Ambition to transform Bristol dual carriageway into a shared space for all

The bold reclamation of a dual carriageway between Bristol Temple Meads railway station and the city centre is being proposed by a Bristol community and LDA Design. The proposals come at a time when towns and cities across the UK are making radical changes to road space to support more walking and cycling as the Covid-19 lockdown eases.

The Redcliffe Residents Action Group & Neighbourhood Forum has demonstrated how the Redcliffe Way dual carriageway, which severs the neighbourhood, but could be reclaimed to provide a new kind of gateway to the city for pedestrians and cyclists and a heart for the community.

The designs use a ‘Healthy Street’ toolkit to re-imagine how the over-sized and outdated road could be a people-friendly, green and shared space for all, making space for nature. Tarmac and traffic are exchanged for affordable homes with roof-top gardens, local shops and services, and playful, green public space.

The proposals show how development with a humane density can be achieved, replacing a large surface car park opposite one of the area’s finest heritage assets, St Mary Redcliffe Church, with the ‘Redcliffe Block’. This development could provide more than 150 affordable homes at a scale that respects the historic urban landscape, with active frontage at ground level, offices and spacious apartments with access to outdoor and green space.

LDA Design is working on similar reclamation schemes in central London. Clare Wilks, Head of LDA Design’s Bristol Office said, “Our vision for Redcliffe Way is to shift the focus away from motor vehicles and create a place people love to spend time in, and that wows people arriving in Bristol from Temple Meads. It is a great opportunity to re-organise this wide street to provide more homes and offices, design delightful new spaces and develop hubs of activity along the route.”

Local resident and member of the Redcliffe Residents Action Group, Melissa Mean said: “When Bristol opens up again, we want development that prioritises clean air, and makes space for nature and people to play, walk and cycle. This is especially important in poorer neighbourhoods like Redcliffe where many people live in cramped flats, with no access to outdoor space, and suffer an unequal burden of air pollution and significantly poorer health.”

Image and Text: LDA Design

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Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at