Populous already has planning for city centre arena

Zaha Hadid Architects' proposal for Bristol's Temple Island

Zaha Hadid Architects’ proposal for Bristol’s Temple Island

Zaha Hadid Architects has revealed its proposals for a site in the centre of Bristol that already has planning consent for a £123m arena designed by Populous.

The architect was hired by Legal & General which has been eyeing the five-acre site next to Temple Meads station, now known as Temple Island.

The council-owned site, previously Arena Island, was reserved for a major music and conference centre by former RIBA president George Ferguson when he was mayor of Bristol. He argued the city lacked a venue of sufficient size to attract international acts.

But his replacement, Marvin Rees, is not a fan of the project which has been dogged by problems.

Bristol Arena proposal by Populous

Bristol Arena proposal by Populous

Legal & General, which issued a press release drawing attention to the £240m it had invested in the adjacent Temple Meads Quarter area, says it would fund its £300m mixed-use proposals if the council were to approve its rival scheme.

The ZHA designs include a conference and exhibition centre, a 345-room hotel, 550 new homes (including 220 that are “affordable”) and two office buildings.

“The scheme would help build a resilient city centre offer for Bristol in the face of current structural changes in retailing, culture and leisure, which demands a different offer from towns and city centres,” said an L&G spokesman.

Jim Heverin, a director at Zaha Hadid Architects, said: “Our design for Temple Island is derived from the existing architectural fabric of Bristol, aimed at regenerating the area around Temple Meads station.

“With a particular emphasis on providing new, green public spaces, this proposal integrates a range of work, live and civic uses which will create a new vibrant quarter for the city.”

The council is set to decide the future of the site on September 4.