The developer of Bristol’s new YTL Arena has revealed that delivery of the venue has now slipped to 2024, adding that the finished facility will become the “most responsible and sustainable arena” in Europe.

The news was disclosed as part of a wider announcement about investment in local transport infrastructure. In April 2020, it was announced that construction work on the complex in the English city was free to proceed after the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government chose not to call in the decision to grant approval for the project.

At the time it was hoped the arena could open in 2023, but it was reported at the beginning of this year that this target had moved to late 2023. It was today announced that more than £3.1m (€3.57m/$4.31m) will be invested into improvements to the local transport infrastructure in North Bristol and South Gloucestershire as part of the plans for YTL Arena Complex.

The money, being paid by YTL Arena Complex, is earmarked for specific schemes in Filton and the surrounding area and will help support sustainable transport and drive down car dependency. The infrastructure improvements and the funding have been agreed as part of YTL Arena Complex’s section 106 agreement with Bristol City and South Gloucestershire Councils, as well as other key stakeholders including Highways England.

In making today’s (Friday’s) announcement, managing director of YTL Arena Complex, Andrew Billingham, said: “We’re putting sustainability centre stage, making it our goal to create the most responsible and sustainable arena in Europe, and to be carbon neutral from day one.

“As well as solar panelling, battery storage and rainwater harvesting, we will encourage our staff and visitors to travel by sustainable transport methods, and drive down car dependency. We’ll be at the forefront of the touring industry’s shift towards greener practices.

“Once operational YTL Arena Complex will create more than 500 jobs with a living wage policy, and additional jobs during construction. Not only will the arena bring new business and an economic boost to the region, but through our community programme we will also support local groups and organisations, harnessing the power of music for the greater good.

“Completing the Section 106 agreement has been an enormous effort from all of those involved and is a remarkable achievement in such a challenging year. The past year has been hugely frustrating and inevitably our programme has slipped, but we are still on track to open our next generation, state-of-the-art arena which we can all be proud of, in 2024.”

The YTL Arena Complex will be anchored by the 17,080-capacity arena, which would sit in the Central Hangar of the Brabazon Hangars in the north of Bristol.

The complex’s other two hangars will be transformed into a Festival Hall and The Hub. The former will host conventions and exhibitions, with the latter to serve as a year-round venue incorporating a visitor attraction, leisure, workspace and food and drink offerings.

Image: YTL Arena Bristol