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Bristol Council and Residents at Loggerheads over the Future of one Key Ward Posted On 16 April 2021

The Ward in question is Hotwells and Harbourside, which is at the centre of the city’s new ‘Western Harbour’ scheme

 

The area itself is around the Cumberland Basin, which stretches from Baltic Wharf in the east, to beyond where the River Avon meets the floating harbour in the west.

The £40m plans would see this area redeveloped into the new ‘city quarter’, with Bristol City Council outlining three particular aims for this revamp: ‘To create: a mixed and inclusive community, a diversity of land uses, (and) opportunities for new homes, workspace, leisure and services’. To go into more detail, the council would look to create 2500 new homes, as well as establish new student accommodation.

But these ideas have so far been met with fierce opposition from locals. For example, a meeting was held in Trinity Church in January 2020, to discuss the plans. Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees spoke to the busy church about the initial stages of this scheme, but many issues were raised over the Plimsoll Bridge which, under these plans, would be removed.

And these issues have only been exacerbated as a result of nearly a year of lockdowns. Anna Haydock-Wilson of Hotwells and Cliftonwood Community Association has spent many years attempting to add to the green spaces in the Cumberland Piazza, as well as engineering more activities for young people. She commented on the impact of the area upon locals, saying, ‘We’ve held several community events over the years, inviting ideas and myself and other local artists have transformed the space into an environment people enjoy’.

She went on to discuss just how important this venue was during lockdown, adding, ‘During lockdown I had people coming up to me telling me ‘it’s been a lifeline for me and my children’. She also spoke of her hopes to keep the regeneration in line with building upon already-present relations, saying, ‘I’m hoping that the place-shaping initiative from Bristol City Council is a genuine attempt to engage with the expertise of local people as well as disadvantaged communities city-wide, and respect and build upon our unique and precious environment’.

Local elections are taking place in the coming weeks. And it appears that voting intentions may vary, depending on the stance each candidate wishes to take on the ‘Western Harbour’ scheme.

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