Bristol’s YTL Arena gets final nod

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YTL Arena Bristol update April 2020 Image: YTL Arena Bristol

Construction work on the YTL Arena complex in the English city of Bristol, UK, can get going after the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government chose not to call in the decision to grant approval for the project.

The development was already greenlighted by the Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council and the Secretary of State saw no reason to further examine the application. The arena is expected to open its gates in 2023.

Stakeholders were forced to wait for the final nod as the COVID-19 crisis which also spiralled out of control in UK delayed a Government verdict and the project received the thumbs-up in the first week of April.

The YTL Arena complex will be anchored by the 17,080-capacity arena, which would sit in the Central Hangar of the Brabazon Hangars in the north of Bristol. The arena has been projected as the third largest in the UK after the Manchester Arena and London’s O2, but could go down to the fifth spot should Oak View Group’s plans for a second arena in Manchester get the stamp of approval and plans proceed to expand Birmingham’s Resorts World Arena.

The complex’s other two hangars will be modified into a Festival Hall and The Hub. The former will stage conventions and exhibitions, with the latter to serve as a year-round venue incorporating a visitor attraction, leisure, workspace and food and drink offerings.

Commented YTL Arena Complex Managing Director Andrew Billingham, “During the current COVID-19 crisis this is especially welcomed news. It is a huge step forward for everybody in Bristol and the region. We are fully committed to opening a venue that will inspire future generations, giving our great city a beating heart across the global music and entertainment industry.”

In February, new designs were unveiled for a proposed 4,000-seat arena next to Bristol’s Ashton Gate Stadium, home of Championship football club Bristol City and Premiership rugby union team the Bristol Bears. Ashton Gate Chairman Martin Griffiths has said that he does not view the YTL Arena project as a threat and feels there is a “broad market” in Bristol that can accommodate both new venues.

Mark Kelly, Managing Director, Ashton Gate Ltd., UK, is a member of Coliseum – Global Sports Venue Alliance.

Brian Kabatznick – Executive VP, BD & Facilities Oak View Group International, UK will be one of the speakers at the Coliseum Summit EUROPE, to be held on September 2-3, 2020 at Ascot Racecourse in UK. OVG International is also one of the sponsors for Coliseum Summit EUROPE.

A statement on the YTL Arena Bristol website read, “On March 4, Bristol City Council’s planning committee voted to approve the application to build a 17,080-capacity arena in the Brabazon Hangars on Filton Airfield. On March 19, South Gloucestershire Council’s planning committee approved our applications to build a temporary 1,800 space car park, access for delivery vehicles from the north, across the former airfield and via West Way, and a new pedestrian bridge over the existing railway track, which will serve as the main entrance to the arena.”

The statement concluded, “This decision is the final approval we needed to push forward our plans to deliver an arena for Bristol and the South West. We will build the third largest arena in the UK, putting Bristol on the world stage for live music and entertainment.”

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