Bristol Temple Quarter is the UK’s largest regeneration project. 130 hectares (320 acres) will be developed for a series of mixed-use communities, including office and commercial spaces, civic squares, a conference centre and student housing. In early January 2023 a development framework was released for consultation by the Bristol Temple Quarter partnership.
The partnership comprises of Bristol City Council, the West of England Combined Authority, Homes England and Network Rail. The framework sets out guiding principles, as plots are owned by multiple developers, each at a different stage in the planning process.
The proposals will be made possible by almost £100 million of “levelling up” funding from central government. According Bristol Temple Quarter bosses the area will provide 10,000 new homes, thousands of new jobs and bring £1.6bn annual income to the city’s economy. Work might start next year and will be phased over at least 20 years.
The development area stretches from Temple Gate through Temple Meads and The Dings to St Philip’s Causeway. The quarter is split into 6 character areas, each of which will be transformed to create “thriving new neighbourhoods”.
I joined a walking tour around Temple Quarter, arranged by the partnership, on Monday 23rd January. This was helpful in understanding how the new neighbourhoods will link to Temple Meads in the heart of the area.
Bristol Temple Meads
Temple Meads will become a station “fit for the 21st century”, aiming to accommodate a forecast doubling of passengers in the next 25 years. The details of the redevelopment remain largely the same as when FoSBR reviewed the Temple Meads masterplan in November 2019.
Platform 1 will be extended and a new platform 0 introduced. Platforms 13 and 15 will be widened, and a new footbridge over the platforms could be built.
The roof repair and electrical re-fit projects are ongoing, and there will be new retail spaces and easier pedestrian access to the station.
Bristol Signal Box, next to Platform 1, is largely defunct and can soon be demolished to expand the area available for development.
Bristol Temple Meads will see two new station entrances to the east and south, and changes to the northern and western entrances.
- A new Eastern Entrance will connect the station to the University of Bristol’s Enterprise Campus and provide easier access to Temple Island and St Philips Marsh.
- A new Southern Entrance will connect the station to a transport hub on Bath Road. A walkway will run along the siding over the railway bridge across Cattle Market Road and the Avon leading to a car park on the old KwikFit site for both public and station workers, also incorporating cycle storage and a drop-off facility.
- Northern Entrance – This station entrance is already used by more than 60% of visitors to Temple Meads so needs to be upgraded. The Goods Yard and Midland Shed will become a concourse with restaurants, bars and retail, such as a small supermarket, outside the ticket gates. Outdoor seating could be included. Access from The Friary will have to incorporate the change in levels, likely with steps/ramps across a terraced garden.
- Western Entrance – The existing Station Approach will become bus free but will be used by taxis and for disabled parking. The area of Station Approach closest to the station will form a new pedestrian square. General public car drop-offs will be either at the Bath Road Southern Gateway, or on Temple Back East (north of Friary).
The car parking from Friary (and Midland Shed) will be re-located to the Southern Gateway, freeing up land for mixed-use office and residential buildings. The bike racks will also be re-located, the Friary bike storage location only having been a meanwhile use.
A pedestrianised Station Square will link with the new Northern Entrance via steps/ramps.
The end of the Friary nearest to Temple Way will form another transport hub with a collection of bus stops.
Plot 3 opposite Philpotts is not formally part of the regeneration zone but will be developed as hotel, apart-hotel and residential buildings, with a public square in the middle.
A riverside walkway and cycleway will run along the south side of the Floating Harbour from Temple Quay ferry landing to Feeder Road, which has already sadly resulted in the loss of the large willow trees.
The area across the Cheesegrater Bridge east of Pugs Lane is not formally part of the regeneration zone but is seeing construction of the tall Welcome Building next to the HMRC office.
Temple Gate comprises the old Peugeot site, the Holiday Inn and car park site, and the Bristol & Exeter yard next to Station Approach. The consultation states that a mix of building uses could support high density city centre apartment living, retail and office space.
There is a possibility that the Bristol & Exeter yard may be reserved as a mass transit interchange, depending on how far advanced WECA are in their plans.
The area north of Redcliffe Way is not formally part of the regeneration zone. The George & Railway Hotel is listed and there have been plans to incorporate it into a larger development of small and medium-sized incubator offices, with an area of public realm called Temple Square Plaza. The nearby Grosvenor Hotel caught fire in October 2022 which will likely necessitate its demolition.
A separate Development Brief for the areas either side of Mead Street was consulted on and endorsed by the council’s cabinet in summer 2022. Proposals here could see up to 1500 new homes, 500 jobs, sustainable travel routes and a new 0.5-hectare public green space created. The masterplan suggests Fowlers remains in situ.
St Philips Marsh
St Philips Marsh proposals are less detailed. A masterplan for the 90 hectares in St Philips will be offered for community engagement starting mid-2023.
- Silverthorne Lane – The Silverthorne Lane development has been granted permission, this includes a much-needed new secondary school for east and south Bristol. This development along the Feeder Canal also includes offices, student accommodation and hundreds of homes, as well as a new Bristol University Campus building.
- Temple Island – On Temple Island, previously known as Arena Island, there are current proposals for up to 500 homes, a hotel and conference facility. Legal & General are working with Bristol City Council on this development, but a planning application has not yet been submitted. Further student accommodation is also included.
- University of Bristol Enterprise Campus – Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus will be home to 3,000 students and 800 university staff, business and community partners and provide residential accommodation for 953 students. The academic building on Cattle Market road will have a large public arcade on the ground floor with a “lively hub of retail, dining and pop-up spaces”. Inside will feature a variety of learning, study and collaboration areas including hack spaces, state-of-the-art labs, dedicated partnership spaces and research facilities. The University are aiming to start construction of the main academic building on Cattle Market Road in 2023 and anticipate opening in 2026. The Innovation Hub on Avon Street will be the first facility to open.
The public consultation runs until 8th March 2023.
FoSBR will respond to the consultation with questions around the transport hubs, the public drop-off locations and station facilities.
We will ask if the transport hub/bus stop locations at the Temple Gate end of The Friary can be brought nearer to the station entrance, and whether this hub is for both city inbound and city outbound buses.
There seems to be some uncertainty around whether an area of the Bristol & Exeter yard is to be reserved as a mass transit interchange. We will question whether bus stops can be located in or near this space.
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