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City moving goal-posts as ‘stadium land’ now earmarked for housing

City moving goal-posts as ‘stadium land’ now earmarked for housing

Land included in Bristol City’s failed bid to build a brand new stadium in 2009 has now been earmarked for housing as part of an ambitious programme unveiled by Bristol City Council.

But planners have been accused of ‘moving the goal posts’ as they bid to make a start on the most ambitious council building programme since the 1980s.

Helm Finance Director Adam Marks said: “The Alderman Moore allotment site includes some of the land where Bristol City wanted to build a new stadium – a plan that was stymied by ‘a small group of NIMBYs – with the land, ludicrously, being declared a village green!

“The Ashton Gate stadium has since been completely re-built to offer Premiership facilities for our city and we are proud to support the sportsmen and spectators which have flocked to the new facilities.

“But in hindsight, a more robust planning process would have ensured the original plan was seen through in the first place – rather than leave the ambitious stadium plan susceptible to a minority of objectors who managed to derail a perfectly good scheme and get the land declared a Village Green on little more than a whim.”

Adam Marks added:  “You would imagine the city council might have more luck pushing their own application for new housing through, but it seems yet another example of our baffling and befuddled planning process – where the goal posts are moved as and when convenient.” 

He said the latest about-face was typical of the time consuming, costly and frequently frustrating planning processes which have held back the re-development of the city.

Described as the biggest development of new council houses in the city since the 1980s, the city is seeking to build133 new homes on the former allotment site in Ashton. Of these 81 will be sold to private buyers with profits going in to the main housing budget.

“At first glance it’s not a great ratio in terms of providing affordable council accommodation for Bristol, but it’s better than nothing.

“With so many people desperate to get a foot on the property ladder, it makes sense to look at wasted and redundant space in existing urban locations rather than dig up more of our open space.”

Adam Marks added: “Interestingly, the plan envisages leaving land alongside the railway line on the northern edge of the site in the hope a new station could one day be provided to serve this development and the planned Vale development next door

This in itself is an interesting thought since the ‘Beeching cuts’ of the 1960’s declared all such ideas superfluous to the need of a modern transport system.

“This would at least give future residents an alternative to driving their car to the nearest traffic queue.”