Two stores have announced they are set to close in Knowle’s Broadwalk Shopping Centre – which is awaiting a planning decision by Bristol City Council.
National retailer B&M and fruit and veg shop M W Freshfoods have decided to close their businesses in the 1970s-built centre at the end of the lease in early April.
The ailing centre fell into administration in 2019 under the previous ownership. Plans were submitted in August 2022 to demolish the shopping centre and car park and transform it into Redcatch Quarter.
The £150m redevelopment will include 850 new flats in 12 storey blocks and a pedestrianised high street linking Wells Road to Redcatch Park – as well as a community hub, including a new library and community café, a restaurant area overlooking the park and commercial and retail space.
The new centre would also house a local supermarket, dentist and pharmacy and the only cinema in South Bristol.
A decision on the new proposals was due to be made on February 1 but was delayed until March 15 and is now due to be made late April.
In a statement to the developers of Redcatch Quarter, Will Appleby of M W Freshfoods said it was with “great sadness” that he had to close his shop.
“I have been here for twenty-three years and have enjoyed good trading. Unfortunately, retail has become more and more challenging in the centre; with the rising costs of produce and utilities along with declining footfall, profit margins are being squeezed to the point that during the summer holidays we were working only to cover the costs. I have enjoyed a good rapport with my customers and will miss them,” he said.
“As a local businessman I understand how difficult it has become for the other retailers and landlord to reverse the decline of the centre. That is why we need to bring back life to shopping in Knowle and the redevelopment plans are exactly what is needed for Knowle. I would like to thank my customers and staff for their continued support.”
But campaigners while welcoming the redevelopment of the centre are concerned about the height of the proposed blocks which they say will change the landscape of Knowle, and the Bristol skyline forever, as well as the density of the housing and lack of affordable homes.
The Knowle Deserves Better campaign has started a petition https://www.change.org/p/knowle-deserves-better-stop-the-broadwalk-towerblocks
In a survey last year carried out by Friends of Redcatch Park, park users were also worried about the impact of the tall buildings overshadowing the park as well as the extra 2,000 plus people who would be using the facility.
The proposals can be viewed on the council planning portal – application number 22/03924/P.