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Work starts on £16 million affordable housing development at Imperial Retail Park

Residents asked to name new development on former Wills Tobacco Factory site

Work will start this August to build 70 new affordable homes at Imperial Retail Park – after Housing Association Curo secured planning consent for the site earlier this year.

The £16.4 million development off Hartcliffe Way will consist of a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments and houses on one of the last remaining undeveloped plots of land from the former Imperial Tobacco Factory.

Curo will work with contractor Vistry Partnerships on the new scheme – which will be located between Aldi, which opened on the site in August 2020 and the entrance to the park.

It will provide 12 homes for social rent, 29 homes for affordable rent and another 29 homes for sale through shared ownership – with completion due by spring 2024.

Curo is now asking local people to come up with a name for the development which will take shape over a number of years – and wants something that will fit in with the history of the site.

The former Imperial Wills Tobacco Factory was first opened in 1974 and closed in 1990. The buildings were demolished in 1996 to make way for Imperial Retail Park.

Curo’s chief executive Victor da Cunha. said: “We’re looking forward to building another 70 new affordable homes for local people in Bristol, where we’re already delivering nearly 300 homes across a number of development sites currently.

“This sustainable development will make a significant contribution towards a low carbon future for Bristol, while helping more families to live in high-quality homes either through affordable homeownership or life-long tenancies. The homes will also cost less to run, helping to tackle fuel poverty – especially important in these uncertain times with skyrocketing energy prices.

“We’d really like to hear from local people about a name for our new housing development – we’re keen to choose an idea that celebrates the local area and its history and you can find out more about how to get involved and submit your suggestions…”

Picture courtesy of Curo.

Curo’s investment of just over £12 million will be completed with money from a Homes England grant as well as a £700,000 grant from Bristol City Council.

Bristol City Council Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery and Homes, Councillor Tom Renhard, says: “Our city continues to be gripped by the national housing crisis leaving many people without a safe and secure place to live. We must build more homes in the right places if we’re to meet the needs of the city and move people out of temporary accommodation…

“I’m really pleased Curo is using this brownfield site to provide another 70 new sustainable and affordable homes for Bristol, helping to lift and improve the area for existing residents too, and drive investment in the local economy.”

Curo says the eco friendly development has many features to help reduce future residents’ carbon footprint and energy bills. All homes will be fitted with air source heat pumps, “a low maintenance and more environmentally friendly alternative” to gas boilers.

The homes for social and affordable rent will also be fitted with solar panels, and Electric Vehicle (EV) charging points will be available around the new neighbourhood – which will also feature a central area of green open space with trees, shrubs and natural wood play equipment.

Homes for social and affordable rent will be let through Bristol City Council’s Home Choice system, while shared ownership properties will be sold by Curo, who are encouraging people to register their interest at

To submit your suggestions for a name for the new development visit

Work has also begun on a neighbouring plot at Imperial Park to build a new 80-bed care home by Cornerstone Healthcare – which the company says will also be eco-friendly.

As well as being thermally efficient, the home will have solar panels, a heat pump and a sustainable drainage system as well as a living roof for wildlife. It is due to be completed in the winter of 2023 with the first residents moving in by the end of 2024.

The multi-million pound home will be called The Burren – and look after people who need specialist care.