Cumberland Basin & Western Harbour plans: History and timeline

Community Response to 'Harbour Hopes Vision' Consultation

This response has been collated by HCCA from the views of many local people through emails and face-to-face conversations. This is an edited response. To see the full document submitted please click here.

History & Timeline

Rather than give lots of individual links for everything referred to below we encourage those that want to explore further to use the relevant pages of the website of the Bristol Neighbourhood Planning Network (BNPN). References starred and numbered below refer to the numbers on the contents list on the web pages here.

  • July 2023 Cabinet agreed to the funding agreement for the Western Harbour Plan as well as the establishment of a new community working group. Details can be found here
    HCCA Chair Rachel McNally made the following statement on the masterplan:

    Since the first Western Harbour proposal in 2018, many residents of Hotwells and Cliftonwood have felt shut out by the consultation process. 

    This has caused a breakdown in trust between the community and the Council. I welcome the potential that a refreshed Western Harbour Advisory Group offers to restore that relationship. 

    I would like to see more detail about group recruitment, specifically local people. 

    With respect to John Savage, I would suggest that a new Chair is appointed who offers a neutral starting position for the group. 

    I would also like to see the community engagement embedded at a decision making level not just an advisory level. 

    While the Western Harbour Vision is aspirational I would like to see clearer pathways on how it is delivered for communities.

    In Hotwells and Cliftonwood, right now,  we need a community space; a doctor’s surgery; shops. Despite our affluence, there are pockets of poverty in our area and people living there are disproportionately affected by the lack of such amenities. These needs will only increase with future development. 

    I would also like a stronger commitment to public transport: connecting Bristol to the wider region. Many commute into the city and without this it is not obvious to me how private car use will be reduced. 

    I urge the Council to work actively with local people to achieve a plan that builds the resilient and happy communities that we all want, now and in the future. 

  • June 2023 WECA approved funding to Bristol City Council to develop a Western Harbour Masterplan. 

    The Agenda and Reports Pack can be downloaded here. There are some details on page 23, 42 and 43 of the Reports Pack. A list of meetings for the WECA can be found here.

  • February 2023. Historic England carried out a review of the listed building and scheduled monument designations in and around Cumberland Basin and Underfall Yard in Bristol at the request of Bristol City Council. A period of public consultation ran from 27 February 2023 until 26 March 2023. Details are available here.
  • March 2022. Bristol City Council publishes their draft 'Vision for Western Harbour'. A consultation on the draft vision runs between 10th March until 22nd April 2022 and the public are invited to comment. Further details are available on the Harbour Hopes website and Bristol City Council's website

  • March 2022. Bristol City Council publishes the 'Harbour Hopes Community Engagement Report' that was prepared by their consultants 'Turner Works'. The Engagement Report is the result of the work done in Summer and Autumn 2021.

  • January 2022. The engagement process came to an end just before Christmas 2021 and Bristol City Council now awaits the report of the engagement process from the consultants 'Turner Works'. It is hoped that this might be available by end February or early March 2022. More about this can be found on the web pages of Harbour Hopes We expect full consultation on this report and whether it reflects sufficiently the aspirations and fears expressed during the engagement process.

  • October 2021. HCCA submits a statement relating to the Piazza into the Harbour Hopes engagement process. The statement can be read here.

  • October 2021. HCCA submits a statement on the development of Cumberland Basin/Western Harbour. The statement can be read here.

  • September 2021. HCCA were invited to attend a 'Listening Lab' which was part of the Harbour Hopes engagement process and was hosted by 'Turner Works'. A number of other local groups also attended and the session lasted just over one hour. We were given the opportunity to express our hopes and concerns for the area, but we felt the engagement process was a little light. After the session HCCA uploaded two statements onto the 'Harbour Hopes' interactive map. One statement sets out our more detailed thoughts about the Protection of the Piazza; and the other statement sets out of comments on opportunities for the redevelopment of Cumberland Basin/Western Harbour.
  • September 2021. The Council launches its Harbour Hopes engagement programme which starts by exploring people's hopes and aspirations for the future transformation of the area. More details can be found here:
  • July 2021. The Council announce that their engagement programme will be conducted by "Turner Works". Turner Works, with Place Bureau and Burgess and Beech, have been selected to create a six-month programme of community engagement. More information can be found here.
  • April 2021. The Council add a Frequently asked Questions section to the Western Harbour webpages which can be found here.

  • April 2021. Bristol City Council have now published their brief as part of their Invitation to Tender for the Western Harbour Placeshaping Vision. To quote from their tendering advert "Bristol City Council are seeking to appoint a multi-disciplinary team led by one organisation or consortium with urban design, communication, creative engagement and place making expertise to lead, commission and deliver a programme of local and city-wide inclusive engagement with Bristol citizens and stakeholders.

    The consultant will be expected to directly commission and work with a diverse range of established Bristol based organisations from across the city who have a successful track record of working with communities of place AND communities of interest to deliver the inclusive engagement programme.

    The co-created vision will set out the aspirations of the community, city and Council for the future of Western Harbour. The vision will then underpin the next design phase of the project, a masterplan for Western Harbour and its future delivery." The full document can be viewed here.

  • February 2021. Following on from the February 2021 statement referred to below, both the Stakeholder Group and the Community Association were pleased to get a very prompt and detailed response from Chris Dooley, Bridges and Highways Structure Manager at the Council. His response can be read here.

  • February 2021. The Cumberland Basin Stakeholder Group and the Community Association together agreed to send a statement and request for information regarding the Plimsoll bridge and the Cumberland Basin Road Scheme. The statement can be found here.

  • February 2021. As we had not had any response from the Mayor to our letter of 14th December we wrote again on 10th February. The letter is here 
  • December 2020. The Cumberland Basin Stakeholder Group (CBSG) write again to the Mayor. Firstly, to encourage him to agree not to take note of the engagement about the three road options presented to us in August 2019, but to take note of the planned engagement regarding the whole Western Harbour idea to be carried out in 2021. Secondly, we point out to Marvin that his portrayal of the public meeting organised by the Labour Party in January does not match our memory of it. This was picked up from a webinar with the University of Pennsylvania.  This can be seen on YouTube here (The bit about Western Harbour is from about 33 minutes in, but it is all worth a watch). The CBSG letter to Marvin can be seen here.
  • September 2020. We write again to the Mayor asking for clarification on what constitutes "Western Harbour". Our email and the response from the Mayor can be viewed here.
  • August 2020. With no response to our email of 29th June we write again on 12th August, and the Mayor responds on the 27th August. Our email and the response from the Mayor can be viewed here.
  • June 2020. On 29th June we respond to the Mayor's letter as we fundamentally disagree with part of what he is saying. The letter can be viewed here.

  • May 2020. On 27th May the Mayor responds to the letter sent in April. His response can be viewed here. N.B. The Caravan Park site and the Payne's Yard site are both within the line for the Western Harbour development and Clanage Rd abuts onto it. So these developments will have an influence going forward.

  • April 2020. The Cumberland Basin Stakeholder Group write to the Mayor of Bristol asking for reassurances about engagement before development in the light of the Covid 19 lock-down which is preventing meaningful engagement as planned.The letter can be viewed here.

  • January 2020: The WHAG agrees to an “early engagement plan”. BCC officers will meet with residents and business interests within the red line of development indicated by the Local Plan. Members of the WHAG, led by John Savage, will meet with other stakeholders both local and interests that are Bristol wide. The purpose of these meetings will be to outline more clearly exactly what stage the process is at, to explain more clearly the highway options that are still on the table (up to 7 possibly) and to listen to ideas and views from as many as possible.

  • November 2019: Bristol Council’s Cabinet papers are published with the Arup report and a summary of the engagement process. These can be found in Cabinet papers here. (N.B. This is a huge document as it also contains everything about the Clean Air Zone which went to Cabinet at the same time. You have therefore to turn to page 1008 to find the papers to do with Western Harbour!) The Arup report can be viewed separately through the (BNPN) site*2

  • October 2019: The Mayor decides to establish the Western Harbour Advisory Group (WHAG) and invites Dennis Gornall, as Chair of the CBSG to join. Details re the WHAG can be found here.

  • 11th September 2019: HCCA and the CGSG held a public meeting on 11th September after the public engagement sessions, and before the deadline for comment on the 15th of September. This was well attended by some 180 people. A summary of this meeting and the general spirit of the reactions of those present was sent to the Mayor and senior officers at BCC on the 14th of September. You can read that summary here * The Mayor’s response on the 24th can be seen here.
  • August/September 2019: BCC publish their ‘Initial Western Harbour Engagement’ document and ask for people’s views on three changed road configurations which “can be compared against an approach of investing in maintaining the existing infrastructure”. A number of open public engagement sessions were held by BCC and there was the opportunity to complete an on-line survey.*4

  • April 2019: At this time also the Local Plan Review was up for consultation. Again as far as Western Harbour was concerned this lacked substance because progress had not been made on the plans for adjusting the road network.*16

  • April 2019: Members of the CBSG met with BCC officers and staff from Arup to discuss their plans for “consultation” documentation and displays on road alteration options which were planned for May/June.

  • October 2018: The CBSG wrote to the Mayor with 3 particular requests:
    • That artist’s impressions and computer graphic images of development ideas should be clearly marked as such. This is to avoid people believing that what was being shown (at the State of the City Address for instance) was real and the Mayor’s plan. This was accepted.
    • We asked for information as to when we could see the Arup report and discuss ways of sharing it with the community and enter some kind of discussion with BCC about the options. We did not get a full answer on this, and indeed, it was not until the cabinet papers for 5th November 2019 were released that we could see what the report is saying.
    • We asked for the red line of the boundary for the developmental area to be changed such that the buildings on Avonquay Island opposite the Pump House Pub would not be included. This was to help the organisations there secure longer leases to their premises from BCC and thus facilitate their chances of bidding for grants to support their activities. Happily, after further meetings, this was granted and soon after this, longer leases were granted as well.

  • October 2018: Again at the Mayor’s ‘State of the City Address’ raises the potential of “Western Harbour”.*12

  • June 2018: Members of the CBSG met with members of the Mayor’s office to press for early community involvement in any thinking around this development. On 28th June the Mayor set out his response to the request for community involvement.* 14

  • Early 2018: At this time we also became aware of the Mayor’s ‘Bristol Investment Brochure’ which highlighted “Western Harbour” as one of the ‘major opportunities for investors and developers’ in Bristol.*15

  • April 2018: The Bristol ‘Local Plan Review’ (the emerging draft of a replacement Development Plan for Bristol) was out for consultation and a meeting was held in Holy Trinity Hotwells with BCC officers to hear about the proposals for our area and the Local Plan generally. In a way, this meeting produced more heat than light as it was soon very clear that very little could be said about the development until the report from the consultants, in this case Ove Arup & Partners (Arup), became available. This was because it was felt that little could be planned until decisions had been made as to whether and/or how the road network might be altered to increase the potential for development land that could be used.

  • February 2018: Dennis Gornall and Councillor Mark Wright meet with Alison Bromilow from Bristol’s Neighbourhood Planning Network (BNPN) to discuss creating a Cumberland Basin Stakeholder Group (CBSG) as both a vehicle for dialogue with Bristol City Council (BCC) and to protect the interests of local people as the plans develop.

  • October 2017: Marvin Rees’ ‘State of the City Address’ refers to the idea of a major development in the area of Cumberland Basin.