Bristol City Centre - Core Retail and Leisure
The Director of Economy of Place introduced the
item and said that things had moved on a lot from the draft plans
produced in 2018. The presentation highlighted the changes and next
steps and officers were very keen for scrutiny to have a role in
The Senior Project Manager for the City Centre
Development took Members through the published slides and added the
Bristol City Centre is relatively resilient compared
to some other centres across the country.
Bristol is ranked 12th in the national
rankings for retail. It was 27th before Cabot Circus
How people move around the city centre and use areas
such as to shop, live and spend their leisure time has and will
likely continue to change.
People want an ‘experience’ now which
calls for more than just shops.
Access to Castle Park will be improved as part of
The proposed area with blue lines (on the slide) is
emerging and still draft.
This is a potential opportunity to increase
pedestrianised areas such the ‘old city’.
Officers said they would welcome bringing the
Framework back to scrutiny before any decisions were
Members Questions and Comments:
Members were interested in potentially making the
‘old city’ pedestrians only. It was said that mixed use (cars and shoppers
sharing the same space) shopping areas don’t really work. It
was suggested that Broadmead could also be included. It was asked if there were any timescales for
this. Officers said that nothing firm
had been decided yet and discussions were on-going with shop owners
and landowners about the proposals.
A Member said that in his view the Haymarket and St
James Barton Roundabout created a
“massive barrier” across the middle of the city centre
and asked if officers were looking at how that could be addressed
i.e. traffic is just going though and not stopping . Officers said their intention was to improve the
public realm but some of it was not going to be easy. The Castle Park changes were an opportunity to
re-look at things there. Some would be
short, medium and long-term changes but there will always need to
be some access for some traffic.
Another Member said they agreed with the earlier
point about semi-pedestrianised areas not working and said people
needed to feel safe or they wouldn’t use them.
It was asked what the unique selling points of the
changes to the city centre were? For example, how do you get people
that don’t use it to start coming in; what will draw them in?
Officers said the plan as it stands doesn’t yet do that and
agreed they need to get that right at the first stage and create a
gravitational pull. Castle Park would become a leisure destination
/ experience going forward and it can then be used as a tool to
draw more people in.
The Chair asked if the policy of
‘mixed uses’ in the city centre would be maintained to
bring more people to live in the city centre. It was said there
would likely be another 11,500 new homes in the Centre by 2030 but
that they were also still ‘sense checking’ what market
Officers said they would respect the character of
areas when making decision about changes. This was a great opportunity but there are also
many issues to consider.
It was requested that officers
didn’t neglect the smaller areas and those on the edge of the
city centre. Also because as it was
suggested that developers ‘want to pinch
bits’. It was asked how new and
small businesses were going to be nurtured when areas such as Cabot
Circus was mainly all large units and
national chain stores. Officers said
they expected things to change over time.
It was said this was an opportunity for BCC to be
bold. Yes many units were too big or
too old and what was required was a master planning
exercise. It was important to
understand where secondary and tertiary properties were and where
the scope was to bring people in.
Broadmead was said to be very low density but had good potential
for changes to be made, but the market wouldn’t
wait. Was it possible that Cabot Circus
was giving an artificial ranking when there was in really some
Officers said yes it was potentially City Centre
living that was protecting the night time economy.
Members suggested looking at some more good
international examples such as those in Germany as well as
Officers said they would return to the Commission
when the Plans were more developed to ensure Members agreed and
could feed into the process again. But
in the meantime they would welcome hearing from the Commission
Members about any further ideas they had.
The Commission thanked officers for their time and