Bristol communities minister and west MP Stephen Williams and Bristol deputy mayor Geoff Gollop have broken ground for the construction of Bristol Arena and a new bridge over the River Avon.
The £11.5m project, which was funded by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), will see the construction of a 12,000 capacity arena at the diesel depot site in the Bristol Temple Quarter enterprise zone.
Additionally, a new two-lane bridge over the River Avon will be built to connect Temple Meads station with the city.
The government has also provided a further £6m for urban redevelopment and the creation of new businesses in the Bristol Temple Quarter enterprise zone.
Williams said that Bristol city centre has already been transformed through the government and local enterprise zone's support for the area, with run-down buildings being turned into thriving businesses.
"This transformation has helped create 900 new jobs locally, through success stories such as the engine shed new business development area. I want to keep up this pace of transformation, and the new £6 million of funding announced today will help more neglected areas within the city centre to be bought up, redeveloped and opened-up again for business," Williams said.
"Part of the on-going transformation of the city centre is the planned building of Bristol Arena, giving the city its first world-class entertainment venue, supported by the council, enterprise partnership and government. The work on this new bridge over the Avon will vastly improve access to the arena, and I'm very proud to take the first step towards its construction, albeit a very small one."
HCA area head David Warburton said this work is part of plan to support partners' plans to bring new jobs and economic growth to Bristol.
"Development of this site has been constrained for many years because of the lack of access and infrastructure, which has effectively cut it off from the rest of the city. This work will help to address this and support the council and LEP's vision for an arena on the site, which has the potential to generate a huge number of jobs," Warburton said.
Image: An artist's impression of the Bristol Arena. Photo: courtesy of Bristol TempleQuarter enterprise zone.