Bristol

Bristol's Temple Island deal queried after arena dropped

Temple Island (formerly called Arena Island) Image copyright Legal & General
Image caption A deal to build a conference centre and a hotel at the site has been agreed by Bristol Council

A decision allowing developers to shelve plans for an arena in Bristol has been called in for extra scrutiny.

Developers Legal and General plan to build flats, an office and a conference centre at Temple Island.

The opposition Liberal Democrats said the deal was made without a formal tendering process so there are no conditions or obligations in place.

The ruling Labour party said "some individuals are trying to gridlock the council with obscure processes".

"There's nothing we can do to stop the opposition parties engaging in outdated politics which sees them chase headlines, stall new jobs for Bristolians, and delay much-needed new affordable housing," a Labour spokesman added.

"But what we can control, is our approach."

The call-in will mean a cross-party committee will be formed to make a decision within a month.

As the council has a Labour majority, it is likely that votes are made on party lines.

'Moral obligation'

Liberal Democrat councillor Gary Hopkins said: "We're insisting on proper procurement to make sure we get the best deal."

Bristol City Council has already spent £12m on the cancelled arena plans and will invest a further £32m to "support the development".

Mr Hopkins said: "We want to make sure people fully realise what this is about.

"It's an extremely valuable piece of land, and nothing is guaranteed with this arrangement."

Legal and General's head of public sector partnerships, Pete Gladwell, said: "I am committing to delivering housing in the first phase, targeting 40% to be affordable.

"There are a 116,000 customers in Bristol and they have entrusted us their savings, their pensions with us and want us to do good things with their money.

"For me there's a moral obligation."

He said the public would have a say in how the site was developed.

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