Friends of the Memorial Ground (FOMG) broadly welcome the recent proposal to rebuild Bristol’s famous sports ground. The stated aim is to improve facilities for players and fans, ‘creating a stadium that’s very cosy, where fans can create a good atmosphere’. It is heartening that a revitalisation of this very special war memorial sports ground will herald its centenary in 2021, granting a new lease of sporting life for the coming decades.
The Memorial Stadium is embedded in the local community: around it are people’s homes and gardens; nearby pubs, cafes and food outlets sustain visiting football fans. The sports ground gives character and historical significance to the residential area. Dwane Sports Limited now have the opportunity to enhance the site’s huge potential, and its Bristol Rugby heritage, and make it Rovers’ own – for football.
Previous redevelopment proposals have foundered for not respecting the war memorial status of the site and ignoring the valid concerns of local people. Avoiding these mistakes is possible through genuine consultation with neighbours and nearby residents, as well as with Rovers fans, community groups (including The Bishopston Society), local councillors, and the council. What a “fitting and proportionate” redevelopment would be, is a moot point. How far is the site suitable for a large capacity stadium along with non-sport income generating businesses? Also on the agenda: consideration of creative solutions to match day transport and parking issues. Constructive dialogue will help bring about a successful planning application.
Bristol Rugby Former Players and FOMG would support landscaping improvements around the listed entrance gates and their professional restoration. Dwane Sports Limited, being the owners of the gates, could apply for a grant for this work (http://www.warmemorials.org/grants/). The revamped sport ground could once again proudly be Bristol’s great war memorial, actively honouring the war dead through sport, as intended by its founders.