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Page last updated at 07:47 GMT, Monday, 12 July 2010 08:47 UK
Ashton Vale 'intent' for Bristol indoor arena project
View of potential new stadium
Could Ashton Vale host a new 10,000-seater arena?

A new indoor arena for Bristol could be about to take a step forward with the city council ready to sign a "statement of intent".

The site for the venue would be alongside Bristol City Football Club's new Ashton Vale stadium.

We reported in November 2009 that developers were vying to build it at either Ashton Vale or Temple Meads.

It has emerged that councillors have made a move to site a potential 10,000-seater venue next to the stadium.

A statement from the club said: "We are aware of the Council's wish to look at the incorporation of a new arena on land adjacent to the stadium.

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
2009: Developers discuss potential developments at Ashton Vale and Temple Meads

"[The club] will work with them to explore the feasibility of such a venture but at this moment our primary aim is to deliver the stadium."

An arena at Temple Meads was originally mooted in 2003 but was dropped in 2007 when costs rocketed to £86m.

The arena would be able to host acts which are too big for city centre venues such as the Academy and Colston Hall.

Councillor Simon Cook said the issue, which has featured in a council report, is due to be discussed on 22 July.

"We have been talking to Bristol City Football Club all year about the possibility of an arena while the stadium plans have been coming forward.

"If it would be possible to put an arena on this site, both the club and the city council would be really delighted to be able to make that happen.

"So the purpose of putting this into this particular report is just a statement that there is an intent from both sides to try and make this work."

The project would be, in effect, paid for by the council handing over £4.6m of land surrounding the Ashton Vale development to Bristol City Football Club.

The club would then provide facilities that would cover at least the "bare minimum" of the cost of the land.

All the safeguards that are there for communities near to where the arena would be are there, just as they were for the stadium
Cllr Simon Cook

Those facilities would include a new gym and a junior football academy in south Bristol.

Cllr Cook said, if the arena project got the go-ahead, it would still have to go through the planning process and permission was not assured.

He pointed out the journey to gain the neighbouring stadium permission was a "long and on-going process".

"The same thing would apply to an arena," he told BBC Bristol. "All the safeguards that are there for communities near to where the arena would be are there, just as they were for the stadium."

Should the stadium pass the final planning hurdles - such as an application for town green status which could potentially block the project - building work could begin in October.

"Immediately as that happens I think there would be the start of a planning process for an arena," said Cllr Cook.

"The both could take place at the same time and I think the build for an arena would be slightly faster than the stadium."

Have your say: Bristol arena plan
10 Nov 09 |  Arts & Culture
Bristol's arena plan is abandoned
13 Dec 07 |  Bristol
Cash fears over city arena scheme
06 Jun 07 |  Bristol
City's 10,000-seater stadium plan
12 Mar 03 |  England


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