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George Ferguson moves to block Bristol City ground supermarket plans

Former RIBA president George Ferguson has resorted to ‘guerrilla architecture’ to try and block a supermarket proposed for Bristol City’s Ashton Gate home

Ferguson Mann Architects and local practice Quattro Design have drawn up alternative plans for the soon-to-be-vacated plot in a bid to stop what Ferguson calls ‘thoroughly inappropriate proposals’ for the area.  

Bristol City is hoping to relocate to a 30,000-seat, £90 million stadium designed by Populous by 2012. The move, it claims, is dependent on selling the land to a large retailer.

The club had originally been in discussions with Tesco to take an option on the land. The supermarket pulled out of the scheme last week, but the football club said it had agreed to sell the land to Sainsbury’s instead, subject to planning approval.

When Tesco originally revealed plans for what Ferguson referred to as a ‘bloody great shed’, he led the Bristol City Design Consortium (BCDC) to step in with its own community-friendly proposals for 300 flats and houses, with leisure facilities and commercial properties (pictured above).

Ferguson said: ‘As a socially responsible profession it is up to us to demonstrate a better way. There is a much bigger argument here about how we design our cities. The traditional supermarket model is a dinosaur. It is not economically nor environmentally sustainable’.

Yet Ferguson’s efforts are likely to fall on deaf ears.

Guy Price, development adviser for the club said: ‘Though Ferguson’s plans are laudable, that fact of the matter is we are contracted with Sainsbury’s so [his proposals] are no longer appropriate.’

Price told the AJ he had suggested Ferguson looked instead at Sainsbury’s existing store site, which will be closed if the Ashton Gate scheme goes ahead.

Postscript 06.11.09

Populous’ plans for the new football stadium have taken a step closer to fruition after the city council said it was “minded to approve” the development.

The Bristol City Football Club application, if rubberstamped, would feature a 30,000-seat stadium, conference, hospitality and leisure facilities, an unspecified number of houses and flats and a wildlife conservation area.

The decision by the council gives the football club six months to revise certain elements of the plans, including changes to housing developments within the site and improving pedestrian access. The move comes despite criticism from CABE’s design review panel back in September (click here to see full design review) which called for further work to be carried out ‘to embed the proposal into its wider strategic context’.

Councillor Lesley Alexander, chair of the Development Control Committee, said: ‘The committee decided many aspects of the application could go forward, but the pedestrian access arrangements warranted more detailed information and further discussion.

‘We also felt that the proposed housing development of the Southlands site was unacceptable.

‘After careful consideration, the committee are minded to approve outline planning permission - subject to a number of conditions and more detailed plans and further submissions.’

Readers' comments (1)

  • Ferguson gave zero benefit to the profession when he was RIBA President - why should this performance change in Bristol ??

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