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Concourse seating (lack of)


Rich

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8 minutes ago, miser said:

I sympathise with the debate. There is enough space in the Dolman, but it would be limited, cue complaints over fit people hogging seats. Would be worth trialling though on a limited  basis. Would be an advance on most grounds. The alternative is club areas re the supporters trust. We should be open to answering the question. 

I think the thing is, it's down to timing. If you are less able than others, for whatever reason, you can't stand around for ages and, you don't want to be there at the busiest times. So arriving earlier, having a chance to sit and enjoy the fayre and company is better than just having to go straight in to the ground, closer to kick off when it's busier, then straight to your seat. The experience is improved by being sociable. Some people just don't get it.

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This is something that has affected my Grandad a lot. He used to enjoy being able to go in the Dolman bar have a couple of pints, sit down at a table and watch the football on the tv or have a chat and some food then go up to his seat. At 70 plus years old, it not really fair to expect him to have to stand up for an hour or longer before a game. He used to like the convenience of the Dolman Bar but now goes to another pub outside the ground. Funny thing is that tables and chairs are not allowed due to health and safety but the health and safety of those supporters who are unable to stand for a sustained period of time is now affected and makes it a less attractive pre match option.

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On ‎03‎/‎09‎/‎2017 at 17:32, Rich said:

People go to the ground with either friends or family, if they have either. They go to the concourse and purchase drinks or food and consume them within the company of their group. It is a sociable event enjoyed by many. Usually followed by a trip to the loo and watch a good match. 

My brother in law has learning difficulties and is sometimes unsteady on his feet, so it's best to have someone walk alongside him as a steadying influence. If he used a wheelchair, this would undermine his confidence further and he'd end up in a wheelchair all the time, something which we want to avoid. He loves his football but, his only option now, is on TV. We take him to the races and other events where there are crowds, he copes with those crowds as he has our support and there is seating available at those venues. Unfortunately, this is not the case at Ashton Gate. It would be nice to include him on occasions in the match day experience enjoyed by the majority.

Contact Bristol Care Direct and they should be able to inform you of what Bristol Sport should legally be providing, or put you in touch with people who can.

H&S is not always a reason not to do something when it involves those with disabilities.

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10 hours ago, Woolford's Hairband said:

This is something that has affected my Grandad a lot. He used to enjoy being able to go in the Dolman bar have a couple of pints, sit down at a table and watch the football on the tv or have a chat and some food then go up to his seat. At 70 plus years old, it not really fair to expect him to have to stand up for an hour or longer before a game. He used to like the convenience of the Dolman Bar but now goes to another pub outside the ground. Funny thing is that tables and chairs are not allowed due to health and safety but the health and safety of those supporters who are unable to stand for a sustained period of time is now affected and makes it a less attractive pre match option.

That's an interesting point @Woolford's Hairband (another great username, btw) I wonder by how much the amount of general seating has increased or decreased post redevelopment. 

IIRC the Dolman Hall had a vast amount of seating as well as Harry's Bar at the far end before the redevelopment. There wasn't much else in the public domain that I can recall. This may have been Dolman Stand and Season Ticket Holders only; I can't recall the finer details. There must've been a good few hundred seats in all plus the taller "leaner" podium style tables. 

Post redevelopment there are now, of course, a variety of different areas within the ground where you can sit in comfort. As far as I can see though, apart from the very limited seating in the Sports Bar (excl the Pizzeria which is only bookable if eating), the entirety of it is either hospitality, corporate or requires some form of paid membership (SCAT, Lansdown Club etc). 

Im sure we all agree that the new AG is a vast improvement on our beloved old ground, but surely there must be a way to make sure we look after ALL of our supporters, not just those who are fortunate enough to afford a comfy seat in the Heineken lounge. etc 

The number of concessions, the Fanzone, the SB&P etc are great and make AG a great place to socialise pre-game and kudos to the club for the money making monster this has become, but I do think a little more thought could be given to those amongst our fanbase that aren't able to enjoy it without the pretty basic requirement of somewhere to perch in a modicum of comfort. 

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Playing Devils' advocate here and I have no strong opinions but I was just thinking if there were seats in these thoroughfares and they were occupied by people who were less mobile in the event of an emergency wouldn't they cause an obstruction or risk being trampled in the evacuation?

 

 

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14 hours ago, Tomarse said:

Worth noting the English National Stadium, Wembley, has the internal lights off at tonight's match @Mkelly

So our it's ok at 90k stadium for our national team but not at AG. SAG haven't got a clue 

And the lights were turned off at Watford for the bulk of the match too, and it really made me realise how lovely it was to watch a night match like this again. 

As for CCTV @Dollymarieany decent system has night vision built into it. We should be able to watch our night matches in the dark, we managed for years previously and we aren't talking about total darkness. We have got extra lighting coming off the screens and the pitch side advertising now too. @Mkelly

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5 minutes ago, cynic said:

I wouldn't call the perimeter walls a thoroughfare - and thats where sprung seating should go, as indicated numerous times in the thread.

Maybe not when people are stood around drinking but people do walk along the walls at the end of the game on their way out and I would imagine they would do so in an evacuation.

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3 minutes ago, cynic said:

I doubt people would just be sitting there in an evacuation..

And the seats would just spring up against the wall when not in use, during an evacuation for instance..

 

Yes but as I said in my first email if these seats were occupied by those less mobile then if the evacuation order was to come then wouldn't they be at risk of causing an obstruction or being trampled?

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On 02/09/2017 at 23:06, Rich said:

I'm sure Mark is correct in what he says, it might have helped had he replied to the original question, rather than waiting for the debate to air on the main forum. That's not getting away with the fact that there are people effectively excluded from those areas. I know there are special arrangements for people with disabilities but I can't help thinking that certain supporters with other needs, were not considered during the planning process, and still aren't.

The Dolman stand concourse is much bigger than the South Stand concourse, in proportion to the slight difference in capacity, yet, it only has one main exit, without going through to the South Stand concourse. There are dead areas which do not aid the flow of people to areas of safety/exit, these areas could be utilised for seating. The corner of the Dolman and South Stand is a pinch point for the free movement of supporters, yet it has a food outlet/bar located right at the narrowest point, this is close to where the glass fronted offices are, which also reduce that area. If there were such concerns for the welfare of patrons at planning stage and indeed now, why are these pinch points allowed. One can only assume the club wanted them included and that, they must have met the planning criteria, which throws up the question of, if that area is big enough to satisfy planning criteria, why not reduce the Dolman concourse and install a seating area. The same applies to the dead areas within the South and Lansdown concourses. There are also areas within those two concourses which have small shelves adjacent to the glass exteriors. Able bodied people sit on those shelves, and they're allowed to, why not put drop down seating in those recesses, where the less able could sit, obviously as they are recessed, they would not cause obstruction..

 

I'm sure we do have a problem with over enthusiastic enforcement by the safety advisory group. I remember a time when the Atyeo stand was being built, I could not believe the amount of gangways and exits the club had to put in, to satisfy our local planners. Liverpool had a stand at the opposite end to the Kop which had a capacity of about 8,000 (I believe ). It was about a quarter bigger than the Atyeo (4,000) yet they were allowed to enter and exit the stand by walking pitch side. The stand had straight gangways between each block, somewhat like the Dolman stand. I suppose, the planners were more lenient in Liverpool.

Shelving as Mark has indicated, would be helpful for people who have purchased drinks from the outlets. Let's make sure we help out those buying drinks, eh! He said cynically.

Finally got around to a response to this post!

That is a fair point but I think they did the best they- that is to say the club- did the best they could in terms of what could be done, SAG, planning constraints, space, H&S. I certainly believe the catering for needs of different groups is better than it was in the ground pre redevelopment.

The Dolman stand concourse maybe bigger than the concourse, but then it needs to be. It is both wider and higher than the South Stand. The Dolman concourse is about par- your arrangement probably wouldn't work, because to capacity the Dolman holds 6,484. By comparison, South Stand holds 6,143- hence the bigger concourse. However yes, proportionately it is bigger. I think another problem I would have with seating- assuming this would be plastic, is that in the event of a fire situation not only would the seating be a potential addition of time in terms of escape- bear in mind that on a decent sized game 5,500-6,000 in the Dolman is easily believable, the margin of error must be reduced to the lowest possible time.

Anyway yes, plastic seating in such a scenario could a) Melt and melted plastic on the floor could impede escape or b) Could give off smoke which again would complicate the scenario and risk slowing down evacuation, to say nothing of effects of inhalation of smoke- this wouldn't be from fire merely but from the heat itself as a possible scenario. Autoignition being one such possible example.

However I agree with what you say about SAG and their shall we say overzealous approach.

Would be helpful for those buying drinks, but also keeps the fire spread and flame spread and risk of impeding escape at a much lower level.

@Neo Concrete does not burn. However that is not to say that in a fire situation, there cannot be disastrous effects. In a fire situation, by the time it had reached such temperature it would already have crumbled, decomposed etc.

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On ‎9‎/‎5‎/‎2017 at 12:53, Mr Popodopolous said:

Finally got around to a response to this post!

That is a fair point but I think they did the best they- that is to say the club- did the best they could in terms of what could be done, SAG, planning constraints, space, H&S. I certainly believe the catering for needs of different groups is better than it was in the ground pre redevelopment.

The Dolman stand concourse maybe bigger than the concourse, but then it needs to be. It is both wider and higher than the South Stand. The Dolman concourse is about par- your arrangement probably wouldn't work, because to capacity the Dolman holds 6,484. By comparison, South Stand holds 6,143- hence the bigger concourse. However yes, proportionately it is bigger. I think another problem I would have with seating- assuming this would be plastic, is that in the event of a fire situation not only would the seating be a potential addition of time in terms of escape- bear in mind that on a decent sized game 5,500-6,000 in the Dolman is easily believable, the margin of error must be reduced to the lowest possible time.

Anyway yes, plastic seating in such a scenario could a) Melt and melted plastic on the floor could impede escape or b) Could give off smoke which again would complicate the scenario and risk slowing down evacuation, to say nothing of effects of inhalation of smoke- this wouldn't be from fire merely but from the heat itself as a possible scenario. Autoignition being one such possible example.

However I agree with what you say about SAG and their shall we say overzealous approach.

Would be helpful for those buying drinks, but also keeps the fire spread and flame spread and risk of impeding escape at a much lower level.

@Neo Concrete does not burn. However that is not to say that in a fire situation, there cannot be disastrous effects. In a fire situation, by the time it had reached such temperature it would already have crumbled, decomposed etc.

Sorry for late response, I've been busy.

Firstly, Let me say that the whole experience of attending Ashton Gate, is now far superior than it previously was and the club and it's owners have done a wonderful job, so far. It would be nice if they could now really push to improve those facilities and be more inclusive for people that might not be able to stand for long periods, for whatever reason and, then be able to enjoy the same experience those of us more fortunate, currently do. 

In response to your points, the Dolman concourse is probably a third bigger then the South Stand concourse, which would make the difference in ratio much more applicable to accommodate some seating. Especially as the whole area opens up to one side, not affecting the free movement to either end.

We have nearly 27 thousand of this plastic type seating within the stadium, these are in restricted access areas and adjacent to gangways and means of exit, there doesn't appear to be a problem with fire regulations there.

We have large plastic bins full of rubbish and in the middle of gangways causing obstructions and themselves a fire hazard, no problem with plastic there either, it would seem.

We have ovens and other heat sources within the concourse bars, no problem again there with fire or smoke inhalation risks.

As far as means of exit are concerned, during the planning stages, it was deemed very important to include food and drink outlets, some of those have been located in areas where congestion is a concern (Dolman South Stand corner), especially when the ground floor areas adjacent to those outlets is also reduced by the inclusion of offices. Obviously this must also have met planning criteria. So, the worst areas of congestion were effectively planned and agreed with the authorities. It must be noted that in the event of an emergency evacuation from the ground, or even one stand, there are emergency exits around the perimeter of the pitch, so not just through the concourse areas.

I have no concerns that there would be any problems with specific seating in certain areas, after all if they can have a flammable bouncy castle and tables within the concourse for rugby games, why not a few seats on the perimeter? It would seem the SAGs are more effective enforcing their terms on the football supporter, or, the stadium owners fight harder for the rugby supporter. Either way, there appears more leniency towards the rugby supporter.

 

 

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Health and safety is an arse.

I mean for years they say it is bad to stand inside a football stadium and you must sit down right in the middle of a crowded area of seats which encloses you to the nearest person  but you can't sit down in open space of a concourse you must stand and have no seats or a sniff of a table?

I mean who makes this shit up.

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4 hours ago, cider head said:

Health and safety is an arse.

I mean for years they say it is bad to stand inside a football stadium and you must sit down right in the middle of a crowded area of seats which encloses you to the nearest person  but you can't sit down in open space of a concourse you must stand and have no seats or a sniff of a table?

I mean who makes this shit up.

Make up is exactly the right phrase, as others have pointed out there are pinch points within the stadium already in both corners of the South stand where to accommodate offices and the bar/shop/coffee bar the depth of the concourse has been reduced.

People are already using the ledge of the window areas at the perimeter of the Lansdown and SS  to sit on, to add a row of seats airport style to this area would create no problems whatsoever to exiting the stadium.

Likewise the area below the clock in the SS corner could be used for temporary seating as it is tucked away from the walkway around the concourse and directly adjacent to the office space.

The rear of the Dolman concourse could also accommodate airport style seating along the back wall without compromising the exits in any way.

There is a very simple solution to this issue, stage an exercise to evacuate the ground, firstly without seating in place, and then secondly with it in place, there will be no difference in evacuation times in my opinion.

If the SAG are truly concerned about safety they perhaps need to look at  how long it takes to evacuate numerous children from the top tier of the Lansdown stand, for me that is a real danger should there be an emergency, all the other stands have direct access to the pitch, which as others have said is the obvious route should there be a fire or other need to evacuate.

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On 05/09/2017 at 12:40, Big C said:

Yes but as I said in my first email if these seats were occupied by those less mobile then if the evacuation order was to come then wouldn't they be at risk of causing an obstruction or being trampled?

Less mobile people will always be the most vulnerable wherever they are sat in the stadium complex. Any fire would have to be absolutely raging to cause mass panic, yes there could be other catrostrophic incidents which could cause panic and confusion, but on the whole I don't think anyone would trample on people to evacuate in a 'normal' fire drill type exit. There are more than enough able bodied men and women to assist, even if it means several of them grabbing an elderly person for example and carrying them out. 

A few seats in places where I and others have suggested in the past will in the long run will be more beneficial than detrimental in my opinion.

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Wonder if a more radical approach can be considered.

Such as, "up until A particular time, a small area of the seating inside the stadium could be used for those who want to sit down and have a beer, and after said time elapsed, no alcohol in the stadium.

No idea how the logistics or stewarding of that would work, or even if it's something they can legally do, but it's worth consideration.

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8 hours ago, cider head said:

Health and safety is an arse.

I mean for years they say it is bad to stand inside a football stadium and you must sit down right in the middle of a crowded area of seats which encloses you to the nearest person  but you can't sit down in open space of a concourse you must stand and have no seats or a sniff of a table?

I mean who makes this shit up.

H&S is there to protect the safety of the customers/workers and is law.

If it didn't exist then you'd have unscrupulous  employers taking all sorts of short cuts.

Sure, some of the various regulations seem unnecessary and ridiculous but have to be adhered to.

That said, Im sure any football club would be reluctant provide areas within their stadium where fans can sit around drinking before the game. 

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11 minutes ago, Robbored said:

H&S is there to protect the safety of the customers/workers and is law.

If it didn't exist then you'd have unscrupulous  employers taking all sorts of short cuts.

Sure, some of the various regulations seem unnecessary and ridiculous but have to be adhered to.

Obviously it has to exist, but it goes too far on occasion - as evidenced with this issue.

11 minutes ago, Robbored said:

That said, Im sure any football club would be reluctant provide areas within their stadium where fans can sit around drinking before the game. 

Why?

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4 minutes ago, Phileas Fogg said:

Why?

Look at it from a football clubs perspective........No club  would want to have potential intoxicated fans becoming problematic within their stadium. Not all fans are able to drink sensibly.

I would guess that if selling alcohol wasn't so lucrative we wouldn't see such outlets within stadiums.

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6 minutes ago, cynic said:

For the life of me, I cannot see any reason whatsoever why a limited number of sprung seats (similar as in the stadium itself) cannot be fixed to designated perimeter walls for the benefit of those who need them - same goes for table tops over bins in the concourse rather than people putting pints or bottles on the floor which, in itself, is a H&S hazard.

Its clearly down to the club to address this, not just accept what H&S are saying without looking into it themselves.

 

Good points and well made Cynic.

Maybe MKelly can post and explain how exactly  the H&S regs effect the concourse. Fire safety would be a fairly obvious one I guess.

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3 hours ago, RedM said:

Less mobile people will always be the most vulnerable wherever they are sat in the stadium complex. Any fire would have to be absolutely raging to cause mass panic, yes there could be other catrostrophic incidents which could cause panic and confusion, but on the whole I don't think anyone would trample on people to evacuate in a 'normal' fire drill type exit. There are more than enough able bodied men and women to assist, even if it means several of them grabbing an elderly person for example and carrying them out. 

A few seats in places where I and others have suggested in the past will in the long run will be more beneficial than detrimental in my opinion.

The danger with a fire is not always the fire itself that kills you as a lot of cases are with smoke.

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1 hour ago, Robbored said:

H&S is there to protect the safety of the customers/workers and is law.

If it didn't exist then you'd have unscrupulous  employers taking all sorts of short cuts.

Sure, some of the various regulations seem unnecessary and ridiculous but have to be adhered to.

That said, Im sure any football club would be reluctant provide areas within their stadium where fans can sit around drinking before the game. 

I know H&S, safe guarding and security very, very well due to my line of work but it doesn't stop it going far over the other way and it's not all at a fair balance, come on mate you should know about 'the balanced view' ;)

The clubs beer prices? Intoxicated ohhh you are a one lol

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1 hour ago, cynic said:

 

The lazy alternative is to just accept the advice from a H&S person who is covering their arse.

 

 

Or if you don't except the advice they can try and make your life hell by annoying you on other issues or even threaten not to grand safety certificates or licences for events because they must have their way.

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49 minutes ago, cider head said:

The danger with a fire is not always the fire itself that kills you as a lot of cases are with smoke.

I agree, and also with people panicking and falling as they don't know how to get out of a building etc. I'm sure in our daily lives we are in much more dangerous places than a football ground, take Ikea for instance. 

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8 hours ago, cynic said:

H&S is largely advisory in my experience but prosecutions can occur if advice is not taken and something untoward happens and, far as I am aware (and I'm happy to be corrected), there are no laws preventing the use of perimeter seating on a concourse - whether that is in an airport or a football stadium or wherever.

The approach should be with assessments and method statements - what is the likelihood of this seating becoming a general H&S issue or an issue that impedes exit in the event of an evacuation. That is a simple way to define the safety of perimeter seating and the methods used to minimise any identified risk.

The lazy alternative is to just accept the advice from a H&S person who is covering their arse.

For the life of me, I cannot see any reason whatsoever why a limited number of sprung seats (similar as in the stadium itself) cannot be fixed to designated perimeter walls for the benefit of those who need them - same goes for table tops over bins in the concourse rather than people putting pints or bottles on the floor which, in itself, is a H&S hazard.

Its clearly down to the club to address this, not just accept what H&S are saying without looking into it themselves.

 

Quite agree, I think the club need to impose their will at their stadium. Though perhaps at this moment in time, it's not their will.

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10 hours ago, RedM said:

Less mobile people will always be the most vulnerable wherever they are sat in the stadium complex. Any fire would have to be absolutely raging to cause mass panic, yes there could be other catrostrophic incidents which could cause panic and confusion, but on the whole I don't think anyone would trample on people to evacuate in a 'normal' fire drill type exit. There are more than enough able bodied men and women to assist, even if it means several of them grabbing an elderly person for example and carrying them out. 

A few seats in places where I and others have suggested in the past will in the long run will be more beneficial than detrimental in my opinion.

Glad you replied to this. He seemed to be saying that if less able bodied people were in seats, they might put at risk those more able bodied people, which would be unacceptable.

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It was nice to see the question answered tonight about seating. I hope the club will look at this again shortly. it would be an important improvement for many people, to enhance or, give the less mobile a chance to experience what we currently enjoy.

As has been discussed, the area is used for evacuation purposes and as such needs to be "sterile", that is sterile, apart from bins, queues of people, people sitting on the floor, taped off areas, tables and fire hydrants by the Dolman coffee bar, not to mention the bars at the narrowest points, when entering or exiting the Dolman concourse at each end.

The rear wall of the Dolman concourse has twelve recessed areas with concrete pillars protruding about 300mm. They measure roughly 4.5 meters in length. I calculate that you could fit ninety plus fold down seats to that area alone. The type of seats that I have been suggesting for two years. It's impossible for seating in those recessed areas to hinder the movement of anyone,  anymore than the protruding columns. There are numerous other areas which are recessed within the South and Lansdown stand concourse areas where  seats could be fitted, let alone the perimeter glass wall where people currently perch on a low hard ledge.

I'll raise this again with the club later.

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