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About the project

Why, where, and what’s happening

Why are we regenerating Western Harbour?

Western Harbour is an area loved by many – the regeneration looks to balance local and city aspirations with the need to address some of the biggest challenges facing Bristol. This needs to be done while celebrating Western Harbour’s heritage and existing communities, making sure the infrastructure and Bristol’s flood defences are fit for the 21st Century, and addressing the urgent ecological and climate emergencies.

  • There is a need to update or replace the Cumberland Basin road system. As the infrastructure of this road has become older, maintenance has become increasingly costly and the replacement of large parts of the system will be necessary in the near future. Western Harbour is an opportunity to make wider changes to improve the area at the same time. 
  • There is a need to provide new homes for Bristol. There were around 16,000 people on the Bristol City Council housing waiting list in 2021 and demand for housing in the city is steadily rising.
  • Western Harbour is a way of meeting this need in a sustainable location. It is within easy reach of both the centre of Bristol and the green of Ashton Court by foot or by bike. By building in central locations like this, we can support more sustainable travel options, as well as building homes close to jobs, public spaces and leisure activities. 
  • Much of Western Harbour is brownfield, previously developed land. At the moment, 62% of the land is currently taken up by roads, parking and other hard surfaces – by building the new homes we need here, we can protect greenspaces around the city, helping us to respond to the climate and ecological emergencies while still providing the homes the city desperately needs.

Where is Western Harbour project area?

The Western Harbour regeneration project area sits at the western-most end of Bristol’s Floating Harbour, as a gateway between city and countryside. Click on the map below to see the project area in more detail.

Tour of Western Harbour from Hidden Bristol

Want to learn more about the area? Download the Design West ‘Open Doors App’ for their free audio tour, to hear stories and sounds of the basin and beyond. Hidden Bristol Tours on the App Store (

What’s happening at the moment

The consultation on the draft vision for Western Harbour is now closed. We’re now analysing your feedback and will publish the results of the consultation on this website.

This vision for Western Harbour will become a thread that will inspire and guide changes to the area in the future, including being a key influence on the masterplanning process in which more detailed aspects will be considered.

Harbour Hopes was a programme of public engagement that was the start of a citywide conversation to shape the future of Bristol's Western Harbour. From September to December 2021, the team ran:

  • 10 Creative Workshops in person
  • 2 Creative Workshops online
  • 7 Listening Labs online
  • 2 In-person sessions at Riverside Garden Centre and at Docks Heritage Weekend
  • 2 ‘Walk and Talks’
  • 2 Visioning Days
  • 1 Month-long exhibition
Online, we have received over:
  • 599 Comments on the Harbour Hopes Map, with 1818 ‘likes’
  • 81 online Place Principles, with 139 ‘likes’
  • Over 120 comments and over 1000 ‘likes’ on Instagram

Further details of this engagement – what happened and what people said can be found in the Western Harbour Engagement Report.

What’s happening next?

This is the very start of a process to work out the best possible future for the area. 

Feedback from the consultation will help to shape a final vision document being taken to Bristol City Council’s cabinet for endorsement in the summer. The vision will be used to underpin the detailed masterplan which will start later this year.

It is at this point that the masterplanners will consider issues such as the changes to the road network, how the city’s flood defences can be integrated sensitively, and new homes for the area. The vision, developed with the community, will be the thread that runs through and guides this process.

We will continue to consult throughout the masterplanning stage and beyond. We are committed to making sure the voice of communities is heard throughout the process. The Western Harbour Advisory Group (WHAG) was established in October 2019 and includes local community representatives, businesses and other interested parties. The role of the group is to help shape Western Harbour alongside the wider community. The Terms of Reference and past minutes of meetings can be found on the Bristol City Council website.

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