Bristol concert venue revamp costs soar again to £132m

The cost of a concert venue revamp has risen by another £25m, almost three times the original estimate.

The refurbishment of the Bristol Beacon was initially expected to cost £48m but that figure is now likely to reach £132m.

The council’s cabinet is set to approve the increased bill from additional borrowing to be paid back over the next 50 years.

It follows a doubling of costs for the project less than two years ago.


A report to the council states that the building sits on a constrained site and has suffered from a lack of maintenance and modernisation with no major refurbishment for 60 years.

The council-owned building, formerly known as the Colston Hall, is already valued at zero in the authority’s accounts.

Bristol City Council has also written off £69m on the project – a figure expected to rise to £93m – because of payments due to contractor Willmott Dixon.

But papers for next week’s cabinet meeting reveal that the alternatives to continuing the refurbishment would be even more expensive and cause the reopening to be delayed by years “due to unprecedented volatility and uncertainty in the construction sector”.

Image source, LDRS

Of the three options considered ploughing on with the scheme – with the aim of welcoming audiences again this autumn – will cost £131.9m.

Pausing the revamp and restarting in 12 months would increase that to £165m, while stopping the work altogether and making the building safe would need more than £200m.

So officers are recommending that cabinet takes the “least risk, least cost option” and completes the project.

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