East Street Vision and Masterplan

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TownCentred advised the local BID on catalysing one of the largest high street turnarounds in the southwest. The East Street Placemaking and Public Realm Masterplan is set to revitalise one of Bristol’s most historically significant high streets following the design’s approval by the seven client partners, including Bristol City Council and Bedminster BID who acted as project lead on behalf of the client team.

A multidisciplinary team was instructed to create an adaptable public realm that restores the declining, vehicle-dominant space into a prosperous commercial, recreational, social, and ecological haven for Bristol.

The masterplan capitalises on Bedminster Green’s planned development, repositioning East Street as the focal point for an anticipated increase in the region’s student, residential and commercial populations.An engaging placemaking methodology laid the foundation for an inclusive design response, welcoming over 6,100 responses from community groups through the digital ‘East Street Vision’ website. Six placemaking strategies were determined to enhance East Street’s destination value, says McGregor Coxall Bristol Studio Director, Michael Cowdy.

Fundamental to achieving the vision is relocating bus services to Dalby Avenue, reconfigured service vehicle access via Dean Street, and integrated active transport connections supporting cycling. 326 bollards and obstructive street elements will be removed in the process.A key focal point to the street is East Street Square. Located on the Cannon-and-East Street intersection, the multifunctional public space is defined by an avenue of trees, integrated modular benches and planters, featuring a flexible platform for markets and other cultural gatherings. 

The space complements an enhanced collection of green pocket parks that provide natural shade, cycle parking, children’s play, and safe dwell space for community use.“I’d like to thank the communities and stakeholders who have and will continue to form an essential voice in the future of East Street,\" said Cowdy.

The project was made possible through collaboration and funding from Bedminster Business Improvement District, Bristol City Council, and local developers Dandara, Deeley Freed, A2Dominion, Firmstone, and City & Country.

Learn more about East Street’s revitalisation masterplan project here. 

Full Case Study


Almost complete loss of high street purpose as a comparison shopping centre (departure in the past of M&S/Debenhams etc and more recently Argos, Peacocks etc) and lack of a local (shopping) catchment area made a viable future very challenging.


Seek major land use change and residential development of adjacent obsolete industrial and warehouse buildings to create a new immediate (1-2 minute walk) local catchment area and fresh economic demand for a redefined high street that will play a greater role as a substantial local centre as opposed to a traditional comparison centre.


Bedminster was one of the first 12 ‘Portas Pilots’ in 2012 and immediately converted into a Business Improvement District (BID) which is now in its tenth year. As the BID grew in confidence it lobbied for a more positive planning environment including encouraging its 350 business members to speak at planning committee meetings. This combined with the council’s Urban Living SPD which supported medium to higher rise redevelopment significantly changed the prospects for a viable future.


The BID operates as a limited company with a board elected from its 350 paying ‘members’ with a small p/t executive that provides a focal point and representative voice in lobbying and planning matters with the local planning authority and other public agencies. The BID put forward BID board directors and other local businesses to represent the positive planning perspective of local businesses in relation to key planning applications.

Also as a more coherent approach emerged from local landowners, an informal partnership with the BID led to the formation of a steering group and funding (with BCC via LOHS funding pot) of a Vision and Public Realm Masterplan for East Street.


Further funding from BCC/CA has been secured to test elements of the Vision. This funding is complemented by funding from the BID who manage key elements on behalf of the local authority.  


Creation of the East Street Vision entailed the creation of a steering group between BID, city council and developers. Subsequently as the project has moved into implementation a closer working relationship between BID and council is facilitating the advancement of transport and public realm initiatives.


As most of the developments are either on site or through recent planning approvals the impact on the street in terms of footfall is yet to be felt. However the knowledge that the immediate local catchment area will increase by nearly 4,000 residents (and students) provides comfort that the short/medium term future of East Street will improve. Shortlisting of the Vision by several national placemaking awards provides further confidence. (National Landscape Institute; The Developer ‘Pineapple’ Awards).