Have your say: the future of Bristol city centre

A graphic shows a cartoon of Bristol’s city centre, including Castle Park and the Floating Harbour, and its skyline. Text above the image says: “City Centre Development and Delivery Plan”. Below the image, alongside the Bristol City Council logo, text says: “Your Bristol – have a say on the future of Bristol city centre”.

We have an exciting vision for our city centre. As we consider the future of regeneration for Bristol, we want to ensure a liveable, vibrant, safe and inclusive city centre is created. A city centre that people of all ages will want to live and work in. A place that people can call home.

The city centre, focused on the area around Broadmead and Castle Park, faces multiple challenges. As we’ve seen with so many city centres in the post-pandemic landscape, it needs to change and evolve so it can continue to be the heart of our city.

While we face ongoing challenges of economic and social pressures, in addition to the climate and ecological emergencies, we need to be responding and adapting to meet and address these challenges, while grasping opportunities as they develop.

The City Centre Development and Delivery Plan, the Plan for short, will help us adapt to the current challenges while shaping how development is carried out in the area.

Following a phase of stakeholder and community engagement and working closely with partners, a Plan has now been drafted and we need input from residents, businesses, landowners and our communities on the future approach for regeneration. It considers what needs to happen to ensure Bristol’s city centre is an inclusive, sustainable and reconnected place.

A map shows Bristol City Centre, with an area highlighted with outer borders including Bristol Bus and Coach Station, Cabot Circus, the Centre, and Castle Park.

The Plan, which builds on the City Centre Framework adopted in July 2020, presents a set of principles that will need to inform and coordinate development and regeneration proposals across the area to ensure the city is fit for the future.

The redevelopment of our city must be one that provides decent jobs, diverse retail, vibrant culture facilities and contributes to tackling the challenge of Bristol’s housing crisis. The Plan sets out six strategies to do this, with a focus on:

  • making the area a destination for everyone
  • putting community and culture at the heart of the place
  • creating a balanced approach to how we get to and move round the area
  • improving and increasing streets and open spaces
  • increasing tree and vegetation planting
  • increasing the mix of uses to enhance the area as the retail heart of the city, whilst also providing new homes.

The Plan focuses specifically on two parts of the city, Broadmead and Castle Park, which have been identified as having the greatest need for change. It sets out key changes that will support the revitalisation of the Broadmead area and how it can best evolve and improve so that it is an attractive setting for city centre businesses as well as new homes and community infrastructure.

A graphic shows Castle Park in Bristol from above, with trees and grass shown in the middle, around public space and paths, with the Floating Harbour on the right.

We also set out plans for an enhanced Castle Park as the main green space in the city centre to make it a safer, more accessible, inclusive space for all. This is a new and exciting chapter for this historic part of the city as we take the opportunity to secure investment to make it a welcoming, safe and green space for people and nature.

One focus for us in the Plan is for improvements to consider how Bristol’s diverse culture and unique identity can be better reflected in the city centre. It explains the steps we will take to help support, diversify and grow the local economy inclusively. To achieve the vision for the city centre, the Plan identifies some ambitious changes to work towards. For example:  

  • Creating pedestrian priority landscape streets that support urban nature
  • Enhancing existing public open spaces and create a connected network of new public open spaces
  • Creating new routes, spaces and connections through existing urban blocks to help restore the historic street patterns
  • Creating a healthy place for living which helps to meet the city’s housing needs and delivers new community facilities

Once the consultation has closed and feedback has been analysed, the Plan will be reviewed and submitted to Cabinet. If endorsed, it will become a material consideration, setting out principles that the council, working together with landowners, developers, businesses and the community will need to take account of in future development and infrastructure projects in the area.

A graphic shows a cartoon of Bristol’s city centre, including Castle Park and the Floating Harbour, and its skyline. Above, text reads: Our vision for the Broadmead area is the creation of an inclusive, sustainable, and re-connected place for everybody. A place of diverse retail with vibrant cultural facilities and a thriving evening economy, whilst at the same time somewhere to call home.

As we look to the future of the city centre, the Plan is an important step to creating an area that people are proud and happy to live and work in. It will provide much-needed strategies from which regeneration and redevelopment can be better coordinated in order to drive positive change for our city centre. A change that will maintain the area as the heart of Bristol.  

To read more about the Plan and to take part in the consultation visit the Ask Bristol website. The consultation will run until midnight on Sunday 1 October.  

If you would like to learn more about the Plan, we have a stand at Sparks in Broadmead from Thursday 27 July to Friday 29 September. Dates and times of when our team will be on hand for you to talk to are available on the Ask Bristol website, including at a walkabout in Castle Park on 6 September and a BSL-interpreted session on 12 September.