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League Two: Bristol Rovers' planned stadium deal with Sainsburys falls through


 

Bristol Rover's proposed new stadium plans have been squashed after Sainsburys won a high court battle to pull out of a deal with the club.

The supermarket giant agreed to buy the Memorial Stadium in 2011 and lease it to the club while a new 21,700-seat stadium was built north of the city. 

However it argued that it was entitled to pull out because conditions linked to the deal had not been met.

The club have expressed their disap­po­in­tment at the decision and confirmed they will appeal. A club spokesman said the League Two side was still "committed to building a new stadium to secure the club's future".

The contract to buy the club's current stadium in Horfield for £30m was signed in December 2011, but planning permission for a new supermarket on the site was not granted until January 2013 and was further delayed by judicial review.

At a six-day High Court hearing in May, Sainsbury's argued it had "lawfully terminated" the contract when planning conditions were not met before the "cut-off date" in the agreement.

On Monday, the judge Mrs Justice Proudman ruled that "Sainsbury's must succeed" because the construction of a schedule to the agreement "seems like an insuperable barrier" to the club winning the case.

Bristol Rovers accused Sainsbury's of having "reneged on its promises to the local community to invest in the region". The supermarket said the judge had "made no findings of Sainsbury's acting in bad faith with the club".

A spokesman for the supermarket added: "We understand that this is a sensitive issue locally and that there will also be disap­po­in­tment as a result of the court's decision today. We will continue to work with the local community via our existing Bristol stores."

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