County news February 22, 2012

Gloucs appeal against Bristol planning refusal

Alex Winter

Gloucestershire have appealed against the decision to reject planning permission to develop their Bristol home.

The county have also expressed interest in building a new international ground north of the city at Filton Airfield, once home of the iconic passenger jet Concorde, as they refuse to relinquish their ambitions to stage regular international cricket.

The county's hopes of undertaking a £10 million development of their Nevil Road ground were dealt a blow when Bristol City Council rejected their plans by six votes to four on January 10. That verdict will now be adjudicated over by an inspector who will report to the Communities Secretary Eric Pickles.

Should this appeal also be rejected, Gloucestershire insist they will press ahead with plans to relocate outside of Bristol. Tuffley Avenue in Gloucester is one potential location but now a site at Filton Airfield, three miles north of Nevil Road, could also be explored.

South Gloucestershire council are keen to secure the future of Filton Airfield and the Labour-lead council have already given their backing to the idea of building a 20,000-seat stadium to become Gloucestershire's new home.

Filton is best known for its links with Concorde. The aircraft was built there and first flew from there in the 1960s. The airfield is earmarked for closure at the end of the year.

Tom Richardson, Gloucestershire's chief executive, said: "We remain committed to make our development work here at Bristol. But we have to ensure our future and therefore we are looking at other possible locations."

Gloucestershire are the poor relations among England's 10 international grounds, receiving less international cricket than any of their rivals. But despite suggestions that too many international grounds have led to rising debt among the test counties and contributed to a surfeit of international cricket, their appetite for expansion has not been dampened.

The club were awarded an ODI against New Zealand in 2013 but this match is expected to be reallocated.