News / Bristol

Vision for £300m Bristol University campus unveiled

By ellie pipe, Monday Jun 19, 2017

The initial vision for a £300m University of Bristol campus at the heart of the Temple Quarter regeneration plans has been revealed.

Hailed as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine the future of the university and its role in the city, these early blueprints include an outline drawing of the teaching and research centre on the site of the derelict former Royal Mail sorting office and a brand new student village.

Bosses say the major regeneration plans present a chance to transform not only the university, but also Bristol as a whole and are urging businesses and members of the public to help shape the final design.

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Aerial view of the site

Teaching and research on the seven-acre site, which includes part of Arena Island, will focus on digital technologies, their application by citizens, organisations and industry, and the innovation they drive.

The University of Bristol’s Guy Orpen (left) and Dave Cliff reveal the initial vision for the new £300m campus

Academic director Dave Cliff told Bristol247: “We are extremely keen for the new campus to be well integrated within the local community and for people to see it as a campus in which they are welcome and can get involved in.

“The hope is that the buildings will be open evenings and weekends for adult education and further education. Bristol already has an extremely vibrant technology sector and we want to play to the strengths in the city.

“We are treating this as an opportunity to rethink how we educate over the next hundred years.”

New cycle and pedestrian links to the surrounding areas will form a key part of the development and the university’s deputy vice chancellor Guy Orpen revealed they are already in talks with Network Rail with the hope of opening a pedestrian thoroughfare from the east of the city, to the centre.

Orpen added that they will be working closely with Bristol City Council to ensure the campus complements plans for the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, which is one of the largest urban regeneration projects in the UK.

He expressed hope that the long-awaited 12,000-capacity arena project will go ahead after doubt was cast over its future amid delays and escalating costs.

Artist impression of the 12,000-capacity arena

Professor Hugh Brady, vice chancellor and president of the university, said: “We have been given a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reimagine the future of our university as one of the world’s great civic universities, while also transforming a key site at the heart of our city.

“Our new campus is very much a work in progress and we would welcome people’s feedback, on everything from education provision, research and innovation to community engagement and transport links.

“We don’t know exactly what it will look like yet, but we do know that we want it to feel welcoming to everyone and to be a place for the whole city to learn, explore and enjoy.”

A public consultation launched on Monday, June 19, and will run online until Friday, July 21.

Exhibitions of the plans are on display at Engine Shed by Bristol Temple Meads and Beacon House, on the Triangle, until Friday, July 7, and there will also be consultation events at Engine Shed and Paintworks.

Although designs for the campus are in their infancy and will be informed by the outcome of the consultation, the university says there are ambitions to develop landmark buildings and public spaces which will provide a fitting welcome to those travelling into Bristol.

Mayor Marvin Rees, said: “I look forward to the development of plans for the new University of Bristol Enterprise Campus. This new world class facility has the potential to turn a derelict site into an inclusive home for digital excellence, offering a vast range of opportunities and building on the city’s reputation as a leading digital city.”

Many new degree programmes will be designed and developed in collaboration with industry and other partner organisations, to ensure students educated on the campus are equipped with the knowledge, skills, values and resilience to thrive and lead in our rapidly changing world.

A second round of consultation will follow in September before an outline planning application is submitted to Bristol City Council later in the year. Applications for individual buildings will follow, with further consultation in 2018/19.

Construction work is scheduled to get underway in 2019 and it’s hoped the campus will open in time for the start of the 2021/22 academic year.

The derelict former sorting office


Consultation events will take place at Engine Shed on June 21 and July 5, from 3pm to 7pm, and at Paintworks on July 4, from 3pm to 7pm. View plans and give feedback online at



Read more: Former sorting office site sold to become new uni campus

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