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Major investment unlocks development of Bristol Harbourside

Published date : 21 January 2013

Builders are to return to Bristol Harbourside to begin developing nearly 200 homes, thanks to a £12m investment from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) to unlock the vital first phase of the project.

The HCA has agreed to invest in Wapping Wharf near the city centre, supporting the delivery of 194 new and affordable homes, retail space, a pedestrian and cycle route and a public square on the site.

The agreement will see developer Umberslade start work on this iconic development in March, with completion of the first phase expected in 2015. The overall project has the potential to deliver 625 apartments, a new hotel and 250,000 sq ft of retail and office space, but development has stalled during the last five years because of a lack of available loan finance to support the project.

It represents the largest investment to be made to date through the HCA’s Get Britain Building programme, which is helping house builders deliver more than 15,000 new homes across the country, protecting and creating thousands of jobs.

Umberslade Managing Director Stuart Hatton said:

"This investment has played a significant part in helping unlock the continued development of what has been a huge success story for Bristol over the last 25 years. We see this as a vote of confidence in what we are working to achieve and we’re focused on ensuring that this investment makes a positive difference to the city centre."

HCA Executive Director for the South and South West Colin Molton said:

"It is great news that work can continue at this vitally important project, which is delivering much needed high quality new homes and jobs for Bristol. The Harbourside has been a hugely successful project, which has transformed the former docks. This investment will build on that success by delivering new homes and safeguarding jobs that will be hugely welcome to the local economy."

The investment has also been welcomed by Bristol mayor George Ferguson, who said:

"This is crucial investment by the HCA that will kick-start further regeneration of Wapping Wharf and deliver important new and affordable housing on the Harbourside. The potential for this site is enormous and I look forward to work starting soon and securing more Get Britain Building programme funding for the city."

Get Britain Building is intended to bring forward sites with planning permission that can deliver housing and wider community benefits. It will operate by making loans available to projects on commercial rates, or taking equity stakes to share risk. The investment is recoverable over a two to five year period, and by March 2018.

Other partners involved in the project include Sovereign Housing Group and Knightstone Housing Association, who will manage 81 of the rented apartments once built.

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