arena-island1The derelict site which greets people as they pull into Temple Meads station has long been in need of redevelopment, but now, at last, exciting things are starting to happen.

As part of a plan agreed by the council in February, business architects Allies and Morrison have been appointed to draw up the plans for a 12,000 capacity entertainment venue to be built there as part of a new creative hub in the centre of Bristol.

Allies and Morrison were part of the team that led the planning for the transformation of London 2012’s Olympic Park and the regeneration of the Kings Cross area of London. Drawings which will inform the future development of the site will be produced by the end of the year.

David Warburton, Head of Area for the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) which currently owns the site, said, “We wanted a world-class, highly experienced team to help us put together a master-plan to shape the new quarter at Arena Island.

“This work will be an important part of creating the buzz that’s needed to form a place on a par with the best innovative cities in Europe, where new ideas and innovative thinking will spark off its surroundings and thrive.”

“Given the aspirations of the city’s current administration it’s a particularly exciting time to be working in Bristol”


Allies and Morrison partner Bob Allies said the site represented “a very significant addition to the city’s cultural resources”. He added: “It is also, given the aspirations of the city’s current administration, a particularly exciting time to be working in Bristol.”

Creating a creative hub

Arena-Island-siteAs well as the arena, there will be streets, public spaces and a mixed-use development with shops, homes and employment space to create a new creative hub for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. The project should be delivered by 2017.

The Arena would be slap bang in the centre  (see left) of the already thriving Bristol Temple Quarter. The 70 hectare area in the heart of Bristol, with Temple Meads railway station at its centre, was officially declared open for business by Chancellor George Osborne in April 2012. Its targets are to create 4,000 jobs in the first five years and around 17,000 in the 25 year lifespan of the project.

In other cities where arenas have been built, tens of millions of pounds of additional money has been brought to the city regions each year from business activity, hotel stays, visits to restaurants and other related activity due to the entertainment venues.

Jamie Middleton