Can Ferguson bring an arena to Bristol?

19 11 2012

George Ferguson is being officially sworn in as Bristol’s mayor today in Brunel’s Old Station next to Temple Meads. As an oath, he has chosen the words that the ancient Athenians said: “I shall not leave this city any less but rather greater than when I found it.”

Just a few hundred yards away from where he will say this oath is an area of Bristol which Ferguson hopes he will be able to transform in his time as mayor.

His architecture firm have previously drawn up plans (right) for the derelict Royal Mail sorting office, comprising a mixed use development (right) of office, retail, residential, leisure and student accommodation in what is currently a ghastly welcome to visitors to Bristol by train.

Empty for the past 15 years, the building is currently owned by developers Kian Gwan Land, who have a PO Box address in Jersey.

Another site near to the station is the land off Bath Road long earmarked for an arena and which the now defunct South West Regional Development Agency spent £13m purchasing and clearing in preparation for one, which currently houses a few polytunnels.

Speaking after his election last week, Ferguson said: “We need to deliver a really significant project we can all be proud of and I am absolutely determined to deliver an arena for Bristol. It’s disgraceful that we have to go elsewhere to see the big acts. But it will be more than a building, it will be about what Bristol stands for. So let’s make a Bristol which everyone feels part of.”

If our new mayor brings an arena to Bristol, it could be his greatest legacy.


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