Our local newspaper, the Bristol Post, reports that the Arena project has been delayed yet again and now the local councils are considering using the Brabazon hangar at Filton instead. Of course, it has been delayed again. It always will be delayed because it’s never going to be built, is it?
Bristol is a great city. All right, we don’t have a top flight football or rugby club, public transport is pitiful, meaning that our city is often in gridlock, but it’s a great place to live for all sorts of reasons, always assuming you can afford to live here in the first place. It doesn’t look like we will have an arena anytime soon. But do we really need one?
The answer to that must surely be yes. Of course we need an arena. Whilst I can live quite happily without the X Factor and Strictly Live, there are countless thousands of people who can’t. We have a variety of small halls which can accommodate entertainment up to Championship level, but we can’t attract the Premiership. I’m happy about that, usually, because the Arena type acts are not usually among my favourites. I would not cross the road to watch the AOR Behemoth acts like, for example, Liam Gallagher, Muse, Queen, Adele and so on. But many people would prefer to see these acts in or around Bristol rather than in London or Birmingham.
In the unlikely event an arena turns up, it will be good news for jobs. Loads will be created and that is A Good Thing. I just wonder where the money will come from?
Bristol is in the midst of a financial crisis. There is not enough money to pay for social care, for example, because of massive cuts in government support. If we cannot afford to pay for care for our elderly auntie who has dementia, can we really prioritise the building of a place where we can go to watch Simon Cowell’s show? Actually, these are tough choices. Can our city afford to stand still?
I am not a big fan of Mayor Marvin Rees. He came into the job on the back of a lot of goodwill replacing the massive ego of George Ferguson. Sadly, the impression he gives is of a man out of his depth, with no long term plan or vision for the future. I could lie and say he is doing a great job but that would be wrong. He must improve or he will be a one-term mayor.
I would like to be proved wrong in my belief that the arena will never happen and if I am proved to be wrong, feel free to have a pop when you’re queueing for your £10 hot dog. I don’t think I will be wrong, though.