Tag Archives: Regeneration

Building a better Bristol

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 The changes coming for Bristol cannot be left to the chances of a developer aligning with an out-of-date Local Plan and a quasi-judicial process.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.  

A map of Bristol with highlighted areas showing regeneration projects across the city. Western Harbour is highlighted pink, Bedminster Green is highlighted green, Southmead is blue, City Centre is purple, Whitehouse Street is deep blue, Frome Gateway is orange and Temple Quarter is red.

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: 

Bedminster Green

Whitehouse Street

Frome Gateway

City Centre

Temple Quarter

Western Harbour

Southmead 

Temple Quarter regeneration project picks up steam

We are seeing really exciting progress on one of Bristol’s most important regeneration areas, with plans to bring the historic train station at its heart into the 21st century.

When I last wrote about the Temple Quarter regeneration project back in June, I said the £95m of government funding the project had received would “kickstart” it after nearly a decade of preparation and planning. Now work is been happening at pace to deliver the first phase of the project, including new entrances at Temple Meads station, infrastructure and public realm improvements around the station.

The new Eastern Entrance will open into the University of Bristol’s Enterprise Campus, making the station more accessible, and will include welcoming public spaces for everyone to make use of and enjoy.

Combined with improvements to Station Approach and the surrounding areas, the project will create a world-class gateway to the West of England, set against the backdrop of Brunel’s historic Grade 1 listed station.

The concept image is of the new North Entrance, with people walking in and out of the station. With trees and buildings in the background.
How the North Entrance might look

My cabinet meeting this week will formally enter a collaboration agreement with the three Temple Quarter partners – Homes England, Network Rail and the West of England Combined Authority. While we’ve already been working together for some time, this agreement will formalise the relationship for the next phase as each partner takes on responsibility for different elements of delivery, working collectively towards the transformation of 130 hectares of central Bristol. New agreements will be put in place, enabling the council and Network Rail to receive and spend the funding given to the project by government, working through WECA, in June.

While this funding is for regenerating the areas in and around the station, we are also planning for the longer-term changes. Part of the agreement, and another benefit of the collaborative partnership approach, is that any income from land sales will be reinvested by the partners into later stages of the project in St Philip’s Marsh.

Because of our population growth, we know that many parts of Bristol will see a lot of change over the years to come. St Philip’s marsh will see even more than most, so it is important that we manage this dramatic change to get the best outcomes for existing residents and businesses.

A concept drawing of Temple Meads Midlands Shed View. the image shows the future Midlands Shed View with people walking through the station waiting areas.
Temple Meads Midlands Shed View

Works are soon to begin on Temple Island too. To enable new development here, brought forward by L&G and including homes, commercial space, and a much-needed conference centre for central Bristol, the council and its partners are preparing the site for development. You might have already seen workers dangling off the historic river wall to check its condition this summer. You can expect more activity on Temple Island in the coming weeks and months as the exciting plans begin to take shape.

Temple Quarter is one of the UK’s largest regeneration schemes, there is a lot to take in. Some changes will feel incremental, while others will be transformational in their scale and scope. As I wrote in my June blog, the size of our ambition at Temple Quarter highlights the importance of working in partnership with other public sector organisations, as well as continuing to work with the community to manage this transformational period of change to the benefit of as many people as possible.

We’ve been meeting community groups, business representatives and individuals to tell them more about the project and hear their early views on what we’re proposing. Temple Quarter is going to be a long process, with many smaller milestones along the way. We’ll be out there throughout, meeting with you, hearing your ideas, hopes and concerns, and bringing you all the latest news. We know the easiest way to understand something is to see it first-hand. We’re soon to start regular walking tours of the Temple Quarter sites. These will be open to all and will help to give a better idea of what change is proposed and where.

Sound interesting? You can sign up to hear more on the Temple Quarter website.

Mead Street development brief endorsed by Cabinet

It’s an exciting time for the Temple Quarter regeneration project. In June, the project received nearly £95 million to kickstart the first phase of delivery in the areas around Temple Meads station. As I wrote at the time, the proposed transformation of the area represents a new phase for Brunel’s historic station and its surrounds and is the culmination of years of hard work from the council and our partners Homes England, Network Rail and the West of England Combined Authority.

Since then, we’ve continued to engage with the community, businesses and stakeholders. We’ve also hosted visits from Bristol’s MPs, as well as civil servants from the Department for Levelling Up and the Treasury, reflecting the importance of the project in delivering new homes and jobs for the city region in the eyes of government.

From 20 May to 4 July, we ran a consultation on a development brief for Mead Street that set out guiding principles for change in the area. Mead Street is one of the six distinct areas that make up the Temple Quarter and St Philip’s Marsh regeneration area, located just south of the Bath Bridges roundabout between St Luke’s Road and the Bath Road. This week, I’m pleased to say that my Cabinet colleagues endorsed the document, and it will now help to guide the process of considering planning applications in the area.

We produced the Mead Street development brief ahead of a wider development framework for the whole of Temple Quarter because most of the land at Mead Street is owned by private landowners who have brought forward proposals for new development. By creating an overarching document that sets out principles for change, our aim is to ensure that change in Mead St happens coherently, creating a vibrant new community with good, joined-up infrastructure and public spaces, rather than as a series of disconnected development sites.

Concept Masterplan of the Mead Street development. On the right of centre of the image is a map of the Temple Quarter regeneration area with keys and shading to display the 6 distinct areas that make up Temple Quarter and St Philips Marsh. On the left of the image text read, The opportunities and concepts were brought together with special requirements to create a concept masterplan which summarises the key strategies including, routes, development plots, heights, land uses and public real. Underneath is a key explaining the plans for the area, number one indicative location of central public open green space, two indicative location of children's play space, three proposed Southern Gateway, four Safeguarding public transport routes, five proposed pedestrian and cycle route connecting to Whitehouse street Regeneration area, 6 new pedestrian connection, seven Ecological corridor along railway, 8 fowlers of Bristol (to be retained) included in case of future redevelopment), nine potential community space (Indicative location only).
Concept masterplan of Temple Quarter and St Philip’s Marsh regeneration area

Overall, the principles in the brief were welcomed by respondents to the consultation, with over 50% of people either strongly agreeing or agreeing to the four principles set out. Drilling down into the data, some of the highest levels of support were for the creation of new community space (84%), safe and inclusive streets (86%), integrating green space (89%) and creating a new public open space at the heart of the neighbourhood (87%).  It’s great to see positive reaction to these proposals, which reflect our commitment to safeguarding space for sustainable travel and public spaces as we plan for the homes we need to tackle Bristol’s housing crisis.

We also know how important employment space is at Mead Street, and the area is currently home to a mix of successful businesses. The survey results show us that Bristolians agree – 70% of respondents strongly agreed/agreed that existing tenants should be retained and re-provided for where possible and compatible with the regeneration of the area. 80% strongly agreed/agreed with the aim to mix homes and jobs to create a genuinely mixed neighbourhood. Finding this balance is important, and we’re committed to working with partners to ensure employment space of the kind already in the area is protected, as our work with the C40 Cities initiative nearby at Whitehouse Street demonstrates.

We did receive comments about the potential height and density of any new buildings in the area. The height of any new buildings will be determined through the planning process by whichever independent, cross-party development committee the decision falls to. However, geographically, Bristol isn’t getting any bigger, but its population is growing at speed. We have to deliver new homes, but we also need to protect greenspaces around the city and meet our commitments to the climate and ecological emergencies. That means building new homes in the right places more densely than we have done before.

Mead Street is an ideal location for new homes, potentially as many as 1500. It is previously developed land, close to the city region’s major train station and within walking or cycling distance of the city centre and local amenities. To create that number of homes, alongside the improvements to infrastructure and public spaces the consultation respondents want, means that, yes, new buildings at Mead Street are likely to be taller and denser than what is currently there.

Bristol Temple Quatre tweet about Cabinet’s endorsement

I have reflected previously on the competing demands we face as a city if we are to deliver the new homes we need. As I said then, cities are complicated and demand constructive debate. We will continue to engage with local people as plans for Mead Street, and the wider Temple Quarter area, progress as we work to deliver the new homes, jobs and public spaces that our city deserves.

You can read more about the Temple Quarter project and find the Mead Street development brief at BristolTempleQuarter.com.