Bristol Harbourside Essay

1890 words - 8 pages

Examine the redevelopment projects that have occurred in the Bristol Harbourside area over the last twenty years and evaluate their social and economic implications for local communities.
Bristol’s Harbourside overall redevelopment aim was to provide a fresh new creative area of the city consisting of leisure facilities, housing and offices; becoming one of the largest redevelopment projects in the world. The following text will examine Bristol’s Harbourside transformation and the knock on implications for the local community socially and economically.
Bristol's Harbourside area was once the original sight of the Port of Bristol. The Port of Bristol was once the central hub of Bristol’s ...view middle of the document...

Consequently many large cargo ships docked 7 miles downstream in the neighbouring ports of Avonmouth and Portbury instead. Competition from the new docks at Portbury and Avonmouth led to the closure of numerous industries in and around the Bristol docks; including lead-shot works, tobacco factories and a sand dredging industry. The closure of many industries left vast areas of Bristol’s Harbourside derelict, neglected and several unoccupied but listed buildings. (S-Cool. 2015) A considerable amount of the land was brownfield and contaminated. ( 2007) Much of this land was in multi- ownership, one of the senior stakeholders being the Imperial Tobacco; however they were disinterested in developing the area. As Bristol docks went into decline the city encountered a number of problems including mounting economic and social inequalities, some areas with high unemployment rates and large areas of derelict land. (S-Cool. 2015)
The first redevelopment project of the former Bristol Dockland area involved the restoration of the SS Great Britain, a historical vessel originally constructed in Bristol. (SS Great Britain. 2013) The restoration of the historical vessel attracted vast numbers of tourists and to this day still brings in between 150,000 and 200,000 visitors per year. The SS Great Britain confirmed that the dockland area was a valued location for redevelopment. In turn Lloyds TSB relocated their headquarters to the former Bristol Dockland area. The relocation of Lloyds TSB Headquarters caused a multiplier effect for a great boost in investment to the area. This new investment in Bristol’s Harbourside area brought with it economic benefits for the local area.
A key driver in Bristol’s Harbourside redevelopment was John Pontin, founder of the JT group which bought the lease on Bush House. Bush House, previously a Victorian tea warehouse on Narrow Quay that had become derelict due to commercial port operations moving downstream. The JT Group refurbished the historical building and it became the group’s headquarters as well as the Arnolfini art gallery on the lower floors. The Arnolfini is known for its revolutionary role in Bristol’s performing and visual arts scene. The former tea warehouse was the first building along Bristol’s Harbourside to be restored after the closure of Bristol’s Port to commercial shipping. Bush House’s renovation was a wide-ranging success as it not only breathed a new sense of life into a struggling area but it also acted as a catalyst and kick started the redevelopment of Bristol’s Harbourside. (University of Bristol. 2007) JT Group involvement in Bristol’s Harbourside didn’t end at Bush House. Bristol council and JT Group collaborated to preserve rusting and rotting dockland cargo sheds by transforming two of them into the Watershed Arts Centre. In addition JT Group continued to redevelop these vast derelict spaces along the Harbourside and put them to new valuable uses. The group helped to convert the...

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