Keeping Bristol’s roads in good condition is essential to create a well-connected city, that is easy for people to travel around. That’s why I’m pleased that the council is investing over £9 million to continue our important highways improvement work and help keep the city moving.
We’ve secured over £8 million from the Combined Authority to carry out essential maintenance and deliver transport schemes, and we’ve allocated a further £1 million towards these projects.
This work will help to drive growth and productivity in the city by improving highways connections, ensuring that everyone in Bristol can get to where they need to go. Part of this package includes the Pothole Action Fund, which totals £1.4 million for important road repairs and surfacing works.
I know that potholes are a pain for any for any road user, so I’m happy to share more detail about how we’re taking action before potholes become a problem.
What have we done so far to reduce potholes?
Our teams work hard throughout the year to keep our road surfaces in good condition, making sure that Bristol’s streets and footways are safe for everyone to use. Between 2016/17 and 2021/22 the number of potholes on Bristol’s roads were reduced from 4649 to 1838, this is a 60% decrease. Over the last 12 months, the highways team have repaired over 2,500 potholes on our roads, footpaths, and bridges and we’ve averaged an impressive 691 total defect repairs each month.
This is vital to ensuring our streets are safe and accessible for all road users, to prevent accidents and make sure journeys are pleasant for everyone whether walking, cycling, or driving.
But despite this great progress, I know that keeping our roads healthy is a constant undertaking that’s made harder in the winter months when the weather is worse and challenged further by historic under-investment both locally and nationally.
The funding we have secured for highways works will help us face this challenge head on and ensure the people of Bristol have the safe roads that they need.
Tackling the problem early
We take a preventative approach to maintaining our streets to make sure that we carry out repair works at an early opportunity to avoid the state of the road surface from worsening further. This is recognised as industry best practice and can also reduce the carbon emissions involved in highways maintenance.
We collate reports of potholes and road defects received by members of the public as well as analysis from detailed surveys and inspections carried out by staff. Issues that have the risk of deteriorating if left untouched are prioritised for repair first to prevent further damage.
Over the next year, work will be carried out to repair road or path surfaces that have been damaged by busy traffic and wear. Weak spots will be strengthened to manage structural issues in the road surface ahead of surface dressing where the road is sprayed with a hot, tar-like material called bitumen and will then covered with stone chippings and rolled flat.
Griffiths, our contractors, started a programme of extensive and urgent repairs to address structural issues with Gaol Ferry Bridge towards the end of August last year.
As the first major refurbishment works in the bridge’s 88-year history, it has been a complex process to plan as each stage of the repairs can only be finalised when the structure is fully revealed.
Now Griffiths are in a better position to see the scale of what repairs are needed. Having removed the decking and started the process of stripping off the paint and corrosion, they were on programme. Unfortunately it has become clear that the bridge is in a worse condition than we had thought.
After nearly a century, the steel work is especially degraded around the southern pier (tower). In some places, it has become paper thin. Without extensive repairs it could fail, as the pictures on this blog show. We cannot let that happen, and remain committed to restoring this ageing infrastructure.
As we now expect the second northern pier to be in a similarly poor state, we have had to revisit the programme and may need to extend the works for an extra three months. This will mean the bridge would be temporarily closed for up to a year overall, provided no other structural issues are uncovered. I am sorry this is not better news. I know this will come as a blow to the thousands of people who use this popular foot and cycle bridge and to the nearby businesses, especially the traders at Wapping Wharf.
The restoration project was originally forecasted to cost in the region of £1 million. We feared this might increase if the bridge needed more repairs than originally expected, and we project that it may now cost around £1.5 million, which however is still within the budget that we had set aside for these vital works.
We are doing all we can to drive the project forward at pace, while ensuring safe working at height above the river. We are pleased to have agreed continued weekend working during sociable hours, as it will help keep the works on track.
Although hugely disappointing, it’s important to keep sight of the fact that without these repairs Gaol Ferry Bridge was on course to being structurally unsound and would have had to close permanently. As a lightweight suspension bridge, it was not originally designed to carry quite the number of people who, up until its temporary closure, used it each day to cross between south Bristol and this part of Spike Island. After we have invested in fixing existing structures, I think it is only right that the city considers the need for another nearby foot and cycle bridge across the New Cut. As Bristol continues to grow, to 550,000 residents by the middle of this century, that would help better distribute the load and relieve the pressure on the 60 metre span of Gaol Ferry Bridge.
In the meantime, we will continue to make sure these essential works are completed in the shortest possible time, and people will need to carry on using the diversion routes across Vauxhall Bridge or Bedminster Bridges. We will continue to support Wapping Wharf traders, making sure they are promoted along the diversion routes as well as supporting them through promotional campaigns. We have previously directed the businesses to where they can find out about rates relief while the bridge is temporarily closed, and will carry on issuing fortnightly briefings about the works and answering any questions they might have.
Bristol’s journey to becoming climate neutral and climate resilient by 2030 stepped up a notch three years ago this February, when the ambitious One City Climate Strategy was launched by Bristol’s Environment Board. In this time, we’ve taken huge strides towards achieving this goal.
Our council has invested nearly £100 million into sustainable projects including building Castle Park Energy Centre, that houses England’s largest water source heat pump and supplies zero carbon heating to homes and offices nearby. And Bristol City Leap, a partnership with the private sector, will invest over £1 billion to accelerate our progress in reducing carbon emissions and improving the energy efficiency of council owned homes. This UK-first will create 1,000 new jobs and cut 140,000 tonnes of emissions over the next five years.
We have also reduced our own carbon emissions by making our buildings more efficient and generating renewable energy and are making the switch to electric vehicles, LED streetlighting, and away from gas boilers. All this work is outlined in our recently published Bristol City Council Climate Emergency Action Plan.
Since the council is responsible for just 0.5% of direct emissions in Bristol, to reach the city-wide climate goal, it’s essential that businesses and organisations across our city play their part too, so we also took on the role of coordinating city-wide efforts, with The Bristol One City Climate Ask.
The Climate Ask encourages others to declare their net zero ambitions and offers support to help write their plans.
I’ve especially enjoyed listening to the innovative ways that our brilliant Bristol businesses are stepping up to the challenge and making changes that are unique to their industries including a local pizza shop, Bristol Cathedral, lawyers and accountants, Avon Fire and Rescue, coffee roasters and brewers, lighting engineers, banks and schools and even a funeral home! Here’s what some of them have to say:
Dee Ryding, Founder and Owner of Divine Ceremony:
“Divine Ceremony is the first electric funeral cortege in the South West, we’ve recently invested in a second electric vehicle, and are building a solar panel carport from which to run them. Offering our clients sustainable choices and raising awareness of the environmental impact of a funeral is an intrinsic part of the service we provide and our clients are quickly engaged – it’s a collaborative process. We are all learning how to make better choices for our loved ones and for our planet.”
Rory Ireland, Director of Bristol Twenty Coffee:
“When we started Bristol Twenty Coffee Company, we knew that we wanted quality and responsibility to define us and when we took the leap to roast our own coffee in 2014, that responsibility became paramount. We are passionate about being a fully sustainable company and each year we revisit how we can improve. In 2023 we aim to expand our electric fleet, we are scoping a heat recovery system for the roaster, we continue to strive to be plastic free, and where we can’t reduce, we our offset (through our partnership with Ecologi).”
Anna Perry, Chief Executive of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity:
“One of Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s values is to reduce our impact on the environment, and we set ourselves the target to be carbon neutral by 2030. This is really ambitious for a charity that flies a helicopter, and operates three critical care cars! However, we are enthused by the passion and practical actions taking place in Bristol. Being specific about our net zero plans helps us engage our teams, attract and reassure new recruits and means that our supporters can be sure they are donating to an organisation that takes climate change seriously”.
John Wright, Head of Bristol Office at Stride Treglown:
“To become Net Zero you have to start by measuring your carbon emissions and at Stride Treglown we’ve done this for many years. Our latest report includes Scope 3 emissions – those created by our purchases and suppliers. We are updating our Carbon Reduction Plan to target reduced emissions from business travel and commuting, by incentivising car sharing, public transport and active travel. And in our offices, by reducing electricity used by computers & servers, and our purchases, by seeking carbon neutral partners”.
Jess Jones, Community Programmes Officer at Gloucestershire Cricket Club:
“At Gloucestershire County Cricket club we have committed to achieving net zero and introduced a number of measures towards reducing our emissions. We’ve made important changes to our venue and installed 13 electric vehicle charge points, 125 bike racks, 31 solar panels and make continual investment in electrical ground staff equipment. We have a number of corporate partners who help us achieve our sustainability goals. These are all small steps in the right direction but we understand we have a lot to learn and more to change before we can achieve net zero. We believe even the smallest change can help make a difference and would encourage any organisation to start their journey to net zero.”
It’s inspiring to hear how these diverse Bristol organisations are making changes and leaning on their suppliers to do the same. As of 1 February 2023, 80 Bristol organisations have signed the Climate Ask.
We know many more are taking climate action and working towards net zero, so I would urge you to sign up and let Bristol know you doing your bit. Meet with others in your industry, share best practice, share your plans, tell your story, help the momentum.
Working in partnership is the only way we can get Bristol to net zero. We’re stronger together.
I recently joined parking enforcement officers from the council and police officers and PCSOs from Avon and Somerset Police at a Day of Action in Southmead.
This was the latest in a series of multi-agency days that see us working in partnership to patrol areas where parking issues have been reported to the council or the police.
Irresponsible parking can be obstructive and dangerous, restricting access for emergency services, pedestrians and other motorists by forcing people onto the road among moving traffic. Each week we receive around ten to fifteen reports of problem parking, and our team of dedicated parking enforcement officers patrol the city’s streets and car parks to make sure the rules are being followed.
The Days of Action are a chance for us to tackle areas where persistent parking issues have been reported to us. Our parking services team focuses on civil offences to do with restricted parking, such as parking on double or single yellow lines, in disabled bays and loading and unloading restrictions, while the police deal with illegal parking, such as obstruction offences, including pavement parking where there are no lines or restrictions in place.
In Southmead we had been told the problem was people who were parking illegally on corners and on double yellow lines. On the day we issued 13 penalty charge notices (PCNs) and the police issued warning notices and gave advice to motorists.
Over the past year, we’ve joined forces with partner agencies, including the police and DVLA, for 15 Days of Action. We’ve carried them out and repeated them in several hot spot locations, including Southmead, Stapleton Road in Easton, Broadmead, St Philip’s Industrial Estate, and Lodge Causeway in Fishponds.
They have been in response to parking offences as well as emerging trends, such as fast food delivery drivers waiting in restricted areas, Blue Badge fraud, and cars that are for sale that have been parked illegally. These joint operations have resulted in 174 penalty charge notices being issued for illegal parking and in some instances further action was taken, such as reporting a driver for not having insurance, driving over pavements, or failing to stop when directed by an officer.
These Days of Action are good way to highlight problem parking and help to deter people who think the rules of the road don’t apply to them. Our city’s streets and pavements have competing demands for space and so I’d like to urge everyone to be responsible when parking. Remember, if you don’t follow the rules, you could be fined up to £70.
At the same time our community marshals have been working with the police on joint electric scooter and electric bike awareness raising days.
On 8 December they were stationed in the city centre to address the illegal use of private e-scooters on our roads and unsafe riding. Overall, 20 riders were stopped and given advice. We have another Day of Action coming up later this month which could see illegal vehicles seized.
The UK has 5,000 miles of navigable waterways. They provide important benefits to people, to the environment and to communities. They also make considerable contributions to the UK economy.
In Bristol we benefit from our rivers, that have shaped our city, and our harbour, that our city built. The harbour plays a key role in our city’s economy, our environment, wildlife and biodiversity, business, leisure, mental health, physical health, and education. It is a crucial element of the nature and development of our city and in connecting our communities. Our harbour offers improved health and wellbeing, affordable ways to get afloat including canoeing, boating and paddle boarding. We are proud to be home to several water-based charities including the Sea Scouts, All Aboard and Urban Pursuit.
Bristol City Council is the harbour authority and has the responsibility for ensuring the protection of our waterways. Our role as managers of the harbour includes providing accessibility and engaging all communities. We support the businesses and residents that call the harbour home and welcome tourists from barges to super yachts.
The harbour has become increasingly difficult to manage financially in recent years. Harbour fees have fallen well behind the true costs and have not been reviewed for two decades. The shortfall in funding affects harbour services and our ability to effectively manage increasing numbers of short-term visitors. The use of our docks has changed since the last review of fees and charges was introduced and the commercial income it previously benefited from has reduced to a negligible amount, with the harbour is now used for more leisure purposes than commercial. A benefit of becoming financially self-sufficient is that operations and facilities will be improved, and these improvements will be evident for service users and all visitors to the City Docks Estate.
We have now reviewed fees and benchmarked against other cities and harbour authorities. They are set to rise above RPI for the first time in 20 years and be brought closer to the necessary funding required to run an effective harbour service. Only eight people have permanent moorings in the harbour and so no other boat should be permanently resident. Apart from the eight permanent residential permits, all other boats in the harbour are present on leisure licenses. The leisure licence is offered on an annual basis and permits the owners to berth their vessels in the harbour but do not have any right of tenure and under the terms of this licence cannot stay onboard for more than a 15-day period. Anyone on a leisure permit has to register a residential address, and does not pay council tax for the boat.
Boat users failing to comply with the license system and treating a leisure permit as a residential privilege are abusing the system and damaging the city’s ability to manage the harbour for all, to allow for better usage and to improve the facilities.
The harbour is owned by the city for the city. We must ensure it is managed effectively for all, not for a privileged few. As well as being a requirement under legislation, it’s also a moral one at a time when Bristol City Council faces a cost of operating crisis. We continue to protect frontline services, like libraries, children’s centres, and parks, at a time of severe pressure from high inflation, rising demand for services, and continued national austerity.
Boat permits continue to offer low-cost stays in our city but they do not enable people to use a leisure licence as a permanent residence. Comparing a boat as a residence to a land-based dwelling shows clearly that despite the upcoming fee rise, boat ownership remains a low-cost alternative.
The revised fee structure is comparable with other cities. We cherish our harbour businesses, boat and land users, and visitors, and we want them to prosper. We also want the harbour to be an open, inclusive, and excellent facility at the heart of the city.
Now, I’m writing my fourth blog on Temple Quarter in just over six months, celebrating yet another major milestone for the project. Today, we’ve launched a consultation on the Temple Quarter draft Development Framework. This document gives an outline for proposals for change across the 130 hectares of Temple Quarter and will help to guide change as it happens in the coming years.
There’s no denying that this is a detailed document. After all, it encapsulates the breadth of our vision and ambition for the world-class gateway to our city that Temple Quarter can become.
To make the consultation easier to navigate, we’ve broken down the online hub into sections based on the six “character areas” at Temple Quarter. The scope of influence that public feedback will have varies from area to area, and we want to be open about that. For example, at Temple Meads and the surrounding area, information in the Development Framework is at masterplan level, with a high level of detail on where new entrances are planned, and what other changes will be needed to support these proposals. Our plans for these areas are already well-known, and other constraints like the Grade I heritage status of the station mean we can only do certain things in certain places.
Elsewhere, there is less detail, and we want your feedback and ideas on the direction that future change should take. At St Philip’s Marsh, there is a huge opportunity to make change that meets the future needs of Bristol’s residents and businesses. The area has the potential to enable us to deliver thousands of homes, new employment opportunities, new public spaces and green infrastructure, and even the potential for a major new leisure and sport facility on the site of the current Fruit Market.
We set out the opportunities – and challenges – for development in St Philip’s Marsh, and explore scenarios based on different land uses in the area. Your feedback on these early ideas and principles for change will not only help shape the final Development Framework before it is presented to Cabinet; it will also help to shape a detailed master planning process for St Philip’s Marsh that is due to begin in 2023, alongside further community engagement.
We want as many people to have the chance to respond to the consultation as possible. Alongside the online survey, the team has prepared a full programme of engagement activities, including drop-ins at community venues, pop-ups, walking tours, and online briefings. We’re also working with local schools to ensure young people have the chance to comment on proposals that could affect their future housing and employment options. All the detail can be found on the council’s website. And if you need a translation, Easy Read or paper copy, just let us know at TempleQuarter@bristol.gov.uk.
This consultation is just the end of the beginning. In 2023 we will be refining our plans for specific areas of Temple Quarter, including the Northern Entrance and Southern Gateway, and beginning the masterplan for St Philip’s Marsh. None of this will happen without the input and expertise of the communities and businesses in and around Temple Quarter. We’re committed to working with you throughout this project to create the change that will bring long-term benefits to Bristol. We’ve already planned four business roundtables for 2023, and plan to create a similar forum for community groups in the area soon. Keep an eye on BristolTempleQuarter.com for all the latest news and events.
The consultation on the Temple Quarter draft Development Framework closes on Wednesday 8 March 2023.
Transport in Bristol is a challenge regardless of your mode of travel. Bristol is a historic city with many protected buildings with old, constrained roads, covering a small area for our rapidly growing population. Shorter-term issues, like the shortage of bus drivers at First Bus, are causing huge frustration for us now, but our transport network has even deeper flaws.
Bristol has had no mass transit system for decades and underinvestment in infrastructure for even longer. Compounding those problems was a post-war rebuilding of our city imagined at a time when the motorcar was king.
We continue to face these challenges while modernising our infrastructure, pedestrianising swathes of our city, and growing our economy inclusively and sustainably.
When dealing with transport planning, the single biggest flaw is to approach the challenge through a single prism and a single focus. Our challenge is to enable people’s movement while bringing people with us on a journey to sustainable, efficient, low carbon travel.
Many campaigns struggle: alienating and isolating people, building barriers to growing support for change.
More immediately, our cycling plans are published in our Local Cycling Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP). Our driver for the LCWIP proposals have been the clear disparity of cycling journeys to work between wealthier and more deprived areas of the city. This plan contains routes to enable the growth of cycling amongst more disadvantaged communities.
In addition to the above all developments and infrastructure plans, we want to maximise the inclusion of safe cycling with segregation where possible. We’re also investing in a new £14 million Family Cycling Centre in Lawrence Weston, where cycle training will take place as part of a wider family cycling offer.
Active Travel England have set out standards that we aspire to where they are deliverable. We want to deliver infrastructure which enables growth of cycling amongst more disadvantaged communities.
As part of our work with the West of England Combined Authority we’ve been able to begin the project for a programme of cycle hangars in the city. We will use the funding which will be made available at the January committee to prioritise cycle hangars for council blocks. The project scored blocks against strategic criteria such as their links to strategic cycling network, levels of deprivation, and car ownership. This identified 168 cycle hangar spaces for sixteen sites, and we’ll begin installation next year.
Bristol has a clear transport hierarchy which prioritises pedestrians and then cyclists. Our work to bring e-scooters to Bristol and the huge take up they have seen has also driven alternative travel to cars, taking around 3 million car journeys off our roads and saving hundreds of thousands of kilos of CO2 emissions.
It is important to address issues with Bristol’s transport infrastructure in a way that benefits all residents and the different methods of travel.
Moving traffic offences make our roads unsafe for all road users and pedestrians. People with limited mobility and additional access requirements are especially vulnerable to people who ignore the rules of the road. These offences include driving through a ‘No Entry’ sign, going the wrong way in a one-way street, turning left or right where this is not permitted, and driving where and when motor vehicles are not allowed. In December’s Cabinet meeting we will consider a report that applies to the Secretary of State for Transport for new powers over moving traffic violations to Bristol. More details on the six enforcement sites are available here.
This is an example of a multi-issue, focused approach to improving Bristol’s transport network, that makes travel safer for cyclists, pedestrians, and all road users.
We are introducing a Clean Air Zone (CAZ) to Bristol. While three-quarters of cars won’t be affected, high polluting cars will be charged for driving through a city centre zone. The CAZ will clean up the air that we all breathe, and our £42 million support fund is helping people and businesses to upgrade their vehicles. This is a holistic approach to improving how we can travel across our city. At the same time as reducing congestion and making travel easier, it will improve the health of cyclists, walkers, and residents traveling through Bristol.
Read my article with Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London, in the New Statesman, highlighting the importance of cleaning up the air we breathe.
Our mass transit plans have progressed and are ready to be completed by the next administration and the combined authority. This is the single most transformation approach to transport in our city for a century and will remove more car journeys than any other initiative, paving the way for far greater implementation of segregated cycling and active travel like other modern cities.
With Bristol’s Clean Air Zone starting next week, now is a good time for us all to continue considering how we can change the way we travel, to reduce our impact on the environment and make the city’s air cleaner.
To give commuters a helping hand, we’ve launched Join My Journey. This is a free to use online platform, which matches people up from the same workplace to share walking, cycling and car journeys.
It’s a great way to save money, reduce rush hour congestion and pollution, and connect with co-workers.
We’ve commissioned it, working alongside Travelwest and South Gloucestershire Council. We are now encouraging business leaders across Bristol and South Gloucestershire to sign up their companies and organisations so their staff can easily share journeys to work.
To get started all you need to do is register with the website and create a company hub. Once it’s been verified, you can then invite your colleagues to start using Join My Journey.
Anyone who doesn’t have many people to commute with at their workplace, the site can link up smaller businesses through an area hub. This means you can share journeys to work with people who live nearby or on the same route, who are travelling to the same area.
Not only will it have a positive impact on the environment, but you could save money if you and some of your colleagues take it in turns to drive one another to work by sharing fuel costs and cutting down on the wear and tear of your vehicle.
We also wanted to give people the option to buddy up when walking or cycling to work, which is especially handy as we head into winter as it gets dark so early. It’s a good way to connect with people, keep fit, and enjoy the journey.
To make the most out of the platform, we need as many users as possible to register and create journeys. Our advice is, if you don’t find a match for your journey straightaway, keep checking as the more businesses and individuals that register, the more likely you are to find a match.
We’ve been trialling Join My Journey with the University of the West of England and North Bristol NHS Trust. More than 100 people have signed up so far and the feedback has been positive, especially because all the matching up is done behind the scenes, so all they need to do is encourage their staff to sign up.
To use Join My Journey, simply register, create or join a hub, search for a journey, then join a journey or host one.
Safety features include only being visible to colleagues in the same workplace or agreed businesses nearby.
Bristol is a rapidly growing city. One of the fastest growing areas in England and Wales, our population has grown by 10% in the last decade. We need to work together to make sure that Bristol grows well, with local communities benefiting from the change happening on their doorstep. Regeneration will bring city-wide benefits so that everyone can thrive.
To ensure these changes are as positive as possible, we have a vision to create vibrant communities with sustainable, inclusive economic growth. Quality affordable homes and job opportunities will be in locations where we can have reliable, frequent public transport connections and be within walking and cycling routes.
As I shared at last month’s State of the City Address, we are elected to shape the city and the outcomes we want for it. The changes coming for Bristol cannot be left to the chances of a developer aligning with an out-of-date Local Plan and a quasi-judicial process. So, we work to push the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, affordability targets, mixed tenures, modern methods of construction, and active frontages. We want to make sure the changes happen as coherently as possible. It’s essential we work in partnership with landowners, developers, and local communities, to create development frameworks which will set out the principles that will guide and inform how change will take place in an area.
Bristol’s transformation is already in progress. Our regeneration programme stretches from Bedminster to Temple Meads, St Judes’s to Broadmead, and includes Western Harbour, Hengrove, and Southmead. This can seem overwhelming, especially after decades of under-delivery by the Council, but we have to recognise the changes are a key part of delivering much needed housing, transport infrastructure, and low carbon energy systems. We have to work with existing communities to manage Bristol’s inevitable growth and plan for it.
We need to deliver thousands of new homes by 2036 to match continuing population growth. We also need to invest in transport networks and infrastructure so people can work and learn. We all need to have access to green spaces, and community spaces. What’s more, we need to do this in a way that will help us be a carbon neutral and climate resilient city by 2030 while also improving wildlife and ecology. We have ambitious plans to support these goals.
We’re developing the District Heat Network, connecting energy users across Bristol to a ready supply of affordable, low-carbon heating. The District Heat Network includes the installation of new energy centres at Whitehouse Street, Frome Gateway, and the City Centre. Our Heat Hierarchy will be adopted by every developer when new housing projects are confirmed, energy efficient homes will make residents use of heat more efficient, lowering the cost.
The rivers Frome, Avon, and Malago run through some of the regeneration areas, but in many parts the Frome and Malago are hidden or unloved. Working alongside developers and landowners we have the opportunity to recover and restore these precious habitats. In Bedminster Green, the River Malago will be ‘daylighted’, uncovered from underground tunnels and its natural features restored. Restoring the river brings great benefits; improved flood resilience and biodiversity throughout the river’s course and new green public spaces for people to enjoy.
We’re focusing on keeping the roots and history of Bedminster and making sure the heritage of industrial space works in harmony with the need for housing, jobs, and our response to the climate emergency to create a modern, thriving neighbourhood.
We are creating new communities and revitalising Hengrove, with 1,435 new homes being built at Hengrove Park, 50% of these will be affordable. This means more homes for households who cannot afford to pay market rents or buy homes at market value.
To revitalise the local economy and help businesses on East Street, we are making sure that 5,000 residents in new housing in Bedminster Green and Whitehouse Street have easy access to shops with new walking, cycling and public transport routes. A few minutes more travelling will bring residents to the city centre and beyond.
We’re to create a network of low-carbon transport routes, which will make car-free travel in Bedminster and the surrounding areas easier and excellent public transport links connecting people to Temple Quarter. In June, we secured £95 million to kickstart its first phase of delivery around Temple Meads station.
Our ambition for the Frome Gateway area, located in St Jude’s to the east of the city centre, is for an exemplar neighbourhood. We want it to be recognised for its unique identity, ability to support healthy sustainable communities, and high-quality and sustainable design. Regeneration there, as across Bristol, must include our commitment to retaining a range of employment to help ensure a diverse and growing economy.
We know the community is strong and but also faces some of the highest levels of socio-economic deprivation in the city. Regeneration will need to provide meaningful opportunities to improve quality of life for the local community and access to opportunity. St Jude’s is also more vulnerable than other parts of the city to flood risk and heat wave caused by climate change and responding to this is a key priority. Our Bristol Avon Flood Strategy, in cooperation with the Environment Agency and developers, will deliver flood defences that work for Bristol: better protecting homes and businesses near our city’s rivers.
Change at Frome Gateway is not driven solely by Bristol City Council. We have to work with the network of landowners, existing businesses, community groups and cultural facilities. We’ve also partnered with South Gloucestershire Council, Wessex Water, and the Environment Agency secure funding to deliver the River Frome restoration project.
In a similar way, the Council’s city centre team is working with businesses and other stakeholder groups to revitalise the city centre through the City Centre Development and Delivery Plan’. They told us what was important to them now and in the future looking at the centre’s character, economy, housing, movement, streets, parks, green spaces, and climate change, and our design proposals will focus on this guided by the ‘Citizens Brief’.
By planning and co-ordinating development we’ll able to think strategically about how a city impacted by the pandemic can recover and thrive with a modern, vibrant, commercial centre everyone can access.
Bristol will always be changing and growing in different ways, and we have to adapt and seize the opportunities this will bring us. By having a clear vision of the future we want, with sustainable and inclusive growth at its heart, we can build it together.
Want to know more?
Details about all the regeneration projects can be found on their websites.
All our regeneration work is in service of the Bristol Local Plan, which Cllr Nicola Beech, who has responsibility for Strategic Planning, Resilience and Floods, talked about recently.
We will soon be asking what people think of draft Whitehouse Street framework when the consultation opens on 17th November.
If you would like to help us shape these projects, or receive regular updates on project developments and engagement opportunities, please take a look at the websites and sign up to our mailing lists:
The Floating Harbour in the heart of Bristol is over 250 years old. Functioning as a commercial dock until the mid-1970s, the harbour is now a major tourist attraction with museums, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, whilst also maintaining a working shipyard. It annually plays host to the Harbour Festival, one of the country’s largest free festivals.
Significant investment is needed to keep the harbour running, and our plans for a new pontoon at Capricorn Quay are a step in the right direction. We are creating a large floating ecosystem combined with new moorings.
The increasing the number of moorings by 32 will provide additional income that will assist management of the harbour and its wider environment.
Combined with an integrated floating ecosystem, that connects nearby protected habitats, to improve homes for wildlife as well as overarching biodiversity value and climate resilience for the city. This is in line with the One City Ecological EmergencyStrategy goal for 100% of Bristol’s waterways to have excellent water quality which supports healthy wildlife.
The project will provide a large area of floating habitat that will be both visually attractive and functional. It will transform this section of the harbour into a ‘living water park’, the subsurface forest of roots will provide shelter for fish and ideal feeding grounds, improving fish stocks.
The new reed beds will create approximately around 1,000 square metres of habitat that as an ecosystem will improve water quality, support stronger fish stocks and provide haven for birds. Residents and visitors will experience an enhanced waterfront, with visible greenery and more contact with nature.
The micro-wilderness of submerged roots creates an ideal habitat for millions of microorganisms, which use algae, carbon and excess nutrients in the water as a food source, purifying the water.
The project will enhance the success of five eco-spaces already created in the harbour, including Harbourside Reedbed at Hannover Quay, Millennium Promenade Sustainable Drainage System (SuDS) and Bathurst Basin Reedbed.
The location for this and design is supported by evidence in the Biodiversity in Bristol’s Floating Harbour report (2022), the harbour Environmental DNA (eDNA) survey and Bristol ecological network mapping.
The construction uses materials carefully selected for recycled content and only non-toxic materials are used. Once grown, the system is typically 60% living biomass and 30% marine engineered materials. The proposed pontoon is steel framed, it uses polystyrene marine floats with a hardwood deck-board finish. The location on the water is shown on the image below and held in place with mooring cleats and sunken chains.
The pontoon will be connected to the existing bridgehead (formerly used by ferries), and accessible by a gated footway ramp to match the pontoons. There will be service pedestals and emergency cabinets (lifebuoy, fire extinguisher, etc) on the pontoon, and a floating washroom facility alongside the harbour wall.
Community involvement includes educational visits for local schools and citizen science projects using technology such as underwater cameras.
We are writing to local residents to make them aware of the planning submission and provide more information about the plans.