News / Castle Park

End in sight for one of Bristol’s most notorious eyesores?

By martin booth, Monday Oct 19, 2020

The three buildings on the western edge of Castle Park are now under the same ownership, meaning that development of the site is more likely than for many years.

The area around the historic St Mary le Port Church has long been considered to be one of Bristol’s worst eyesores.

Federated Hermes, a global investment manager whose headquarters are in Pittsburgh and who have more than $625 billion in assets, have purchased Bank House, Bank of England House and Norwich Union House, with the freeholds still owned by Bristol City Council.

MEPC has been appointed to act as development manager for the project, with Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios undertaking initial master planning work to enable a proposed redevelopment.

A website, www.stmaryleport.co.uk, has been set up to keep people up to date with the latest news from the development, in the hope of regenerating this key area of the city centre.

St Mary le Port church is said to have been founded in Saxon times. It was added to English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk register in 2014 – photo by Martin Booth

MEPC commercial director, Roz Bird, said: “The site has huge potential, and with the acquisition of all three buildings complete, and control of the site under one ownership for the first time in decades, we are now in the position to take forward proposals to transform this historic location.

“We will work in partnership with the public sector, and local communities, in order to create a great place combining heritage, culture, education and commerce which will provide sustainable financial returns and positive societal and environmental outcomes.”

Bird added that she is “extremely sensitive about the responsibility for redeveloping such a pivotal and historic site in the centre of Bristol”.

Mary le Port Street was once an important thoroughfare but its name has now disappeared off the map – photo by Martin Booth

Nicola Beech, Bristol City Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for spatial planning & city design, said that she is “really pleased to see the acquisition of these three buildings”.

“(We) look forward to working with Federated Hermes and MEPC to deliver a high quality redevelopment of the site with a focus on transport improvements and excellent areas of public realm.

“We will be working closely with MEPC to ensure that St Mary le Port has a much brighter future.”

A threesome of buildings sit at the end of Castle Park arranged around the ruined tower of the St Mary-le-Port Church – photo by Martin Booth

Main photo by Martin Booth

Read more: 22 things you probably didn’t know about Castle Park

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