Bristol was today awarded £6m from a £23m government fund to encourage further urban redevelopment and new business creation nationally, bringing total funding to date for the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone to £17m. The money will enable the redevelopment of additional underused and derelict land and encourage further businesses to open in the area.

Speaking today in Bristol, Minister for Communities and Bristol West MP Stephen Williams said: “Bristol city centre has already been transformed through the government and local enterprise zone’s support for the area, with run-down buildings redeveloped and turned into thriving businesses.

“This transformation has helped create 900 new jobs locally, through success stories such as the Engine Shed’s new business development area. I want to keep up this pace of transformation, and the new £6m of funding announced today will help more neglected areas within the city centre to be bought up, redeveloped and opened up again for business.”

Bristol’s enterprise zone has already encouraged 80 companies to move into the area in new developments such as the Engine Shed, Temple Studios, the expansion of Paintworks and the office development at 2 Glass Wharf. There are also several other sites ready for new development.

The future transformation of the area is set to include the construction of the 12,000 capacity Bristol Arena and a new bridge over the River Avon to improve local transport as well as access to the Arena. Work on the bridge started today, with Stephen Williams and Bristol Deputy Mayor Geoff Gollop present.

Speaking at the bridge ground-breaking ceremony, Stephen Williams said: “Part of the on-going transformation of the city centre is the planned building of Bristol Arena, giving the city its first world class entertainment venue supported by the council, enterprise partnership and government. The work on this new bridge over the Avon will vastly improve access to the Arena, and I’m very proud to take the first step towards its construction, albeit a very small one!”

£11m of funding has been allocated from the government’s Homes and Communities Agency for the construction of the new vehicle and pedestrian bridge connecting Bristol Temple Meads station to the Diesel Depot site for the proposed Bristol Arena. With today’s additional £6m government funding this brings total Bristol enterprise zone funding to £17m.

Geoff Gollop, Deputy Mayor of Bristol said: “This £6 million government capital funding for the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone is in response to a specific request to government and is extremely good news. It is yet another example of Bristol being recognised nationally as making solid progress with its regeneration plans. This particular funding will enable us to bring forward development and jobs in the enterprise zone which in turn will bring further investment to the city. I also welcome the work commencing on the bridge to Arena Island which is set to bring so much more than the arena itself which is already proving a significant catalyst for development in the enterprise zone and will give a huge boost to the city region.”

David Warburton, Homes and Communities Agency Head of Area, added: “This work is a clear signal of the Homes and Communities Agency’s support for partners’ plans to bring new jobs and economic growth to Bristol. It supports the council and local enterprise partnership’s vision for an arena on the site, which has the potential to generate a huge number of jobs.

“The Homes and Communities Agency has worked hard to secure the investment and agree the terms needed to progress this work and it is great news for the city that this work is underway.”

Manchester, Leicestershire and East Anglia were also awarded enterprise zone funding today.