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Council approves plans for Bristol’s YTL Arena

Bristol City Council has granted planning permission for the proposed YTL Arena complex in the city.

The council met yesterday (Wednesday) to discuss four separate planning applications submitted to itself and South Gloucestershire Council in November. Plans for the 17,080-capacity arena were recommended for approval last week and the council has now given the project the green light.

The project still requires final approval from the government.

Andrew Billingham, managing director for YTL Arena Bristol, said: “We’re delighted that the council has entrusted us with this brilliant opportunity to put Bristol on the world stage. It’s a huge step forward for our plans. We’re incredibly grateful to all those who have supported us and encouraged us on this journey.”

The arena, which would sit in the Central Hangar of the Brabazon Hangars in the north of the city, has been touted as the third largest in the UK after Manchester Arena and The O2, but could be relegated to fourth spot should Oak View Group’s plans for a second arena in Manchester get the green light.

The site’s other two hangars would be transformed into a ‘Festival Hall’ and ‘The Hub’. The Festival Hall would host conventions and exhibitions, while The Hub would be a year-round venue incorporating a visitor attraction, leisure, workspace and food and drink.

The new arena and entertainment complex intends to create more than 500 jobs and inject £1.5bn (€1.7bn/$1.9bn) into the local economy over a 25-year period. Malaysian investment firm YTL plans on using the 28,000 square metres of floorspace in the three hangars to create an arena, exhibition and leisure space.

YTL hopes to break ground on the arena in early 2023. Grimshaw Architects and Manica Architecture were last year named as the design team to deliver the project.

Last month, new designs were released for a proposed 4,000-seat arena next to Bristol’s Ashton Gate stadium, home of Championship football club Bristol City and Premiership rugby union team the Bristol Bears. Ashton Gate chairman Martin Griffiths has said that he does not view the YTL Arena project as a threat and feels there is a “broad market” in Bristol that can accommodate both new venues.

Image: YTL Arena Bristol