We live by historic stadium but it's like we're in shadow of 'giant Ikea' as it's expanded… they can't even fill it now | The Sun

FURIOUS locals living next to a historic stadium say it's like they're in the shadow of a "giant Ikea" as it's expanded.

Neighbours have complained Bristol Rovers – who recently sacked as manager ex-England and Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton – can't fill their ground even before a big capacity boost on the way.

The League One football club have begun work to demolish a temporary stand and replace it with a new stand increasing capacity by more than 3,000 to 12,500.

Local residents say they have been left in the dark about new development at the Memorial Stadium, in Bristol's Horfield district.

Susan Smith, who has lived near the club’s south stand for seven years, said: "We only found out it was happening at 6am one day when demolition work started.

“The parking is awful on a matchday as it is – the way people leave their cars is dangerous.

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"Then there is the noise level and the amount of litter left on the street is disgusting.

"It’s not like Rovers need the extra space – it’s not exactly a full house every week."

Another homeowner fears the new stand could block almost half the light coming through her windows.

She said: "During the building process there has been extreme noise and disruption as well as a massive invasion of privacy.

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“Something like this takes an enormous emotional toll – this is where we live, it is our home and we are living this every day.

“One of the things that has been levelled at residents is, 'You chose to buy a house next to a football stadium'.

"But we’re not saying don’t play football there or even don’t build a stand, we just want them to consider how badly this impacts us."

The proposed new stand would be 44ft high and clad in bright blue metal panels – prompting comparisons with Swedish furniture giant Ikea.

One local said: "It’s like living next to Ikea – it’s all I can see out of my windows and I don’t go in my garden any more.

"It’s affected my quality of life.”

Bristol Rovers moved to the ground in 1996, initially as tenants of Bristol Rugby Club – now Bristol Bears – before securing ownership of the stadium.

The site of their former home, the Eastville Stadium, is now an Ikea.

The current application is the second submitted by the club.


Hundreds of people have written in to tell council planners they support the proposals for a new stand.

Almost 250 letters of support were received by council planners in the first week after Rovers’ new planning application was submitted.

There have been 47 letters of objection sent in.

Bristol Live reported the club decided to build the new stand at the same time as applying for permission due to shortages and constraints in the construction industry.

That was reportedly felt to be the only way to accommodate extra fans in the new stand during the current football season.

Bristol City Council has indicated there was nothing illegal about that so long as the work was within the scope of the application.

If planning permission is refused, they could take enforcement action to make the club pull down the new stand.

The capacity increase has been welcomed by some supporters and local businesses.

Sahil Wali, owner of the Bristol Fryer chippy near the stadium, said: “Matchdays are always our best days.

"I’ve been here 12 years and have never had problems with the fans.

"If the stadium gets bigger, that’s great for us and other businesses."

Rovers fans have also written to the council saying the works should be approved.

One said: "This will help the football club get back to the capacity they had pre-Covid.

"By doing this it will support the local businesses that the Bristol Rovers fans frequent when watching the game.

“It is not making it larger in the sense of footfall, rather than returning back to previous available headcount.

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"The added traffic would have been the same pre-Covid so no detriment or new experience to the residents who moved next to a football stadium that has been there over 100 years."

The Sun has contacted Bristol Rovers for comment.

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