Bristol’s Mayor George Ferguson is announcing today, Tuesday 2nd June, that the derelict sorting office building and site adjacent to Temple Meads station has been acquired by Bristol City Council. The 2.1 hectare site is a key site within the Bristol Temple Enterprise Zone and has lain disused and derelict for over 17 years. The purchase of this strategic site means that the drawing up of more ambitious plans for the enterprise zone can now be progressed.

George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol said:

“This purchase is a game changer. For years I have been ashamed of this disgraceful eyesore that greets visitors to the city arriving by train. Since taking office at the end of 2012 I have been determined to deal with a situation that has been out of our control. Now that at long last we have ownership of the site we can plan more holistically alongside our plans for nearby Arena Island. Together these two sites have the potential to transform this crucial area behind Temple Meads and stimulate the development of St Philips Marsh.

“We now need to take time to think about the future of this area, alongside the arena planning application which is due to be submitted at the end of the summer. We must make sure that the plans for the arena and this site work together to create a vibrant new mixed use development and that the consultation process takes this fully into account.”

Colin Skellett, Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership said:

“This is great news, creating the opportunity to redevelop the worst site in Bristol and the one that the Prime Minister described as making the entrance to the city look like a war zone.

“Acquisition of this site creates the opportunity to transform the area and provide a new vibrant entry to the city and enterprise zone.”

Local Growth Minister James Wharton said:

“This is great news for Bristol. As everyone knows this site has been an eyesore for years and a real blight on the city. It’s why we’ve invested nearly £6 million to get these plans off the ground, which along with the Arena development will create hundreds of jobs for hard-working people and pump millions of pounds back into the local economy. It’s yet another example of how our Enterprise Zone programme is driving forward growth and delivering real benefits to local communities.”

The acquisition of the former sorting office follows the council’s purchase of Arena Island and 1-9 Bath Rd. Over the next few months further work will be carried out to review how these three important sites can work together to create a new quarter within the enterprise zone. This new opportunity will feed in to the planning application for the arena which is currently planned for the end of the summer.

The former sorting office site close to Temple Meads station and Arena Island contains two large interlinked disused buildings – a 1930’s sorting office and an adjoining 1970’s office building. The council plans to use the site for a mix of employment space with some residential use. The site has potential for waterfront offices and provides important links with other sites in the enterprise zone. It will bring better connections to Temple Meads station and could allow landing points for a new pedestrian bridge from Arena Island and links to a proposed floating pontoon cycleway and walkway connection to Temple Quay.

The purchase has been made possible through a grant of £5.425 million, from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG). The grant supported the transfer of Arena Island from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to Bristol City Council allowing funding agreed by the Mayor to acquire Arena Island to be used to buy the former sorting office at Cattle Market Road.