Funding proposals will go before Cabinet on 7th April that if approved could progress the development of Arena Island and allow Bristol City Council to potentially acquire the derelict former Royal Mail sorting office site at Cattle Market Road.

The report, set to be considered by Cabinet, recommends that a grant of £5.425 million, allocated by the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), be used to support the transfer of Arena Island from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to Bristol City Council. This would allow funding agreed by Cabinet in December to acquire Arena Island to be used to support a potential acquisition of the former Royal Mail sorting office at Cattle Market Road.

If approved negotiations can continue with the current owner of the Cattle Market Road site and could see the derelict site close to Temple Meads station integrated into plans for the redevelopment of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson said:

“The transfer of Arena Island to the council is a vital step in the development of the much needed 12,000 capacity venue for the region and follows the recent announcement of the winning design team for the arena. If these proposals are approved then it could lead to council funds, previously allocated to buy Arena Island being redeployed to acquire the former Royal Mail sorting office. This will hopefully mean that this key enterprise zone site and eyesore, that has lain derelict for over 17 years, can at long last be redeveloped.”

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.

The arena project is funded by Bristol City Council and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership through its Economic Development Fund and will bring the biggest acts and millions of pounds of economic growth to the region.