Traffic and parking remain biggest issues for new Bristol Rovers stadium

Bristol Rovers stadium - site meeting.

Traffic congestion and on-street parking in residential areas remain top of the list of concerns following a meeting of Councillors today at the site of the proposed new Bristol Rovers stadium in Stoke Gifford [map].

Local residents in the adjoining Cheswick Village housing development have said they fear that traffic entering and leaving the stadium on match days will cause gridlock on the nearby Abbey Wood Roundabout and Avon Ring Road, blocking access to their estate.

They also predict that what they see as “inadequate” parking provision within the stadium site will lead to fans parking on residential roads and blocking drives.

A Transport Engineer from South Gloucestershire Council (SGC) told the meeting that the applicants (Bristol Rovers and UWE) have submitted a Transport Assessment that examines the impact of match day and week day usage of the stadium and its ancillary facilities. Council officers have examined the traffic analysis contained in the document and have asked for more information on certain points, he added.

The meeting was told that already-implemented and planned improvements to cycling and walking routes in the area together with new public transport infrastructure, such as the Cheswick Bus Link (currently under construction) and the planned Romney Avenue Bus Link would “also work well for the stadium”.

Councillors were advised that they needed to consider the issue of on-street parking “very carefully”, especially in Cheswick Village but also in other nearby areas such as Stoke Park. Meetings between the Council and the applicant to address this matter are ongoing, the Transport Engineer added.

Parking was also identified as a key issue by Craig Rawlinson, a transport consultant working for the applicants. Measures to control on-street parking that are described in the Traffic Management Plan would have to be enforced by the Council’s traffic wardens, the cost of which would be met by the stadium, he said.

The submitted plans include the provision of 1,000 parking spaces, which is less than the 1,470 considered sufficient for a stadium of the proposed size but a further 1,500 spaces can be made available on demand elsewhere within the UWE campus said Mr Rawlinson.

One resident at the meeting said he doubted what commitment UWE would make with regard to the extra parking spaces, adding that he would have “no confidence in anything less than a binding legal obligation” from them.

Another resident suggested that the proposed traffic wardens “wouldn’t last forever”, adding: “there’ll be issues, we’re right on top of it here”.

Stoke Gifford resident Leslie Cox described the proposed site as “a very silly place to put a stadium”, predicting that roads would be become gridlocked. She continued:

“Bristol Rovers’ fan base is around 6,000. To make your money, you’re going to have to have other events on weekends, evenings, whenever you can get them.”

“You’re going to have huge traffic problems and there’ll be inebriated people getting off trains at Parkway Station and walking through the streets to the stadium.”

Similar comments were made by a resident of Stoke Park, who feared that fans walking to the stadium across the newly restored parkland of Purdown would “misbehave”.

Concern was also expressed about drainage in the area, given that the stadium will be constructed in an excavated “bowl”. Wessex Water and the Environment Agency are already involved in discussions about such issues, the meeting was told.

Cllr Brian Hopkinson said he was concerned about access during busy times for fire engines and ambulances. He asked that input from the Fire and Ambulance services be included in the final report presented to Councillors.

Cllr Dave Hockey, Chair of the Sites Inspection Sub-Committee, thanked everyone for attending and indicated that a final decision on the application would be made at either the June or July meeting of the Development Control (West) Committee.

SGC has received more than 1,000 letters of support for the stadium proposals, countered by responses from over 100 objectors.

The UWE Stadium project is dependent on Bristol Rovers selling its existing ground, the Memorial Stadium in Horfield, to Sainsbury’s. That deal is, in turn, dependent on the supermarket group gaining planning approval from Bristol City Council to build a new store there.

Bristol Rovers FC Director Ed Ware addresses the meeting

Photo: Bristol Rovers FC Director Ed Ware (right) addresses the meeting, watched by Transport Consultant Craig Rawlinson.

More photos on PicasaWeb: album; slideshow

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  1. What is the total population of Cheswick at this moment in time,and Stoke Park? I feel that after a total objection count of 122,this is a small minority of the populous closest to the proposed development and deduce that the majority that live in these two communities DON’T object. I hope SGPC can answer this for locals that are in support of the project.

  2. A fair number of new and revised documents relating to the stadium application have appeared on the SGC website today.

  3. Original source on the BRFC website (dated Tuesday 12th June):

    Date set for planning meeting

    From the article:

    “Furthermore I am also pleased to announce that South Gloucestershire Council have now received a letter from Hewlett Packard formerly (sic) removing all their previous objections to the proposal.”

  4. Perhaps Stoke Giifford Parish Council could reconsider some of their objections since UWE and BRFC are to have a legal agreement about the 1500 space car park on UWE premises resulting in almost 2500 spaces for events users,way above the quoted 1470 spaces for a 22,000 seat arena.

  5. Officers at SGC have recommended in a report issued today that permission for Bristol Rover’s proposed new stadium on land at UWE be GRANTED.

    Conditions include a suite of measures to “mitigate the potential harm from uncontrolled on-street parking” and “potential congestion at the Abbeywood Roundabout”.

    Planning committee due to make decision on Thursday 19th July.

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