Attractions industry news

19 Apr 2021

Plans approved for huge The Arc viewing platform in Bristol

Plans have been approved for a major new visitor attraction in Bristol, UK.

The Arc will see a glass cabin, suspended between two super-strong carbon fibre masts, lift 42 passengers up to the height of 69m where they can enjoy a "magical 20-minute scenic flight".

Passengers will be lifted as the masts pivot on a 3.2-metre diameter base in the city's Millennium Square – adjacent to the We The Curious science centre – offering 360-degree views of Bristol’s historic sites.

An accompanying "pilot on-board" will explain to guests the city’s history and the importance of the heritage sites passengers will see.

Despite concerns over the attraction being "overbearing", Bristol City Council voted unanimously to approve the construction, for which a planning application was submitted by Arc's developers and We The Curious.

Due to open in 2024, the attraction is expected to attract 250,000 paying visitors a year.

Arc is estimated to generate an estimated £8.3m towards Bristol’s tourism market every year, £5m of which will be new revenue, supporting 118 jobs.

Once Arc Bristol is fully established, Arc will seek other global cities to host sister attractions.

The attraction is the brainchild of local architect Nick Stubbs, who wanted people to be able to observe Bristol from above.

"I wanted to find a way for people to view any beautiful location from above, without constructing something permanent like a tower or wheel that would always impact the skyline," Stubbs said.

"My solution is an elegant capsule which can be positioned at the exact coordinates to give visitors the best view of a city – without spoiling that city."

Academics from universities in Bath and Southampton are collaborating with marine structure experts at Argo Engineering Solutions to assess and design Arc’s complex mechanisms.

Arc will be fully solar powered, with panels on the roof of its departures lounge. Energy will be stored in yacht batteries, which will also recharge as the electric motors slow down – just like electric cars.

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