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Passionate Hotwells residents call for rethink on Western Harbour project in Bristol

The Mayor of Bristol tried to reassure residents that no final decisions had been made yet Credit: Bristol Live

Residents in the area around Cumberland Basin made their stance against the proposed transformation of the area clear as they met the the Mayor of Bristol.

Holy Trinity Church in Hotwells was packed as locals met with Marvin Rees to discuss plans to radically alter the road network, as part of the Western Harbour project.

Some people who spoke up said they were concerned about the way in which the process was being handled by Bristol City Council. Credit: Bristol Live

The passionate crowd called on the Mayor to rethink removing the existing Plimsoll Bridge and the 1960s concrete road system of Brunel Way from Ashton Gate to Hotwells.

Instead they want the bridge to be retained and refurbished rather than replacing it with one of two options:

  • A road through Ashton Meadows to a new bridge across the Avon Gorge to the Portway,
  • A new dual carriageway into the heart of Hotwells close to the Nova Scotia pub.
A show of hands from the couple hundred in attendance revealed the majority of people supported refurbishing the existing bridge Credit: Bristol Live

They was also a lot of concern about the proposals online.

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Mr Rees revealed he would rather direct the A370 dual carriageway road that crosses the River Avon and the Cumberland Basin into a tunnel - but that option was too expensive.

He also spoke about the current housing crisis in the city, citing the project as an opportunity to tackle it. Many of the residents who spoke had said they were not against new housing being built as part of the scheme.

The city is going to grow by about 96,000 people in the next 25 years. The need to physically develop Bristol is there. So the challenge we need to take on in that context is how do we provide homes for people that people can afford to live in, in a way that minimises the price the planet pays for our rapid urbanisation.

People have been talking for a long time about the possibility of bringing homes to this part of the city. Should we put £40 million into maintaining a bridge, or should we explore all the options that are available to us if we were to make that £40 million for bringing that area forward for regeneration - and that’s all we’ve done.

– Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol
Marvin Reevs says he is keen for people from the Council who are working on the scheme, to go through plans with residents Credit: Bristol Live

I’ve not said much about this publicly, but I have been quite dismayed on occasion about the level of confusion, conflict and conspiracy that’s been floating around about it. Some of it may have been ham-fisted in some sense, and I don’t think it’s been a perfect process, but I can tell you where we are in the process is the trigger has not even been pulled.

– Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol