Design & Development

YTL Arena targets ‘cultural hub’ status with outdoor elements

Featured image credit: YTL Arena

An array of outdoor attractions have been revealed aiming to make YTL Arena a “cultural hub”, following the submission of final detailed plans for the new venue in the English city of Bristol.

In addition to the 19,000-capacity arena, artist’s impressions include large public squares in front of the refurbished Brabazon Hangar at the former Filton Airfield site, with the likes of an outdoor cinema, sports courts and a Christmas ice rink being planned.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said the plans were submitted by YTL Group, the developer behind the scheme, to Bristol City Council as part of the landscape masterplan on April 25. This was four days before a three-year deadline set by South Gloucestershire Council as part of the conditions set out when granting outline planning permission.

Architects said: “The YTL Arena, boasting a substantial capacity, is poised to emerge as a focal point within the city. Nestled strategically with the vibrant city of Bristol to the south and surrounded by the newly envisioned Brabazon Park, the wider proposed masterplan and existing developments, the Arena finds itself in an ideal position to evolve into a cultural hub.”

Renderings detail an east and a west square directly outside new conference and exhibition halls which flank the main central concert seating bowl. The planning documents said: “The space comes alive with visitors relishing the outdoor cinema experience throughout the summer season.

“During the winter season, the area is animated by festive pop-up markets, sparkling Christmas lights and a myriad of joyful activities.”

Also included in the complex will be badminton courts, a tennis court, a multi-use games area for sports such as basketball and five-a-side football, and a pump track for cycling. A YTL spokesperson said: “The landscaping around YTL Arena is designed to be a vibrant space for visitors to enjoy before events.

“It is flexible enough to host activities throughout the year, like Christmas markets, winter ice skating rinks, outdoor movie screenings and various community events. Our design incorporates the potential to increase the arena’s capacity from 17,000 to 19,000 seats.

“In the future, we plan to submit an application to unlock this extra capacity for a select number of shows.”

Preparation works commenced in March on the transformation of the Brabazon Hangars into a live entertainment complex that will be anchored by YTL Arena. The project has faced several delays and it remains unclear when the arena will be able to open. In January 2023, the opening date for the arena was pushed back until late 2025 or early 2026.

With construction work still to begin, the opening date is likely to be pushed back further but the project moved forward in March with the announcement that site preparation and enabling work has commenced.

YTL Construction UK, a new company that will be part of the international YTL Group, will be responsible for transforming the Brabazon Hangars into a new multi-purpose arena. Once completed, YTL Arena will be the fourth largest indoor arena in the UK, behind Manchester’s Co-op Live and AO Arena, and The O2 in London.