Western Harbour

Western Harbour

Western Harbour regeneration opportunities, proposed timeline of the project and information about the Western Harbour Advisory Group.

Engagement update due to COVID-19

We're pausing all council engagement activity until the situation changes. We're following government guidance on public safety and feel it's not appropriate to be undertaking any proactive engagement at this time.

We remain fully committed to engaging with communities, business and stakeholders before progressing any plans for Western Harbour and will restart the planned engagement activity once it is safe to do so.

In the meantime should you wish to share your views you can use our online feedback form.

The Western Harbour area

Western Harbour is the area (jpg, 2.4MB) (opens new window) around the Cumberland Basin, which stretches from Baltic Wharf in the east to beyond where the River Avon meets the floating harbour in the west.

To the south, the area follows Coronation Road and Clift House Road then continues to take in the A370 Jessop Underpass and A3029 Brunel Way and extends west to the Portishead railway line.

To the north the Plimsoll Swing Bridge, the boundary follows Hotwells Road, Dowry Place and Oldfield Place.

The challenge and opportunity 

Western Harbour is a key element of the continuing regeneration of Bristol’s city centre and the floating harbour. 

The Cumberland Basin road system and Plimsoll Bridge were constructed in the 1960s and is nearing the end of its lifecycle. It requires significant maintenance investment of approximately £40 million to be replaced in the current layout. The surrounding environment is also currently negatively impacted by traffic noise and emissions, while walking and cycling routes are indirect and confusing.

The visual appearance and setting of the area is also harmed by the current road system, which is home to iconic views of Clifton Suspension Bridge, the Avon Gorge, Ashton Court and Bristol Harbour. The shortage of affordable housing and the climate emergency are also some of the biggest challenges facing Bristol. 

Rationalising and reorganising the road network presents an opportunity to unlock space to build sustainable homes close to the city centre, create new job opportunities, provide sustainable travel options, create good quality public space for all Bristol residents and improve access to the water. This will support Bristol’s economy by improving connections between homes, jobs and the rest of the city. 

The aspiration 

The draft Bristol Local Plan Review (pdf, 7.8MB) (opens new window) sets out the aspirations for Western Harbour. This includes: 

  • 2,500 new homes with a mix of types, sizes and tenures 
  • creating workspace, retail and leisure opportunities 
  • redesigning the road system 
  • high quality green and public spaces 
  • new walking and cycling routes to connect the neighbourhood to the city centre, surrounding areas, public transport and the wider cycle network

Public consultation on the Bristol Local Plan Review took place in spring 2019. See summary of responses

Indicative process  

Early 2020: early engagement to get your views

Start of the formal development process

2 years

  • masterplan development in collaboration with communities, businesses and stakeholders

2 years

  • scheme development
  • planning applications, funding and delivery route

6 years plus

  • scheme delivery
  • works start on the ground

Indicative process infographic (jpg, 526KB) (opens new window)


Western Harbour is an opportunity for all of Bristol. We'll work collaboratively with communities, businesses and other stakeholders to make sure the area meets everyone’s needs and will seek to create:

  • environmentally friendly location with affordable homes and a thriving community
  • space for new and existing businesses to strengthen Bristol’s economy, bringing families and customers to the city centre and North Street
  • improved access to the waterfront and enhance the local heritage, making a destination all of Bristol can use and enjoy
  • improved sustainable travel connections between homes, jobs and the rest of the city
  • sympathetic flood prevention, future proofing Western Harbour and the wider area

Sharing your views

There will be many opportunities to share your views throughout the development process. A number of initial engagement meetings with communities, businesses and stakeholders will be held in early 2020 to provide an update of where we are with the project and seek views.

You can also share your views using our online feedback form. The feedback will be checked regularly and will feed into the Western Harbour project development. If you'd like to be kept up to date as the project progresses and be part of any future discussions please provide your contact details.

What’s happened so far

In 2018, a review started on the Bristol Local Plan. This included consultation on Policy DS4: Western Harbour. 

To help us better understand what options were available for Western Harbour’s transport network, a Transport Feasibility Study was prepared by engineering consultancy Arup. The study assessed 10 approaches to replace the ageing road network around the Cumberland Basin with new routes across the River Avon. 

In August and September 2019, we sought feedback on early proposals to change the road layout at the Cumberland Basin. The Western, Eastern and Hybrid approaches scored the highest against criteria identified in the Transport Feasibility Study. The purpose of the engagement exercise was to:   

  • raise awareness of the Western Harbour regeneration proposals and answer any questions as early as possible 
  • begin to understand what people thought of the different road layouts 
  • start exploring peoples’ priorities for the area

Responses highlighted priorities for the area including heritage, open space, reduced pollution and views of the gorge. See Western Harbour engagement report

Western Harbour Advisory Group 

The Western Harbour Advisory Group was established in October 2019. It includes local community representatives, businesses and other interested parties. The role of the group is to help shape the Western Harbour alongside the wider community. As agreed by the Advisory Group, the Terms of Reference, agenda, attendees and notes from the meetings will be published.

Western Harbour Advisory Group: minutes of meeting, 22 February 2020 (pdf, 81KB) (opens new window)

Western Harbour Advisory Group: minutes of meeting, 29 January 2020 (pdf, 56KB) (opens new window)

Western Harbour Advisory Group Terms of Reference (pdf, 98KB) (opens new window)

Western Harbour Advisory Group agenda (pdf, 86KB) (opens new window)

Western Harbour Advisory Group meeting notes, 22 October 2019 (pdf, 175KB) (opens new window)

Western Harbour Advisory Group meeting notes, 27 November 2019 (pdf, 54KB) (opens new window)

Connected projects across the city

There are several other projects that are taking place across Bristol, all of these relate to Western Harbour’s regeneration proposals at some level as they do to other areas across the city. These will be integrated and form part of development  discussions and proposals as they comes forward.

Air quality

Air quality in the central area of Bristol is above legal limits. We have an ambitious plan to tackle this.  

Harbour Review

There is a wider review about to take place around the whole of the harbour and what happens to Western Harbour is an integral part of that.  

Bristol Flood Risk Strategy

Flood risk is a critical issue within and around the waterways of central Bristol. A long term strategy for managing the risk from the River Avon is being developed, with engagement around the strategy taking place in 2020. 

Bristol Local Plan Review

Formal consultation has concluded on the latest draft of the Local Plan Review (pdf, 7.8MB) (opens new window)