Below is a statement from Green Group Leader Eleanor Combley, submitted to the Cabinet meeting of July 3rd. Councillor Combley supports the work of the Council’s Scrutiny committee and calls on the Mayor to go beyond the narrow scope of his KPMG reports, which don’t adhere to government guidelines, and be transparent about what criteria are being used to make his decision.
In his blog the Mayor suggested that 70% of visitors to arenas drive – but this is not a fixed figure and depends entirely on the arena location – for example at Manchester arena, also located by a train station, this figure is just 39%.
The report from Scrutiny (OSM) to Cabinet is attached below Cllr Combley’s statement and the key conclusions have been pulled out for reference.
Cllr Eleanor Combley, Statement on Cabinet Agenda Item 6 – Reports from scrutiny commission
I would like to thank all the other councillors, from all parties, who contributed to this process by submitting questions and statements, and the members of the public, who despite the very short notice, managed to do likewise. Most of all, I think we should all be thanking the members of OSMB who went through the reports with a fine-toothed comb and were rigorous in their questioning of all aspects. They broke open the black box of the numbers and as a result brought information into the public debate that had not really seen the light of day before. I highlight a number of our key observations from the reports and the associated process.
The future is not a destination, it is something we imagine, plan and build, and this decision is one with real impact for the shape of our future, so thanks again to everyone who has so far contributed to, hopefully, getting the best possible decision for Bristol.
Key conclusions from the OSM board’s report to Cabinet (Full report: OSM_arena_VFM_report.pdf)
“It is the considered view of OSM members that;
• The existing Arena figures are cautious
• The Brabazon Arena figures are optimistic
• Insufficient attention had been paid to social value in concentrating purely on value for money
• Environmental impact has been ignored in terms of the Filton proposal
• An arena for all of Bristol requires accessibility for all and that case is not proven at Filton
• The Arena Island proposal is close to being “shovel ready”
• The needs for planning, traffic planning and infrastructure at Filton mean the time line is much longer than the Temple Meads proposal
• It is disappointing that the only invitee who did not accept our invitation is the Mayor of Bristol. I urge the Mayor to meet with the OSM party leads to discuss our report before concluding his decision
• The sale of the land for the university campus at Temple Meads has damaged the economic case for the Arena. The site is now smaller and there is reduced opportunity to boost the economy of the area, part of which forms one of Bristol’s most deprived wards.
• Members were encouraged by YTL’s vision for the Filton site, however, there were many details still to be confirmed as the scheme is only at an outline stage. In particular the major caveats in relation to planning permission (the sequential test) and the delivery of essential transport infrastructure.
• The delayed publication of Value for Money reports created unnecessary pressures on officers and scrutiny to complete their work
• There is little or no time for the Mayor to take note of the views of scrutiny before his decision is published on Monday”