Work is finally to start on a new University of Bristol campus next to Temple Meads station, which will open in just three years’ time. The £500 million campus has been in the planning stages for more than six years, and has been delayed by the covid pandemic, but work to start constructing the huge campus will begin next month.
The University of Bristol has signed contracts with construction company Sir Robert McAlpine, and the site will welcome around 4,600 students and 650 university staff on the site of the old Royal Mail sorting office on Cattle Market Road next to Temple Meads station.
The site across the road at ‘Temple Island’ will house 900 students in accommodation blocks being built as part of the scheme - and there are other sites around the Temple Quarter area that private builders of PBSA - purpose built student accommodation - are already working on.
The campus will be specifically an ‘Enterprise campus’, which the university said would see the students and staff ‘come together with business and community partners to tackle some of the world’s greatest challenges’. The University of Bristol released new images of what the buildings will look like that line the Floating Harbour next to Temple Meads and opposite the Motion nightclub site.
At the heart of the campus, on the site of the former Royal Mail sorting office, will be a 38,000sqm academic building that will be a new home for the university’s Business School, digital engineering research groups, a Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the Quantum Technologies Innovation Centre and which will also provide ‘dedicated facilities for enterprise and community partners’.
The university’s vice-chancellor, Prof Evelyn Welch, said: “Today really is a landmark day – not just for the University of Bristol but for the city as a whole. The Temple Quarter Enterprise Campus has been designed to meet the needs and nurture the aspirations of our students, staff and partners across the city and the wider region.
“It provides outstanding facilities to build on our collective strengths in research, innovation, learning and societal change. We are delighted to be working with Sir Robert McAlpine to bring these new facilities to life,” she added.
The university’s new campus will form the first major development in the area which Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees hopes will kickstart a billion-pound investment in new developments from the Bath Road Bridge all the way to the St Phillips Causeway.
“Temple Quarter will help deliver even more of the sustainable homes, innovation, jobs, and infrastructure that Bristol needs, including for the communities in and around the regeneration area,” the Mayor said.
“Delivering the University of Bristol’s new Enterprise Campus will help our city continue to strengthen its position at the centre of our regional economy. This is another milestone for Temple Quarter, after we secured £95 million last year to help transform Temple Meads. Our landmark investment will help to unlock 22,000 new jobs and 10,000 new homes in this part of our city – bringing a £1.6 billion annual boost to Bristol,” he added.
The West of England metro mayor Dan Norris emphasised the boost to jobs and innovation in science and technology to Bristol from the new university campus. “This is another important step on the way to the regeneration of Temple Quarter - bringing much-needed new homes for Bristol residents and creating new jobs for our skilled workers,” he said.
“The University of Bristol’s Enterprise Campus is a key part of these plans – bringing together the West of England’s brightest and best thinkers and businesses all under one roof and enhancing Bristol's reputation as a global destination for innovation and strengthening our West of England region’s role as an economic powerhouse.
“After so many years of talking about hopes and aspirations for the area, this is another step along the way creating that fitting gateway to Bristol, and the West of England – one which will make our region an even better place to live, work and thrive,” he added.
Part of the plans for the new campus is a new entrance to Temple Meads station - at the end of the subway that currently runs to all platforms. Passengers will be able to emerge on that side of the station, right into the heart of the campus.