It’s a resounding “yes” from Filton residents following news that the Bristol arena could potentially move to the airfield.

July 04 2018

It’s a resounding “yes” from Filton residents following news that the Bristol arena could potentially move to the airfield.

by Rebecca Day
Cheswick Village residents, invited to comment on Facebook, are more apprehensive, saying that parking and traffic are already problematic in the area and that an arena would only worsen the congestion. 
Improved transport provisions and infrastructure would need to be in place before an arena is built, residents say.
The news comes after a review into the Bristol arena project revealed that it would cost £32m more than expected to build at Temple Quay – the Bristol city centre site originally earmarked for the venue.
As Filtonvoice went to print, it was revealed Bristol mayor Marvin Rees was planning to take more time to consider the options.
Auditors KPMG noted in their ‘value for money assessment’ report that the Bristol arena, which would be entirely publicly funded, would be one of the most expensive in the UK.
As an alternative option, Filton airfield developer, YTL, has put forward proposals to develop the Brabazon hangar into an arena – should Bristol mayor Rees decide he does not wish to proceed with Temple Quay.
The Filton arena would seat 16,000 and would cost an estimated £100m to build – it would be privately funded and owned by YTL, therefore not affecting the public purse.
However, KPMG recognises that a “leakage of economic benefits” from Bristol may be likely if the arena is to be built in Filton.
A spokesperson from YTL said: “If Temple Quay isn’t the right place for the arena, then our proposal to develop the Brabazon hangar could be an option. The arena would create hundreds of jobs for local people – from needing people to help with the building of the arena to people working at the venue.
“By developing the Brabazon hangar into an arena, we would be preserving Filton’s aeronautical history and celebrating its heritage.
“We’ve got aspirations to create something that is world class and would attract headline acts, and of course, would put Filton on the map.”
YTL anticipates that the Filton arena would be the size of the O2 Arena in London and would be the third largest in the country. The spokesperson added that should Bristol City Council decide to continue with Temple Quay, YTL says that it will still develop the hangar into an event space and that they have always been looking to make use of the hangar for sports or other activities.
 As part of the overall developments to the airfield, plans have been agreed and funding has been secured for the extension of the MetroBus route to include the airfield and a rail link from the airfield to Temple Meads.
In a report to Filton Town Council, councillor Roger Hutchinson stated: “I will say that I would come down in favour of the [Brabazon] on balance.
“As far as the Filton option is concerned there would be ample parking and our challenge would be to encourage people by the provision of good public transport at an affordable price to leave their cars at home or at park and ride sites.
“This would have to be a real opportunity to move forward to the completion of the Henbury Loop from the currently planned Henbury Spur.
“[It] would be helpful if public transport is to be commercial and sustainable and possibly run through areas that are not currently served by buses, but also the large events will take place on evenings and weekends avoiding our rush hours.
“I am sure that whilst infrastructure would be a challenge for our local authorities and the developers, it is a challenge that could involve use of new transport options and technologies, and a good new station right beside the Brabazon Hangar serving the venue and the new development as well as Filton and surrounding areas, with a stop for Metrobus and local buses and other routes.”
Northville ward councillor Mubashar Chaudhry said: “[I] hope this will invite infrastructure improvement, new jobs and business opportunities and improved rail network.”
Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti has welcomed the idea of the move. He said: “Our area needs a major venue which will deliver much needed jobs and investment.
 “If this project is to go ahead, I expect to see significant amount of monies invested to improve local rail and other significant local transport infrastructure.
“I have heard a lot of talk of money being available for the existing proposed sites. I’ll be working hard to see that money spent in our area to make the project work.”


Filton views

Michael Walker: “Absolutely great idea. The city centre is one of the most inaccessible in the UK. The reality is the vast majority of people would not travel to events on the train due to excessive costs and limited timetable. ”
Callum Tucker: “As a student at UWE I think it would be a great addition to the area nightlife and a nice change not having to other cities.”
Anne Ritter: “Definitely [a] positive move. Need a local arena so we don't have travel ourselves! Great news for job prospects.”
Jo Clayton Hunt: “As long as (infrastructure) is a consideration with a rail link and parking surely it’s only a positive for the local economy. Perhaps more B&Bs less HMOs!”
Sarah Smith: “I am concerned about the threat to the community garden related to widening the ring road. But such a development would bring money to improve direct bus links”
Rikki Teml: “This would be fantastic for Filton and local businesses. We have the train line waiting to be used again and the road links.”
Fi Cantillon: “Fills me with dread. Our roads are already horrendous
Liz Bartlett: “It would be amazing! Bristol compared to all the other cities I've lived in is really lacking a big concert venue"


.. and in Cheswick

Laura Harris: “Parking is currently a huge issue for Cheswick Village. Adding an arena will only make matters worse and potentially dangerous. Even if there was parking in the plans people would rather get free parking locally then pay for official parking. I would not support any plans for the arena being in the area for that reason.”
Marcey Egan: “Parking and congestion a nightmare already. No direct bus to [get] there. At least if it's on Temple Island I have the choice of several buses to Temple Meads or jumping on the train.”
Tracey Baillie: “The traffic is already horrific around here. Just imagine if there were thousands more vehicles on the roads. No!!! Temple Meads is far more suitable.”
Rob Curwood: “I think the arena in Filton is an ideal location. There is plenty of land there to build car parks, and it is a less built up area for noise pollution. Filton has easy access to the M4 and M5. Also a local rail link will be built to serve it.  Loads of stadiums are built on the outskirts of cities. I don't think the city centre could handle the traffic on big gig nights.  It is nowhere near Cheswick to cause parking problems here and would create quality employment "
Gary Williams: “I think the people of Bristol need to look a little more at the bigger picture and stop taking the 'Not in my Backyard' approach.”