Arena gets final go-ahead to be built in the former home of Concorde in Bristol

Bristol could get its long-awaited arena within three years.

The Communities Secretary, Robert Jenrick, has approved plans for a major venue to be built on the Bristol-South Gloucestershire border.

The 17,000 capacity arena and leisure complex will be the UK’s third largest, providing hundreds of jobs in construction and, when it's ready, staffing the complex.

It should bring a huge economic and cultural boost to the whole of Greater Bristol with an expected 1.4 million visitors a year.


Estimated number of visitors in one year

YTL, the firm behind it, says no public money will be needed. It welcomes today's decision.

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.

Andrew Billingham, Managing Director of YTL Arena Complex, Bristol
The arena could host more than 17,000 people at full capacity. Credit: Grimshaw Architects

An arena for Bristol - a timeline

There have been calls for the city for decades to have a major venue capable of hosting big names like those in Birmingham and Cardiff.

What will the YTL Arena look like?

Three Brabazon hangars - which once housed Concorde - will now house three elements:

  • Central Hangar - YTL Arena - multipurpose auditorium able to host everything from live music and comedy shows to sporting events and theatre.

  • East Hangar - Festival Hall - a flat floor space for trade shows, exhibitions, conventions and other events.

  • West Hangar - The Hub - a place to eat, work and play. It will include a visitor attraction, leisure space and work space - a 365-day a year venue.

How easy will it be to get to the YTL arena?

There have been concerns that the Filton Airfield site is a bit remote for those people in the centre of Bristol but YTL says the arena will be well connected to the city centre and the West Country as a whole.

70 mins

Journey time from London Paddington to Bristol Parkway

The Arena site on the former Filton Airfield is within easy reach of the M4 and M5. A new railway station is to be built, linking it with the city centre and Bristol Parkway is just two miles away. There are also bus routes, including the Metrobus.

The company is keen to discourage car use, although there will be designated parking on site for people with disabilities.

The arena will also be able to hold major sporting events. Credit: YTL

When will work begin on the new arena?

Given the current situation with Covid-19, we asked YTL when work will begin on the project.

Construction will not begin until next year. Between now and then there is an enormous amount to complete, including finalising detailed design, tendering and procurement. Currently, all of the team are working safely at home progressing (this).

Spokesperson, YTL Arena Bristol