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The future of the city centre

The City Centre Development and Delivery Plan (the Plan) will review how the centre operates, how people use and enjoy it and consider the types of change and investment needed to make sure the city centre meets the needs of people from across Bristol now and in the future.

We are going to be looking at how the city centre needs to change to respond and adapt to current and future challenges and how it could become a leading example of inclusive and sustainable recovery. We want to make ambitious, creative plans which will support the regeneration and transformation of the city centre. This page gives an overview of some of the main opportunities and possibilities the project is considering and asks for your feedback.

We would appreciate your feedback on the future of the city centre.  When you answer these questions remember that this project is focussing on a specific part of the city centre. As a reminder of the study area, click here.

As you progress through the survey, click on the drop-down boxes under each topic to read more about the opportunities this project is looking at. We recommend that you read through this information before answering the questions for each section.

Please note that this survey is intended to be completed by members of the public. If you are responding on behalf of a group please feel free to complete relevant parts the survey or send us an email. We intend to contact landowners and businesses with a separate survey over the next few weeks – to register to receive this, please provide your details here.

If you would the survey in an alternative format, please get in touch. We would appreciate your responses by Friday 27 May 2022.

About you

1. Are you responding:



1a. If on behalf of a group or organisation please tell us which one:

1b. If you are responding as an individual, please share your postcode to help us identify which area you are responding from:

Please note that we will not store your postcode data. It will be used to automatically identify the area of the city you are responding from and then will be automatically discarded.

2. Typically how often do you visit the city centre/make use of facilities there at the moment?







2a. If you ticked rarely or never please tell us why this is?

3. What are the main reasons you visit the city centre at the moment?

Tick all that apply








4. What one thing would encourage you to come to the city centre more often?

5. What three words would you use to describe the city centre at the moment? For the area we are referring to, click here.


Character and use

Through this Plan we need to define what we want the city centre city to look and feel like in the future. We will be considering what buildings, facilities, spaces and infrastructure are needed in the city centre to help develop its identity, support a thriving economy and address the city-wide challenges.

We will be looking at:

  • What will make this part of the city centre unique or special going forward
  • How to build on the strengths and heritage of the city centre
  • What role and function the city centre should have in future
  • How the city centre’s role should differ from or support that of the surrounding areas, rather than compete with them.

In particular we will be considering if, how, and to what extent the city centre can best support:

  • Shopping, especially spaces which will help to support retailers adapt and diversify in response to trends in shopping
  • Housing and local facilities to encourage more people to live in the city centre
  • A variety of sports, leisure and entertainment facilities
  • Improved spaces for cultural activities, events and community uses
  • An improved network for streets to help people move around easily and safely
  • A more vibrant night time economy and entertainment offer, and how this can be compatible with other uses
  • Facilities for tourists and visitors
  • Facilities for families, to encourage them to spend time in the city centre
  • Growth of essential services like the hospitals, health care and education
  • Buildings and spaces for businesses and employers, including for creative and green industries.


6. What three words would you use to describe what you hope the city centre will look or feel like in the future? For the area we are referring to, click here.

7. What one thing do you think could make Bristol city centre stand out, or be unique in the future?

7a. How important is it to you that the city centre has each of the following things in the future?

A wide range of shops

Please choose on the scale

Cafés and restaurants

Please choose on the scale

Housing and local facilities

Please choose on the scale

Sports, leisure and entertainment

Please choose on the scale

Spaces for cultural activities, events and community uses

Please choose on the scale

Green and open spaces

Please choose on the scale

A vibrant night time economy/entertainment offer

Please choose on the scale

Places and spaces for young people

Please choose on the scale

Facilities for tourists and visitors

Please choose on the scale

Facilities and activities for families

Please choose on the scale

Space for businesses and employers

Please choose on the scale

7b. Are there other facilities or activities that you would like to see in the city centre in the future?

Economy and skills

The city centre plays a critical role in Bristol’s economy.  At the moment the central area is very retail focussed.  We know that retail will need to adapt and change in response to trends in shopping. 

This Plan will look at how to continue to support and future proof a thriving retail sector going forward, but also consider opportunities to diversify the city centre economy.  It will carefully consider the potential future economic role of the city centre in the context of emerging plans for other areas of the city. 

The Plan will look at opportunities to:

  • Support the retail sector as it adapts and diversifies in response to trends in shopping, for example by providing flexible spaces which can be adapted over time
  • Encourage the short-term use of temporarily empty buildings and spaces to support businesses and animate spaces
  • Support major events and festivals as key boosts to the local economy
  • Support tourism, culture and arts sectors of the economy
  • Support an increase in space for businesses, including start-up and scale-up businesses and creative and green industries, complementing the roles that other parts of the city will play in accommodating these land uses in the future
  • Enable access to community learning, skills and employment
  • Develop the night time economy, as a key contributor to employment as well as adding vibrancy and character to the area.

8a. How do you think we can best support the city centre economy in the longer term?

Tick your top 3







8b. Are there any other things you think are needed to support the city centre economy?

Housing

Bristol, like much of the country, is in the midst of a significant housing crisis and we know that provision of affordable housing is one of the biggest priorities for residents.

65,000 homes are needed over the next 20 years and currently there are around 16,000 people on the Council’s housing waiting list.  Bristol is working hard to deliver the homes its population needs; in the places it needs them and at costs people can afford.  Going forward the city centre needs to play a part in meeting this demand.

In the future the city centre must transform itself into a more liveable neighbourhood, with more housing, which appeals to a wider range of people and balances the need for student accommodation with a broader housing offer.

This Plan will be looking at opportunities to:

  • Provide a mix of rented and privately owned housing in the central area, including homes which are genuinely affordable
  • Deliver a wider range of house types to suit different people (for example housing to suit families and older people as well as students and young professionals)
  • Achieve the right balance between student accommodation and other housing types
  • Provide homes which are flexible enough to adapt to people’s needs (for example as families grow, or to enable disabled and older people to stay in their homes if requirements change)
  • Design homes which have access to private outdoor spaces (which are typically not always found in city centre housing) via courtyards, balconies and roof spaces
  • Ensure city centre homes have access to shared outdoor parks, sports and public spaces
  • Provide easy access to local amenities such as local shops, community and health care facilities, childcare and education, sports and leisure facilities within walking distance
  • Ensure any new housing has the highest sustainability performance and efficiency, helping to avoid fuel poverty.

9a. Who do you think city centre housing should be aiming to provide for in the future?

Tick your top 3






9b. How important do you think the following are in terms of helping to make the city centre an attractive place to live?

Low cost/ affordable homes

Please choose on the scale

Mix of house types and sizes 

Please choose on the scale

Flexible accommodation that can adapt to people’s needs over time

Please choose on the scale

Homes which provide private outdoor spaces

Please choose on the scale

Access to shared outdoor spaces for residents

Please choose on the scale

Local facilities provided nearby

Please choose on the scale

9c. Would you consider living in the city centre in the future?




9d. Please tell us why you answered yes/no/maybe – what would attract you to city living, or why might you feel it is not for you?

9e. Do you have any other comments on the topic of housing in the city centre?

Movement

This Plan must rethink the way people move to and through the city centre and consider bold longer term solutions.The city has made a commitment through the One City Plan to make sustainable travel the first choice and we must work hard to provide realistic, dependable alternatives to car use.

Lots of good work is already underway but we know from previous surveys that people want to see more action to deliver cleaner air, less congestion and more opportunity for buses, walking and cycling. Achieving this is likely to require trades offs and bold decisions.

We are already working hard to tackle transport issues.This includes recent work to improve bus prioritisation, create pedestrian zones and space for cycling, develop cycle hire facilities and plan the Clean Air Zone (which will be implemented later this year) as well as continued investment in our rail network and further development of proposals for a future mass transit system. We have also undertaken a trial of e-scooters as part of a UK Government trial in four areas of the country. The Council is also separately progressing plans to support electric vehicle charging, car sharing and last mile delivery schemes.

This Plan will look at new opportunities to go further and:

  • Create more low traffic areas or accessible pedestrian spaces in the city centre
  • Reimagine key city centre streets and spaces, for example St James Barton Roundabout, to look at how space could be reallocated to other modes and other land uses
  • Redesign streets to provide better connections to and across the city centre for, buses, pedestrians and cycle users
  • Further improve public transport connections to and through the city centre including interchange between modes
  • Support the introduction of new solutions for moving people through and to the city, including mass transit
  • Consolidate parking (both on and off street) into the most appropriate areas while retaining access for those groups which need to travel by car to improve the streetscape and free up space for different land uses
  • Encourage reductions in service and delivery vehicle movements through consolidation, cycle delivery schemes, access restrictions and new technologies.


10a. How important are each of the following to how you move around the city centre?

Low traffic areas or accessible pedestrian spaces

Please choose on the scale

Good quality routes for pedestrians

Please choose on the scale

Good quality routes for cyclists

Please choose on the scale

More space and priority to buses

Please choose on the scale

Opportunities to change between modes of transport

Please choose on the scale

Spaces to park for those that need them most

Please choose on the scale

10b. What other improvements would you like to see for how people move around the city centre?

Streets, parks and public spaces

This Plan will look at how we can rethink our city centre streets, parks and public spaces to meet the everyday needs of a healthy community, help to create climate resilient spaces and contribute to the city centre’s wider leisure and cultural offer. We know from previous surveys that providing more green and open spaces is a top priority for residents.  However, within a constrained city centre environment and with competing pressures this will involve creative and innovative thinking and bold plans.

This Plan will look at opportunities to:

  • Create multifunctional outdoor spaces which provide open areas for people to enjoy but also act as habitats for nature and help to manage climate change impacts
  • Improve existing parks and open spaces, in particular Castle Park and St James' Park
  • Redesign streets to make them safe, greener, nicer spaces in their own right
  • Create spaces for community, cultural, and social and events, both indoors and outdoors
  • Create spaces which appeal to all ages and spaces
  • Improve connections and green links between parks, public spaces and the waterfront
  • Provide green spaces in new ways, for example on roof tops, terraces and balconies
  • Link to and promote the city’s heritage
  • Look for new ways to fund enhanced public spaces.


11a. How important is it to you that the city centre includes the following types of public spaces?

Space for children to play

Please choose on the scale

Spaces for young people

Please choose on the scale

Spaces for sitting / relaxing

Please choose on the scale

Spaces for sport / exercise

Please choose on the scale

Spaces for walking

Please choose on the scale

Spaces for nature and wildlife

Please choose on the scale

Outdoor spaces for events and activities

Please choose on the scale

Indoor spaces for events and activities

Please choose on the scale

11b. Do you have any other comments on the topic of streets, parks and public spaces? 

Nature

The Ecological Emergency Strategy sets ambitious goals to confront the decline of nature and aims for 30% of land in Bristol to be managed for the benefit of wildlife by 2030. As the most urbanised part of Bristol, the city centre has little greenery and lacks wildlife connections. If the Ecological Emergency Strategy targets are to be met and the city is to become more climate resilient it will be necessary to significantly increase green space, habitat space and the number of trees. However, this is difficult in this urban setting, where much of the area is built up and there are competing demands for space.

This Plan will look at opportunities to:

  • Establish green, nature friendly links which connect green spaces across the city
  • Plant trees and create rain gardens within the streetscape to provide habitats and act as sustainable drainage systems
  • Enhance and create more diverse habitats for nature within parks and across the city for example by planting more trees and wildflowers
  • Enhance habitats and improve water quality, for example by planting reed beds and using floating planters alongside the edge of the floating harbour
  • Encourage new development to provide green walls, green/living roofs and trees within private property
  • Consider new ways to fund the planting and maintenance of trees and nature friendly habitats within private property.

12. Do you have any other ideas that could help us better manage spaces for wildlife and nature in the city centre?

Climate change

The One City Climate Strategy aims for Bristol aims to become carbon neutral and climate resilient by 2030. This Plan will consider climate in the broadest sense and will look at what steps need to be taken to ensure the future city centre can become climate resilient. One thing is clear, if we are to reach our targets we need everyone to work together.

The Plan will look at opportunities to:

  • Work with and support businesses to put in place their own plans to reduce carbon and support them to deliver these
  • Respond to climate change and flood risk for example through use of green/sustainable drainage and creating flood resilient spaces and buildings
  • Use more sustainable forms of energy, for example through expansion of the heat network (a system of underground pipes that currently delivers affordable low carbon heat and energy to some city centre businesses and homes)
  • Design new and adapt existing buildings and spaces to provide cooling and shading and better deal with increasing temperatures
  • Provide spaces which are adaptable, flexible and maximising use of existing and future city centre assets
  • Adapt buildings to be energy efficient and support them to be reused, therefore reducing carbon emissions from demolition and replacement.

13a. Do you have any other ideas that could help the city centre reduce its carbon emissions and become more resilient to future climate change?

Castle Park

Castle Park is a brilliant asset for the city centre. It is a popular place and an important part of Bristol’s heritage and culture. Going forward it has an essential role to play in the identity, ecological health and wellbeing of the city. However, the park is facing a number of challenges. In the future the park will be under increasing pressure, as population increases.

The Plan will look at opportunities to:

  • Improve safety, access and connectivity
  • Create a clearer network of paths for pedestrians and cycle users
  • Create space for children to play
  • Better connections to the floating harbour
  • Enhance the biodiversity of the park.

14a. What do you love about Castle Park at the moment/what would you want to keep?

You can either give us your views on this area here, or after submitting the survey you can drop comments onto our interactive map (which you will be redirected to upon completion of this survey).

14b. What would you change about Castle Park or like to see that is not there now?

You can either give us your views on this area here, or after submitting the survey you can drop comments onto our interactive map (which you will be redirected to upon completion of this survey).

St James Barton (The Bearpit and St James’ Park)

St James Barton Roundabout, known locally as ‘The Bearpit’ is a key connection in the transport network and one of the busiest junctions in the city. The volume of traffic and number of traffic lanes means the junction is difficult for pedestrians and cyclists and a cause of delay to buses despite recent improvements. The central space has undergone a number of transformations over the years. Despite changes which have improved the area the subways and public spaces remain uninviting, particularly at night.

St James’ Park, adjacent to the roundabout, has an important history, once being a burial ground for one of the city’s oldest churches. However, over the years St James’ Park has become cut off from the rest of the city and been subject to increasing traffic around its perimeter. It has become an uninviting and unsafe place in recent times.

The Plan will look at opportunities to:

  • Review how traffic moves through and around this part of the city
  • Prioritise walking, cycling and use of public transport in this area
  • Integrate emerging plans for improvements to the public transport network
  • Improve the public spaces
  • Make St James' Park more inviting and encourage greater use
  • Promote the park's heritage, enhance its biodiversity and link it to other green spaces in the city.

15a. What do you love about St James Barton (The Bearpit and St James’ Park) at the moment/what would you want to keep?

You can either give us your views on this area here, or after submitting the survey you can drop comments onto our interactive map (which you will be redirected to upon completion of this survey).

15b. What would you change about St James Barton (The Bearpit and St James’ Park) or like to see that is not there now?

You can either give us your views on this area here, or after submitting the survey you can drop comments onto our interactive map (which you will be redirected to upon completion of this survey).

16. Please use this space for any other comments you may have on the future of the city centre.