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Woods Bagot bids to overhaul former soap factory in Bristol

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Woods Bagot has submitted plans to turn a Grade II-listed former soap factory in Bristol into co-working and public dining facilities as part of a £175 million mixed-use scheme

The international practice, which has a studio in London, handed in a detailed application to Bristol City Council for its Soapworks development on behalf of developer First Base.

This would see restoration and repurposing of the 1860s soap factory – more recently a furniture showroom – giving the scheme its name.

Construction of two new buildings is also planned under the project. One of these, towards the south-east of the 0.9ha site close to Bristol Temple Meads station, would hold 166 homes as well as an apart-hotel.

The other is planned as an office block, taking the total commercial space to 13,000m².

The developer said the development would ‘celebrate Bristol’s industrial past and creative culture’.

At least one in five of the homes would be affordable, while the project would deliver more than £200 million of social value through measures such as providing employment, apprenticeship and training opportunities for people from disadvantaged backgrounds, according to the developer.

New pedestrian and cycle links would be established, improving connections to the station and surrounding neighbourhoods.

Woods Bagot principal architect Julian Cross said: ‘As someone who grew up in Bristol, I am absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to help renovate and sensitively restore the Soapworks building.

‘We are focused on bringing this iconic asset back into full public use for everyone to enjoy, for the first time in a long time, providing spaces for local artisan makers and a food hall; creating a modern vibrant and inclusive place to work and play.’

First Base project director Lucinda Mitchell said the scheme would ‘reinvigorate’ a site traditionally at the heart of Bristol’s economy.

‘Regeneration is more than just buildings and that is why in these extraordinary times, we are also focused on supporting the local community where we can with assistance and advice as appropriate.’ 

Woods Bagot Soapworks proposals for Bristol - site plan in October 2019 consultation

Woods Bagot Soapworks proposals for Bristol - site plan in October 2019 consultation

Woods Bagot Soapworks proposals for Bristol - site plan in October 2019 consultation

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Readers' comments (1)

  • The site plan doesn't show a big enough area to explain the relationship of this development to Temple Meads station, and place it in the context of the mid 20th century roads that have cut off the area from the city centre and treated pedestrians as a tedious nuisance.

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