Industry News

Bristol Arena delays run huge costs

Bristol City Council has spent around £1m (€1.1m/$1.4m) on construction firms for a new arena in the city, despite the project being delayed due to ongoing uncertainty over its location.

According to the BBC, five payments amounting to £657,862 were made between July and November 2017 to building company Buckingham Group after it took on the project from original contractor Bouygues.

However, the council had already paid Bouygues £209,435 in pre-construction payments. Both sets of payments were made despite not having agreed a final deal with the authority.

The BBC said that Bristol City Council is still paying Buckingham Group a weekly retainer fee as part of its agreement, despite having put the deal on hold while it finalises a site for the much-delayed project. The council has paid out a total of £948,297 on the arena project, which is yet to really get off the ground.

First mooted over 14 years ago, plans to construct an arena in Bristol are still yet to be finalised, with Bristol mayor Marvin Rees in November revealing that an alternate site within the Brabazon Hanger next to Filton Airfield now being considered.

Work has already begun to prepare a site near the Temple Meads area of the city, but Rees said the alternate location at Filton could save on costs. Rees has now said that the council is actively considering the switch.

“It has to be right – act in haste, regret at leisure,” Rees said, according to the BBC.

“We want to make sure we’re looking at all the options before we commit Bristol to a 60 or 70-year relationship.”

In response, a spokesman for Buckingham Group said the company is “naturally disappointed with this further delay”, but added: “We remain fully committed to the arena project and will continue to support the arena team and the council, with the aim of finally delivering an outstanding arena for the people of Bristol.”

Images: Populous