13 December 2019

In November, YTL submitted a planning application to transform the historic Brabazon hangars at the former Filton Airfield into a supersonic arena complex for the South West.

We spoke to Andrew Billingham, Managing Director of the project, about how he hopes this supersonic new venue will open up new horizons for people and businesses across the South West. 

Andrew it’s great to catch up with you. We know how busy you’ve been in recent months spreading the word about YTL Arena Bristol. Can you tell us about the opportunities this will create for the local community?

YTL Arena Bristol is much more than an arena, it’s a 365-day entertainment destination that will host hundreds of annual events. The complex will generate 500 permanent jobs, with a living wage policy. It’s all about creating quality jobs which offer clear progression and career development opportunities for local people.

Exterior rendering of YTL Arena Bristol at Brabazon

Will these jobs be available for a variety of ages?

Yes absolutely. We are working with local colleges and education providers to create a minimum of 15 annual apprenticeships in roles from construction to operations. Our aim is to open doors into the music and hospitality industries for people across the region. 

What impact will the arena have on local businesses?

Our target is for more than 70% of goods and services to be sourced locally. We will be working with businesses throughout the South West to supply everything from food and drink, to services such as photography and lighting. We want to support local business, create additional jobs and bring inward investment into the area. 

How exciting, we’ve already been thinking about who we’d love to see on the stage. How many visitors do you anticipate the arena to attract?

Over the past 12 months nearly 2,000 people have visited the Brabazon Hangars and that’s just to hear me talk about YTL’s plans. When open we expect the Arena to attract over 1.4 million annual visitors so spending in the city will also increase. Visitors who come for a show, will typically stay to explore the other attractions that the South West has to offer. The increase in tourism is forecasted to generate an additional £1.5billion spending on the local economy over the next 25 years. 

And if you’re in town for a weekend I suppose the hotels and restaurants will benefit too?

Yes, who doesn’t enjoy a drink before and after a show? Events held at YTL Arena Bristol are expected to increase overnight stays by £33million annually, along with a further £27million in spending in local bars and restaurants. 

And what about the wider community? Will the rest of the South West benefit too?

Evidence from around the UK shows that Arenas provide a great economic boost to the surrounding area. The Scottish Event Campus (SEC) contributing £450million to Glasgow’s economy in 2018. Since opening in 2008, the Liverpool M&S Bank Arena has generated £1.8billion in economic benefit for the local economy. 

Thanks for your time Andrew, hopefully we will see you at a concert soon…

The planning application to Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council has now been submitted. If the proposals are given the go ahead, YTL plans to open the doors to the public in early 2023.

To find out more, head over to the website: