Football club can expand new base after neighbours' objections are withdrawn

November 01 2021
Football club can expand new base after neighbours' objections are withdrawn

BRISTOL Rovers have got the green light to expand a new clubhouse in Almondsbury.

The club won planning permission to increase the size of the building at The Quarters training ground after neighbours who initially opposed the expansion withdrew their objections.

A South Gloucestershire Council planning committee waved through the plans, which will see the size of the clubhouse at its new base at Hortham Lane increase by 70 per cent, at a meeting on October 28.

The T-shaped clubhouse was built to plans granted in 1993. 

But when it was finished earlier this year, the club applied to increase the total area by more than 70% to 680 square metres (7,300 sq ft).

The club has said the extra space would allow it to create extra changing facilities and host under-18 and under-23 matches at the training base.

Three neighbours initially opposed the application, saying it would have a “massive impact” on them and make their lives “intolerable”, but they withdrew their objections after talking to the club, the meeting heard.

Many of their concerns related to aspects of the football training ground which have already been granted consent, planning papers showed.

Local councillor Keith Burchell, who brought the application to the planning committee, told the meeting he had received “numerous” complaints about noise and other matters, such as “complaints not being received in a proper manner”.

But he said: “The reasons I called it in initially have gone by the board, from people talking to each other.

Nobody, resident-wise, has got any complaints about this happening, as indeed I haven’t.”

Cllr Burchell, who represents Severn Vale ward and chairs the committee, said he wanted a note attached to the planning permission requesting a liaison group be set up to iron out any problems between the football club and the local residents.

He added: “Judging by the enthusiasm of the facilities manager who showed us round, that will happen at some stage in the future.

Committee members were shown around the training ground and clubrooms on October 15.

All nine of them voted to approve the plans, which a planning officer had recommended for approval.

No one from Rovers spoke at the planning meeting and none of the neighbours did either.

The first team moved to the Quarters training ground from temporary facilities at Bristol University’s Coombe Dingle complex last autumn.

The creation of the clubhouse is the final stage of phase one of the project, which already has two training pitches and a gym in use by the first team. 

Future phases of the project will see Rovers’ academy move to new training base.

By Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporting Service