Outline planning permission granted for new University campus


The University of Bristol's new enterprise campus in Temple Quarter was today (Thursday 12th July) given the green light on the density and scale of its buildings and site access.

The new £300million campus, due to open in the 2021/22 academic year, will sit next to Bristol Temple Meads railway station and plans to be "at the forefront of digital and management research, education, skills and innovation".

The main changes to the initial proposals, put to residents and Bristol City Council, include reducing the height and changing the layout of the proposed student accommodation buildings on Arena Island and re-formatting the proposed developments on Cattle Market Road to improve access.

The new campus will see a significant increase in the number of staff and students at Bristol University. Plans include space for up to 800 staff, and 3,000 students more, with accommodation on site for up to 1,500 undergraduates and postgraduates.

An artist's impression of the new campus buildings (University of Bristol Press Office)

Members of the public are also included in part of the University's plans, echoing their development of Beacon House in 2015. An public cafe, waterfront and shops will bring the campus together.

Professor Guy Orpen, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol, said: “Our plans to develop the site of the former sorting office next to right beside Brunel’s iconic station are exciting for both the city and its University.

“We are committed to delivering a world-class centre for education, research, partnership and innovation that will be a success story not just for the University but for the city, its businesses, communities and citizens.

“Our vision is for an open and welcoming campus, with high-quality buildings and inspiring public spaces. We want citizens and visitors to spend time here, whether it's relaxing by the waterside, visiting a café, taking part in a workshop or working with the University to develop innovations for societal benefit.”

However, the campus has not been without its critics, with some students criticising the University's lavish spend on the new campus rather than focusing on student wellbeing.

Professor Hugh Brady, Vice Chancellor, told Epigram that the two are ‘two different lines of funding’; as the Government no longer provides capital funding for universities, Brady used the analogy that the money for the new campus is much like a mortgage that is borrowed and would not be used for day-to-day spending. The everyday spending of the University, he says, has ‘very much emphasised and prioritised spending on people’.

The development also comes as a part of Bristol city council's Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees said: "we are aiming to create a sustainable and flourishing new urban quarter for Bristol: a place that is welcoming to all – to live, work, study, enjoy leisure time and build on Bristol’s strengths as a world class city.”

The new enterprise zone will tie in to the new campus as part of re-generating the centre of Bristol. The University has made it clear that it intends on working with residents and communities to ensure minimal disruption.

Featured image: University of Bristol Press Office

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Cameron Scheijde

Former Editor | Co-Editor-in-Chief 2018-19 | Online Comment Editor, 2017-18