The massive mixed-use redevelopment of the Broadmead area of Bristol is one step closer to being realised after councillors gave planning permission in principle last month.
The city centre shopping district, much of which was built in the 1960s, has developed a reputation as a hangout for alcoholics and drug users and is in dire need of modernisation.
The Bristol Alliance, a 50/50 partnership between Hammerson and AXA Real Estate Investors that also owns the city’s Cabot Circus and Quakers Friars shopping centres, plans to redevelop the site into 1.1m sq ft of retail, commercial and leisure space together with up to 150 residential units, public realm and a circa 500-space car park.
The redevelopment would involve the demolition of existing buildings and the development of land adjoining Callowhill Court, Broadmead and Horsefair.
What’s being proposed is an example of a developer really taking the bull by the horns - Tim Davies, Colliers
“Broadmead is old-fashioned and decaying,” says Tim Davies, head of Colliers International’s Bristol office, who believes the mixed-use nature of the proposals could set the scheme apart. “It’s been on something of a downward spiral and that was reflected in the mood of retailers and shoppers. What’s being proposed is an example of a developer really taking the bull by the horns to bring life back to what has become a sterile shopping environment.”
A spokesperson from the Bristol Alliance says the redevelopment of Broadmead would offer a mix of shops, restaurants, cafés, bars, leisure and open spaces and would “create a modern shopping district in the heart of the city”.
“We have received support from the council’s development management committee for the regeneration of Callowhill Court [part of Broadmead] and will continue to work proactively with the council to resolve outstanding issues,” the spokesperson says.
Those outstanding issues include objections to the car park and concerns over access to the site raised both by councillors and local cyclists, as well as opposition from heritage campaigners. It is thought the car park will have to be reduced in size, relocated or scrapped completely.
Council officers recommend that the development is approved by councillors provided the development includes 60 low-cost homes and the Bristol Alliance makes a financial contribution towards public transport.
Paul Marshall, head of UK retail agency at JLL, which is the retail agent for Hammerson on Cabot Circus and its wider Bristol estate and which has provided advice on the Callowhill Court development, says the proposals for Broadmead are a key “piece of the jigsaw” for Bristol city centre’s retail and leisure offer.
“This further redevelopment within Bristol city centre is key to achieving its potential as a retail destination and improving the consumer experience,” he says. “The proposals will create new open spaces in a modern environment and will attract new retail, restaurant and leisure brands to the city centre to the benefit of Bristol and the wider South West region.”
Subject to planning consent, the Bristol Alliance expects to work up more detailed plans in 2018-19. Works are provisionally scheduled to start in 2020 and complete in 2022.