Bristol Arena: £53m funding provision approved

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Media captionThe 12,000 capacity Bristol Arena could be completed by June 2017

Plans for a £91m entertainment arena in Bristol have taken a major step forward with the approval of more than half of the funding needed for the project.

The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has agreed to contribute £53m from the City Deal.

Bristol City Council plans to fund the remaining £38m which will be recouped from operator rental and other incomes.

The 12,000 capacity indoor venue will be located in the heart of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

A final decision on the project will take place at the city council's budget meeting on 18 February.

The Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson said: "It's very encouraging that the LEP recognises the importance of using the City Deal funding for the development of an arena which will give a massive boost to the local economy."

Economic benefits

The LEP's Colin Skellett said the economic benefits to the region from having an arena "are well recognised".

He said the fund is "there to unlock jobs and growth in the west of England, and the Bristol Arena is one of several projects that will do this".

The city council will begin the process of finding an independent company to operate the arena next month.

The project is part of the city's plan to regenerate about 70 hectares (170 acres) of land surrounding Bristol Temple Meads station.

Bristol City Council said the arena could be completed by June 2017.

Under the City Deal scheme, certain powers are devolved from central government to local authorities.

The government can give the city control to take charge and responsibility of decisions that affect its area, create economic growth and decide how public money should be spent.

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