Parish Council objects to Bristol Rovers’ UWE Stadium proposals

Aerial view of Bristol Rover's proposed new UWE Stadium in Stoke Gifford, Bristol.

Stoke Gifford Parish Council has lodged an objection to Bristol Rovers’ plans to build a 21,700 seater stadium on land owned by the University of the West of England (UWE), near the new Cheswick Village housing development [map].

The Council discussed the football club’s planning application at a committee meeting on 27th March, where it was decided to object on the grounds of traffic and transportation issues.

The objection, now recorded against the planning application on South Gloucestershire Council’s website, also raises concerns that the development would generate noise, disturbance and security concerns for local residents. It reads:

“The proposed site would be situated in the middle of a residential area and the existing infrastructure already suffers from congestion in and around the A4174.”

“The proposals would inevitably lead to congestion and parking issues which would significantly impact on local residents living nearby and neighbouring areas. The proposed stadium would also generate noise and general disturbances on a regular basis from a host of events as detailed within the application.”

“It is also noted by Council that residents have expressed concerns regarding their own safety and security whilst potential crowds of people are accessing the stadium within such close proximity to residential properties.”

In another development, a two page letter compiled by “the official Residents’ Association at Stoke Park” has been circulated to homes around the proposed stadium site. The communication encourages residents to submit formal objections to the scheme, suggesting numerous “consultation points” that they might wish to make on topics that include traffic, parking, noise pollution, anti-social behaviour, security and environmental pollution.

Summary of Residents’ Concerns


Whilst the applicants claim that stadium traffic will fall outside existing peak hours, residents say it will extend the period when the area is gridlocked leaving local road users “unable to travel conveniently”.

Extended hours of congestion at the Abbey Wood Roundabout will prevent a fast response to crime or local emergency, say residents.


The provision of just 1,000 parking spaces for 21,700 visitors plus staff/marshals/players is described as “grossly inadequate” by residents, who fear that parking will spill over into neighbouring residential areas.

The promised implementation of a ‘Stadium Events Residents Car Parking Zone’ is dismissed by residents, who fear that the parking restrictions will not be legally enforceable because “many roads in Cheswick are not yet adopted and may not be for some time (if ever)”.

Noise Pollution

Residents fear that they will be subjected to excessive nosie during events (particularly concerts) and, on match days, inappropriate singing and shouting from the fans and players.

The impact of car doors slamming and voices being raised as fans are leaving the area after evening matches is also highlighted.

Extra Facilities

Residents claim there is no demonstrable need for the extra facilities included in the stadium proposal and they point out that a gym is included in the recently submitted planning application for the new neighbourhood centre in Cheswick Village.

Alternative Sites

They claim that there are better sites that should be considered, including Filton Airfield (recently earmarked for development by South Gloucestershire Council) and vacant land owned by Rolls-Royce at Filton.

Consultation Comments

Hundreds of consultation comments have already been registered on the Council’s website, with the vast majority being of a supportive nature. The residents’ association’s letter claims that many of these are from people living outside the immediate area adding that they were submitted days before the planning documents were available to view on the website.

Research by The Journal confirms that supporting comments started appearing on the website on 15th March, following an appeal on the Bristol Rovers Fans’ Forum. The documents showing the plans didn’t appear until four days later, on 19th March.

Hidden amongst the many comments is a rambling letter of objection from agents acting on behalf of Hewlett Packard (HP), the company that owned the stadium land before selling it to the university. HP has an office complex immediately to the north of the proposed stadium and it objects to the application on numerous grounds that include an accusation of a total lack of consultation, a predicted detrimental effect on access to its “24/7 operations” and a predicted reduction in commercial property value as a result of having a “bad neighbour”.

UPDATE: To read the HP letter, find the first contribution from “Collins Coward”, dated 10th April, on the documents page of the planning application. Alternatively, a copy of the document can be viewed on Google Docs:

What Happens Now?

The official closing date for consultation responses is today (12th April) but the letter from the residents’ association suggests that this has now been extended to 30th April. A source at South Gloucestershire Council was unable to confirm this as the responsible officers are currently on leave.

It is understood that the earliest date by which a decision will be made is July (sixteen weeks after submission). That will be preceded by a ‘site visit’ from members of the Council’s Sites Inspection Sub-Committee and the publication of a planning officer’s report containing a recommended decision. The report will then go to the Planning Committee for a final decision.

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  1. This is a very positive position taken by the Parish Council. Like many other people I am buying a property on Cheswick, but will not move until the house is built this summer. Most of the people who will be impacted by a stadium do not yet live on the site, a serious flaw in the consultation process. If Cheswick is to thrive as a new community (which at best takes years), then it must not be dominated by a major sporting and music venue which add no significant value to residents, but will bring noise and light pollution, traffic and anti-social behavior. Give Cheswick a Chance!

  2. I understand the councils concerns, but suggesting they build it on Rolls Royce or Filton airfield would not make the problems go away as they are also neighbours of Stoke Gifford. Traffic and noise would still be a problem for many Stoke Gifford residents who have lived there for years.

  3. As far as I can see, most of the objections raised here have been well addressed in the planning phase. I think the south west need a more progressive mentality. We are miles behind other cities in this country and there’s no comparison when you consider European cities as well!

  4. As a local resident you do have to question who the parish council represent – the transport links into the proposed stadium are easily good enough to cope ( look at the position of the current stadiums in Bristol for proof that quite small roads can cope ). There is a road from the M32 that is not far of from being a motorway in size, a rail station next door and excellent facilites for cycling as well as public transport. This is without doubt the best location possible for a facility such as this – given the level of local support perhps the parish councillers should look carefully at their chances of being re-elected, as it would only take a couple of pro-stadium candidates to stand and they would find themselves no longer on the council ….

  5. @ R John – If i were to move house, before doing so I would consider all potential options, especially considering the amount of development that has already occurred in the area. What would you rather have, another business park with a steady stream of traffic, with car doors opening and closing and imagine this (comment not aimed at you), people talking as they walk to and from work, smell of canteen food, light pollution open 7 days a week, rather than the staduim which would at most be used once or twice a week, which would virtually be redundant in the summer months. Cheswick is a development and so is the stadium, both of which are due to move forwards. I am sure some residents of this new village are more concerned about the sell on value. You have nothing to worry about the football club will be good respectful residents.

  6. As a Stoke Gifford resident for 14 years i welcome the new stadium proposal – It has good transport links, is on the edge of the City of Bristol and will providd employment. As for traffic issues – c’mon SG Parish Council we can hardly worry too much about that when we have large business on our doorstep (Friends Life, MOD, etc) which create heavy traffic thru’ SG 5 days/week, but provides jobs.
    SG Parish Council – who exactly are YOU representing here? Have you consulted the SG residents? Some of you aren’t that bothered about residents’ views on the proposed Hitachi Electric train depot planned for our area.

  7. @ M Taylor – I’d rather take my chances with an office block, thanks. 10,000 people work at MOD already and the only nuisance is traffic related. Realistically, the venue will need to take full advantage of any permission granted for music events to pay its way. So ‘one or twice a week’ and ‘virtually redundant in the summer’ is just wishful thinking.
    @Simon Wiltshire – which side of Filton Rd do you live? I’d raise no objection to the Stadium if I lived in Stoke Gifford proper. But at Cheswick, with several hundred people living within 100 meters of the stadium, it is a very different proposition. 1,800 homes will be within 400 metres of the stadium by 2015.

  8. I live in ‘Stoke Gifford proper’ as you put it – originally from Hanham.
    My objection to ‘the objection’ by SGPC is because there’s been no consultation with us – unless i’ve missed it.
    The stadium will be a real bonus for the North fringe of Bristol, in terms of profile and jobs – time for us to step back from the growing ‘big village’ reputation of Bristol & ‘Greater Bristol’. Let’s grasp it…quickly…before somewhere else does.

  9. @ Simon Wiltshire. I’m not sure the reason we elect local Councillors is for them to consult on every issue, but that is a discussion for another thread. I do think that due weight be given to those who live at Cheswick, as they will suffer any negative impact (particularly noise, light and anti social behaviour). Anyone living in Stoke Gifford north of Filton Rd will not be. My point, too, is that only around 20% of Chewick’s population live there now, with occupation not complete until after the stadium is built. The supposed economic boost is not really credible. The lower quality of life is.

  10. As a Stoke Gifford resident of 50 years born and bred in the old village. I am anoyed that the Parish council voted against the stadium. Many of those on the council are newcomers into the area living in “new developments”. They have contributed to the extra traffic,noise,pollution etc over the years in this area and I find it ironic that they have decided to vote against the stadium. UWE,MOD,AXA,Filton College,Esporta,Offices, numerous Houses,bigger roads,Parkway Station,Park and ride,Sainsburys,B&Q,National Transplant centre,Bradley Stoke, Houses on the airfield etc etc. Where was the council when all these where proposed?

  11. Just a small point,if only 20% of Cheswick village is occupied now then by careful deduction 80% will know about the possible stadium before deciding to move into their new house, the choice is theirs.Houses will always sell eventually.

  12. There appears to be a big question over SGPC’s decision to officially object – my understanding is that this objection was nowhere near unanimous by the parish council.
    Maybe the parish council would like to explain/defend its collective decision – was it a collective decision? Or did a couple of ‘stronger’ members persuade the others? Only the parish council can offer a full explanation.

  13. I’m sure a lot of other locals are awaiting an explanation from SGPC. It’s also obvious they have produced a generic letter or guidance on how to object to the stadium plans which won’t help their case.Planners will want to see original responses not copycat letters. We await SGPC’s response to why they voted to object and whether,as Simon suspects,the decision was unanimous!

  14. Received a reply from the Parish Council today by email – it appears my view on a split council is unfounded – allegedly a unanimous decision by SGPC. My conclusion is that the Tory councillors representing SG at different levels of Council are split on this issue.
    SGPC you should consult on this issue, not suppose. Your decision is NOT based on sound evidence.
    Traffic Congestion in this area occurs every weekday, with major employers such as The MOD, UWE and Friends Life + other co.s. Around 17000 work in this area. BRFC draw crowds of 5500 every other weekend and every other week – hardly compares to the 5 day/week works traffic congestion.

  15. A residential association has admitted it encouraged residents to ,not respond to South Gloucester Council and comment on the stadium proposals,but to “formally object”.An amazingly arrogant stance to take in assuming ALL residents are against the proposals.It would have been just as arrogant to suggest residents should support the development.The other failing of this stance could actually work against them in that virtually a generic letter has been written by the few residents that,as things stand,do want to object and all the issues raised have already been addressed by BRFC/UWE and will continually be tweaked to try to bring the objectors on side.Remember it is NOT an “us” and “them” situation BRFC/UWE want to be good neighbors IF this scheme goes ahead!

  16. The names of the parish councillors that sat at the planning meeting that decided to object are below. Perhaps people should fill their post bag with some comments.

    Cllr D Skeet [DS] Chair, M Brown [MB], [Vice Chair] J Lewis [JL], E Brown [EB], K Cranney [KC],
    K Falconer [KF], N Bryant [NB] and S Shield [Clerk]

  17. Sent the SGPC another email this time yday eve – just got in from work and no reply. Pretty typical really. Oh dear – local ‘democracy’ at work!

  18. BBC Radio Bristol is featuring Hewlett Packard’s (HP’s) objections to the stadium application on its Breakfast programme this morning (Friday 20th).

    Rovers’ chairman Nick Higgs to give his views on HP’s comments after the 8am news.

    ‘Listen again’ link (until Friday 27th April):

  19. I have listened to the broadcast on Radio Bristol and after several meetings between BRFC/UWE and Hewlett Packard including both sides consultants the points raised by HP have come down to eight operations concerns which will be addressed in the planning process.It was clear,also,that HP were NOT formally objecting to the plans, they expressed a number of concerns which could affect their own company’s operations. I am sure too,that in due course BRFC/UWE will address local residents fears and concerns so all the community will be able to enjoy the planned development if it is successful.

  20. @S G Martin, Collins Coward’s representation, on behalf of HP, has the title “Detailed Objections to Planning Application PT12/0888/F”, so I think it’s clear that it IS a formal objection.

    As Nick Higgs said this morning, this is old news that the BBC ought to have picked up earlier (as we did).

    We are now told that things have moved on and, if Mr Higgs is to be believed, HP might soon withdraw its objections. We await developments.

  21. Editor, maybe as a number of Stoke Gifford residents don’t like the Parish Councils stance in objecting,perhaps a meeting with Nick Higgs would be appropriate for you also.I am sure he would like to have a chance to discuss your objections to the development in detail and maybe invite some Cheswick village residents along as well as an extraordinary consultation meeting if you like. Mr.Higgs does say we want to be ALL good neighbors.

  22. @ sg martin I’m not clear what your gripe is in criticising my phrase. What is wrong in describing the potential for increased antisocial behaviour, litter, vandalism, amplified music and light pollution as affecting my ‘quality of life’?
    For those who decide to live in Cheswick after the planning decision is known it is indeed caveat emptor. I am still saying that due weight must be given to the opinions of those who live there now, and rather less to those who live in other parts of the parish. If the stadium were to be sited in Mead Park, I would expect the reverse to be true. If Cheswick is to take root as a new community it must not be dominated by this mixed use venue.

  23. My gripe was “low quality of life”. The anti-social elements you correctly cited as a potential concern could arrive on your doorstep 24/7 as your new community expands.The nuisance of a small mischievous minority is found in ALL walks of life including,yes,sports supporters or anywhere where large groups of people gather but at least it will only POSSIBLY occur a handful of times a year in which case BRFC/UWE will want to deal with the culprits as much as your community would want it. You have to trust that the developers of this project want to include the whole community as indeed it will bring potential enjoyment to many if/when it comes to fruition.I certainly don’t see having these extra facilities on your doorstep as lowering your fellow villagers quality of life.

  24. Still no reply from SGPC from email sent last Wednesday 18th. Poor state of affairs. Obviously suffering from ‘Bury head in sand’ syndrome.

  25. BBC Bristol also reporting on Twitter that South Gloucestershire Council’s Development Control (West) Sites Inspection Sub-Committee will visit the site on Friday 11th May. Not yet confirmed as agenda still to be published. The public are usually allowed to have a say during these visits.

  26. SH, at this early stage has the type of gym equipment for the proposed Cheswick development and proposed stadium been discussed as it would be worth planning both with both parties involved to ensure maximum choice of exercise options are available and not too much overlap in type of equipment. Also another point, as a supporter of the proposed UWE Stadium, the new primary school would surely benefit from the close proximity of gym and running track with the possibility of summer activities supervised by qualified coaches from the football and/or rugby club and UWE sports department.

  27. I had to do a double-take at the comment that the residents will be able to hear inappropriate shouting from the players. Do they intend issuing 22 megaphones as the teams run onto the pitch? What about the referee and linespersons, do they get one as well? I think we should be told.

  28. Yes Peter,that just about sums up some comments from the few objectors……I didn’t say that too loud did I??

  29. From the minutes of a meeting of Stoke Gifford Parish Council’s Planning & Transportation Committee held on 24th April:

    “Representatives of Bristol Rovers Football Club, Transport Planning Associates and Pegasus Planning Group attended the meeting in response to recent comments submitted by Council in relation to the proposed UWE/Bristol Rovers Stadium.”

    “Various aspects of the proposed application were discussed which included the proposal itself, accessibility, trip forecasts, parking provision, an event parking strategy for Cheswick Village and a stadium event travel management plan.”

    “Council expressed their thanks to the representatives of these organisations for attending the Committee.”

  30. Not all the stoke gifford parish councillors were against it and said so at the meeting ,they just had a few concerns that was all .So someone has been telling a few pork pies.

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