I’ve seen the planning decision relating to the plans for an arena in Filton and my position on this has not changed. Like many of my constituents I remain convinced that the best location for any such development is in the centre of Bristol.
Substantial amounts of public money have been earmarked for transport improvements in the Filton area – with plans for a new train station, Metrobus routes and bridges. We need to see similar investment here in Bristol South.
I welcome Ashton Gate’s plans to expand and create build a Sport and Convention Centre alongside its 27,000 capacity stadium. They have a strong track record of delivering large scale events – from football matches to huge music concerts – and, crucially, of getting people to and from the stadium from across the region. Most local people walk, cycle and use trains or buses to get to Ashton Gate. Its location makes it accessible not only for people in Bristol South, but also right across the city and the region.
But, with ambitious plans to expand its annual programme of events it would benefit from more transport infrastructure – electrification of the existing track which runs from Temple Meads through Bedminster and Parson Street, a new station for Ashton Gate as part of the re-opening of the Portishead line, a Metrobus stop outside the stadium and a new pedestrian bridge over the main road. The plans focus on sustainability – encouraging people out of cars and onto forms of active travel, very important considering the climate emergency we are in.
Finally, we cannot talk about the Filton arena plans without considering what is happening to Arena Island near Temple Meads (which was supposed to be home to the city’s new arena). We were promised hundreds of jobs and apprenticeships as part of the original arena plans and I want to see that the new development proposals benefit people in Bristol South – as the plans for Ashton Gate will.