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Bristol City Council reviews arena plans

Bristol City Council reviews arena plans

Bristol City Council is reviewing plans for the construction of an indoor arena in the Temple Meads area of the city in a bid to keep the project within budget. 

Contractor Buckingham has already started pre-construction work after securing a deal for the task in April this year, but this work has now been ordered to stop while consultants at KPMG carry out an expanded value for money review of the £123 million project.

The remit KPMG now has will ask it to take a fresh look at issues of design, location and private sector funding options. 

However, there is no question of canceling the project, Bristol's mayor Marvin Rees insisted. 

He remarked: "I remain 100 per cent committed to delivering an arena for Bristol and with this in mind, it is right to look at every available option, along with the benefits and drawbacks of each.

"We can’t commit to the current design on this specific site at any cost and I wouldn’t want that kind of blinkered approach to become the arena’s undoing.”

The blueprint for the 12,000-seat arena is part of a wider plan to revive the area around Temple Meads station, which includes knocking down derelict buildings and replacing them with new offices, homes and a large Bristol University teaching facility, with improved pedestrian and cyclist access around the vicinity. 

Ensuring major infrastructure developments in Bristol avoid cost overruns is important both because the city already has a budget deficit, and due to the potential cost of future projects.

In September, a report into the city's transport problems suggested the best solution to its chronic congestion issues was to build a metro-style transport system with underground sections. Mr Rees has ordered further studies on the topic.

However, building a Bristolian version of the London Underground may be a particularly expensive undertaking. For this reason, a good track record on keeping projects in budget may strengthen the city's case for attracting the billions of pounds of government finance, overseas investment, or both, that such a scheme would need.

Image: iStock



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