Ashton Gate: Bristol stadium's concert capacity rises

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Ashton Gate stadiumImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Ashton Gate said the number of parking spaces on streets around the stadium was "way in excess" of what would be needed

Ashton Gate Stadium has been given permission to seat thousands more concert-goers.

The venue has had a 4,000 rise in its maximum capacity for big concerts in the stadium bowl, to 34,000 people.

However, residents raised concerns about parking which is already an issue for people living close to the home of Bristol City FC.

But Bristol City Council licensing committee was reassured by the stadium's traffic management plans.

Ashton Gate Limited was granted a licence last October to host five "large-scale concerts" in the stadium bowl per year - including Take That and the Spice Girls this summer.

The license was for a maximum capacity of 30,000 gig-goers and staff but that was extended by the licensing committee.

'Open for business'

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said Mark Kelly, the managing director of Ashton Gate, described 34,000 as the "sweet spot" to attract large gigs to the venue.

"We're not trying to get rich out of this," he said. "This is about bringing events to the city.

"This is about employment, it's about the economy, it's about the perception of being open for business.

"Bristol has to be seen to be open for business."

Image source, Thomson/JMP/REX/Shutterstock
Image caption,
The managing director of Ashton Gate described 34,000 as the "sweet spot" to attract large gigs to the venue

The traffic management plan includes road closures, inter-city buses for people living outside Bristol, shuttle buses to and from park and rides and railway stations, official off-site parking at places such as Cribbs Causeway, and unofficial parking at privately-operated car parks across the city.

Long Ashton Park and Ride is not included in the plans as it closes before 11pm, the latest a concert can end under the stadium's licence.

Ashton Gate estimates the number of parking spaces available beyond the residential streets around the stadium is "way in excess" of what will be needed.

Event manager Katie Griffin said she thought it would be possible to clear the stadium of people in "40 minutes tops".

Mr Kelly said the first of the big concerts, Rod Stewart on 27 May, was the smallest and would act as a "great test" for the bigger concerts to follow.