Plans to build 500-seater stadium in village set to be approved despite objections

PUBLISHED: 16:00 07 August 2018 | UPDATED: 16:27 07 August 2018

The cluib wants to improve its academy facilities. Picture: Bristol City FC

The cluib wants to improve its academy facilities. Picture: Bristol City FC

Bristol City FC

Controversial plans to build a 500-seat football stadium in a village look set to be given the green light despite strong opposition.

An aerial view of the proposed development. Picture; Bristol City FCAn aerial view of the proposed development. Picture; Bristol City FC

North Somerset Council’s planning and regulatory committee will meet tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss Bristol City Football Club’s plans, which have been recommended for approval by council officers.

The football club shares the site in Failand with Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital (QEH) school, in Clevedon Road, and the club announced in December it had submitted a planning application to develop a separate facility.

MORE: City unveils plans to expand academy.

The club wants to expand by building three training pitches, a pavilion and a stadium separate from the school.

Currenty, the first team and under 23s share pitches with QEH.

Both Long Ashton and Wraxall and Failand parish councils failed to support the proposal citing ‘inappropriate development in the greenbelt’.

An artist's impression of the proposed development. Picture: Bristol City FCAn artist's impression of the proposed development. Picture: Bristol City FC

More than 300 letters of complaints were submitted to the council, most of which came from members of Long Ashton Golf Club, also in Clevedon Road, who were concerned for the safety of players and spectators with ‘wayward golf balls’ potentially landing on the training area.

MORE: Safety fears raised as parish councils oppose Bristol City academy growth.

In its design and access statement, Bristol City FC said: “Having both the academy and first team on one site is critical to the youth development and the pathway from youth team recruit through to professional player.

How Bristol City expect the floodlit pitch to look. Picture: Bristol City FC.How Bristol City expect the floodlit pitch to look. Picture: Bristol City FC.

“Merging these uses together within one facility is intended to engender a progressive tiered development structure within the football club and benefit local home-grown talent.”

A council planning officer concluded there are ‘no suitable alternatives within a five-mile radius of the club’s base’ despite the proposals constituting an ‘inappropriate development in the greenbelt and will affect the openness (of the greenbelt)’.

Recommending the plans for approval, the officer added: “There are beneficial effects that arise from the development and the proposal has been designed to minimise the impact on openness, which are important to the club’s long-term aspirations.

“It is considered there are very special circumstances that apply in this case for allowing inappropriate development in the greenbelt.”

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