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New gateway to Bristol through 'Eastern Entrance' of Temple Meads station takes shape

Bristol Temple Quay by Chris Hann

Work is forging ahead on the new gateway to Bristol as the new ‘Eastern Entrance’ to Temple Meads station begins to take shape - according to Bristol City Council.

The build of the new entrance is part of the Bristol Temple Quarter programme, one of the largest and most ambitious regeneration programmes in Europe funded by £94.7m of government funding secured by the Temple Quarter partners last year.

Since construction on the new station entrance began in early October, piling work into the ground next to Platform 15, which will eventually form the walls of the new underpass, has taken place.

Works to create a tunnel into the station which has also begun, will see around 250 cubic metres of material removed to form the new subway into the station.

The £23m Eastern Entrance is set to welcome its first rail travellers in late 2026. It is the first major piece of infrastructure delivery under the ambitious Temple Quarter regeneration programmes, which is being administered by the Mayoral Combined Authority.

Over the next 5-10 years, the first phase of the programme will see three new entrances delivered to the east, south and north of the station, alongside new homes, jobs, and public spaces around the station. In total, the programme aims to deliver 10,000 new homes, thousands of new jobs, and a £1.6bn annual boost to the regional economy.

Initial works to prepare for the delivery of the new entrance were carried out within the station in 2021, with funding by the Mayoral Combined Authority, to keep the programme on track before the government grant was secured.

Works are expected to finish in late October 2024, but the station entrance is not set to welcome its first passengers until September 2026 – to allow the development of the new University of Bristol Enterprise Campus to be completed and to then open at the same time.

Meanwhile Barings, one of the world’s largest diversified real estate investment managers, has acquired Soapworks, a mixed-use development in Bristol with a gross development value of £215 million. Barings has completed the investment on behalf of a retained client and will work with mixed-use developer, Socius, to deliver the scheme.

Soapworks will create a new district in Bristol city centre five minutes’ walk from both Temple Meads Station, Bristol’s main train station, and the new £500 million University of Bristol campus. Set within a new public square, it will comprise two new buildings alongside the restoration of a Grade II listed former soap factory that dates back to the 1860s.

The scheme has planning consent for 154,000 sq ft of flexible office accommodation which will target a BREEAM ‘Outstanding’ rating and aim for net-zero carbon in operation, as well as 243 build-to-rent (BTR) apartments, 20% of which will be for affordable tenures, and 18,800 sq ft of flexible ground floor retail, hospitality and leisure space. The workspace will be divided into 18,000 sq ft in the existing Grade II-listed building and 136,000 sq ft in a new building which will aim to address the shortage of modern, sustainable workspace in the city, which has a high graduate retention rate of 51% and current office availability of just 106,000 sq ft, less than half the five-year average.

The proposed development is expected to deliver up to £200 million of social value according to independent consultant Social Value Portal, an additional 513 new net additional full time equivalent jobs within the Bristol economy, and £35 million per year of gross value-added contributed to the Bristol economy relating to new employment uses.

Barings will deliver the development in partnership with Socius, which conceived the scheme and secured planning consent and will be retained as development manager.

Darren Hutchinson, Managing Director and Head of UK Real Estate Transactions at Barings, said:

“Already a landmark in Bristol, Soapworks will be an iconic place to live and work in the city, with new and much-needed homes, Grade A office space, and a revamped public realm and vibrant ground-floor retail and hospitality. Working alongside Socius, we’re working to retain as much of the original buildings as possible, and thus the embodied carbon, so that we can create a first-class destination with as little environmental impact as possible. Due to the quality of this space, it will not only be a landmark within Bristol but be an example of excellent place-making across the UK.”

Below: CGI of Soapworks (courtesy Woods Bagot)


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