1. ITV Report

Bristol Rovers abandon plans for new stadium at UWE

This is what the proposed stadium at Frenchay campus would look like. Photo: Bristol Rovers

Bristol Rovers has abandoned plans for a new stadium at the University of the West of England, after the two parties failed to agree "acceptable terms".

In a statement, issued by the club's company Dwayne Sports, they expressed their "disappointment" but insisted they will be immediately looking for "new opportunities".

It comes after six years of disputes, legal battles and takeovers.

"We will now immediately turn our attention to exploring all other opportunities for a new stadium or for a substantive redevelopment of the Memorial Stadium, whilst at the same time continuing to develop the new Colony training ground."

Manager Darrell Clarke said, "It certainly is very disappointing for our supporters, I am not going to paper over the crack. it is disappointing for everybody."

What does this mean for the Memorial Stadium?
Wael al-Qadi is the billionaire owner of Bristol Rovers.

The on-off saga stretches back to June 2011 when the first plans were first unveiled for the 21,700 seater stadium at Stoke Gifford.

Over the last six years Bristol Rovers have faced high court battles with Sainsbury's and been taken over by a billionaire banker from Jordan who promised a new stadium would be one of his top priorities.

The club cites a problem surrounding the "terms" of the agreement. But UWE claim "they have not given up on this hugely important project."

“We have worked diligently and patiently with the new owners of the club and although we have been disappointed by the slow pace of negotiations, we are still willing and open to continue negotiations. This has been an initiative the University has been working on for over eight years and we still believe is deliverable. Planning consent does not expire until January 2018 and the door remains open for a deal to be struck and the University will continue to work on this project."

Bristol Rovers fans will be left bitterly disappointed. There will now be serious questions over what can be done to move elsewhere.

Captain Tom Lockyer says while the players can't influence the deal, they do hope the club gets the best deal possible.

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Bristol Rovers chairman Steve Hamer says if UWE had acted earlier the project may not have collapsed.

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Hamer also says he doubts the deal can be resurrected.

I would be very surprised indeed if we found ourselves back in the mix.

– Steve Hamer

The chairman says Bristol Rovers will now pursue other options for improving the club's playing facilities.

It's on the agenda. I've been dealing with matters in terms of what the next step is and I think that there will be positive exchanges between Dwane Sports lawyers and myself. We recognise the predicament we now find ourselves in and we have to address it.

– Steve Hamer