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What's on the horizon for Bristol's Western Harbour?

The western end of the Floating Harbour has evolved over the centuries, seeing feats of engineering, the changing fortunes of dock workers, and becoming a key route in and out of Bristol. As the city responds to a changing climate, ageing infrastructure, the increasing threat of flooding and shifts in how people live, work and travel, it's important we shape a place that meets these challenges head on, while valuing what makes this part of Bristol so special and unique.

March 2024 - News

Bristol City Council are excited to share an update on the masterplanning for Western Harbour, following the recruitment of 16 new members to the Western Harbour Advisory Group (WHAG) and the appointment of a masterplanning team.

Western Harbour Advisory Group refresh

We’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who took time to apply to the WHAG. Over 60 applications were received via the open application process. The level of passion and enthusiasm demonstrated by applicants was inspiring and we were very impressed with the quality of applications and the interest that was shown.

Applications were assessed to ensure we have a WHAG that reflects Bristol’s diverse communities, includes connections to a range of key organisations from across the city, and has a breadth of experience and expertise that will be applied across four key themes: Culture, Community, Environment and Economy.

The 16 new recruits will join interim Chair John Savage and work with the council and the newly appointed masterplan team to help inform and shape the project. They will bring forward into discussions the perspectives and ideas from the communities they represent as well as share updates on the project back through their networks.

We have contacted both successful and unsuccessful applicants to inform them of the outcome of the recruitment process. The newly recruited WHAG will come together during April to discuss ways of working and receive the latest information on the project, as well as meet the wider project team. There will be opportunities to review the groups’ networks and expertise and identify if the group could benefit from additional members and perspectives as the project develops.

We will share further detail on who the new members are, how you can feed your views and ideas to them, and how they will keep you informed, after their first meeting.

Input from the group will be considered alongside that from a range of other influential sources such as technical experts, councillors and statutory bodies, as the project progresses. The WHAG represents one of many opportunities for community engagement, and there will be more ways to contribute in the near future, including further public consultation and engagement.

Appointment of Lifshutz Davidson Sandilands

As we move into this key phase in shaping the future of Western Harbour and delivering new homes in a sustainable location, we can also share news of the recent appointment of the masterplan team. Following an open tender, which ran until 22 December 2023, we have appointed Architects, Design consultants and Urban planners, Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands, to develop a masterplan for Western Harbour. The Lifschutz Davidson Sandilands team have demonstrated they have an innovative technically excellent team who will work across the whole city, including with the refreshed WHAG, to deliver the Western Harbour vision.

Commitments set out in the vision for Western Harbour, which was approved by Cabinet in July 2022 following extensive public engagement and consultation, will help guide the long-term masterplan that will set out in detail where the new homes, community spaces, businesses and greenspaces that Bristol needs could go, while also planning for modern transport and flooding infrastructure.

As part of the masterplanning works, you may start to see contractors around the area completing surveys. This work will help them develop a detailed understanding of the site.

A potential site for Bristol Legacy Foundation’s Story House

During a launch event Today (15 March 2024) at M Shed, Bristol Legacy Foundation (BLF) officially launched its work, looking at Bristol’s history, racial justice and the future for African heritage communities in our city. The foundation has established four projects to assist Bristol in exploring our legacy of the Transatlantic Trafficking of Enslaved Afrikans (TTEA). The council has committed to supporting these aims and exploring ways to deliver them together for the bicentenary of Slavery Abolition Act (1833) in 2033.

One of the projects is for a Story House - a cultural centre to host events and exhibitions which explain the TTEA and its impact on communities today. BLF has a vision to home this within B Bond, given its former use as a tobacco bonded warehouse and location at the entrance to Bristol’s Harbour. This project aligns with the adopted Western Harbour vision to have “a bonded warehouse converted for mixed use and include a cultural hub for Bristol and beyond, offering a programme of national significance.” Therefore, as part of the masterplanning process, we will explore the feasibility of using B Bond as a permanent home for such a museum in the future, while BLF develop the detailed proposals and funding options.

To find out more about the launch of the Bristol Legacy Foundation please visit News (

February 2024 - Represent your community and influence the future change of Western Harbour

Are you hopeful about the future change of Western Harbour?
Do you want to influence what happens here?
Are you passionate about representing the voice of a wider community?

Western Harbour is an area that extends from Hotwells to Greville Smyth Park and includes Cumberland Basin and the New Cut. As the city responds to a changing climate, aging infrastructure, the increasing threat of flooding and the need to provide quality, affordable places for people to live and work, Western Harbour presents an opportunity to shape a place that meets these challenges head on, building a new community, while valuing what makes this part of Bristol so special and unique.

We’re looking for a completely fresh set of members for the Western Harbour Advisory Group (WHAG) who will help to build on the vision approved by Bristol City Council, and bring community perspectives and ideas to this important part of the city as it evolves. John Savage will remain the chair in the first instance.

To make this the best place it can be for the widest group of people, it's essential that we involve a broad chorus of voices and experiences. We’re aiming to bring together a group that reflects the diversity of Bristol with up to 16 members in place by early March 2024 and remaining throughout the development of the masterplan. 

The deadline for applications is Tuesday 27 February at 12pm.
Find out more and apply here:
Alternatively, please call 0117 92 24409 to leave a message and we will contact you.

November 2023 – Masterplanning Team, Western Harbour Advisory Group

Bristol City Council is looking to develop a masterplan that will turn the vision for Western Harbour from broad principles into a tangible long-term plan, setting out a big-picture guide to future development. We’re hoping to find an outstanding professional team who can work with the city on this exciting project.

The deadline for tenders is 18th December 2023. Tenders then will be evaluated on price, quality and social value contributions. It is anticipated that the selected consultant will be in place by the beginning of March 2024.

Alongside this, the Council will be recruiting for new members of the Western Harbour Advisory Group who can work with the Council and appointed team to champion the needs of their communities throughout the masterplanning process. The recruitment will start in the new year.

October 2023 – Local Plan Update

At the end of October, Full Council approved Bristol’s new draft local plan for publication. Now that the draft plan is published, Bristol residents, as well as the many stakeholders involved, are invited to send representations on the new draft plan over the next ten weeks.

When this process (known as Regulation 19 pre-submission) closes in January 2024, the representations will be delivered to the government’s Planning Inspectorate to carefully review the evidence that our approach is based on to make certain it meets with the rules on local plans. Once a local plan is adopted after that by Full Council in 2025, that will officially replace the current plan agreed in 2014.

For more information and to find out how you can contribute see the Local Plan Review page on the BCC website.

July 2023 - Masterplan, Community Working Group

On 16th June, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Committee confirmed its support for Bristol City Council’s funding application for Western Harbour. Following this, on 4th July it was agreed that Bristol Council would enter into the grant agreement and would spend the funding on masterplanning. You can read the report that was considered at Bristol City Council’s Cabinet here

The masterplan will turn the broad principles contained in the vision for Western Harbour into the parameters for future development. Alongside this, we will also create an Infrastructure Delivery Plan that will support the renewal and or replacement of the ageing road network.

You can read the Vision for Western Harbour here and explore the results of the community engagement that helped produce it here.

June 2023 - Historic England review of listings

Earlier this year Historic England carried out a review of a selection of the listed buildings and scheduled monument designations in and around Cumberland Basin and Underfall Yard.

Work has now finished, with updated list entries including the grade II listings of Avon Crescent Substation. Read more about the listings here.

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The Best Light

In high-viz jackets, with clipboards and hardhats, looking confused, Bristol poets Caleb Parkin and Tom Sastry were ‘in-residence’ in the area asking the important questions: How do you feel about this place? How do you feel about it changing? What do you think will happen? What do you remember happening here? This poem responds to the people they met along the way.

Click on the image below to watch the video in your browser.