Bristol Rovers owner Wael Al-Qadi has confirmed that the English League One football club will look at options to redevelop its Memorial Stadium, after plans to move into a new home were scrapped.
The club had hoped to build a new 21,000-capacity stadium at the University of West of England (UWE).
Rovers had been working on the plans with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s and the wider project was also set to include building a new store and redeveloping the team’s current Memorial Stadium home.
However, after Sainsbury’s pulled out of the project after a number of delays and local opposition to the plans, Rovers recently confirmed it was unable to reach a final agreement for the plans and abandoned the initiative.
Despite the setback, Al-Qadi has told the Bristol Post newspaper Rovers will now shift its focus to redeveloping the Memorial Stadium, adding that this was a “fall-back” plan for the club.
“We have a beautiful piece of land here at the Mem,” Al-Qadi said. “There were two planning permissions in the past for building and regenerating the Mem, it’s always been our fall-back plan.
“Now it’s just regrouping and taking account of all issues that are needed to get this project – regenerating the Mem – up and running.”
Al-Qadi also spoke out about the abandoned deal with the UWE and Sainsbury’s, saying due to the number of delays that hampered the project, its collapse came as something of a relief.
“We spent a lot of time, effort and money,” Al-Qadi said. “We thought in recent weeks we were there, only for points to be revisited.
“This was happening quite a lot; it was one step forward, three or even four steps back. It was kind of frustrating, so in light of that in mid-July we gave them [UWE] a deadline of July 31 to meet important commercial issues.
“That was so we could move into August with terms agreed and move into a more vigorous intense plan moving ahead with the stadium.
“This emotion came after it was over. It was kind of a relief, we have our own ground, and the club has its own land – let’s regenerate the Mem.”
Image: Chris Clements / Kafuffle