Work is continuing on the arena project and since the last update another potentially viable option has come forward, according to a progress report from Bristol City Council published yesterday (15 January 2018). The update confirms that the council, together with South Gloucestershire and WECA, will consider the deliverability and affordability of the alternative proposal brought forward by private sector developer, YTL, alongside ongoing work to pursue an arena on the Temple Quarter site.

In November, Mayor Marvin Rees announced a pause in pre-construction work at Temple Quarter while a previously-commissioned independent Value for Money review was completed by KPMG. In the meantime, discussions with the contractor and operator have continued, including looking at value engineering work (ways to deliver the project at lower cost) and the overall deliverability of the project.

In parallel with this, YTL has expressed an interest in developing an arena within the Brabazon Hangar at Filton as part of its wider, residential-led, development proposals. The council has accordingly expanded the scope of the KPMG work to examine the comparative value for money of this alternative proposition, including associated infrastructure costs.

Mayor Marvin Rees said:

“Not enough work was done on options in the first place. 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. We have already gone a long way down the road with the Temple Quarter project and the council needs to be confident that it can make a like-for-like comparison when informing final proposals and taking a decision.

“I am 100% 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. We are therefore pressing ahead with further detailed examination of the two most viable options. We will update Cabinet again in April.”

To reduce the weekly spend incurred by the council during this review period, the Pre-Construction Services Agreement with Buckingham Group was suspended in November. The suspension is currently in place for a period of up to six months, with the ability to recommence the contract at any time.

The report will be formally presented to Bristol City Council’s Cabinet for consideration at its next meeting on 23 January.