Bristol mayor George Ferguson: 'Let's make Bristol a place people will not forget'
BRISTOL can be a shining example of urban design and development in the future, mayor George Ferguson has claimed.
Speaking at a debate on plans to transform Redcliffe last night, the mayor said the city could show how "things can be done differently" through an ambitious regeneration scheme.
Earlier this month The Post revealed details of new plans drawn up to transform Redcliffe Way in Bristol into a Barcelona-style boulevard.
Last night's debate, held at the Arnolfini, was the culmination two days of activities where urban designers and Redcliffe residents worked together to take the scheme forward. The designs, which are still in their early stages and are yet to be released, will be finalised and sent out to public consultation before being put into place.
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Mr Ferguson said that the bold project could signal a change in the way Bristol is viewed.
He said: "This is about the whole city, not just this neighbourhood. Redcliffe has an enormous potential to contribute to the Bristol."
He said the new development, which would link the city centre with the South and Temple Meads, will be a "place for people, a place for working and a place for life".
He added: "We need to provide really good gateways to Bristol because there are some awful ways to come in to Bristol at the moment.
"It's vitally important to me that we give people a reason to remember Bristol."
He said the new development was a chance to create a new type of shared space in Bristol by transforming the area.
"I think this is an opportunity to do what I want Bristol to do - to do it differently. Let's not do it the same as everyone else. Let's steal ideas from people and adapt them.
"I want Bristol to be the place where people see how it can be done differently."
He added that Bristol could show the way with original and creative urban design.
He said: "We need to lead with the architecture of places, the architecture of people and the architecture of life."
Melissa Mean, convener of the Redcliffe Forum, said the new changes would reduce the amount of land in Redcliffe occupied by roads, increasing the shared public spaces in the process.
She said out of 12 acres of land in Redcliffe, ten were roads and asphalt while two acres were left for community spaces.
She said she hoped a new approach would "flip" the statistics the other way around.
She said: "In many ways Redcliffe is hung drawn and quartered by traffic. The roads are quite symbolic and produce a lot of problems.
"We are really keen to create a place and not a transit route."
Mr Ferguson and Ms Mean were joined by urban design experts Jan Gehl and David Mackay and developer Chris Brown, who compared and contrasted successful regeneration projects in Copenhagen and Amsterdam.
Backers hope the development in Redcliffe would provide the final piece of the jigsaw for the Brunel Mile – a link between the famous engineer's railway station at Temple Meads and the ss Great Britain in the docks. The Brunel Mile was first suggested by architect Mr Ferguson in the 1990s.
At this stage, none of the ideas are set in stone and the scheme's backers are keen to get city-wide comments on how Redcliffe Way could be improved.
For more information visit www.redcliffeforum.org.uk.