The Mayor’s decision to drop the proposal for an Arena at Temple Meads has been blocked by senior councillors who have used their power to ‘call-in’ the decision.
The Mayor had decided to end Bristol’s ambition for an Arena in the city at Temple Meads and instead decided to enter into a commercial relationship with L&G to develop a hotel and housing on the site with a possibility of a conference centre. The decision came after 50 councillors (including the Mayor) had voted the day before that the best site for the Arena was at Temple Meads.
Councillors have the power to call-in a decision of the Mayor which is then sent to a Scrutiny committee for debate. The committee can decide to reject the call in, send it back to the Mayor to decide with advice or send to Full Council for debate and then back to the Mayor.
Cllr Mark Weston, Leader of the Conservative Group said:
“Whilst it is appreciated that this move is likely to cause the Mayor a certain amount of annoyance, it would be remiss of us not to exhaust every avenue available to try to save this project.
“We still believe that the best use for Arena Island is for the much promised Bristol Arena.
“The Mayor himself argued that Arena Island was the best site for an Arena, before he then decided to approve a different scheme on the site.
“In addition, it is now clear that there have been some very obvious flaws in the decision-making process itself, evidenced by the fact that this call-in, submitted in concert with the Lib Dems, has been accepted as valid and grounds for review.
“The Mayor will now have one last chance to revisit and reconsider his actions on this issue, the ramifications of which will impact upon Bristol residents for decades to come.”
Cllr Tim Kent, Liberal Democrat Finance Spokesperson said:
“We have taken this step to give the Mayor a chance to reconsider the decision he has made and be informed by other options which we feel have not been properly explored. We especially feel the Mayor should meet with Mr Goldsmith to fully explore his offer to deliver the project with a private partner.
“This is not just about an Arena, it is about a major leisure venue that would produce nearly £1/2 billion of income for the city centre area and its businesses over the next 25 years. Hundreds of jobs and businesses could depend on the delivery of a unique venue that the city has waited so long for. Failure could deliver a major blow to the heart of our shopping centre and the aspirations of our residents and city.”
The call-in by the councillors raises 18 separates grounds where they feel the decision has not complied with the principles as laid out in Article 14 of the councils constitution.