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Buckingham insists Bristol Arena won’t go over-budget

Buckingham Group has said it will build Bristol’s city arena at the target cost of £122m, after an independent report claimed the project could cost Bristol City Council at least £156m. 

KPMG’s report attributed the rise to other related costs – including project management costs and risk contingencies – that amount to £34.2m.

Construction of the 12,000-seat arena, which will be based next to Temple Meads railway station, is yet to begin.

The project was paused in November 2017 when Bristol city mayor Marvin Reed commissioned KMPG to conduct the review.

Speaking at a Bristol City Council scrutiny meeting, Buckingham Group deputy managing director Oran McCloskey said: “The target cost will not be exceeded, as we [would] lose money.”

KPMG’s estimated £156m cost does not take into account land contribution and car parking, which will cost the council a further £16.2m, bringing the whole project to an estimated £188.6m.

Despite this, Mr McCloskey was reported by the BBC to have said: “All I can say is the target cost is achievable and we will come under it.”

Mr McCloskey added that the contractor is ready to start work immediately.  

KPMG’s report also suggested it would be cheaper to build the arena at Filton Airfield instead of the city centre site, where offices and residential buildings would generate better value.

A final decision on the location of the site is expected at the council’s next cabinet meeting on 3 July.

Filton Airfield is owned by Malaysian developer YTL Developments, which has said it can fund and build an expanded 16,000-seat arena at the airfield, but would need new transport links to be funded by the council.

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