Bristol Arena report - the local view

June 25 2018
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AN EXTRAORDINARY session of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Board convened to consider the Bristol Arena Value for Money reports compiled by KPMG.

Two meetings took place on Monday June 18 and Wednesday June 20 (after Bishopston Voice had gone to print), where councillors considered statements and questions, agreed how many further meetings will be required and considered the board’s feedback to Cabinet. 

In advance of the meetings we asked our local Councillors to give their thoughts on the reports, which were published on Monday June 11 and revealed that a city centre arena could cost £65 million more than expected.

Eleanor Combley, Green Party Councillor for Bishopston and Ashley Down said: “The first thing to note about the Value for Money reports from KPMG is that they confirm that building an arena at the Temple Meads site would be good value for public money, would be affordable and would generate cultural and social benefits for the city. 

“Unfortunately, the environmental impact of the different options was not in the scope of these reports, but I think most people who live around the Gloucester Road will also see the value of an arena which is sited close to a public transport hub and in walking or cycling distance of a large section of Bristol’s population, over one which prioritises access by car, drawing more vehicles onto North Bristol’s already congested streets.” 

Tom Brook, Labour and Co-operative Councillor for Bishopston and Ashley Down added: “It’s clear that the Temple Island site is very expensive, and may result in little profit or even a net financial loss to the council. But it is one that we would control the development of, and would help to meet some key socio-economic objectives.

“Planning for a Filton Airfield option is much less developed, causes more leakage from the Bristol economy, and we have no guarantee that it would go ahead if Temple Island was dropped. However it is an option that presents less risk to the council.”

Anthony Negus, LibDem Councillor for Cotham Ward said: “It is clear that the Arena Value for Money reports focus on the financial un-viability of building an arena on the arena island site. 

“These reports still do not properly address this expectation of social value and remain focused on value for money. What is the price to be paid for achieving our objectives for Bristol and standing by our original belief in our city?”