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Bristol scraps multi-million pound 'vanity project'

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Bristol City Council has scrapped plans to build a 12,000-seat arena in favour of a mixed-use development in the city centre, LGC’s sister title Construction News reports.

Plans to build a 12,000-seat arena in the city centre have been debated since 2003 but were finally binned in a cabinet meeting held last week.

Buckingham Group was appointed under a preconstruction services agreement by the council for the project in June last year and estimated it could build the scheme for £122m.

Plans were suspended in November when Bristol mayor Marvin Rees (Lab) instructed consultant KPMG to expand the scope of a pending review to bring in “fresh possibilities” for the site.

KPMG announced in its report published in June this year that the project could cost at least £156m.

During Tuesday’s meeting, Mr Rees questioned whether this money should be invested in a “vanity project” and a decision was made to explore an alternative mixed-use scheme with developer Legal & General.

The scheme could include a conference centre, a hotel and commercial, retail and residential spaces.

Legal & General has previously invested £240m in the surrounding Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone area.

Around £53m of funding has been earmarked for the arena project and a business case will be submitted to the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership to transfer this money to other projects.

Plans for the mixed-use scheme will be submitted to the cabinet at a later date.

Mr Rees said: “We need to move forward now and ensure Bristol is fit for the demands of a modern, thriving and well-connected city. I am confident an alternative development for Temple Island is at the heart of that vision.

“By not borrowing the huge sums needed to build the arena, we will also release capital for other exciting city projects.”

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