Nearly 300 people including local businesses, developers, community groups and local media came together on October 3rd for the latest Enterprise Zone event.

Heralded as the next step in the evolution of the zone, the event, held at the Passenger Shed at Temple Meads Station, set out to share the latest information from the key partners in the project – the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, Bristol City Council, the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) and Network Rail – and gave people the chance to feed back on the developments so far.

Delegates were able to see for the first time a preview of the Spatial Framework, including 3D modelling of how the Enterprise Zone could potentially look in 25 years time.

Being developed by Bristol City Council’s City Design Group, the Spatial Framework is part of the council’s simplified planning measures to help develop the Zone. It aims to bring the Zone to life and connect it to the surrounding parts of the city, showing an exciting blend of office buildings, residential areas, a new arena, a redeveloped railway station and interchange at Bristol Temple Meads, and new and improved road infrastructure. It will showcase a rich variety of spaces, from refurbishments to new builds, built to the highest standards of eco-efficiency and design.

The emerging Framework includes an illustrative image of an arena on the former Diesel Depot site. It was announced by the city council that a feasibility study is underway for a possible 12,000 seat arena, with costs ranging from £60-80 million. The draft study concludes that there is stakeholder support, market demand and operator interest for an arena in Bristol. A project funding model will now be developed, together with procurement and delivery solutions. The target start date for construction of the arena is autumn 2014, with work estimated to take around 18 months.

Workshops were also run during the morning by the HCA and Network Rail, which saw groups of up to 40 people participating in each session. In addition, there were a number of stalls, including:
Inward Investment – the new team from the four West of England unitary authorities being formed to drive business investment
Neighbourhood Planning – with groups from the residential areas around the zone including Redcliffe and Easton
Gigabit Bristol – the superfast broadband project that will create a ‘digital’ enterprise zone of connected companies across the city
City of Bristol College – now running their music technology courses from Temple Studios by Temple Meads
Low Carbon South West – sustainability being central to the development of the zone
Watershed – the hosts for the 90 Second Film Challenge and supporters of the wider creative and cultural arts projects in the zone.

Everyone that attended the event was asked to complete a feedback form, saying what they saw as the opportunities for the Enterprise Zone after what they’d just heard, and how they could help achieve them. An ideas wall also gave delegates the chance to pin up further thoughts about the project.

Some of the early feedback emerging from the morning showed a general consensus that there needs to be a flexible approach to delivery of the zone, with organic growth and targets needed. This was felt to be particularly important in the current economic climate. There was also a view that encouraging temporary use on some of the vacant sites – to date, Creative Common on Plot 3 and the new Severn Project agricultural scheme on the former Diesel Depot – is a positive move and helps to stimulate the area.

All the feedback will now be collated and a report will be produced. Look out for a further update in the next issue of the e-newsletter.

Key Milestones
The next key milestones in the project were also announced at the event:

– Early November – the West of England LEP will announce the allocation of £50 million of funding to deliver a range of infrastructure projects. Bristol Temple Quarter is seeking £20.85 million from this pot to deliver 17 pieces of infrastructure in and around the zone, including junction improvements, vehicle access links, bridges, walkways, public spaces and the remodelling of Temple Circus roundabout to improve access and traffic flow.

– Spring 2013 – the £20.85m programme of publicly-funded infrastructure works due to begin, including junction improvements, vehicle access links, bridges, walkways and public space.

– Spring 2013 – Temple Meads Station Development draft framework published

– March/April 2013 – consultation draft of the Spatial Framework completed.

– June 2013 – announcement of funding decision for capacity development for Network Rail.

– Spring 2013 – the Big Top reinstated on Plot 3, with a full programme of activities planned for the season to encourage people into the Zone.

– Spring 2014 – Initial work begins to deliver schemes outlined in Network Rail’s Strategic Business Plan, which, subject to funding, could include the redevelopment of Bristol Temple Meads Station and four-tracking of Filton Bank.

– Autumn 2014 – construction work to potentially start on a new arena on the former Diesel Depot site.

– 2015 – New signalling infrastructure in Bristol is commissioned. Electrification of the Bristol railway should be completed by 2017.