£5m boost for Bristol’s Enterprise Zone

March 29, 2012

The Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) is putting up £5m to buy two properties adjacent to Temple Meads Station for the proposed Enterprise Zone creative industries hub and improved transport links in the heart of the city.

Some £3.8m will go to Bristol City Council to enable it to buy Brunel’s Old Station building which is currently owned by British Empire and Commonwealth Museum.

The move brings it into public ownership while detailed plans for the building and adjoining land are developed. It could enable parts of the building to be used for a new platform for fast trains between Bristol and London. The remaining space will be allocated as studio space and conference facilities to support the growth of creative industries within the Enterprise Zone.

Brunel’s Old Station building, which includes The Passenger Shed and Brunel’s Boardroom, will continue to be used as an event and conference facility.

A further £1.2m is to be used by the HCA to buy the Pest Control Depot from the council in Cattle Market Road and support the relocation of the existing facility to a new purpose built depot elsewhere in the city. Part of the land will be used to help provide a new access road and bridge to the former Diesel Depot site which is already owned by the HCA. The rest of the site will be redeveloped for uses which support the Enterprise Zone project.

David Warburton, HCA head of area, said: “These sites form important parts of wider plans to deliver an exciting, thriving area for creative organisations and individuals in Bristol. It’s vital that Brunel’s Old Station is used to its full potential, whether that be to support Network Rail Western’s plans for improved transport links, or provide improved workspace and facilities for companies who want to be based here. Working with the City Council to acquire the building will allow us to do that.

“There is a great deal of work ahead to make this project a success, but the pieces needed to create and sustain local economic growth are starting to come together and I know people will feel excited by that.”

Council leader Barbara Janke said: “This major investment helps unlock two important key sites on the Enterprise Zone site and will help accelerate progress. Taking over ownership of the Old Station building gives the council the flexibility to support the long-term development of Temple Meads and the adjoining land.”

LEP chairman Colin Skellett said: "This announcement marks a crucial step forward in our ambitious plans for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. Land ownership has traditionally held back this site over decades, so this investment by the HCA will help solve two key pieces in the jigsaw."

Patrick Hallgate, Network Rail Western’s route managing director, said: “We greatly welcome the move by HCA. Rail demand in Bristol is burgeoning with a forecast growth of 44% by the end of the decade.  We need to grow the railway to cater for this boom and there is potential to do so by redeveloping the land, buildings and railway in the Bristol area.  A shared vision and firm support from key players such as HCA and the council will be instrumental in helping us shape a successful rail strategy that also fits in with the enterprise zone’s vision for the future of Bristol.”

The HCA is currently working with creative companies and community groups to agree temporary uses for two of its sites in the Enterprise Zone, the Diesel Depot and part of Plot 3, Temple Quarter, which is currently used as a car park. It is anticipated that these will be made available for a range creative projects in May with initial work due to start at Plot 3 in the next few days.




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