YTL’s plans to build a new 17,000 seat arena in Bristol by repurposing the Brabazon Hangars at Filton have been approved by Bristol City Council. The new complex will create more than 500 new jobs and inject £1.5 billion into the local economy over 25 years, as well as raise the profile of the city and wider region.

Andrew Billingham, managing director of YTL Arena Bristol said: “We’re delighted that the council has entrusted us with this brilliant opportunity to put Bristol on the world stage. It is a huge step forward for our plan. We are committed to delivering a venue that everyone can be proud of and that will benefit not just Bristol, but the whole of the wider city region. It will be both financial and environmentally sustainable.” The plans still need to be approved by South Gloucestershire Council and will also go before the government.

Sustainability is a key focus. Plans include zero waste to landfill, harvesting rainwater and installing solar panels on the vast roof area. By repurposing the existing hangars, the proposals will save more than 18,600 tonnes of carbon emissions alone. The development of a landscape strategy will be sympathetic to the local surroundings and the approved former Filton Airfield scheme. 

The scheme uses the 28,000m2 floorspace of all three hangars to create something unique in the south west: an arena, exhibition and leisure space all under one roof. The arena will be in the Central Hangar and with 17,080 capacity, it will be the third largest in the UK after Manchester Arena and the O2. The East Hangar will house a new Festival Hall; a flat floor event space for conventions, exhibitions and working in tandem with the arena to attract large scale events.

The West Hangar, The Hub, will be a place to eat, work and play, with leisure facilities, food and drink and home to small or start-up businesses. The venue would also be used to host sporting events If the proposals are given the final go ahead, YTL plans to be opening the doors to the public in early 2023. Critics of the scheme say the arena is too far away from the centre of Bristol and will create too much traffic.