
Gloucester Road-based UWE student, Chris said: “I think some students will be tempted by a big supermarket but many will continue to shop with local traders. You can buy the exact quantity and the quality you want, at a surprisingly good price.”