The recent announcement by the Reverend that he was launching a review by bent accountants KPMG of his review of the Arena and standing down the current developers is the final NAIL IN THE COFFIN of an arena at Temple Meads.

However, a new site for the venture seems to have suddenly found favour: the Brabazon Hangar in Filton. A development site owned by Malaysian firm YTL Developments that’s run by Merchant Venturer Colin “TORY BOY” Skellett, Wessex Water boss and former chair of TORY business quango, the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Coincidentally, working with Tory Boy on his new development project at Filton are a couple of familiar faces – former Bristol City Council Strategic Director Place, Barra Mac “NUGGET” Ruairi and former city council property boss Robert “SPUNKFACE” Orrett.

What a remarkably small world it is.

Even more coincidentally, the Reverend stopped off in Malaysia to meet YTL bosses on the way to his pointless China junket before Christmas. So how long before we’re handing over £120million quid plus any overspend and extras of public money to this gang of INSIDERS and CHANCERS at Filton to build our arena on their site and on their terms?

The Filton site is already no stranger to controversy and strange public-private shenanigans. YTL, run by Tory Boy Skellett, purchased the former airport after an extensive marketing exercise on behalf of owners BAE paid out of PUBLIC MONEY and carried out by er, Tory Boy Skellett’s Local Enterprise Partnership.

Another remarkable example of a remarkably small world up there in Filton where conflicts of interest appear to cease to exist.


  1. a.n.other

    I’m glad they are putting it in Filton, or at least not round ‘ere! The traffic chaos and general hassle of having the latest local government boondoggle on my doorstep is something I’d rather forego, thanks.

    A bridge to nowhere and a nice patch of wasteground’s a small price to pay to get that white elephant off our backs. My commiserations to residents of the Filton area though, it does suck to have these vampires turn up and “improve” the place!

    1. paul

      ”a small price to pay to get that white elephant off our backs”

      But it won’t be because we’ll not only be paying for an arena in South Gloucs but we’ll also be funding the profit margin of the operators. The original operators agreement drawn up (now deleted) basically guarantees the operator a Monthly profit margin, anything below that comes directly from the Councils budget.

      If it was built at TM’s at least it would be an asset, built out of town in Filton it will cost the same to build but its tangible ‘balance sheet’ asset will be far, far less. Whats worrying is the current Councils complete lack of commercial experience probably means that haven’t realised that this is the case, thus they won’t be aware of the knock on effect which will be the cost of funding will go up, way up and the operators actual margin will be less (this won’t bother the operator because Bristol City Council taxpayers will be funding the original ‘city centre’ margin anyway).

      At least in the day of the butcher, baker and candlestick maker, the butcher understood a balance sheet, the baker knew what a financial forecast was and the candlestick maker was aware of the difference between an actual margin and one you could wish for.

      Something went past me on social media the other day about some new financial regulations, meaning Councils can’t fund projects outside of their UA’s anymore, I haven’t had time to look into it.

  2. Sarah

    You are pleased that millions of pounds have been spent of public money? On a bridge to nowhere, cattle market road works, land works, constant consultations, even now wasting money paying new developer weekly out of the public purse while they ‘make a decision’. Filton does not need this Arena. South Bristol does, it would help to unite North and South Bristol. Additionally it makes economic sense as people would use local facilities that are plentiful in Central area (there is also lots of parking central area) This would enhance the city, which lets face it, Broadmead is not doing too well last time I looked, so many empty vacant shops, The Mall (near Filton in South Glos) is doing very well. Do you work for the council? Your logic does not make any sense at all. Unless you live in/near Filton.

    1. paul

      Hi Sarah,

      A few beer mat figures for you to have a think about, now please, please bear in mind the last Company BCC set up was Bristol Energy Ltd. The business model they came up with predicted a 35% NET profit, the industry standard is 4% profit and Bristol Energy in 16/17 made a 3% profit. So this is a microcosm of the financial acumen of Bristol City Council (BTW Bristol Energy losses are currently £20m, BCC predicted a loss of no more than £1.5m in the first year then into profit). The dreaded Metrobus was supposed to be in profit by now, remember how BCC were going to pay for that? By charging First Bus to use the lanes, are First Bus paying to use the lanes? No we’re paying them to use the lanes.

      I know I’m one of those old school idiots that use actual data to backup my position. Sometimes I just wish I could just blindly believe what I’m being told.

      Onto the Arena.
      BCC plan to borrow approx £90m @4% over 30yrs on standard repayment terms.
      The total cost over 30yrs is approx £155m
      Divided by 30, divided by 12 gives you a Monthly repayment of £440,000
      Best case scenario an 8% NET profit (for ease lets say 10% NET profit)
      A turnover of £4.4m a Month just to cover the loan (@ 10% NET profit)
      That works out at £150,000 a day, everyday for 30yrs.
      If its a 12,000 seat arena, they need to sell every seat for £12.50, 7 days a week for 30yrs just to break even.

      I appreciate its beermat figures but it gives you an idea of the colossal financial liability BCC are looking to pass onto Council Tax Payers. Coupled with the fact that BCC were willing to guarantee the profit margin of the operator (not included in above figures). And I’ve not even discussed the social weighting aspect, I reckon 30% of Bristolians will never be able to afford a ticket to the arena, ever but they are expected to pay for it and subsidise a private Company’s profit, fair? Oh and one more thing the last arena operator BCC were in discussions with are based offshore and not paying UK taxes, fair?

      How about this, every Council Tax Payers gets a choice as to whether they want to fund the arena. The ones that don’t want to, aren’t allowed to go to the arena at all, effectively banned. Those that do want the arena have to fund it via their Council Tax and can share in all the lovely profits it’s going to make. But they are also on the hook for any potential losses.

  3. paul

    Answer me this Sarah, if the arena makes such economic sense why will no private Company touch it with a barge pole without profit guarantees from taxpayers? If a Company want to build an arena go for it, what isn’t acceptable is us paying for it then us subsidising operators profit on a Monthly basis. Sorry Sarah but subsidising dancing on X factor ice isn’t high on anyones agenda.

    You do know we live in Bristol don’t you, the best and most popular City outside of London. ‘I’m not going to Bristol because I can’t see Disney dancing on ice’, said no one ever. As for the jobs, you are aware of the wide range of skills in Bristol and our rock bottom unemployment? I’m sure the few min wage ice cream sales jobs will be sorely missed.

    Do I work for the Council? yes Sarah I clearly work for the Council, judging by your financial acumen I’m guessing you don’t work at all.


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