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Populous wins go-ahead for new Bristol Arena

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Bristol City Council has approved Populous’ competition-winning scheme for a new £92.5 million arena in the city

Last month the authority deferred a decision on the mixed-use development and its 12,000-capacity centrepiece venue due to fears about how people would get to the former diesel depot site in Bath Road next to Temple Meads railway station.

However the team, which features Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios and engineering firm Buro Happold, came back with reworked plans to tackle the concerns about access and transport. These included a proposed shuttle service from Bristol Parkway, an increase in bike spaces from 252 to 440 and more stewards to guide pedestrians.

It is understood the council, which is backing the project, has now set aside £7.75m of the scheme’s budget to fund coach drop-off bays, taxi spaces and more cycle parking.

Yesterday councillors on the development control committee unanimously approved the detailed plans for the arena, along with outline plans for 19,000m² of offices, leisure, housing and hotel development.

A report by council planners said: ‘The delivery of the arena will create a major destination within the city of Bristol and the South West region.

‘It will be an iconic building that will create both a strong civic presence and a dynamic building that will respond positively to its surrounding landscape.’

The team won the competition for the project in November 2014, beating off consortia headed by Grimshaw, Spain’s IDOM, White Arkitekter and Wilkinson Eyre.

It is anticipated that the arena will hold up to 116 events each year, with up to 20 using the maximum capacity.

The applicants anticipate that around 80 homes can be accommodated within the development with around 30 per cent affordable, but the exact numbers will not be confirmed until a detailed application is submitted.

Work is expected to start on site later this year which a schedulded opening date in 2018.


Nicholas Reynolds, senior principal and project director at Populous
’This unanimous support is great news for Bristol and the South West, and we are looking forward to helping to create a fantastic new events space for Bristol, and the catalyst for a vibrant new quarter in the city.

’Our team is helping to craft a world-class live venue which will set the agenda for future arenas; one which is both economically and environmentally sustainable; a fully flexible and functional performance space for a dynamic programme of events; and an architecture which expresses the history of the site and Bristol’s artistic flair.’

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