Vision for Temple Quarter unveiled

Published on: 25 Mar 2016

Temple Quarter vision, aerial view

AMBITIOUS ideas for a 25-year regeneration of the area around Temple Meads are open for consultation.

Residents have until April 14 to comment on the Temple Quarter spatial framework – not a blueprint, but a guide to how the area could be transformed to bring 17,000 hi-tech and creative jobs, a new public waterfront and leisure facilities.

Temple Meads

At the heart of the plans is Temple Meads station, which needs redevelopment to cope with an expected 40 per cent rise in passengers within 10 years.

Network Rail has yet to come up with specific plans, but they are certain to cost tens of millions, to create new platforms and better access, including new entrances to the north – towards Temple Quay – and to the east to link to the arena. It has been suggested the scheme could be funded by selling the station to private developers.

A new car park will be needed on Plot 6, the site next to Temple Circus roundabout. The spatial framework says this could take 500 cars – but Network Rail is already saying this is not enough.

The Voice asked how this early warning of a parking shortfall would be dealt with.

A spokesperson for Temple Quarter said: “As the enterprise zone develops the parking requirements will continue to be assessed against existing parking policies.”

Transport

Improving transport is key to the whole plan – for pedestrians, road users and cyclists – in an area that is already congested.

The framework document says: “The transport network is operating very close to capacity during the day and couldn’t cope with the additional load generated by 17,000 jobs in the zone – estimated at 8,000 to 9,000 extra trips – plus whatever other increases in movements occur through the zone.” Currently 43 per cent of those who work in the zone drive there.

The scheme will have to encourage more people to walk, cycle and use public transport. Workplaces will be expected to have more cycle racks and possibly showers for cyclists, shared cycle facilities and electric cycle hubs. Metrobus and local train improvements will help; and a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) aims to reduce car use by five per cent, cut single-occupancy cars by three per cent, re-time five per cent of commutes outside peak hours, and re-route two per cent of journeys away from Temple Gate. 

 This is to be achieved by 2020 – when 4,000 of the new jobs are expected to be in place.

Road changes will include removing Temple Circus roundabout and making it a light-
controlled junction – work starts this summer and will last a year.

There are no proposals to redesign the Three Lamps junction, as many South Bristolians would like to see. But Three Lamps and the Bath Bridge junctions are to be examined to see if they could be improved.

Bath Road Promenade

A crucial part of the transport plan is for a broad pedestrian and cycle way along Bath Road from Temple Meads  to Three Lamps. 

The framework admits that Temple Quarter has a “severely compromised”  pedestrian environment, and cyclists “are disadvantaged and forced into conflict with vehicle traffic”.

The Bath Road Promenade would be “a generous pedestrian and cyclist promenade”.

However, this seems impossible to achieve without new bridges over the River Avon and the railway. These bridges have not been planned or costed – and no funds identified.  

And the Promenade would cross the entrance to any car park on the Kwik Fit site.

Yet the framework envisages the Promenade in place by 2020, ready to help cope with the arena and the 4,000 jobs expected to be created in the zone by then.

The Voice asked the enterprise zone team if the Promenade could realistically be funded and built by 2020.

A spokesperson said the framework document will help support funding bids. 

“The upgrading of the Bath Road pedestrian and cycle route has been identified as an important link to the south of the city but is unfunded at the present time,” she said. 

“Feasibility work will be undertaken and funding opportunities identified. 2020 is an estimated date at this stage but will be dependent on agreeing funding.”

Totterdown Basin

Currently a deserted stretch of water in front of the derelict sorting office, the basin could be transformed into a vibrant waterfront with a marina, cafes and leisure facilities.

Flooding

Much of the zone is at risk of flooding, posing a danger to housing, which will have to be designed with “provision for safe access and escape in the event of a flood.” This is admitted to be a challenge in parts of the zone.

Energy and broadband 

One or more district energy centres would use biomass, geothermal technology or gas
to produce heat and perhaps electricity. The arena is to get
solar panels and a “containerised” energy centre. Ultrafast broadband to link to the city centre will be laid in service trenches.

The buildings

The aim will be to create vibrant neighbourhoods that have life outside of office hours. Design will encourage active, interesting frontages, with private areas at the rear of residential blocks.Several tall buildings of nine storeys and above are envisaged. One might replace the ageing concrete block opposite Temple Meads – currently containing a Holiday Inn – which has just been bought by the council. 

Another tall building might be on the sorting office site. But the ‘island site’ of the former George and Railway hotels would be no more than eight storeys.

A “focal structure” is mooted opposite the arena, where the service road loops under Bath Road, beneath the Totterdown ridge. This would be a “way-finding signifier for the arena”.

Avon Riverside

The enterprise zone includes a strip along Bath Road as far as Paintworks. Buildings are envisaged on the south bank of the river on both sides of Totterdown Bridge.

Reactions

Gary Hopkins, the council’s Lib Dem leader and a councillor for Knowle, welcomed the vision.

But, he said, “they need to get the structure right first.”

“Part of the problem is that the mayor will not admit the real cost of the arena and the stuff that’s got to go along with it.”

It doesn’t mean that the plans will cost too much, but they must be properly funded, he said.

Cllr Sam Mongon, Labour councillor for Windmill Hill, said: “It’s exciting to have a vision for an area that hasn’t had a lot of investment.” But he said, development had to respect the fact that it is on the edge of a residential area.

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