Speaking from Ashton Gate at the weekend, Bristol Sport founder Steve Lansdown CBE commented on the hearing date saying: “It’s great to finally have it after being delayed a few times previously. Everything is in place, and we are ready to go, we are just looking forward to getting on with it. We saw how exciting the Flyers are on Friday night. It’s always a great occasion but we talk about the crowd there and we can only get about 500 or 600 or so and selling out every week, but what if we can have three or nearly four thousand here at Ashton Gate, it will transform the sport and the area.”
Plans to build the Flyers Basketball team a new 3,626-seater home adjacent to the football and rugby stadium at BS3, were first announced in 2018. With just one week to go until Bristol City Council decides whether these will be approved, business and tourism leaders have written to the council petitioning for the plans to be passed.
Visit West wrote in support saying: “We have been following the development of the Ashton Gate Sporting Quarter closely as it will act as a catalyst for increasing the value of the visitor economy of the city, especially in the south of the city, providing new facilities that are desperately needed for both leisure and business visitors.
“The proposed facilities will support the elevation of Bristol to a tier one business events destination. For too long Bristol has lost out to other cities like Cardiff and Birmingham due to a lack of larger conferencing and events facilities with onsite hotels.”
The Destination Management team, responsible for delivering services that develop the visitor and leisure economy through the region added:
“The development will hugely strengthen Bristol’s role as a cultural, sporting and economic centre of our region. Coinciding with the multi-million-pound investment in the British Basketball League (BBL) recently, it will undoubtedly give this rising sport a higher profile, inspiring both star athletes of the future and a healthy, fun, participatory team sport that is accessible to all.
Andreas Kapoulas, Head Coach for the Bristol Flyers and Great Britain Men’s Assistant Coach commented: “The proposed venue will rank Bristol third largest amongst the other BBL venues and ensure our ability to achieve long term financial sustainability. Having our own home venue will mean we can compete at the highest possible level, attracting larger crowds and growing the sport. It will have a positive impact on the city too as we will be able to host major finals and European games – none of which are possible from our current home at SGS.
“The Bristol Sport Foundation, along with Flyers, Robins and Bears Community Foundations are all based at Ashton Gate. This development will ensure their offering to the community is able to expand and grow, with a commitment from the Bristol Sport Foundation to provide 40,000 hours of accessible space for sport for the community.
Business West also referenced its support for the Sporting Quarter development saying it would “supercharge Ashton Gate’s position as a major events and sporting hub for the community in Bristol and the South West region.”
The organisation, which aims to make Bristol the best place to live and work, added: “We strongly encourage and support developments that aim to correct historical investment shortfalls in South Bristol; with £126.9 million GVA during its construction and a further £24.5 million operational GVA, this project represents a long-overdue and sustainable redevelopment for this part of our city which should be supported robustly by the Council and the other city partners.”
Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, has also voiced support for the proposals commenting: “The plans have my full support. Worth in the region of around £200m the proposals include more community facilities, greater pedestrianisation, and hundreds of new homes, whilst retaining green space and aiming for a biodiversity net gain.
“This investment meets a need that’s been identified and talked about for some time, and will further strengthen Bristol’s role as the cultural, sporting, and economic centre of our region.”
A final decision is expected at Bristol City Council’s planning committee hearing on October 5th. Work on the projects will continue following the award of planning approval, providing a huge boost for South Bristol and the wider region in times of increasing economic difficulty.
Click on the following links to view the full plans for Ashton Gate’s Sporting Quarter and the proposed development of the former landfill site at Longmoor.