The Western Harbour project area, why change is proposed, about the governance of the project, how to find out more.

Visit the Western Harbour project website Go to (opens new window) for further news and information.

The Western Harbour project area

The Western Harbour project area is at the western end of Bristol's Floating Harbour.  

To the north, the boundary follows Hotwells Road, Dowry Place and Oldfield Place, and includes the elevated flyover system.  

The central area includes the part of Spike Island west of Avon Crescent, Cumberland Basin and the Plimsoll Swing Bridge. 

To the south of the New Cut the boundary follows Brunel Way and Jessop Underpass. 

Western Harbour is part of a wider area identified in the Local Plan Review for Growth and Regeneration. Through further community consultation and engagement, a masterplan will be required to determine the future layout, height and massing and mix of uses. This process will inform the Local Plan Review. Find out more.

Western Harbour project area

Map of the Western Harbour project area

Why change is proposed at Western Harbour 

Aging infrastructure 

The existing 1960s road network needs significant investment. As the infrastructure gets older it costs more to maintain than it would to replace. Current estimates indicate the cost of replacing the highway structure would be around £50m. 


Bristol has a housing crisis, with around 16,000 people on the Bristol City Council housing waiting list in 2021. Western Harbour is a sustainable location for new homes. 

Sustainable location  

Western Harbour is mostly brownfield, previously developed land within walking and cycling distance of the city centre. This makes it a good location for the homes, jobs and public spaces people in Bristol need, while meeting the challenges of the climate and ecological emergencies and protecting greenspaces in and around the city.

A vision for Western Harbour 

No proposals have yet been designed for Western Harbour.  

The vision for Western Harbour was approved by Bristol City Council's Cabinet on 12 July, following a public consultation carried out earlier in the year.  

Inspired by community feedback, the vision is a result of an extensive programme of public engagement carried out in the second half of 2021 and a six week consultation that was open to the public in March. The vision: 

  • aims to reflect local people's hopes and aspirations for the area 
  • makes broad commitments to what kind of change will happen in the area 

Feedback from the engagement programme and public consultation is published on the Harbour Hopes website.

Read the vision for Western Harbour

Visit the Harbour Hopes website Go to (opens new window) to:

  • read the vision document 
  • find out what people said during the engagement programme held between September and December 2021  
  • find out what people said about the draft vision during the public consultation held between March and April 2022

The next phase of the project will be to develop a masterplan and associated delivery plan. The vision will be used to help to guide and inform the masterplan from the outset. The masterplan will set out in more detail what Western Harbour might look like in future, including where new homes, jobs, public spaces and infrastructure might go. Consultation and engagement will continue throughout the masterplanning stage and beyond. 

Project timeline 

September 2021 to December 2021: Harbour Hopes engagement 

10 March 2022 to 22 April 2022: Draft vision for Western Harbour consultation 

12 July 2022: Cabinet meeting

Autumn 2022: Bristol City Council chooses the masterplanning team 

  • Bristol City Council looks for the team who will take the vision forward 

Winter 2022 to spring 2024: Masterplan development

  • More detailed proposals for the area are developed alongside consultation with the community 

2025: Planning applications and approvals

  • Details of a scheme for the area are developed with ongoing consultation throughout 

2026: Work commences on the ground with a 6 year delivery timeframe 

Connected projects across the city

There are several projects happening in Bristol that will impact the Western Harbour project. We'll need to consider these projects as more detailed proposals for the area develop. 

The West of England Spatial Development Strategy and Bristol's emerging Local Plan Review will consider how the city will develop over the next 15 to 20 years. 

The Bristol Avon Flood Strategy sets out the vision and principles for better protecting homes and businesses from flooding from the river, with land affected all the way up to Netham Lock and beyond. The principles in this strategy will be considered in the context of Western Harbour through the masterplanning stages of the project. 

A4 Portway transport improvements will improve bus, cycling and walking journeys along one of the main routes to and from the Western Harbour area. An engagement exercise relating to this started in July 2022. However, a section of the A4 Portway (from Hotwell Road, Dowry Place and Oldfield Place, including the elevated flyover system) is not in the scope of the engagement exercise because it's part of the Western Harbour project. Feedback from all engagement and consultation activities will be shared between both projects. Find out more about the A4 Portway transport improvements Go to (opens new window). The engagement closes on 17 August 2022. 

The Harbour Operations Review is a review of how best to meet the statutory responsibilities of the Harbour taking place in 2021 to 2022. The opportunities around Western Harbour will need to be considered alongside this.   

The Clean Air Zone Go to (opens new window) seeks to improve air quality in Bristol for our health and our environment. Starting in summer 2022, a daily charge will apply to older and more polluting vehicles driving in the zone, which will be reinvested back into the local community.

Western Harbour Advisory Group (WHAG)

The Western Harbour Advisory Group (WHAG) 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 are published here.

Find out more

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