Regeneration in Bristol is about to move up a gear, as the Wapping Wharf project on the harbourside has been given the green light for its next phase. Here’s a quick update on where we are and what to expect.
Wapping Wharf Investors and Developers
Homes England is putting in £23 million and there are two developers – Umberslade and Muse. Balfour Beatty is coming in to build the infrastructure and carry out the early construction phase.
Homes England is the Government’s “housing accelerator”. Its mission is to unlock the obstacles to mixed use and residential building developments and help get them off the ground, so its support here has been key to getting the next phase moving.
200 homes are already situated at the wharf with a whole range of independent bars, cafes and restaurants situated in CARGO. As a result, Wapping Wharf has quickly become a foodie heaven with several eateries and talented chefs really etching out a name for themselves (Tare and the Athenian are two of our favourites).
The site further benefits from a new access route for pedestrians and cyclists which is being used by those commuting into the centre of Bristol. The area is also very much a destination in its own right; providing a new gathering point for Bristolians.
A Mix of Private and Affordable Homes
The next phase of Wapping Wharf will deliver another 256 homes which will be a mix of one, two and three bed flats. These will mostly be marketed to private buyers. However, 93 units will be bought by Sovereign Housing which will use these units as private rentals and shared ownership properties. 81 affordable homes will be built as part of phase 2 of the scheme.
The historic Gaol Gate (which is a listed building) with its imposing arch and Gaol wall have both been stabilised and will be retained, adding character to the entrance of the buildings and referencing the heritage of the area. Four new retail units and a new road will take pride of place in the middle of the site as part of CARGO2. It’s the next stage in the transformation of this once derelict area into a thriving, diverse and creative new community.
Balfour Beatty knows the local supply chain and has experience delivering homes in the Bristol area. They’ve been working with the developers to plan the logistics of the project and ensure that the foundation stage can be delivered without hitches. Then the main construction work will begin, with an expected finish date of 2020. The project is going to employ 250 people in its busiest periods and will involve opportunities for both graduates and apprentices.
High Levels of Interest in the Homes
The next phase of this growing new Bristol community is attracting a great deal of attention and prospective buyers for the new homes are already are registering their interest. In a regeneration area such as this, landscaping and other ground level facilities are key to the feel of the finished neighbourhood. So the scheme will include bike storage, car parking and landscaping of the grounds.
Duncan Cumberland is the residential development director at Muse Developments, one of the two development partners for the scheme. He’s expressed his delight at the prospect of moving on with the second phase of Wapping Wharf. He’s also pleased with the funding structures with Sovereign Housing and Homes England; these worked well in the first phase of the development. He commented that Muse had played its part in creating a new and vibrant community in Bristol.
Homes England are also very positive about the development and have said that they very much want to use their expertise and funding to speed up the construction of new homes.
CARGO Work – A New Collaboration and Business Hub
The development is not only about new homes. Following the huge success of CARGO, the shipping containers at the harbour that house shops and restaurants, another set of containers will be converted for use. These are going to be inside the stone walls of a warehouse that has been long disused, namely the J S Fry warehouse which was also part of the old Bristol Gaol. It’s situated on the corner of Cumberland Road and Wapping Road. It will be restored and will then house a workspace.
This new building will have a different concept; it will be called CARGO Work and will be a hub aimed at helping people to collaborate and run businesses. In line with modern working life, CARGO Work will have a cafe with an outside area, showers, bike storage, lockers and a drying room. And of course, it will accessible 24 hours a day. Up to 250 people are expected to work there and the scheme should be complete by the end of 2019.
There’s already enormous interest in this part of the development because it hits the right notes for many of those wanting to work in the centre of Bristol in a welcoming environment, but with access to shops, cafes and bars. Other cities are likely to be watching Bristol pull of this successful multi-phase regeneration project and hoping to emulate its success. It’s just another example of our fine city leading the way.