Cumberland Basin & Western Harbour plans: History and 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.