Ashton Gate set for new 4,000-seat arena

The footprint of Ashton Gate, home of English Championship football club Bristol City, is set to be significantly expanded after plans were unveiled for a new 4,000-seat arena for the city’s basketball team.

Bristol Flyers have today (Tuesday) revealed plans to build the Ashton Gate Sports & Convention Centre as part of a £100m development.

Along with the 4,000-seat venue, the wide-ranging proposal includes additional housing, offices, a multi-storey car park and two hotels.

Ashton Gate chairman Martin Griffiths said: “We are pleased to be able to reveal these plans. It has been more than two years in the planning to ensure that Phase II of Ashton Gate’s redevelopment into a city quarter focused on sport and entertainment was indeed viable, sustainable and most importantly achievable.

“Following the successful £45m transformation of Ashton Gate Stadium, on-time and on-budget, it was always the aspiration to develop it further to give our basketball team, the Flyers, a permanent and secure playing home, right here in BS3.

“The Flyers sold out every home game of the 17-18 season, and this new facility will provide their pathway to sustainability. The new Sports and Convention Centre will also provide much needed space for the growth of a broad range of community based sports, run by our group of charities based at Ashton Gate.”

Ashton Gate, which also serves as the home of Premiership Rugby club Bristol Bears, recently underwent major renovation work and the stadium’s operators are keen to ensure the site becomes a 365-day-a-year venue.

Griffiths added: “It is right that any proposed development must take account of the current housing crisis facing our city and homes have been factored into the plans.

“The need for south Bristol to have effective public transport is also crucial and we hope that by proposing investment into an integrated transport hub to connect the Metrobus; the railway line; cycle routes and crossing sections over the Winterstoke Road, that this proposed development will significantly improve the transport flow around the area.

“The last two years have seen a successful regeneration and stimulus to the BS3 area. As one of the city’s largest employers we are proud to have kept true to our promise of delivering a stadium in the heart of the city, with local suppliers and a local workforce.

“This has had a significant economic impact on the fortunes of many local residents and businesses and we hope that by committing to this next phase that the whole of Bristol will reap the benefits.”

The news comes after Bristol City Council recently ditched separate plans to develop a new arena in the city centre after Mayor Marvin Rees backed a different proposal for a mixed-use development on the site.

Mark Kelly, managing director at Ashton Gate Stadium, and Lisa Knights, chief media officer for the venue, will be attending next year’s TheStadiumBusiness Summit at Emirates Old Trafford in Manchester.

Image: Bristol Flyers