Gloucestershire Cricket Club’s Stadium Development Plans Rejected by Council

January 12, 2012

Gloucestershire Cricket Club’s £10 million ($15.35m) redevelopment plans have been denied by council planners.

Members of Bristol City Council’s planning committee refused the application to expand the 122-year-old club’s Nevil Road ground after a lengthy debate last night.

The decision by six votes to four means Bristol will not be able to host international cricket in the future and has opened up the realistic possibility the club itself may leave the city.

The plans were thrown out not because of the expansion of the ground itself – up to a maximum capacity of 17, anabolics 500 seats – but rather the tower block of 147 flats that would help pay for it. Opponents said that at seven stories it was too big, anesthetist lacked sufficient parking and would be harmful to a conservation area.

The other major sticking point was a failure to agree a planning deal to pay for local improvement projects. Rather than providing the required £4.4 million ($6.75m) of contributions towards education, green space, libraries and health the club’s developer was offering just £83,000 ($127,311).

The scheme also failed to provide a single affordable home, with the club claiming it would make the development “financially unviable”.

Speaking after the meeting, residents said they were not anti-cricket and would welcome the club coming back with a smaller-scale proposal.

The club now has the option of submitting revised plans, appealing the decision, or walking away.

Last night chief executive Tom Richardson said: “We’re extremely disappointed with the verdict. We will sleep on the decision.”

Mr Richardson told councillors the club needed to expand.

He said: “What happens if we do not develop? We would lose international cricket. It would be extremely difficult for the club financially. As a major sporting institution we would be on a clear downward path.

“As a consequence, the club would have to consider relocating out of the city.”

Alison Orton, of residents group Howzat?, said: “We are not a Nimby organisation and we are not against the redevelopment of the club but we firmly reject this scheme, as it would be too big. The crucial issue is the enabling development – a block of flats that would rise seven storeys.”

The plan was rejected on the grounds it was too big, failed to meet council guidelines on sustainability, and lacked enough money for a planning deal, known as a section 106 agreement, towards improvements to education and green spaces.

Speaking after the decision, resident Daniella Radice said: “Everyone agreed the scale was too big.

“The cricket club could come back with a better option. We’re definitely not anti-cricket.”