Team of consultancies appointed to master-plan Bristol site

01 August 2018 3 min. read

A collection of consulting firms has been drafted in to master-plan the retooling of Bristol’s Temple Quarter. The sector features the Temple Meads railway station, which is one of the last surviving unimproved stations in the country, having been designed and built by Isambard Kingdom Brunel almost 180 years ago.

As a growing population, dwindling global resources and a changing climate lead to mounting problems facing the cities of the future, the urban landscape of tomorrow will require new thinking to maximise quality of life for its inhabitants, and minimise its environmental footprint. The current focus of city planners in this regard is on the built environment, although that change will in part require entrepreneurs to develop innovations of their own, including everything from ‘green walls’ to reduce pollution and offer relaxation, to developing methods of reducing water use, improving mobility and supporting physical well-being.

Changes in line with these changing metropolitan needs of modern cities are being wrought across the UK. The latest of these has seen an alliance of Bristol City Council, Network Rail, Homes England and the West of England Combined Authority have appointed a team of consulting firms to deliver a master-plan for the future of Bristol’s Temple Quarter. The proposed 70 hectare development zone will deliver a new, mixed-use city quarter, featuring up to 11,000 new homes as well as major improvements to the nearby Temple Meads railway station, which is one of the UK’s last surviving unimproved station in Britain, and was designed by celebrated British innovator, engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, before being opened in 1840.

Team of consultancies appointed to master-plan Bristol site

Plans to upgrade the Grade I listed building have long been delayed, with Network Rail having initially announced a ‘vision’ for the station six years ago. The plans, which Network Rail said would transform it into a “world-class railway hub”, was also intended to open up the east side of the station, and bring two unused platforms back into use, but the designs were later shelved after a withdrawal of funding.

The consulting industry team which will now work to design the newly announced facelift includes a number of firms, of all shapes and sizes. Boutiques AWW Architects, Alan Baxter Associates and GVA, Turley, TLT and Pragma are joined by Big Four professional services firm Deloitte, although the project will be led by Mott MacDonald, which will provide multidisciplinary consultancy services including infrastructure master-planning and railway and station enhancements, while the firm's sub-contractor Weston Williamson will oversee architecture and master-planning. The initial phase of work is expected to take around nine months, and will then lead to more detailed development of specific elements of the scheme, subject to funding.

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said, “We are currently the only major UK city without a modern railway station. At long last, that is about to change – thanks to the energy and commitment of the partnership we have brought together. A transformed station will finally give us a railway station fit for the 21st century, acting as a gateway to the West of England. The aim is that the redeveloped station will be accessible from the east of Bristol, removing a barrier that has divided the city. It will be connected to the new university enterprise campus and will unlock St Phillips Marsh – soon to become one of the largest regeneration schemes in Europe.”

Related: EY advises University of Bristol financing of real estate debt.