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Populous’s £156.3m arena not best value for Bristol, accountants warn

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Two alternative schemes would provide better value for money for Bristol City Council than Populous’s proposed 12,000-seat arena in the city centre, according to a report by KPMG

Populous gained planning permission for the new stadium at Temple Island in 2016, but the scheme was put on hold after mayor Marvin Rees ordered a review of project finances.

Accountancy firm KPMG concluded that developing the site as a mixed use scheme without an arena and building the new arena on an out-of-town site at Filton would provide a better cost-benefit ratio.

The KPMG report also found that, at £156.3 million, the projected capital cost of the arena is 18 per cent higher than the approved budget to date.

The report said: ‘KPMG note that the arena would be one of the most expensive arenas in the UK in terms of cost per square metre based on benchmarking information.

‘The Filton Arena plans give an opportunity to deliver an arena in Bristol if alternative plans for Temple Island are pursued, although, given the infancy of development plans, there remains a higher degree of deliverability risk in those proposals.’

According to KPMG, the benefit-to-cost ratio (BCR) to the council of the current proposal is 3.2 to one.

However, developing the site for a mixed use scheme could lead to a BCR of 23 to one, with an arena at Filton providing a BCR of between 14 and 15.7 to one.

The councils estimates that the site could accommodate 460 homes, 26,000m² of commercial floorspace including office, retail and hotel space as well as a conference centre.

However, the report said that pursuing the current scheme could have positive social impacts from enhancing Bristol’s cultural offer.

KPMG’s calculations did not take into consideration £12.2 million of costs already sunk into the project by the council, including design fees, professional advice and project team costs.

A team led by Populous, including Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios and engineering firm BuroHappold, won the competition for the Bristol Arena project in March 2015, seeing off consortia headed by Grimshaw, Spain’s IDOM, White Arkitekter and WilkinsonEyre.

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Readers' comments (1)

  • Forget the numbers. The stadium looks like it has just spun down to earth from planet ugly. Clicking balloon emoji’s on to the CGI? Desperate measures.

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