Bristol arena to be third-largest in UK

BPL442 28 November 2019

Plans have been submitted for a 17,000-capacity venue in Filton

Detailed plans have been revealed for a new arena complex in Bristol, which if built could become the third largest in the UK after Manchester Arena and The O2 in London.

It is predicted that the development would pull an extra 1.4 million visitors to Bristol each year and create 500 new jobs. This is estimated to inject £1.5bn into the local economy over the next 25 years.

The proposed arena will be built inside the former Brabazon hangar in Filton, the birthplace of Concorde, and is hoped to open in 2023.

The 28,000m2 floorspace of all three hangars would house an arena, exhibition hall and leisure space. The plans include roof solar panels, a rainwater-harvesting system and a zero-waste system.

The arena would sit opposite the new Brabazon neighbourhood, a development of 2,600 homes, with a health centre and three new schools.

Malaysian investment firm YTL, the developers behind the new neighbourhood, submitted planning application for the arena to both Bristol and South Gloucestershire councils. The two councils will make a decision by next spring.

Plans for a new arena in Bristol were first raised with Bristol council in 2003 but the project has been affected by multiple delays. The proposed plans from YTL are part of the fourth attempt to build an arena in Bristol.

Bristol mayor Marvin Rees officially scrapped plans for a Temple Island arena plan in 2018 despite the council already sinking £12m into the development.

Bristol hoteliers have welcomed the plans, with Raphael Herzog, the Bristol Hoteliers Association acting chair, saying: “An arena of this size could attract some huge names, which will draw many people from far and wide, and it’s therefore important that accommodation providers throughout the city are able to benefit from this influx of visitors.

“Efficient transport links between the centre and Filton could help provide a huge boost to the local economy and encourage people to choose central accommodation.”

A new metrobus route, part of the Cribbs Patchway metrobus extension (CPME) scheme, expected to be completed by 2021, will service the Brabazon housing development north of the proposed arena and enable visitors to travel to
the arena.

The opening of a new North Filton railway station near the hangars will provide a 12-minute rail link to Temple Meads.

Other cities in the UK have seen significant financial benefit from new arenas, with the Liverpool Echo Arena generating £1.8bn in the 10 years since it opened and Glasgow Event Campus making £450m since opening in 2018.

The Brabazon hangars, built in 1946, have been empty since 2009, the last Concorde flight having touched down in Filton in 2003. The airfield closed to commercial flights in December 2012.

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