Plans to create thousands of jobs in Bristol by preparing derelict land for major development have been backed by a Government approval to invest £11 million in the project.
The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) will begin work to prepare the Diesel Depot for development after the Treasury signed off its proposals to fund a vital phase of work on the site.
The investment from the HCA will be used to provide a new access route from nearby Cattle Market Road and install a three lane bridge over the River Avon to improve links with Temple Meads station.
The approval marks a significant step for Bristol City Council and the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), who want to build an 11,000-seater indoor Arena on part of the site in the heart of Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.
It has been estimated that £500,000 will also be invested in structural improvements in the area that will boost employment and help the local economy.
The Diesel Depot has huge economic potential: studies show that a major development there could bring nearly 65,000 sq m of new employment space, 300 homes, around 2,600 jobs and £200m in private sector investment to the city.
The whole project will also be supported by infrastructure investment of around £7.5m from the LEP’s Revolving Infrastructure Fund, as part of a £21m package of funding announced last year to pay for new highways, roads and improved pedestrian access in the Enterprise Zone.
David Warburton HCA head of Area said: “Our investment will address this issue and make the site a more viable proposition for the council and LEP. It has the potential to generate a huge number of jobs for the enterprise zone and it is great news for the city that the investment is in place to allow work to start.”
The proposed Arena project is being led by the council and the LEP, who welcomed the funding news today.
Bristol Mayor George Ferguson said: “Building an arena is hugely important for Bristol and the region and is a key catalyst for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. This £11 million investment by the HCA to ‘unlock’ the ‘arena island’ site is great news and we are delighted to have their support and confidence in the project.”