Bristol Arena 'will open in 2020' despite contractor being let go

The contractor for the multi-million pound Bristol Arena has been dropped after it parted ways with Bristol City Council. Bristol mayor Marvin Rees says the venue will still open by autumn 2020 despite the news.

Work is expected to start on the site near Temple Meads Station by spring 2018 but this will be with a new contractor.

The council says it has chosen not to enter a main building contract with its preferred tenderer Bouygues UK because an agreement on price could not be reached.

Former Mayor, George Ferguson, who pushed for the Arena when he was in power, says the setback is disappointing. He says the city needs an entertainments venue of its calibre. At the moment, people have to travel to places like London, Cardiff and Birmingham for the big names.

The council says it is 'actively exploring' other options to construct the arena as quickly as possible.

The resulting venue will form part of an expanding Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone which was recently boosted with news that Bristol University plans to build a new campus in the area.

The Arena site near Temple Meads including the new bridge over the river Credit: ITV News

Former Bristol Mayor George Ferguson says that he is convinced the Arena will go ahead and he backs his successor Marvin Rees' dedication.

He says you have to be prepared to walk away if the contractor is not delivering at the expected price. He now hopes the second choice contractor will now step in to build the project, which is so close to becoming a reality.

  • Watch former Mayor George Ferguson on his hopes for the Arena