Work Starts on £95m Bristol Wapping Wharf Site Development

Thursday, 28th March 2013

Work has started on one of the biggest housing developments in Bristol since the start of the recession, the Wapping Wharf site close to the Harbourside. The scheme to build more than 600 new homes, a hotel and new shops and offices, has been able to commence with the help of a £12m Government grant. The new development will be built on land between the M shed museum and Cumberland Road which is currently being used as a car park.


The team behind the project, developers Umberslade and Bristol-based architects Alec French, will be finalising detailed designs with the aim of tendering for contractors by the end of the month. The successful bidder will be appointed by the end of June, so work on the main building contract can start this summer.


Umberslade Director Stuart Hatton said "This scheme is one of the final pieces in the jigsaw to regenerate Bristol's Harbourside. We could not have made the progress we have over the last few months without the support from Bristol City Council, particularly their planning and property departments who have been collaborating closely with us. We have been given a green light and now its full steam ahead as we prepare for the summer to enable main works on the first phase to get under way"


In recent days large machinery has moved to the site to prepare for the start of remediation and ground works. The work, which will last for up to ten weeks, will clear the dirt and level the site in preparation for the first two residential buildings, Block A and C, and the new pedestrian walkway which will be known as Gaol Ferry Steps.


An archaeological excavation of the site has already been carried out. A team were on site for ten weeks during the winter, recovering evidence of industrial activity. The team discovered the remains of several buildings associated with shipbuilding from the 17th century through to the last quarter of the 19th century.


Historic map evidence, contemporary illustrations and other documentation points to the presence of a rope walk, timber yards and other associated buildings, some of which are thought to have been homes. Evidence also suggested a graving dock where ships were repaired was located nearby, now beneath the east-end of the M shed, where Brunel's first steam ship, the SS Great Western was built and launched in 1837.