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Posted on: Thu 23 Oct 2008

Bristol Rovers have today announced their intention to stay at the Memorial Stadium during the redevelopment process.

The revised scheme, which is scheduled to get underway in 2009, is still subject to approval from a number of bodies, including Bristol City Council and the Football League.

Rovers chairman, Nick Higgs, said: "As I indicated during our annual fun day in August, I hoped to be able to issue an update on the Memorial Stadium Regeneration Project by November, I am now in a position to do so.


"Since we announced the delay in the Stadium Project in June we have been re-appraising the scheme. This is mainly in the light of the effects of the current credit crunch and the on- going financial climate.

"We are very pleased to announce that through the careful re-design and phasing of the construction of the project we will be able to stay at the Memorial Stadium throughout the construction process.

"To allow this to happen we have redesigned the foundations, steel frame and pre-cast concrete frame to accommodate the phasing of the construction.

"During the works we will maintain a minimum capacity of 8,500 at all times, and within certain phases, that will increase to over 10,000.

"We will be able to maintain the majority of the corporate and spectator facilities during phase one and replacement facilities will come on line during phase two.

"This approach will retain much needed income for the club during construction and accommodate our corporate partners and fans on match days.

"Bristol Rugby have been made aware of these proposals.

"We have revisited the design, construction methodology, phasing and programme in some detail, with our design team and the proposed main contractor.

"We have now chosen a main contractor and are very grateful for their input in to the project during the past few months. We hope to be in a position to appoint them in the coming weeks when we have finalised the lump sum price for the project.

"However, at this stage any appointment will still be subject to the funding being in place to allow the project to proceed.

"On the technical side, we have now concluded the issues with regard to design, programme and phasing of the project and with their resolution, we will be in a position to commence work in 2009, but again this is subject to the funding being in place.

"Car parking will be reduced, but plans are being made to advance the Park and Ride scheme as laid out under the current planning permission. The playing surface will be moved to its new position during the close season between phases one and two."

The club were initially planning to move to Cheltenham Town's Whaddon Road ground, but thanks to the new design process they will be able to stay in Bristol while work is being carried out.

Nick said: "Obviously we will not now be moving to Cheltenham and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board of Directors of Cheltenham Town FC, for their help and cooperation in agreeing to accommodate us if we had needed a temporary groundshare arrangement.

"Needless to say we will still have to obtain a number of approvals to progress the regeneration of the Stadium in this manner. These include the Football League, Football Foundation, Football Licencing Authority, Bristol City Council, Statutory Services and the Safety Advisory Group.

"Our planning consultants have also looked at these proposals with regard to the current planning permission and are happy that we are still in compliance. There are no changes to the appearance of the project under these latest proposals.

"Due to the current turmoil in the financial markets, it is not certain that we will be able to achieve the necessary funding in the manner we first planned, and the board are now exploring alternative proposals with various other parties.

"Our agents are currently out to the market with student accommodation providers and hotel operators and we hope to receive bids in the near future.

"Needless to say, nothing will be done that will put the club at risk, and progress will be made when the time is right."

The club aim to make a further announcement by January 2009 with regard to funding.

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