The Galleries might not be the snazziest of locations in Bristol, but it has been a staple of city-centre shopping for the past 30 years. To many locals, it still remains an institution. However, there’s no getting around the fact it has been in steady decline, especially since the introduction of Cabot Circus, in recent years.
Developers announced the shopping mall would be demolished earlier this month and the news didn’t come as a shock to many people. They highlighted a 35% drop in foot traffic in the city centre compared to pre-pandemic levels and the shopping mall has looked increasingly empty. The area is in need of a vital boost, and we can now get a look at what might come to replace The Galleries after several consultation events.
Including a 28-storey apartment tower that would easily become Bristol’s tallest building, much of the area will be transformed into a mix of housing, student accommodation, office spaces and a hotel. Most of the ground space will be retained for retail opportunities, however, with Deeley Freed describing the plans as “a truly mixed-use and diverse scheme with restaurants, shops, community facilities and leisure destinations that support the day and night-time economy”.
The hope is to not only boost the city centre economy with these plans, but also reduce the environmental impact of the area. Car parking will be reduced by 70%, while 1,700 new bike spaces and a new public cycle hub will be provided. There is also talk of boosting biodiversity and maximising green spaces, although how still remains unclear.
This news follows a trend of developments taking place in Bristol. Whapping Wharf’s iconic shipping containers are also currently undergoing consultation with proposed plans to be replaced by a 12-storey building on the harbourside. While London’s Boxpark owners will launch a new food hall on the habour next year, BoxHall.
Do not worry about losing your favourite shopping centre quite yet, however. The Galleries isn’t going anywhere for at least the next two years. Targets on construction don’t begin until late 2024. Consultations will continue until August 15, with a second round of consultations planned for Autumn.