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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 renew and/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. The Western Harbour project 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, 49% 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.

The vision for Western Harbour

The Western Harbour vision was approved by Bristol City Council’s Cabinet on 12 July 2022.

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.

The vision was created from an extensive programme of public engagement carried out in the second half of 2021 and a six-week consultation that was open to the public in March 2022.

Further details can be found in the Western Harbour Engagement Report and the Western Harbour Consultation Report.

What’s happening at the moment?

In the summer, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) Committee confirmed its support for Bristol City Council’s funding application for Western Harbour. Following this, 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

We are now in the process of procuring the professional masterplanning team who will work with us to turn the vision for Western Harbour from broad principles into a tangible long-term plan, setting out a big-picture guide to future development.  This is an open tender process that is advertised on ProContract (which is a procurement portal used by the public sector), meaning that any professional team with the right experience will have the opportunity to apply.

Once the bids have been received, the Council will evaluate them and select the best team (based on quality, price and social value). It is anticipated the team will be ready to start work on the project by March 2024.

The Council will be recruiting new members to the Western Harbour Advisory Group in the new year. This will be done via an open call to groups across the city and there will be an application form to complete.

Connected projects

Click here for details about connected projects

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 (