Grant Associates designs landscape strategy for UK’s third largest arena complex

338633 hangars bridge view netball sml 5e55d3 large 1574416448

YTL has submitted a planning application to Bristol City Council and South Gloucestershire Council to repurpose the Brabazon aircraft hangars at the former Filton Airfield, delivering a new entertainment complex for Bristol and the South West.


Landscape architect Grant Associates has worked in partnership with lead architect Grimshaw, Manica Architecture and OPS Structures to create the design concept for the project which would create the third largest arena complex in the UK after Manchester Arena and the O2.


YTL’s vision is for the Arena Complex to be capable of hosting up to 17,080 people, putting Bristol on the world map for large-scale events, while also celebrating the site’s place in aviation history.


The design uses the 28,000m2 floorspace of all three hangars to create a unique amenity for the south west: an arena, exhibition and leisure space all under one roof. The arena will be in the Central Hangar, while the East Hangar will house a new Festival Hall. This is a flat floor event space for conventions, exhibitions and would work in tandem with the arena to attract large scale events. The West Hangar, called The Hub, will be a place to eat, work and play, with leisure facilities, food and drink and office space for small or start-up businesses.

Sustainability is a key focus. YTL’s proposals include zero waste to landfill, harvesting rainwater and installing solar panels on the vast roof area. By repurposing the existing hangars, the proposals will save more than 18,600 tonnes of carbon emissions alone.

YTL Arena Complex forms part of a wider transformation of the local area. The hangars sit on the edge of the former Filton Airfield, which is now being transformed into Brabazon, a thriving new neighbourhood for Bristol. The 380-acre site will become a new urban community, with more than 2,600 homes, creative workplaces and a vibrant town centre set amongst public squares and parkland. 


Grant Associates has been involved with the creation of Brabazon since 2015. The practice worked closely with architect Allies and Morrison on the Brabazon masterplan and developed the overall landscape strategy for the scheme, one of the largest brownfield sites in the UK. The development of a landscape strategy for YTL Arena Complex will be sympathetic to the local surroundings and the approved schemes that are already under construction at Brabazon.


Planning approval to deliver the first 278 new homes at Brabazon was awarded in March 2019. Designed by architects Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios working in partnership with Grant Associates, construction on the site is currently underway.


At the same time, over £100 million is being invested to improve local infrastructure: a new railway station will connect Brabazon and the YTL Arena Complex to Bristol Temple Meads in less than 15 minutes and a dedicated metrobus will run straight to the city centre.


If the proposals for YTL Arena Complex are given the go ahead, YTL plans to open the doors to the public in early 2023. YTL estimates the new Complex will create more than 500 new jobs and inject £1.5billion into the local economy over 25 years, as well as raise the profile of the city and wider region.

“It’s very exciting to see this ambitious and bold scheme to create a world-class arena complex for Bristol progress to planning. Working with Grimshaw and Manica to shape these proposals, our aim is to balance the requirements of a large event space with the need to provide more intimate, human-scaled spaces. We want to create a venue that welcomes people - and nature – into its very heart, inspiring a strong sense of place.”  

Keith French, Director at Grant Associates

"We’re building much more than just an arena - it’s a 365-day entertainment destination inside the iconic Brabazon Hangars that will create new jobs, bring new business to the region and enhance Bristol’s position as a leading European city.” 

Andrew Billingham, Managing Director of YTL Arena Complex

“YTL Developments is already beginning to transform the former Filton Airfield into a thriving new neighbourhood for Bristol, known as Brabazon. The YTL Arena Complex will be connected to and complement this new urban community, creating a place where every generation can live, work and play.”

Seb Loyn, Director of Planning & Development at YTL Developments
Download PDF
Download PDF
About Grant Associates

Grant Associates is a pioneering international landscape architecture practice. Our work reconnects people with nature in insightful, delightful and distinctive ways whilst addressing the global challenges of urbanisation, the climate crisis and biodiversity extinction.

Our design process is underpinned by a knowledge of human behaviour, nature and ecological science combined with innovative design technology. We bring original thinking, creative collaboration and are exploring what regenerative design and the circular economy means to landscape architecture.

Our varied portfolio includes ambitious large-scale, landmark projects through to small, local ventures.