Page last updated at 18:51 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Arena planners in competing bids

Possible design for arena at Ashton Vale
Bristol City Council is backing the idea of a music and sport venue next to Bristol City's proposed new stadium at Ashton Vale

Competing bids to build an indoor 15,000 seater music and sport arena in Bristol have been unveiled.

The plans, put together by rival developers, comprise building it close to Temple Meads railway station or near Bristol City's proposed new stadium.

The council says by having the arena and football ground in the same place, transport plans could be shared.

But architect George Ferguson - backing the Temple Meads plan - said the Ashton Vale site would be too car-dependent.

Councillor Simon Cook, deputy leader of Bristol City Council, said having the venue next to the football ground made sense.

'Dinosaur model'

"It would be very compatible because it can use the same infrastructure, the same transport plan - the bus rapid transit is going around the stadium with a commuter line straight into the city," he said.

"Everything is there for the arena to make sense."

But Mr Ferguson disagreed and said an arena that depends on thousands of customers driving to it would be a "dinosaur model".

2003: Developers propose arena which would house both of city's football teams and conferences
2004: Meetings held by city council and South West RDA over 10,000-seater arena
2003: Developer and operator are picked for arena project at Temple Meads
2006: Architects named for Bristol arena project
June 2007: Cash fears over arena plan are first expressed
Dec 2007: Plans are ditched after costs shoot up to £86m

"To a certain extent that would be the model of one set next to the A370," he said.

His plan involves land close to Bristol Temple Meads train station, which is close to where similar plans fell through several years ago.

Mr Ferguson said this venue would be a bigger development of land around the station, which includes the old Royal Mail Depot.

Bristol City FC, who have hosted music concerts at Ashton Gate, have not commented on the idea of the arena alongside their proposed new ground at Ashton Vale.

Currently, the city's biggest music venue is the Colston Hall, which can hold about 2,000 people.

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