In June 2021 we submitted two linked planning applications. The first was to redevelop land immediately to the west of the stadium, currently occupied by a number of large retail and industrial units, to include a new 4,000-seat Sports and Convention Centre (SCC). This is known as the Ashton Gate Sporting Quarter (AGSQ).
The second is to develop housing on the former landfill site, which was previously going to be used for a football stadium. This is known as Longmoor. As well as providing much-needed affordable and market housing in a sustainable location, the Longmoor development will help to finance the Sporting Quarter and is critical to delivering the overall vision. The Sporting Quarter will not happen without the Longmoor development.
Locally, this allows us to put more resources into our community work.
We must look to the long term when it comes to the finances of the Clubs based at Ashton Gate (Bristol City, Bristol Bears and Bristol Flyers), the stadium itself and the community organisations that operate here.
This is a time beyond the Lansdown family’s current ownership. A time when we may not be able to call on the generosity of an owner who is committed to subsidise activities at Ashton Gate, meaning we need to aim for self-sufficiency.
The AGSQ is designed to contain multiple trading assets, including the Sports and Convention Centre (SCC), hotel, offices and a multi-storey car park which will generate sustainable income in the years ahead. This will assist substantially in achieving our overall financial sustainability goal.
There are three principal reasons the SCC is being proposed:
i) The Bristol Flyers need a permanent home. They are currently playing at the smallest venue in the British Basketball League, relying on a short-term lease from SGS College. Without new facilities, the Flyers may not be allowed to remain within the British Basketball League. A brand new, state-of-the-art sports facility will help the Flyers maintain their position at the highest level and ultimately compete in Europe.
ii) This venue will enable us to stage other events, such as corporate functions, exhibitions, conventions and entertainment events. This will help to meet our financial sustainability goal set above.
iii) The SCC provides secure space for our four Charitable Organisations to engage far more extensively with many more people across our region, staging events that promote physical activity, health and well-being. Using safe indoor spaces for community activities is a major issue and constraint on giving access to all who need it in Bristol.
We estimate that the total cost of the AGSQ development will be approximately £162 million.
We need to sell the Longmoor site with planning permission to help contribute to the costs of the AGSQ development. The sale of Longmoor is crucial to be able to build the AGQS.
Yes. We estimate this will create around 960 construction jobs and 399 permanent jobs.
We want to continue what we have been doing since the new Ashton Gate Stadium opened, which is to “employ local”. Many hundreds of young people have made their start in the workplace at Ashton Gate and we want this to continue and grow.
There are four charities which operate from Ashton Gate (Bristol Sport Foundation, Robins Community Foundation, Bears Community Foundation and Flyers Community Foundation).
The SCC provides secure indoor space, to which the charities will have access to run many more sessions aimed at improving health and well-being within the community.
Indoor facilities are difficult to access for these types of activities and this will therefore be of substantial benefit to the community.
Yes, the site is currently designated Green Belt. However, the site is proposed to be removed from Green Belt in the emerging Bristol Local Plan because the land no longer fulfils the purpose of Green Belt.
- This is a former landfill site where planning permission has previously been granted for a stadium and ancillary commercial development. The site is surrounded on three sides by existing commercial and residential development. These are not typical characteristics of what most people would reasonably consider to be true Green Belt.
- Due to the construction of the MetroBus route and the South Bristol Link (Colliter’s Way), the uninterrupted connection from the edge of Bristol’s built-up area into the wider countryside has been lost. In effect this pushes the Green Belt out to form a new defensible boundary, making Longmoor a logical housing site within the M2 MetroBus route.
- There is a critical shortage of housing in Bristol, which this development will help to alleviate.
- Developing this site does not set a precedent for development of nearby land. The site is cut off from open countryside by the MetroBus route.
Because the application is being submitted prior to the adoption of the Local Plan, we do have to make a Very Special Circumstances case to the Local Planning Authority that, on balance, planning permission should be granted as the substantial overall benefits outweigh harm.
These benefits include affordable housing, essential funding to the AGSQ, economic and social benefits and provision of extended community facilities and benefits out of Ashton Gate.
Yes. In the 30 years to 2021, three million fewer properties were built in the UK than in the previous 30 years. The population, however has increased by more than nine million. (BBC, 1st October 2021 – https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-58747051 )
In Bristol there are nearly 13,000 people on the housing waiting list, with 1,000 families in temporary accommodation and the city simply does not have a five-year housing supply (an important test for housing delivery) to keep pace with demand.
As an organisation which is heavily involved with the community , we have first-hand experience of what the housing and affordability crisis looks like on the ground. The work we did with FareShare during the height of the Covid pandemic highlighted these issues and how it is adversely affecting our community.
We have committed to delivering at least 30% affordable housing at Longmoor. Although the raising of finance from the sale of Longmoor is critical to the overall project, we are mindful of the social need as well.
To date Bristol has committed to building 2,000 homes per year, of which 800 will be affordable. However, the West of England Housing Needs Assessment published in September 2021, forecasts that between 2020 and 2035 Bristol needs to build 47,940 homes to keep pace with housing needs. This amounts to 3,196 new homes every year. Longmoor will provide an important contribution to meeting this need.
Brownfield sites are being prioritised both in the city and across the country. However, Bristol cannot meet its housing needs using brownfield sites alone.
Many of the brownfield sites listed on the Council’s Register have already come forward for development; some of the sites listed have significant constraints limiting their delivery of the landowners are not planning to bring them forward.
Longmoor is very well placed for housing, given how close it is to important transport links and services. This provides an opportunity to deliver housing in a very sustainable location, and importantly, in a different way to many of the brownfield schemes that are coming forward.
Whilst most brownfield sites are in the city centre and proposed for high-rise apartment-style homes, Longmoor is proposed to be low-rise and high density. It is important there is a good mix of homes, to ensure there are not only enough places for people to live, but also suitable homes for a variety of different households, including young families.
Over the last few months, we’ve been talking to people about what they would like to happen here. Some think the TVG land should be left as is, others would like to see it ecologically enhanced and some want to see public access improved. Conversations will continue.
We can categorically confirm the area south of the MetroBus route or in the Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI) will not be built on.
Yes there is a public right of way across the site. It will need to be diverted slightly to accommodate new homes, but the right of way will be retained and accessible for all to use.
No, that is not true. There is a very small area of the site which designated as a SNCI, but none of that area is proposed to be built on.
The schemes will deliver a biodiversity net gain as set out in emerging planning policy (in other words the ecological value of the sites will be improved).
Longmoor is a former landfill site and currently has a low ecological value. The areas around the field which provide better habitat for wildlife are being maintained and enhanced, as new, richer areas of habitat will be planted.
We have allocated a substantial amount of money from the anticipated sale proceeds of the Longmoor site into enhanced public realm within the AGSQ and existing Ashton Gate Stadium footprint. This includes creating a new bio-diverse green corridor along Colliter’s Brook (pictured below), substantially more trees at Longmoor, green recreational spaces and new flora. This will all be accessible to a vastly larger number of people than the current site at Longmoor.
Yes, subject to carrying out extensive tests on the site, construction is permissible. Extensive testing was carried out as part of the original stadium application between 2009 and 2011.
Further testing has been undertaken over the last 18 months and has confirmed that this is a safe and appropriate site on which to build housing.
As set out above, we see the impact the housing crisis is having on our community, firsthand and want to help.
The current local authority’s policy is that a minimum of 30% of housing should be deemed “affordable” and we have included this provision within our Longmoor Planning Application.
This will be made up of a proportion of homes no more expensive than 80% of the market rate, shared ownership and social rented properties, similar to Council homes.
The types of homes will be a mix of one to four-bedroom homes and apartments. This will provide new homes for people from all walks of life, including single people, couples, families and senior citizens.
With the M2 MetroBus and number 24 bus routes both running very close by and heading to the city centre, public transport will be the easiest way for residents of the new proposed Longmoor development to get into the city centre, especially at peak times.
The site also provides high-quality pedestrian and cycle access to Winterstoke Road and North Street. This makes the site highly sustainable in transport terms.
Access will be provided onto the B3128 between the David Lloyd Leisure Centre and the Long Ashton Park and Ride – from there, vehicles can either turn towards Brunel Way or the new South Bristol Link Road.
At Ashton Gate, the new development has enabled us to review how large event day traffic and parking is organised. This has led to a number of initiatives now being brought forward as follows:
- The multi-storey car park that is proposed will introduce 500+ on-site spaces.
- We are in the final stages of arranging access to 330 car parking spaces in the Long Ashton Park & Ride, aimed at taking cars off the local streets.
- We have allocated substantial funds within our overall cost plan for major redesign works to Winterstoke Road. This will improve the flow of traffic at all times and not just on large event days.
- We have made substantial funds available to the Local Authority to introduce parking control measures in the area around the stadium designed to stamp out dangerous and anti-social parking.
- A new bus layby will allow us to provide a much-improved matchday and event day shuttle bus service. This has grown significantly in recent years and is now limited by the bus facilities in the locality.
Overall, the new development offers an opportunity to make a step-change in car management through extra parking provision and highway redesign which will bring significant benefits.
This is a very sustainable location with good facilities, such as schools, nearby. Longmoor will include a local central hub.
There is room, if there is interest for a GP Practice, a convenience store, nursery or other facilities to open on the site.
The image below shows what facilities are within a five to seven minutes and an eight to ten minutes’ walk for the average person.
The Longmoor plans are exciting because we are doing things differently to many of the other housing schemes coming forward in Bristol.
Due to lack of space in the city, many new schemes are having to build upwards. At Longmoor we are keeping lower, around two to five storeys.
We are hoping to have planning permission granted in early 2022 for both sites and to appoint a delivery partner for AGSQ soon afterwards.
Exact timings will depend on numerous things including the planning process; however we hope work can begin in late 2022.