Alternative locations for Bristol Arena: planning issues

A ‘Background Briefing Note: Arena Planning Issues’ has been produced (see link below) to inform Bristol City Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Management Board at their meeting on 8th March 2018. It includes the following points in relation to the option of locating Bristol Arena at an alternative site in Filton.

2. Alternative Locations for an Arena
2.1 Alternative locations for an Arena would have to go through the same process that the Temple Quarter arena went through in order to obtain planning permission. Relevant guidance on the principle of development is provided by the National Planning Policy Framework as follows:
2.2 Under the title of “Ensuring the vitality of town centres”, at paragraph 23, the NPPF states that planning policies should be positive and promote town centres. The NPPF says that local planning authorities (LPAs) should recognise town centres as the heart of their communities and should pursue policies to support their viability and vitality.
2.3 The NPPF also says that LPAs should allocate sites for a variety of town centre uses (including retail, leisure and cultural) to meet these needs and should assess whether town centres should be expanded to ensure that a sufficient supply of suitable sites are available. Appropriate edge of centre sites should be allocated that are well connected to the town centre if sufficient town centre sites are not available.
2.3 Paragraph 24 of the NPPF sets out that LPAs should apply a sequential test to planning applications for main town centre uses that are not in an existing centre. The sequential test requires that town centre uses should be located in town centres first, then edge of centre locations and then only if suitable sites are not available should out of centre sites be considered. The NPPF goes on to say that, when considering edge of centre and out of centre proposals, preference should be given to accessible sites that are well connected to the town centre.
2.4 Paragraph 26 of the NPPF states that out of town proposals should be accompanied by an impact assessment that considers: the impact on existing, committed and planned public and private investment in centres in the catchment area of the proposal; and the impact on town centre vitality and viability including local consumer choice and trade the town centre.
2.5 Paragraph 27 says that, where an application fails to satisfy the sequential test or is likely to have significant adverse impact, it should be refused.
2.6 Alternative proposals would also have to be assessed against Policy BCS7 of the Bristol Local Plan. This states that town centre uses (including leisure, entertainment, arts and culture) will be primarily located within or adjoining identified centres. As set out earlier in this note Policy BCAP9 specifically states that a “major indoor arena and complementary leisure uses will be developed in Bristol Temple Quarter” and this intention is repeated in Policy BCAP35.
2.7 Alternative locations for an Arena would also have to address the same issues that were considered with the Temple Quarter arena, especially transport. A proposal would have to be accompanied by a Transport Assessment that considers the trip generation and impacts of the proposal in the specific locality, and would also have to set out measures to mitigate the impacts.
3. Proposals at Brabazon Hanger, Filton Airfield
3.1 Planning officers are aware of interest in converting this building in order to create an Arena for Bristol. This site lies within the Bristol City Council administrative boundary, close to the boundary with South Gloucestershire, south of the former Filton Airfield. The site is currently designated as a Principal Industrial and Warehousing Area (PIWA) where Policies BCS8 and DM13 seek to retain sites in such uses.
3.2 This out of town location would have to be subjected to the sequential test set out above and would also need to be accompanied by a Transport Assessment that would identify measures required to mitigate the transport impacts.
3.3 Finally, although the building is not statutorily or even locally listed, the building is valued in the community and the benefits of retaining the building in use would be a material planning consideration.

Arena Planning Briefing