The vision for Western Harbour

Credit: Matt Whiteley/DesignWest

Bristol’s world-famous harbour has been evolving ever since it was built over 200 years ago, and its western end is no exception. From the creation of the Harbour Railway and the Clifton Rocks Railway to transport goods in the late 19th century, to the building of the city’s 1960s road network, this area of Bristol has seen near-constant change as the Bristol’s needs have changed.

The Western Harbour regeneration project is the next phase in this history of change. Since last summer, we have been working hard to listen to people from across Bristol. We’ve been asking them about what their hopes and aspirations are as we start to plan for change in this area that could bring new homes, jobs, a transport system, and public spaces that will help Bristol continue to thrive in the 21st century. 

We took a creative approach with the engagement, in the hope that people from all walks of life, including those that don’t normally get involved, would share their vision. Hundreds of you took the time to comment online, attend workshops, go on guided walks, and a visit a month-long exhibition. 

Credit: Matt Whiteley/DesignWest

All these conversations have helped to shape a draft vision for the future of Western Harbour. It sets out broad principles that you have told us are important to the city, and it’s clear that there are certain things you want us to prioritise: the future role of the bonded warehouses, accommodating the much-loved Riverside Garden Centre and the Pump Track; the importance of public space, and ensuring that new homes include a high proportion of affordable housing for the city. You also want us to keep the area’s waterside and industrial heritage at the heart of proposals.  

Western Harbour is an opportunity for Bristol to set an example of how forward-thinking, climate resilient regeneration can be done at the heart of a major city. As we plan for the homes and jobs we need, we must also tackle the climate and ecological emergencies. We are committed to a pioneering net-zero development at Western Harbour, that can lead the way for our city’s sustainable future, including a biodiversity net-gain through integrating wildlife friendly habitats into the public realm. Flood resilience will be sensitively integrated into the landscape, better protecting homes and businesses from flooding at Western Harbour and along the River Avon. We’re also committed to delivering the homes Bristol needs, which is why we’re proposing that 50% of all new homes built here are affordable.  

Credit: Alexie Segal

We’ve deliberately taken a long-term, measured approach to this project. What you won’t find in the vision are any detailed plans or designs for Western Harbour, so you won’t see where new homes, jobs or infrastructure might go just yet. We want to make sure that we have a vision that the city is behind before we put pen to paper with more detail. Following your feedback over the next six weeks, we will finalise the vision. After this point, later in 2022, it will then guide a period of detailed master planning that will shape the future of Western Harbour. Of course, we will continue to engage with and listen to the ideas and concerns of people from across the city, so that we can create a welcoming neighbourhood that both celebrates its heritage and is fit for the 21st century. 

You can read more about the draft vision for Western Harbour and share your thoughts in the online consultation until 26 April 2022 at