Arena parking talks delayed

July 29 2016

CONSULTATION on parking controls around the Bristol arena has been delayed until next year.

The arena will bring benefits, residents told

Bristol arena by night

But this will still leave enough time for residents to be consulted in Totterdown, Knowle, Windmill Hill, St Philips and other areas that could be affected by the 12,000 seat venue, members of community group Tresa were told.

The newly-announced delay will give time for the council’s cabinet to consider the implications of a wide-scale review of existing residents parking zones, a key promise of mayor Marvin Rees when he was elected in May.

It is a new setback for the
£91 million arena, which will now
not open until at least the summer of 2018. Further delays – and cost increases – are possible once contractor Bouygues UK reports its project plan to the council in the autumn.

Bristol will benefit from being the last core city in Britain to get an arena, council officers assured residents at the Tresa AGM on July 20. Measures like noise-proofing will be the best in any UK city, they said.

Questions from residents included a plea for major concerts not to be on weekdays to minimise disturbance. People on Stanley Hill can hear platform announcements at Temple Meads, it was pointed out.

This can’t be guaranteed, but concerts tend to be at weekends and the venue will be soundproofed, said council project manager Oliver Roberts. In addition the operator will need a licence from the council, and this will be subject to separate consultation.

Several members called for the consultation to be widely publicised – something the Voice will attempt to do.

Transport and parking were the major worries. What can be done to get 12,000 people away from the venue quickly, asked Tresa member Anne Silber? Park & Ride buses are already often full, she said.

Additional Park & Ride buses will be provided, with the aim being to line them up like taxis at peak times, said strategic projects team manager Oliver Coltman.

Longer term, there is a desire for a new Park & Ride site off the M32, he said.

Another Tresa member, Becky Mears, asked what benefits the arena will bring to Totterdown? Could schools and other groups use the facilities during the day? 

She was promised that the operator –Live Nation – has a lot of experience working with communities, and has encouraged local bands to play in the foyers before major events.

With the area set to become a car park for the arena, what chance is there of the developer funding the parking zones, added Becky Mears.

Nothing has been decided on parking zones, was the reply.

Cllr Jon Wellington asked if there were plans to make Bath Road safer for pedestrians and cyclists – because it’s not safe at the moment, he said.

A wider footway has already been started with exploratory work on the wooded bank near Three Lamps, he was told.

This will make access from Three Lamps much safer. But widening the walkway from Temple Meads needs two new bridges, and is uncosted, said Mr Coltman.

At first, pedestrians will be guided by stewards from Temple Meads and Clarence Road to the safest access to the arena, off Cattle Market Road.

But future development of the Temple Quarter enterprise zone to provide 17,000 jobs will require the new footway to be built.

It will have to allow for a possible car park on the Kwik Fit site, which is now owned by the council, said Mr Coltman.

Can the arena redevelopment be extended into St Philip’s Marsh? asked Knowle resident John Ross. 

There is a sharp contrast between the arena and the industrial uses in St Philips, said Mr Coltman,  but much of the area is a floodplain. Until the flood risk to central Bristol is reduced, housing and other uses are unlikely to be allowed there.

• Cattle Market Road is set to reopen at the end of August – nine months after its first scheduled date. The delay has allowed for a new cycle and pedestrian access to be built.