THE £90 million project to build Bristol Arena could be going back to the drawing board after an alternative location emerged.
Construction of the 12,000-capacity venue, which is to be jointly run by SMG Europe and Live Nation Entertainment, had been earmarked for the Temple Meads area of the city with preparations already underway.
However, Bristol City Council is now considering switching the site to Brabazon Hangar, next to Filton Airfield.
A move to the new location would provide a larger space, potentially allowing the arena’s capacity to increase to 15,000 and allow more car parking.
“Not enough work was done on options in the first place,” says Bristol mayor Marvin Rees. “Now a second option has come forward more formally, giving us two potential schemes to look at.
“Inevitably, this also brings a need for more information and we need to fully evaluate this new proposal and the associated infrastructure costs.”
The council is expected to make a decision on its chosen site in April.
“I am 100 per cent committed to delivering an arena for Bristol and I want to be sure we are fully informed on the options for achieving this, at a cost the city can afford,” Rees adds.
First mooted more than a decade ago, the project has been beset by delays, most recently when the council parted ways with preferred developer Bouygues UK in a dispute over costs (see LIVE UK issue 210). The job has been taken over by Buckingham Group.
“Both SMG Europe and Live Nation remain committed to supporting Bristol City Council to deliver the best option for the people of Bristol, and are actively working to deliver an arena, as we believe in the market,” SMG Europe executive vice-president of operations John Sharkey tells LIVE UK.
The arena had been scheduled to open in 2019, but it is likely this latest setback will push that back another year.