Were the plans carried out as expected, the new stadium would be only weeks from opening. But with numerous protests the delivery has been moved again, from mid-2015 to mid-2016.
When the new stadium, set to be built at the University of West England campus, was initially presented, construction was expected to end in the summer of 2014. But without even a modest groundbreaking ceremony at the site, this was unrealistic for a long time.
Delays were caused primarily by TRASHorfield, a community group opposing a Sainsbury’s supermarket replacing the dated Memorial Stadium. The shop is crucial to secure new stadium financing and Rovers were relieved to see protest overthrown in court in March.
However, a person sympathizing with TRASHorfield filed a last-gasp attempt to secure ‘war memorial’ status for the old stadium, which would block demolition. This was denied as well, but the 2 years lost have already cost Rovers £1.5 million – a lot for a club reaching an all-time low this season.
Chairman Nick Higgs confirmed today via Bristol Post that the opening of UWE Stadium is now expected in the summer of 2016. Delivery in time for the 2015/16 campaign is already impossible and the club need to relocate between seasons to make the move less complicated.