Skip to content

Housing Minister gives green light to Square Bay’s mixed-use regeneration scheme in Bristol Temple Quarter

Development plans for the £375 million regeneration of Silverthorne Lane in Bristol Temple Quarter have been given the green light by Minister of State for Housing, Stuart Andrew MP on behalf of the Secretary of State at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities.

The decision brings to an end a nearly two-year wait since a unanimous decision to grant planning permission by members of Bristol City Council's Development Control Committee. Now Square Bay and their delivery partners can begin the transformation of the derelict former industrial site to provide new homes, public open space, employment opportunities and a much-needed new secondary school for the city.

Feeder Estates LLP, a partnership controlled and managed by Square Bay, submitted the planning application for Silverthorne Lane back in August 2019, following extensive work with city partners to produce a masterplan which comprehensively regenerates the complex site. A recommendation for approval was followed by a unanimous vote by Bristol City Council's planning committee in August 2020, but Environment Agency objections citing flood risk matters in the wider Temple Quarter triggered a call-in from then Secretary of State, Robert Jenrick MP. Now, following a Public Inquiry in May 2021 conducted by planning inspector, Zoe Hill, and an anxious wait for project supporters across the city, the plans can finally move forward following the publication of the decision by the Housing Minister on behalf of the Secretary of State, Michael Gove MP.

The Silverthorne Lane site sits on the banks of the city's Feeder Canal on the eastern approach to Bristol Temple Meads, at the entrance to the city's Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. The regeneration of the derelict former industrial site will deliver a transformative boost to level up one of the most deprived wards in Bristol, with the decision unlocking an estimated £1 billion of investment across the wider Temple Quarter, which had effectively been paused pending the Silverthorne Lane decision.

Square Bay has extensive experience of regeneration in Bristol, with previous projects including the award-winning regeneration of Brandon Yard in Bristol's Harbourside, as well as ND7 providing the city's first build-to-rent scheme in an earlier phase of the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone. Their plans for Silverthorne Lane will provide 367 new homes and commercial space delivered by Studio HIVE in partnership with Atlas Land, a new research and learning building delivered by the University of Bristol as part of their emerging Temple Quarter Campus and 693 student beds delivered by Singaporean based Woh Hup in partnership with Atlas Land. The scheme will also see the delivery of a new 1,600 pupil secondary school and sixth form delivered by the Department for Education. Addressing a severe shortage of secondary places in east central Bristol, Oasis Academy Temple Quarter will be operated by Oasis Community Learning. As with Square Bay's Brandon Yard development, the Silverthorne Lane project involves restoring the remnants of historic buildings reflecting Bristol's industrial heritage.

In her report on the Public Inquiry, Planning Inspector, Zoe Hill, noted that “The applicant has demonstrated throughout the course of the Inquiry why its approach to flood risk has been cautious, thorough and proper”.

Tom Vaughan-Jones, Director of Square Bay, said “It is a huge relief to receive a positive decision from the Secretary of State, and a sense that justice is finally being served. It is incredibly frustrating that we have had to endure the delays and costs of a Public Inquiry, despite a unanimous resolution to grant planning permission by Bristol City Council back in August 2020. However, we are absolutely delighted that our approach has been validated, with both the Planning Inspector and the Secretary of State concluding that our measures to deal with flood risk are robust and thorough. A huge amount of work has gone into this landmark development for Bristol over a period of almost five years. It is regrettable that such a significant investment delivering so many public benefits and enjoying such cross-city support has been subject to such a costly delay having had such a question mark placed over it by the Environment Agency. The sense of relief we feel at the Housing Minister's decision is matched by the feeling of excitement as we look forward to finally getting on with delivering what will be a vibrant new canal-side community at the gateway to central Bristol, creating new homes and employment opportunities, and providing fantastic educational facilities for young people in this part of the city. Hopefully this decision will help free up many other applications in the Temple Quarter that are stuck in abeyance with the same Environment Agency objections.”