News / Bristol Arena

YTL Arena Bristol boss: ‘We’re building much more than just an arena’

By martin booth, Tuesday Nov 19, 2019

For the first time, detailed plans for an arena in Bristol have been revealed in anticipation of it opening in early 2023.

Plans to repurpose the Brabazon Hangars at Filton are contained within planning applications that will go to both Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council.

Following Bristol mayor Marvin Rees scrapping a city centre arena plan in favour of a mixed use development on land next to Temple Meads, Malaysian infrastructure conglomerate YTL have entered the breach.

While the proposed YTL Arena Bristol itself is within the confides of Bristol, much of the arena ‘complex’ is contained in neighbouring South Glos.

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The aim of YTL, whose arena team is led by former Bristol Sport CEO Andrew Billingham, is to create “a new entertainment complex” for Bristol and the South West.

The new complex hopes to create more than 500 new jobs and inject £1.5bn into the local economy over the next 25 years.

Billingham said: “YTL’s commitment is demonstrated as we submit our exciting plans to deliver a 100 per cent privately funded entertainment complex for Bristol.

“We’re building much more than just an arena. It’s a 365-day entertainment destination inside the iconic Brabazon Hangars that will create new jobs, bring new business to the region and enhance Bristol’s position as a leading European city.”

The west hangar of the current Brabazon Hangars could be transformed into 365-day a year venue ‘The Hub’ – “a place to eat, work and play… (that) will be the heartbeat of the complex”

Plans are for the 28,000m2 floorspace of all three hangars to create an arena, exhibition and leisure space under one roof.

The 17,090-capacity arena will be in the central hangar and if built could become the third largest in the UK after Manchester and the O2 within London’s former Millennium Dome.

The east hangar will house a new event space called Festival Hall for conventions and exhibitions; while the west hangar, to be known as The Hub, will include leisure facilities, and food and drink outlets.

Further plans for the arena complex include zero waste to landfill, harvesting rainwater and installing solar panels on the roof area.

Plans are for the east hangar to become ‘Festival Hall’: a flat floor space for trade shows, exhibitions, conventions and other events

YTL bosses are planning that transport options from the city centre to the Filton site will include a new train station due to open in 2021 and a new metrobus service.

Billingham added: “We hope that local people who visit the arena will immediately feel at home, leaving at the end of a fantastic night feeling proud of all that the city has to offer.

“And we hope that those visiting from further afield leave with a clear sense of how amazing this region is and want to come back for more.

“We’ll create an entertainment destination for the south west of England that puts Bristol on the world stage and creates the ultimate night out. Built by us, inspired by you, enjoyed by everyone.”

Access for all visitors to the arena will be via a new bridge over the existing railway line, linking the site to the new Brabazon neighbourhood on the former Filton Airfield

Read more: Who’s who in the Bristol Arena story

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