Skip to content
This website uses cookies to help us understand the way visitors use our website. We can't identify you with them and we don't share the data with anyone else. Find out more in our privacy policy.

Bristol City Wheelchair Spaces

On a recent visit to Bristol City’s Ashton Gate ground to discuss their stadium redevelopment proposals, Level Playing Field’s Ruth Hopkins and Gary Deards were delighted to be shown a new Viewing Area for supporters who use a wheelchair.

The area provides space for up to 14 wheelchairs and shows what can be achieved in an existing stand and has been implemented despite the fact that a proposed redevelopment could mean it will be demolished in a couple of years time.

An article relating to the opening of the area can be found on the BCFC web site :

Ruth caught up with David Lloyd, Supporter Liaison Manager at Bristol City to discuss how they came to the decision to make these changes.

The suggestion first came from a supporter who is a wheelchair user, Dave Cottell, and his brother, Ian. For several years they had seats pitch side in the dugout area alongside several other wheelchair users. New rule changes from UEFA to the League dictated that linesmen and substitutes had to warm up right in front of where these supporters were seated and this obscured their views of the pitch.

Dave, supported by his brother discussed the matter with the management at Bristol City who were very sympathetic but unable to vary the League ruling. With the club’s support, Dave and Ian contacted the Football League and then UEFA who maintained their position.

Still not happy with the decision, Dave contacted the IFO (Independent Football Ombudsman) and met with their officer, Alan Watson, to discuss the position. After a two year campaign the decision was reached in full consultation and agreement with the club that alternative provision for wheelchair users would be made.

Bristol City then consulted with their Disabled Supporters Association, Dave himself and invited wheelchair user supporters to the ground to look at proposed areas for the changes and after some debate a suitable area was identified.

The next stage was to ask the contractor for a design and quote. Minimum disruption was a priority and it was decided to carry out the work in the 2013 close season ready for the new 2013/14 season start. The project cost came in at around £10,000 which was paid for by the club. The only additional cost has been the hire of a wheelchair Accessible portable toilet so supporters don’t have to travel too far to the existing facilities.

The new area can be used by season ticket holders and any remaining spaces purchased on match day. PA/carer seats are situated adjacent to the wheelchair user.

Sadly during the process, Dave’s brother, Ian, died and never saw the project reach completion. Ian had famously attended 939 consecutive Bristol City games and it was decided to name the area in his honour.

David Lloyd told us that even though there are exciting plans to develop the ground, it was agreed by everyone at the club that this project was the right thing to do.

Level Playing Field is delighted to see another Club making positive changes to existing facilities and it goes to show what can be achieved when there is a willingness to do so and at a reasonable cost. Level Playing Field’s Access Audit programme is designed to identify such cost effective solutions and provide a business plan to improve facilities over time. For more details abo our audits, click here