£123m Bristol concert arena plans abandoned

Temple Island
Alternative L&G scheme on Temple Island

Bristol City Council has scrapped plans to build a £123m concert arena in Bristol, in favour of pursuing a mixed housing, hotel and conference centre scheme

Bristol City Council said it had abandoned the concert arena plans because of the large borrowing required and fears about rising costs on the project compared to another development option which would generate money for the council.

The new provisional plans for the Temple Island site envisage a conference centre, a hotel, housing, offices and retail.

The council is now set to consider the alternative mixed-use scheme with Legal & General as a potential partner.

Bouygues UK was lined up in 2016 to build the Bristol Arena but failed to agree on terms with the council. At that stage, the budget was £95m and the main construction contract put at nearly £80m.

Buckingham Group Contracting was then given a pre-construction services deal but the plans could not be delivered even for an increased budget of £123.5m. In November 2017 KPMG was commissioned to review the project. By January 2018 spending on the project had topped £10m, excluding KPMG’s fees.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “We need to move forward now and ensure Bristol is fit for the demands of a modern, thriving and well connected city.

“I am confident an alternative development for Temple Island is at the heart of that vision and will create inclusive economic growth, jobs and homes. Jobs and affordable homes are the key priorities for delivery by my administration and they will come first.

“By not borrowing the huge sums needed to build the arena, we will also release capital for other exciting city projects.

“I remain committed to delivering an arena for Bristol and we will continue to work closely with our partners to make sure that we make this a reality.”

Cllr Craig Cheney, deputy mayor for finance, added: “It is the council’s duty to seek the best possible value for public money and the greatest economic benefit for Bristol and this has been central to the decision.

“We cannot ignore the evidence which shows that a mixed-use scheme on Temple Island would bring an extra £500m in economic benefit to our city and create three times the number of jobs for the people of Bristol.”


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