Building homes for Bristol

Aerial view of Mead Street, showing the river and train station in the middle, with the city centre to the top of the images and land around Mead Street and Windmill Hill below

Bristol is a growing city, and we are ambitious for its future. The city’s population is expected to grow by 20 per cent in the next 20 years. By 2036, the council, its partners and private developers will need to deliver at least 33,500 new homes and all the employment, community and transport infrastructure that goes along with that. At the same time, we must tackle the challenges of the Climate and Ecological Emergencies.  

Bristol is a city of 42 square miles. This may sound a lot, but the space to build the right homes in the right places, while protecting our green spaces, is limited. Our approach is to build more densely, which sometimes means building taller buildings. Without doing this, then we would have to build-out, threatening our precious nearby greenbelt and ecology. And building in the right places isn’t just about protecting greenspaces. It is also about ensuring new homes are close to jobs, amenities and sustainable travel options. We need to reduce car dependence and create communities near to the places people want to be for work and leisure. Building densely helps to achieve this.  

Bristol City Council has launched a consultation about potential development at Mead Street, which is located between Bedminster and Temple Meads and part of the wider Temple Quarter regeneration area. The consultation will inform a development framework that will guide future change in the area.   

Mead Street, the wider Temple Quarter area, and nearby Whitehouse Street and Bedminster Green, all meet this need and have been identified in Bristol’s Draft Local Plan as areas for mixed-use development with new homes, workspaces and transport routes. They are extremely well-connected, are all very close to Bristol Temple Meads station, the city centre and Bristol Airport. They are also on previously developed ‘brownfield’ land that is not currently used to its full potential. This makes them suitable places to build much-needed homes, reduce carbon-use, promote sustainable travel and protect greenspaces around the city. It is also an opportunity to support the local economy, protecting existing blue collar jobs and creating new jobs and retail opportunities through in the first phase of the Temple Quarter project, and strengthen East Street’s important economic and social role for existing and future communities in South Bristol. 

We’re aware that this consultation, and recent community engagement and consultation on plans for development at Whitehouse Street and at Bedminster Green have given rise to concern locally about the scale and pace of change in South Bristol.  

By keeping a holistic view on how Mead Street, Whitehouse Street and Bedminster Green can complement each other, we are working hard to create a series of well-connected sustainable, low carbon communities that will benefit local people, where it is easier to walk, cycle or catch public transport to jobs, education, training, shops and hospitality. 

As all these changes come forward, we will continue to give residents and businesses a voice so that they meet the needs of the current as well as future communities.  The draft Mead St development framework has been informed by local community and business engagement. At Whitehouse Street, the council has worked together with Action Greater Bedminster from the start. AGB wrote, with community input, a “Community Manifesto” and this has guided the emerging regeneration framework for the area.  

Cities are complicated with competing demands and delivering the homes and economy Bristol needs is not easy. It demands challenging constructive debate – we can’t please all of the people all of the time.  We encourage all residents and businesses to be a part of the ongoing dialogue in these areas, so that we can create successful new homes and communities that work for Bristol now and in the future.