Bristol Rovers submit plans for new big screen at The Mem

Footballers playing a league match
Aaron Collins in action against Bolton on the final day of last season with the big screen in the background -Credit:Will Cooper/JMP

Bristol Rovers have applied for planning permission to install a big screen next to their new stand. The football club’s previous screen was put up for sale in May 2023 ahead of the redevelopment.

They have now submitted an application to Bristol City Council to put up a new one on the roof of the south-west stand at the Memorial Stadium in Horfield. Last November, the local authority’s development control committee approved the new South Stand with capacity for 3,414 fans despite neighbours’ objections that the building would block daylight into their homes and cause more parking problems.

Now they want to improve the match-day experience for Gasheads even more by installing a large screen, which could be used as a scoreboard and to show team line-up, highlights from games and advertising. Rovers’ planning agents said in a letter to the council as part of the application: “There is a lack of technology infrastructure within the stadium – a large format stadium LED screen will enhance the supporter experience by providing an effective way of increasing supporter engagement during matches.

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“It can also be used to deliver essential messages to the supporters. The new screen will be located above the south west stand, on a supporting platform that will act as the roof to the stand and which will also offer a new TV camera position.

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“As such, the new structure will be located between the West Stand, which includes a mix of seating and terraces with a row of hospitality boxes, and the newly built South Stand. The LED screen will increase the total height of the south west stand, but the stand is located in excess of 35m from the nearest residential properties and the screen will be a discrete element in the overall view of the stadium.”

They said the plans would have no impact on the setting of the Grade II-listed Memorial Gates at the Mem. “The proposals allow for the continued adaption and modernisation of The Memorial Stadium as an important community facility,” they said.

“Given that the proposed screen seeks to develop and modernise the existing sports stadium (a community facility), it is apparent that, as a matter of principle, such development is and should be acceptable. The application constitutes a sustainable form of development and high-quality design, and should be approved without delay.”

They said the screen would face inwards towards the pitch, so there would be no glare or lighting onto neighbouring homes, and that it would be no taller than the adjacent South Stand. The agents said it would be used only on match days or events.

They added: “It is considered that the proposal will not result in a detrimental effect on the amenity of the surrounding area and is a positive addition to the ongoing improvements being made as part of the wider stadium works.” The documents do not say how big the screen will be but the previous one was 8m x 4m. Bristol Rovers declined to comment.