Digital fly-through give glimpse of Ashton Gate facility



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Ashton Gate update February 2020 Image: Ashton Gate

The latest designs for the proposed sports and convention center which will come up next to the Ashton Gate Stadium – the residence of professional football club Bristol City F.C. at Bristol in England – was uncovered by Martin Griffiths, Chairman of Ashton Gate, recently. The facility will be able to accommodate 4,000 supporters.

The new proposals are due to be submitted to Bristol City Council at the end of September this year and, if green lighted, work is expected to start on the site in May or June 2021. This was informed by Griffiths.

The vast £100 million facility will encompass a 4,000-capacity indoor venue, a 230-bedroom hotel, a 30,000 sq ft office building, a 165-unit residential development, a 550-space car park, a gym and a museum for all the different clubs.

Commented Griffiths, “It’s really exciting to be able to show the digital fly-through to everyone. We’ve talked a lot about creating a Sporting Quarter for the city where our football, rugby and basketball teams will all play.”

Griffiths added, “Since first announcing plans back in September 2018, we’ve been busy consulting with as many stakeholders as possible. The reaction and interaction that we’ve had has been really positive and has brought us to the designs we are showing today. There is now more open space and public realm areas along with a reduction in the height of the tallest buildings.”

The Chairman further informed, “We think that these latest designs are a great step forward and next month on March 24th & 25th, we will hold a public exhibition at the stadium to outline the plans with more detail. This public exhibition will give everyone a chance to view and comment on the plans, which we hope to submit for planning at the end of the summer.”

The plans entail making Ashton Gate the home ground of the British professional basketball team Bristol Flyers, part of the Bristol Sport Group. The team has gradually carved a niche for itself and recently made it all the way to the BBL Cup Final at Arena Birmingham (in UK) and played in front of a humongous crowd. Bristol Flyers has also developed a loyal fan base in the West, with sell-out crowds at their current residence – SGS College Arena in UK.

Bristol Flyers Head Coach, Andreas Kapoulas, stated, “Seeing the vision brought to life with the fly-through is a real step towards it becoming a reality. The BBL Cup final demonstrated the huge support for the club and the appetite for basketball as a sport.”

Kapoulas further stated, “To have this kind of venue here at Ashton Gate would be a game-changer for our program, will support our future aspirations and secure our long-term sustainability to allow us to grow even further.”

There will also be work carried out in and around the site, which will comprise a ‘super-crossing’ on Winterstoke Road and a fortified walkway along Marina Dolman Way in UK.

The revised plans are a result of months of discussions and feedback on the project, which has seen the team behind the development working in close coordination with residents, local authorities and the business community to give shape to concrete details.

As per media reports, some of the revisions were unveiled last month, but now Ashton Gate has confirmed it will be bringing down the height of buildings, will give room for more open spaces to be created, adjusting travel and transport plans, and making environmental sustainability the highest priority.

Griffiths made it clear that the stadium will pay particular attention to three areas – “A commitment to bringing the Flyers home, developing infrastructure which generates sustainable revenues for generations to come, and travel and transport to the stadium.”

He asserted, “We want to create economic opportunity. This will be Bristol’s sporting quarter and we would like to cast the A-Z of sport here. [This sports and conference facility] will be at the front and center of what we do.”

The new undertaking is predicted to generate around 400 new jobs, which Griffiths again asserted, will be given to the local people. He pooh-poohed reports that the proposed YTLFilton Arena (an impressive Wembley Way-style walkway) would be a threat to Ashton Gate’s grand scheme of things.

The announcement comes after Malaysian investment firm YTL in November last year submitted plans for a new mixed-use arena in Bristol. The project revolves around the repurposing of the Brabazon Hangars in the north of the city and includes plans for a 17,080-seat arena, which would be the third largest in the UK after The O2 and Manchester Arena.

“We don’t see any other development as a threat to us as we think we will be utterly unique. Bristol has come from a place that has had, frankly, nothing,” he further affirmed.

He continued, “It is unique in the overall family of sport and the offering here. They are a completely different scale. I think it’s good for the city if it has all of it. There is a broad market that can accommodate all of them.”

On transport to and from the venue, Griffiths explained, “It is all about managing the issues. Any large venue has transport and travel issues and they have to manage those issues.”

“A railway station would go a long way but I don’t own network rail so I have no influence on that. It is a process of understanding what drives problems around a venue,” he stated.

He stated that the huge parking spot would help sort out matters and that Ashton Gate is funding double yellow lines on the streets around the venue to stop “dangerous parking”.

He also pointed out that shuttle buses plying on game day had trebled over the last three years and the number of cyclists travelling to Ashton Gate has quadrupled since the ‘New’ Ashton Gate Stadium opened. He revealed that he is “working on the powers that be” to add a Metro bus stop to Ashton Gate too – “We have a Metro bus and sadly it doesn’t stop at the stadium but I am working on that.”

He observed, “If we could get the long Ashton Park and Ride open, 1,200 spaces could be put in that facility and we could shuffle people between. We are trying to find ways of getting people in a different way.”

Griffiths summed up, “Since the plans for the development were first announced in September 2018, the reaction has been really positive. We think that these latest designs are a great step forward.”

The team at Ashton Gate will also submit its plans for the ‘Old’ stadium in September, which includes residential space.

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