Green Councillors have secured a Council debate and vote on the location of Bristol’s arena at next Tuesday’s Council meeting. The motion, submitted to Full Council by Southville councillor Stephen Clarke, calls on the Mayor to consider the strong public support for a Temple Meads arena location and act on the wishes of the Arena petitioners. Over 4700 people have now signed this petition, which will also be debated at the meeting and calls for the Mayor to support a Temple Meads arena.
The motion (full text available here - Green_Group_Motion_1_-_Bristol_Arena.pdf) put forward by the Greens lists a number of reasons in support of a city centre arena site over Filton, including:
- A central position in the city close to the train station, bus and metrobus stops, and nearby multistorey car parks which would provide convenient access by all forms of transport.
- Improved facilities, work and opportunities for people in South Bristol.
- More jobs and opportunities in inner city areas that will be within walking distance of the new arena.
- Millions of pounds already spent preparing the site.
- The arena would be owned by the council so profits could be put back into funding local services.
- An iconic part of the city which would improve Bristol’s reputation.
The motion also suggests that a Filton location doesn’t make sense as it would require over £100 million of public investment in local infrastructure, would be almost entirely car-centric in terms of access causing significant congestion and air pollution, and see economic benefits going to South Gloucestershire rather than deprived areas of Central and South Bristol. It notes that the vast majority of profits from such a location would go to the Malaysian-owned YTL Group rather than Bristol Council.
Councillor Stephen Clarke said:
“If there is going to be a new arena, it should be in the right location. There’s a huge degree of public support for one in the city centre and rightly so – why should a Bristol arena be built outside the City where most of the benefits go to South Gloucestershire and a Malaysian company, instead of right here where it would benefit everyone? With support from across the political spectrum this is an opportunity for Bristol’s councillors to show their preference for the arena’s location before the Mayor makes his decision at the beginning of May.”
Meanwhile councillors have been trying to get more details on the ‘Value for Money’ study the Mayor has commissioned from consultants KPMG to support his decision. Green councillor Martin Fodor asked for the study’s terms of reference at a cabinet meeting of January 23rd but said almost two months later he has still not received a full account.
Councillor Fodor said:
“The persistent lack of transparency around this whole process, particularly the Mayor’s KPMG study, is really worrying given the importance of this arena to the future of Bristol. Councillors are still in the dark on important aspects of this study. Any decision to rethink the location of the arena should happen through an informed, democratic and transparent process. It should not be a decision taken behind closed doors and potentially unduly influenced by big business and shaped by inappropriate criteria.”