The city of Bristol has grown fast in recent years in terms of its population and economy – to say nothing of its property prices. The latest plans for Temple Quarter and St. Philip’s Marsh could add a significant amount of new commercial and residential space to help provide room for the city to grow in future. We will report on what has happened and what is now being planned here.
The Temple Quarter and St. Philip’s Marsh area relates to an area of commercial and brown field land to the southeast of the current city centre, some of which is encircled by the River Avon and its Feeder Canal. The area is somewhat detached from the current Bristol city centre. However, it benefits from being adjacent to the major Bristol Temple Meads railway station. The station offers an extensive range of local and national services and the service to London Paddington takes approximately 90 minutes.
Plans to regenerate Temple Quarter have been on the cards for over a decade but progress has been quite slow so far. Initially the plans were to be underpinned by an ambitious arena/music venue at Temple Island. These plans attracted much local controversy, not in the least in the way they were progressed. The plans were cancelled in 2018 and it now seems more likely an arena will be built at the Filton development site in north Bristol.
Recently, however, the plans for the Temple Quarter have been augmented by adding a further large adjacent area known as St. Philip’s Marsh. The overall plans are said to be the largest such scheme in the UK and cover 130 ha of land with a 25-year time frame. Early projections suggest the plans will provide 10,000 new homes plus commercial developments, 22,000 new jobs and inject £1.6bn annually into the local economy once completed.
The development framework for Temple Quarter and St. Philip’s Marsh has been jointly commissioned by a partnership between Bristol City Council, Network Rail, Homes England and the West of England Combined Authority. The local authority received £2m from WECA for a feasibility study in 2018 and £32m for enabling works for the Temple Island site. The partners together are bidding for £95.8m of central government funding to improve the area around the station.
The new, wider scheme comprises a number of different areas. These are identified as Temple Quarter and Temple Island, the Enterprise Campus, the Central Innovation District, North East St. Philip’s Marsh, the Climate Adapted Neighbourhood, Silverthorne Lane and Meade Street.