Engine Shed 2 project on track after city council gives green light to new innovation hub

November 10, 2017

Ambitious plans for a second Engine Shed innovation hub in Bristol were this week given the go-ahead by the city council, paving the way for increased long-term, sustainable and inclusive economic growth based on its model of collaboration.

Engine Shed 2 will enable it to bring new projects into the community and generate increased operating surplus to fund its outreach projects.  

The new space will also provide much-needed extra accommodation for SETsquared Bristol and other sector hubs while reusing an established city building without pressing on the need for new build.

Since its launch nearly four years ago in a disused heritage building at Temple Meads – part of Brunel’s original railway station – Engine Shed has helped created more than 700 jobs and added more than £8m to the local economy.

It has acted as a home for business incubators, including the world’s number SETsquared, as a base for a wide range of organisations linked to the growth of the economy as well as encouraging and staging collaborative projects to strengthen Bristol’s innovative tech and creative ecosystem.

Its success means it quickly ran out of space. Engine Shed 2, which is being progressed in partnership with developer Skanska, will reuse the derelict George and Railway pub on nearby Temple Circus.

The pub has remained unoccupied since the 1980s and has become an eyesore on a high-profile gateway site to the city centre.

The Engine Shed team will now work with partners to make sure that this building will become part of Engine Shed’s inclusive economic growth development.

Engine Shed director Nick Sturge said: “I am thrilled that the planning committee has seen the opportunity that Engine Shed 2 presents in a second iconic Bristol heritage site.

“Following on from the success of Engine Shed, and our proven custodianship of a listed building, we are now able to build on our inclusive economic growth plan that serves communities in Bristol and Bath. These are indeed exciting times.”

Bristol City Council’s planning committee went against their planning officer’s recommendation to unanimously approved the plans for Engine Shed 2.

Engine Shed hosts the recently launched Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator business incubator as well as SETsquared, along with apprenticeship provider Boomsatsuma, and collaborations such as GW4, TechSpark and Business West.

It has previously hosted the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), WebStart, JustEat, SomoGlobal, GamesBoosters, West of England Combined Authority (WECA), Social Enterprise Works, School for Social Entrepreneurs and others – supporting them in their journey.

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