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Decision deferred on giant expansion plans for Cribbs Causeway

Giant Gromit stands guard at the Mall - which is set to become even bigger Credit: ITV News

A giant Gromit stands guard outside the Mall at Cribbs Causeway but it is hard to tell what Bristol's favourite pooch thinks of equally giant plans to transform the shopping centre.

A scheme to extend The Mall shopping centre at Cribbs Causeway, almost doubling it in size has been deferred by South Gloucestershire councillors today.

It's expected 3,000 construction jobs and 3,750 permanent roles would be created if the £300 million project is approved.

£300m
Cost of the project
3,000
Construction jobs
3,750
Permanent roles
An artist's impression of just part of the giant transformation planned for the Mall Credit: M&G Real Estate

But both Bristol City Council and Bath and North East Somerset Council are opposed to the scheme because of the effect they say it will have on other shopping centres.

John Hirst from Destination Bristol is deeply concerned.

The planning application for the Mall would create:

  • Retail, leisure, restaurant and residential facilities
  • Multi-storey car park and hotel
  • Events plaza for independent shops, markets and live performances
  • A new bus station for the community of the Cribbs Patchway New Neighbourhood (CPNN) and accommodating the new Metrobus services.
  • A pedestrian/cycle bridge to link to the new community on the former Filton Airfield
  • High quality, sustainable pedestrian and cycle linkages through the site

Our proposals will bring great benefits to the growing community in Cribbs Causeway. The investment proposed will have an enormously positive impact, not just in terms of economic contribution but also job creation and in defining the heart of this fast evolving part of the South West.

We are also pleased to confirm this package of infrastructure measures, which has been agreed in close consultation with the Council and other key local stakeholders. They reflect our commitment to ensure any development at The Mall aligns with community needs and benefits the Cribbs Patchway area as a whole, as well as our loyal customer base.

– Philip Vaughan, Director of Development and Construction at M&G Real Estate

You can find out more about the plans here.

Visitors to the Mall view the plans Credit: ITV News

While these plans sound exciting and impressive, other communities are deeply concerned about the impact such a huge transformation will have.

Five local authorities in the area have objected, arguing that this is not just a problem for Bristol.

Here is a full statement from Bristol Mayor, George Ferguson:

"This massive out-of-town development will see Cribbs Causeway nearly double in size and create a retail area that is larger than the whole of Swindon’s town centre! There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that this is bad news for Bristol and Bath and businesses in the neighbouring areas.

"I have seen reports which state that one in twelve shops in Bristol city centre could close down and we could see a £150 million decrease in retail turnover here, that is over 10% of the current total. Cribbs Causeway would take away a substantial amount of trade from independent businesses that thrive here in Bristol, taking the gloss of the applicants’ bland claims that the development would create thousands of jobs and contribute millions to the local economy. The reverse would be true for Bristol.

"I am also extremely concerned that there has not been a proper assessment regarding the damaging impact that this development will have on transport. It is bound to have a serious impact on local traffic congestion, particularly in Henbury, Westbury-on-Trym, Southmead, Horfield and Lockleaze. I also believe this development would result in a worsening of local air quality and an increase in greenhouse gas emissions. This flies in the face of existing government policy surrounding major developments.

"Over the next few weeks I shall be speaking with local businesses and seeking their advice about the best way forward. I will also be raising this issue directly with the Secretary of State, Greg Clark, as I do not want to see our high streets damaged by a poorly planned development that could have devastating consequences for Bristol, Bath and beyond."