Tesco Plan “Essential” For New City StadiumAugust 18, 2009
Bristol City FC Chief Executive Colin Sexstone claims getting planning permission to sell Ashton Gate to Tesco is “essential” to the club building its new stadium at Ashton Vale.
He describes alternative plans for Ashton Gate as “laudable” but says no realistic alternatives have been put forward.
His comments come as the club formally submits its planning application to Bristol City Council, which it did on Monday.
He told Jones The News: “Stadiums are expensive beasts, and it appears there is no public money available for this – as there might be on the continent. So it must be funded by Bristol City.
“The only asset we have is Ashton Gate, and we must raise as much money as we can. The difference between using this for food retail and a mixed use site could be as much as fifteen million pounds.
“If someone else can suggest how we could raise that money, we’re all ears. But no-one has suggested anything else as yet.”
The plans have only been submitted as outlines at the moment, but it’s thought the proposed store could be as big as 8,400 sq metres, about a third bigger than the nearby ASDA store in Bedminster. Tesco also estimates the supermarket would see a car arriving approximately every five seconds.
Colin Sexstone does not believe any alternative uses suggested for the site, such as housing or sports facilities, are feasible.
He added: “Unless someone can raise the money, they’re not feasible. If Bristol City Council want to raise £20m or so they can do what they like with it.
“But none of the suggestions that have been made – laudable though they are – can help us build the new stadium. The new stadium will be a fantastic community facility.
“The alternative is that, if we don’t raise that money, we will stay where we are.”
Campaign group BERATE, who oppose the Tesco plans, say on their web site: “This community has hosted and supported the club for 100 years and we believe that the club should leave an alternative legacy, more in keeping with the original use for this site.
“We propose that the site could provide new sports and play facilities for the community along with new housing. These will increase participation in sport and play, and provide much needed housing in this area.”
Audio: Martin Jones interviews Colin Sexstone