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New details emerge over Bristol arena

Malaysian investment firm YTL has revealed more details on a planned 16,000-seat arena in the English city of Bristol.

Although plans for the project are still at a very early stage, YTL is committed to building an arena in the city by autumn 2022.

The facility would be built at the Brabazon hangar site and YTL is hopeful of fleshing out plans for the project in the coming months.

Last September, Bristol City Council ditched 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 Temple Island site. The council had already invested some £12m (€13.3m/$15.3m) into clearing the Temple Island site for a major arena but Rees ultimately backed a different proposal for a mixed-use development.

Attention has since been turned to YTL’s plans for a privately-financed arena outside of the city centre, with the Bristol Post newspaper noting that YTL had been waiting to press on with the project until after Rees had decided the fate of the Temple Island arena.

The Post added that the YTL Arena Bristol team is currently seeking an architect and project manager for the initiative. The project would have to pass a sequential planning test, after which point YTL would be able to create a more detailed planning scheme.

YTL hopes the facility would help put Bristol on the map, with the city currently without a major arena of such a size. Specific financial terms of the project have not yet been confirmed.

Andrew Billingham, managing director of YTL Arena Operations, told the Post: “Since I was appointed in October I have been building my team, meeting local businesses and fully engaging with the planning and design process. We are committed to delivering an arena for Bristol by autumn 2022.

“The Brabazon hangars are an iconic landmark and home to Bristol’s engineering and aviation heritage. We want to celebrate that – our vision is to create a world class arena that Bristol can be really proud of.

“As the third largest arena in the country it will put Bristol on the map, and in creating a new entertainment destination it will add to the city’s already vibrant leisure sector. We will work with local businesses and set up partnerships which help drive the local economy, create jobs and provide training opportunities. We have already been in discussion with some local companies with a view to them being involved.

“We have been holding tours of the hangars and we know that once people see the sheer size of them and understand what is possible they want to be part of it. Our plans include a new train station opening in summer 2021 linking the hangars to the city centre and beyond, a flexible, multi-use performance space, and additional facilities offering a 365 day a year venue.”

Image: YTL