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Big boost for Bristol Arena and Enterprise Zone

May 28, 2014

Today I helped start work on the new bridge that will unlock the bend in the River Avon earmarked for Bristol’s new arena. As Communities Minister I also announced £6million for further works and site acquisitions in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

Many blokes think it would be fun to drive a bulldozer or crane, well today I got in the cab of a huge excavator, ready to dig out the foundations for the new bridge opposite Temple Meads station. Tempting as it was to pull a lever and cover assembled journalists with mud, I let the professional digger driver make the actual hole.  But I’m delighted that work has at last started on this huge site. Seven years ago I took to the airwaves to criticise the South West Regional Development Agency (a Labour govt quango) for pulling the plug on arena plans. The Coalition government is funding the new bridge to the tune of £11.5million. It will be unlike any other bridge over the Avon or the the harbour. It will be Bristol’s first Garden Bridge, tree lined and with places to sit. As well as space for motor vehicles it will have provision for pedestrians and cyclists.

Once the Mayor secures an operator for the Arena work will start on the “island” itself. But the arena will occupy just over a third of the site.  There will also be other businesses and hundreds of new homes.

As well as supervising the digging of a big hole, I also announced an additional £6m government support for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.  This was part of £23m of funds from my department announced today for four enterprise zones. The Bristol money will help unlock further land and buildings for development in the Cattle Market area of the zone, which will become the new centre of Bristol’s burgeoning creative and media industries.

So two sets of good news for Bristol and further evidence that the Coalition Government is investing in building a stronger economy for Bristol and the country.



3 Comments leave one →
  1. May 28, 2014 8:30 pm

    Good to hear some good news Stephen.

    I still think the Bus Station should be moved near the Rail Station. Then freeing up the existing Bus Station for BRI parking which is a nightmare.

    Also to redevelop or remove the terrible eyesore former Hotel near to Temple Meads which has been a crumbling mess since I first worked in Bristol in 1962.

    Then we have the “other eyesores” in Stokes Croft—everyone knows what I mean!
    Surely some compulsory purchase is needed here?

    Best Regards, John

  2. May 28, 2014 10:19 pm

    I agree Temple Meads needs more bus connectivity with the rest of the city…I’ve suggested many times a direct link to Gloucester Road. I’m not convinced about shifting the entire bus station. The current location is actually near to where most people want, shops, offices and the hospitals. Let’s be honest, our rail station is not conveniently located, unlike Cardiff where trains and buses are optimally situated.


  1. No Bristol Arena, so what now for our city centre? | Stephen Williams' Blog

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