Months after it was expected, Bristol Council has released KPMG's 'value for money' reports into Bristol arena. Responding to the reports, leader of the Green Group Councillor Eleanor Combley said:
“What was first touted as a simple ‘value for money’ review is beginning to look like a very expensive piece of political justification for a decision it seems the Mayor has already taken in private, regardless of his manifesto promise and of the views of the public, his councillors, or even fellow Labour politicians. The problem with these reports is that we are being asked to compare reality with fiction. On the one hand we have an actual arena on which millions of pounds of actual money has been spent and actual building work had already begun which would bring huge economic benefits to the disadvantaged areas of Central and South Bristol in terms of new jobs and opportunities. On the other we have a highly optimistic pencil sketch, in which the private sector steps forward and provides exactly what the Mayor wants on the Arena Island site, at little or no cost to the public purse, while a foreign corporation builds and owns an arena to the north of Bristol. That report does at least acknowledge that this would suck life from the city centre, and would require millions from the public purse for transport infrastructure, but other than that there is very little that can be said with certainty – at this point it is little more than vague conjecture.
“All of this is dependent on so many other factors – proper transport provision, planning tests and permissions, funding partners, an operator and builder – that we don’t even know if it is possible at this stage. Any discussions that have taken place have done so behind closed doors, so is there anything to stop YTL taking many millions of pounds of public money for infrastructure and then discovering that the arena project isn’t viable after all? It is pie in the sky. No wonder the Mayor decided to release these in the middle of the night before a big Brexit vote.
“It would be great to see a focus on simple bricks-and-mortar delivery and public, transparent decision making from our Mayor rather than these pipedreams assembled in smoke-filled rooms, which have delivered nothing for the people of Bristol but plenty of revenue for consultants and corporations.”
Councillor Eleanor Combley
07584 370427 / 0117 3526155