Our journalism needs your support! Become a member
The Bristol Cable

Lack of detail criticised in Western Harbour ‘vision’ to redevelop Cumberland Basin

Half of the homes will be affordable, but there is little detail to engage with at this stage, say councillors.

Reports

A key document to redevelop a huge area in west Bristol has been criticised for a lack of detail.

The Western Harbour project will see homes built around the Cumberland Basin, and the ageing road layout redesigned and rebuilt. Bristol City Council has “consulted extensively” on its 16-page vision document, which includes five pages of poetry but few details.

The western end of the Floating Harbour, stretching from Hotwells to Greville Smyth Park, is largely owned by Bristol City Council. The currently spacious area faces an increasing threat from flooding due to climate change, and the main roads running through it are deteriorating.

Council chiefs signed off plans to move to the next stage of the project at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, 12 July. Half of the new homes will be classed as affordable, but local councillors and residents said it was hard to properly take part in recently held public consultations, without being told key details about the redevelopment.

The latest vision comes after the council had to go back to the drawing board last year because of backlash against the initial plans and what local people felt was a lack of consultation. Then architecture firm Turner Works were paid £150,000 to run six months of community engagement, feeding into this new vision for the development.

Green councillor Tony Dyer, representing Southville, said: “Until there’s certainty about the proposed road layout, it’s difficult for residents to fully engage with the Western Harbour proposal. Replacing the Cumberland Basin road system will clearly have a major impact on our ward.

“Any proposal which fails to reflect the ambition towards increasing active travel and public transport would be unlikely to build a resilient community within the Western Harbour. We have seen elsewhere in the city the divisive and negative impact of major roads on communities. We hope the Western Harbour will have safe cycling and pedestrian routes.”

Local resident Mary Wildman added: “I am confused about precisely what we’re being asked to engage with, and feel that I have insufficient information to enable me to do so. Before any work on a masterplan or vision can start, we need to know where the viable land is and what it could feasibly be used for.”

Hotwells PIazza

According to a recent consultation, locals said it was important to protect heritage architecture in the area, like the three tobacco bonded warehouses. Responding to this, the vision appears to have been amended to rule out high-rise tower blocks. The next stage will see a masterplan for the project and a business case, with many more details of the project.

Deputy mayor Craig Cheney said: “The 1960s road infrastructure is reaching the end of its life and would need millions to repair. During the consultation, the key commitments to celebrate heritage and safeguard treasured assets received the most support from local people.

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning

“Many people sought more details of road layout and housing numbers, but these will be considered in more detail through the master-planning process still to come. The new vision for the Western Harbour can help guide and shape the masterplan later in the year, setting out where the new jobs, homes and infrastructure the city needs could go.”

The vision document did not include details on how the road layout would change, or how many homes would be built and where. The document included poems from Caleb Parkin and Tom Sastry, but little indication of what the scheme would look like.

One poem read: “A route passes through, but a place is where you stop. Wearing a mud mask of exfoliating cormorants, these horizons are carefully hand-washing the crystals of history, its pistons and cogs.”

A team to develop the masterplan is expected to be chosen this autumn. Construction is not expected to begin until 2026, and could take a further six years to be completed.

Comments

Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

The ripped off customers who fought back against an online carpentry business

People across Bristol are owed hundreds of pounds by a mysterious carpentry business operating on Facebook, and feel let down by the authorities’ response.

This week in Bristol: Politicians push for public control of buses

In the news this week, the latest raft of cuts to Bristol bus services has pushed local politicians to call for a radical change to the operation of transport in the region.

‘We see it as a warning’: Barton Hill’s Muslim community on impact of pig’s head hate crime

A pig’s head was dumped near a mosque in Barton Hill last month in a incident that's triggered residents' memories of previous anti-Muslim hate crimes in the area.

Flammable polystyrene cladding used on Bristol towers: was the writing on the wall?

After two fires at tower blocks fitted with expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation, Bristol City Council is stripping the flammable material from all its high-rises. But experts say it should never have been allowed in the first place.

‘Academic and support staff are suffering – it’s time for universities to dip into their rainy day funds’

University of Bristol staff deserve a pay rise after years of real-terms cuts, so why won’t it lift salaries? Recent growth is unsustainable, and investing in pay could help not just workers but local businesses and the city.

A history of Bristol’s healthcare for the working classes

It's a myth that there was little or no access to free medical care before the establishment of the NHS in 1948 – but progress was slow, unequal and sometimes grisly.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning