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Promoted Bristol Rovers can appeal development decision

 


 
 
Promoted Bristol Rovers back in the football League after a 1 season gap, can appeal against a High Court ruling that allowed Sainsbury's to pull out of a deal to buy the club's Memorial Stadium.

In July the club lost a court battle over the £30m deal, which is seen as a key part of plans to build a larger stadium in the city.

But on Friday, Mrs Justice Proudman agreed to allow an appeal.

The club said it believed it had a "positive case" and hoped a hearing could be held by the end of the year.

Sainsbury's said it had offered £1.5m to settle the case in May, because it knew "it was a sensitive issue for the club".

A spokesman said they were "confident that the Court of Appeal will uphold the High Court's judgment that the conditional contract lawfully ended in November 2014".

The £30m contract to buy the club's 12,000-capacity stadium, described in court as "old fashioned and rather dilapidated", was signed in December 2011.

The agreed plan was for Sainsbury's to buy the site for a new supermarket, but lease it back to the club while Rovers built a new 21,700-seat stadium in Stoke Gifford.

Planning permission for a new supermarket on the site was not granted until January 2013 and was further delayed by judicial review.

Then Sainsbury's pulled out, arguing conditions had not been met before the "cut off date" in the agreement.

The League Two side says a new stadium is needed to secure its future.

Meanwhile, Bristol Rovers manager Darrell Clarke has set his players the target of a top-seven finish and will not settle for a season of conso­lida­tion.

Clarke, 37, guided Rovers back into the Football League at the first attempt last term, beating Grimsby on penalties in the Conference play-off final.

And he has challenged his players to maintain their momentum.

"We want to build on the success of last season and have a right good go in League Two this year," he said.

"I don't want to hide behind the fact we've got promoted, so let's consolidate.

LM

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