Lib Dems say Cross-party approval needed in Arena decision

Bristol Liberal Democrats have called for consensus and co-operation amongst councillors in the upcoming debate over the location of the Bristol Arena.

The Liberal Democrats, along with the Green Party, Conservatives and members of the Labour Group, have pushed for an extraordinary council debate aiming to deal with the confusion and controversy surrounding the latest developments in the Arena saga.

Cllr Anthony Negus, Leader of the Bristol Lib Dems Group, said:

"When we first proposed this way of having a meaningful open debate before a unilateral decision had been taken we stressed two intentions. Firstly, that this initiative should come from all parties and secondly that we needed to have published the latest papers and recommendation so that we were informed as we have never been before. The Lib Dems want to hear all shades of opinion about all aspects of this decision from councillors and the public which would otherwise have been denied.

“This decision will affect the development and belief in this city and the wellbeing of all its citizens for a generation or more and so this extraordinary meeting is justified as the mayor would not delay by one week the announcement of his Cabinet decision so that it could have been debated at the regular Full Council.”

Andrew Brown, Windmill Hill campaigner and Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Bristol South, added:

"If we concentrate solely on arguing about value for money, we are in danger of overlooking the social and cultural value that a city centre arena will provide, and the potential for Arena Island to be a vibrant, lively civic space and a public asset. Cancelling the current plans not only puts that at risk but condemns the site to further neglect pending any other plans being fully developed, being approved by the planning process, and being built.

"It is vitally important that Councillors from all sides get the chance to debate this."

The Liberal Democrat group have made clear their position to build the arena at the Temple Meads site, believing that the social and cultural benefits will have a huge impact on the city.

The extraordinary council debate will take place on September 3rd, with the Mayor also taking comments from the public forum.

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