UWE welcomes stadium initiative

Issue date: 09 June 2011


The University of the West of England welcomes the proposal for a new football stadium at the Frenchay Campus through a groundbreaking agreement with Bristol Rovers Football Club (BRFC) subject to planning permission.

The University has agreed to lease an area of land to BRFC that will create significant benefits for students, staff and the community.

The agreement represents a significant investment of approximately £60 million in first class facilities that bring added value to the city and the region. The stadium will be known as the ‘UWE Stadium'

The agreement allows for a 20,000 seat stadium incorporating facilities for match days, a retail unit, a club shop, crèche, a sports bar/club, a banqueting suite and space for UWE and the community to hire. BRFC will also construct a 1,270 space car park, for use by UWE staff and students, which will replace a temporary car park the University is currently using. The car park will also be available for supporters on Match Days.

The stadium design will include a club gym for student and community use, an all weather jogging track, rooms for student club activities and teaching space.

UWE's rugby and soccer varsity matches will be able to use the stadium and there will be the opportunity for students to assist professional coaches.

Students will also be able to use the Supporters Club Bar and adjacent Banqueting Suite for functions and events, as well as being able to buy discounted match tickets.

Students will be offered the chance to take up casual employment vacancies for match days, as well as part-time jobs in catering and for bar staff. Internships will be offered annually for students into the operation of the Club.

In addition access will be provided to the Media Suite for student courses. Those on relevant degrees will be able to monitor the construction of the stadium as a project as part of their studies and work with the club on marketing, promotion, event management. There are also opportunities for the university to engage in social research and engage with a diverse community of football and rugby supporters.

The stadium will include a small convenience store and BRFC will work with UWE to support public transport access to and from the site. BRFC will work to support UWE charities and alumni in fund raising campaigns. Staff and the local community will be offered match day discounted tickets.

Professor Steve West, Vice Chancellor of says, “UWE welcomes this exciting strategic agreement which will bring tremendous benefits to the University, students and the local community. The agreement makes UWE the first university campus with a 20,000 seat stadium in the UK putting it on a par with many International Universities, and we believe this will have long term value for everyone involved. The team at UWE and at BRFC have worked hard to forge an agreement that delivers real benefits to students and the wider South Gloucestershire community, as well as fulfilling the Club's aspirations and supporting the University's long term strategy. The development would bring much needed employment opportunities to our region as the Stadium is constructed as well as ongoing employment as the Stadium operates. Importantly the scheme is designed to deliver an identified need within South Gloucestershire's Spatial Planning Strategy”.

BRFC Chairman Nick Higgs said: “I am delighted to be able to announce our plans for a purpose built stadium on land at the UWE's Frenchay Campus.

“Negotiations on this project have been going on for nearly two years, in tandem with our plans to develop the existing Memorial Stadium site. We have looked at several sites in Bristol and South Gloucestershire, but we felt this land ticked all the boxes to allow us to build the best possible stadium for Bristol Rovers.

“This is a development of regional significance to South Gloucestershire, Bristol and the wider community. We feel that we have developed a design that is sympathetic to the area and utilises the topography of the land to good effect.

“With the support of the two local councils we feel we can bring this exciting project to fruition very quickly.

“This is what we as a club have been striving towards for many years – to have the finances in place to construct a purpose built stadium to help get the club moving back in the right direction.”

A consultation process will start in the coming months.

-ENDS-

Editor's notes

Background:

In 2008 the University bought 70 acres of land from Hewlett Packard including several buildings, which the University is now using. Following detailed consultation a masterplan for the University was developed and it was identified that an area of land would not be needed to fulfil UWE's future plans. A number of schemes for this land have been considered, including the possibility of an enterprise park with office space, but UWE Governors wanted to see the land used in a way that would enhance the student experience and benefit the community. The current proposal brings benefits to students as well as creating the stadium that BRFC want.

Stadium visuals can be seen at Bristol Rovers

Press Contacts

UWE

Jane Kelly - Tel: 0117 328 2208

Email: jane.kelly@uwe.ac.uk

Mary Price - Tel: 0117 328 2208

Email: mary.price@uwe.ac.uk

Bristol Rovers

Kirsty Pugh - Tel: 07912742118

Email: kirstypugh@bristolrovers.co.uk

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