Wapping Wharf plan gets £12 million investment
WORK is to start soon on a regeneration project to build nearly 200 new homes in Bristol's docklands thanks to a £12 million investment by the government.
The homes will be built on a large brownfield site at Wapping Wharf, the area between the M shed museum and Cumberland Road.
Plans were drawn up and agreed a few years ago but were put on hold as the financial downturn kicked in.
Now they have been kickstarted by a £12 million investment by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA),the Government body for housing.
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The project includes 194 new and affordable homes, retail space, a pedestrian and cycle route and a public square on the site.
Developers Umberslade are expected to start work in March and finish the first phase next year.
But the site has the potential to eventually deliver 625 apartments, a new hotel and 250,000 sq ft of retail and office space.
The development stalled during the last five years because of a lack of available loan finance.
The HCA's cash injection is the largest through its Get Britain Building programme which is helping house builders to deliver more than 15,000 new homes across the country, protecting and creating thousands of jobs.
Umberslade managing director Stuart Hatton said: "This investment has played a significant part in helping unlock the continued development of what has been a huge success story for Bristol over the last 25 years.
"We see this as a vote of confidence in what we are working to achieve and we're focused on ensuring that this investment makes a positive difference to the city centre."
HCA executive director for the south and south west Colin Molton said: "It is great news that work can continue at this vitally important project, which is delivering much needed high quality new homes and jobs for Bristol.
"The Harbourside has been a hugely successful project, which has transformed the former docks. This investment will build on that success by delivering new homes and safeguarding jobs that will be hugely welcome to the local economy.
"It's good to see that the Get Britain Building programme is delivering new homes and safeguarding jobs in our area by supporting this project."
The investment has also been welcomed by Bristol mayor George Ferguson, who said: "This is crucial investment by the HCA that will kickstart further regeneration of Wapping Wharf and deliver important new and affordable housing on the Harbourside. The potential for this site is enormous and I look forward to work starting soon and securing more Get Britain Building programme funding for the city."
Get Britain Building is intended to bring forward sites with planning permission that can deliver housing and wider community benefits. It makes loans available to projects on commercial rates, or taking equity stakes to share risk. The investment is recoverable over a two to five year period.
Other partners involved in the project include Sovereign Housing Group and Knightstone Housing Association, who will manage 81 of the rented apartments once built.