Bristol City Council’s Cabinet will meet on 7 March to consider the deal between Bristol City Council and the University of Bristol that could see a new Temple Quarter Campus built on land close to Bristol Temple Meads train station.

If agreed at Cabinet, Bristol City Council would sell the council’s freehold interest in the derelict former sorting office and the remaining land on Arena Island that is not required for the arena development, for the development of a new campus. The campus will include a Digital Innovation Hub, a ‘business school of the future’ and a student residential village.

The award-winning university business incubator SetSquared in Engine Shed and the Engine Shed 2 development are also likely to form part of the broader campus. Through collaboration with industry partners in research, teaching and innovation, the campus will lead in the further development of the digital economy in Bristol and the West of England.

The new university campus will be an important anchor for the regeneration of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone and will attract other businesses to locate in the area. Business rate income from the university is likely to be lower than from a purely commercial deal, however it is expected that the university development would accelerate and give more certainty to the development of other sites in the Enterprise Zone. This would bring forward business rate income more quickly from those sites and coupled with the nearby arena development the campus would bring a more diverse range of uses to the area.

Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees said:

“This is an important deal for consideration by Cabinet that could see the development of a major new campus for the University of Bristol and the acceleration of development in the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. The derelict land close to the station has been a blight on the city for too long and this deal could offer an exceptional opportunity to create a flourishing and inclusive home of digital excellence, innovation, education and industry. It could also bring forward more quickly jobs and opportunities for our citizens from other sites in the area.”

If approved full transfer of the land would take place once demolition of the former sorting office has been completed and the University of Bristol has achieved planning approval.
The net income for the council from the sale of the land is expected to be between £11 and £16m once costs for land acquisition, remediation, demolition and other associated costs have been taken into account.