Bristol City Council’s Cabinet (7 April) approved funding proposals that could lead to the council acquiring the derelict former Royal Mail sorting office site at Cattle Market Road.

Funding previously allocated to buy Arena Island can now be used to bring the derelict site close to Temple Meads station into council ownership boosting plans for the redevelopment of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. This follows a grant of £5.425 million from the Department of Communities and Local Government being used to support the transfer of Arena Island from the Homes and Communities Agency to Bristol City Council.

The Bristol Arena will generate up to 400 jobs and development of nearby sites in the enterprise zone including the former Royal Mail sorting office site and Arena Island could provide space for up to a further 2300 jobs. Bringing the former sorting office site into council ownership will also bring better connections to Temple Meads station and allow landing points for a proposed pedestrian bridge from Arena Island and links to a proposed floating pontoon cycleway and walkway from Temple Quay to Totterdown Basin.

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson said:

“The Arena is one of my absolute top priorities and Cabinet’s decision is another significant milestone in taking the project forward and means the old Royal Mail sorting depot can be redeveloped after lying derelict for over 17 years.

As well as enhancing development in Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone it will also significantly improve the appearance to the key gateway into the city via Temple Meads Station.

We are, at long last, well on the way to have a gateway to Bristol that we can all be proud of.”

Colin Skellett, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership said:

“It’s good to see progress being made on the removal of this derelict and unattractive building. This is a key site within the Enterprise Zone with links to Temple Meads station and proposed new pedestrian and cycle routes. Opening it up will help attract more new investment creating even more new jobs.”

The Cabinet agreed that the decision will be exempt from call-in in the interests of expediting the exchange of contracts as soon as possible.