A NEW business-friendly hub around the Temple Meads area must include an entertainment venue, according to architect George Ferguson.
Ministers yesterday declared 24 "enterprise zones" around the country to be open for business, aimed at creating tens of thousands of new jobs with business-friendly conditions
There will be rate discounts, tax breaks and relaxed planning laws for new businesses.
Bristol Temple Quarter, a 173-acre site surrounding the station, has been designated as an enterprise zone, with full details of the masterplan to be unveiled in the coming weeks.
Bosses say there will be particular focus on attracting creative industries, and with "very high speed" internet connections to tempt companies.
Asked whether the plans should include a major venue or arena, Mr Ferguson said: "I think it's essential it doesn't become a business park, and that it does have a 24-hour economy there, or at least a 16-hour one. It's what makes it a proper place."
Business leaders say the site will be ideally placed to attract new investment, with rail links to surrounding towns and London.
Nigel Hutchings, of the Chamber of Commerce, said: "We see it as a great opportunity to regenerate an area that is, after all, the gateway to the city by rail."
Critics say the zones simply displace existing business rather than stimulate growth in the economy. But Mr Hutchings said new jobs could be created, pointing to the chain of supply companies serving aerospace giants Rolls-Royce and Airbus.