A planning application for a £100 million project to transform Broadwalk Shopping Centre and create 400 new homes is expected to be submitted at the end of September.
The plans involve knocking down the 1970s multi-storey car park at the back of the shopping centre which has structural issues and building around 400 flats – with a modern car park for both residents and shoppers offering 430 spaces.
If approved, work could start at the end of 2018 and take an estimated two years to complete, with a phased development to avoid major disruption to retailers.
Broadwalk went into administration over 18 months ago and owners, Moorfields, hope the project will give it a much needed boost – with money from the redevelopment of the car park used for a major revamp.
The plans are looking at a mixed-use scheme with around 40 – 50 shops as well as cafes and bars in a courtyard opening on to Redcatch park at the back of the centre.
There will also be a ‘natural path’ from the main Wells Road entrance of the shopping centre through to the park – but none of the land from the park itself will be used in the development.
Shopkeepers and people living around the centre were invited to a preview of the plans in July, followed by a public exhibition in the former Store 21 inside the precinct. Representatives from the development team were on hand to answer questions and get feedback on the early proposals.
A spokesperson for Broadwalk Shopping Centre said: “In January 2017 Broadwalk went into administration . There is now a development team looking at 400 flats, new parking and sprucing up the retail area. The front will stay as it is but will have a new face… People have also been asking for a supermarket…
“Broadwalk just needs love…it’s a nice scheme to be working on and everyone is really excited…
“Numbers of visitors will go up and having flats will be good for retailers. Where there’s a market is local centres with a convenience store, gym and pharmacy which is kind of what we are looking at. There’s so much uncertainity in the retail section – no-one knows what the future is…”
He said 500 people attended the exhibition to see the plans and the feedback showed 90 per cent of people were supportive and 6 per cent objected. A huge amount of people visited the shopping centre but there were some who refused to go there because of its current state.
Broadwalk is currently in talks with neighbours around the site and local groups such as Friends of Redcatch Park, ward councillors and the Labour group.
Due to feedback about parking concerns, local councillors are finding out if people want a residents’ parking scheme.
One resident said: “I don’t want my road being used if people can’t get into the car park and lots of people won’t use the bus to get there or might have difficulty walking distances.”
Broadwalk has said the flats will be one or two bedroom – so not everyone will have or need a car because of the proximity to Temple Meads. Residents and shoppers will be prioritised to prevent commuters using the centre as a park and ride.
The rebuild of up to 11 storeys to house the flats with a view of the park has also been moved from the back of the development to the centre – following negative feedback from local people.
One person said: “I don’t like the idea of being overlooked by a huge building and it’s going to be very close to the park. It could be a bit intimidating and change the landscape forever.”
There have also been fears for Snooker City which will lose its current venue when the car park is demolished – but Broadwalk has said it wants the club to stay in the centre and take on an alternative site – one suggestion is Store 21. See: http://www.knowlewest.co.uk/what-will-happen-to-snooker-city/
For more details about the plans visit regeneratingbroadwalk.co.uk