Bristol's Cumberland Basin: survey opens on major transformation plans

The road network was built in the 1960s and would cost around £40 million to improve. Credit: ITV West Country

People in Bristol are being asked to give feedback on plans to transform a major road system in the city which could make way for 2,500 new homes.

The Cumberland Basin - a key gateway to the city - could be redeveloped into an area called 'Western Harbour' with new homes, shops and green space.

A survey has opened today (Monday 19 August) and people in Bristol have until 15 September to give their views on the three options proposed.

What are the three options?


  • A new road on the Ashton Court side of the River Avon between the Portishead rail line and the river

  • A new bridge which would provide two lanes in both directions

  • Demolition of the Plimsoll Swing Bridge and all elevated roads in Hotwells and Spike Island


  • Merchants Road Bridge would be replaced by a four-lane bridge across the Cumberland Basin and a new bridge over the River Avon, near A Bond warehouse.

  • A new junction built with the A370 Jessop Underpass and A3029 Brunel Way.

  • Demolition of Plimsoll Bridge and all elevated roads, along with all bridges crossing the river.

The council admits this option is most likely the worst for noise and air quality impact. Credit: Bristol City Council


  • A combination of the first two approaches

  • A new road (one lane in each direction) on the western side of the River Avon, accessed via a new bridge

  • Another new bridge connecting Bedminster to Spike Island

  • Merchants Road bridge replaced with a two-way system

  • One-way system in Hotwells updated to create two-way streets and cycle lanes

  • Demolition of Plimsoll Bridge and all elevated roads, along with all bridges crossing the river.

According to the council this approach requires the most time to build and would cost the most. Credit: Bristol City Council

In 2017 Marvin Rees outlined his ambition to transform what he called the "ugly" Cumberland Basin and replace it with a new waterside residential area.

The council says the road system was built in the 1960s and is in desperate need of "significant investment" if it's to remain in use.

Bristol City Council estimate the cost of improving the road network would be around £40 million.

Marvin Rees once called the Cumberland Basin Credit: ITV West Country

It also says the area is "negatively impacted by traffic noise and emissions", but admits in two of the proposals that there would be significant environmental damage if new roads were built.

As well as 2,500 new homes, the proposals include student accommodation, new walking and cycling routes, offices and shops.

The survey will close on 15 September.