Article

Bristol must grasp the opportunity to deliver a high quality, vibrant alternative on the Temple Island site

Bristol City Council must grasp the opportunity to deliver a well-planned, high quality and vibrant alternative on this site. However, we must also not lose sight of the importance of delivering an arena for the city. The rest of the country is watching.

September 04, 2018

Now that a decision has been made not to locate an arena at Temple Island, Bristol City Council must grasp the opportunity to deliver a well-planned, high quality and vibrant alternative on this site. However, we must also not lose sight of the importance of delivering an arena for the city. The rest of the country is watching Bristol, let’s make sure this long-awaited arena finally happens.

We need to learn lessons from other developments within the city like Temple Quay, where there is a dominant use and a lack of facilities, to ensure we create a vibrant place to work, rest and play at the Temple Island site. Perhaps we could also learn from other UK cities. I visited Manchester recently and was particularly impressed with the development of the former Granada Studios by Allied London. The plans include a genuine mix of offices, residential, hotel, housing, bars, restaurants and workspace for SMEs and work has already started on site.

The decision by the University of Bristol to locate its new Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus in this part of the city will have a catalytic effect on the area and the council has the opportunity with the Temple Island site to set the tone for this new quarter of the city.

The key to this site is a comprehensive approach, in simple terms enabling the more profitable elements of the development to subsidise the less profitable ones and delivering high quality public realm linking to the new university campus and hopefully a new entrance to the station.

There could be a temptation to focus on housing and contribute towards the 11,000 homes identified for the 70-hectare Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, but in my view, this would be a mistake.

Equally a series of piecemeal developments would be a massive missed opportunity. Ideally this needs a single developer to both plan and deliver a comprehensive mixed-use scheme with active retail and restaurants creating a vibrant street scene.