‘I’d be up for it, there’s nothing here’ - Bristol shoppers react to plans to demolish and redevelop the Galleries

Some shoppers like it the way it is - others think Broadmead needs a boost

Bristol shoppers have produced mixed reactions to redevelopment plans for The Galleries with verdicts on the proposals ranging from ‘brilliant’ to ‘a bit of a shame’.

While most agreed the aging Broadmead shopping centre looks ‘tired’, there were concerns about the proliferation of housing and a decrease in affordable shopping options in the city.

The development would include new restaurants that back onto Castle Park.

Last week BristolWorld revealed plans to transform the Galleries into a ‘diverse hub containing restaurants, shops, office space, leisure facilities and a hotel.

The centre, which first opened in 1991, has been struggling in recent times, with footfall down 35% since the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Yasmin and Zoe, 26 and 27, said they’d noticed a lot of empty shops in the Galleries, and it’d be a shame not for these units to be used as the centre currently offers lots for shoppers on a budget.

Developers Deeley Freed moved to assure Bristolians that the Galleries will ‘remain open as usual for at least the next two years’ and the new development would continue ‘to provide something for everyone.’

Isaac, 20, said he only currently uses the Galleries for parking, but that might change if the centre had more to offer.

Most shoppers agreed that change was a good thing, but opinions differed on the extent and direction any regeneration should take.

Speaking to BristolWorld outside the Galleries, Yasmin Lindsay said: “I think it’s absolutely brilliant, obviously it’s really fitting the times as Bristol is continuously evolving and developing.

Aris Arif, 33, of St George, said Bristol needed more shops.

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“The Galleries currently, it’s just very old, a bit tired, a bit worn out, it’s needing a boost.”

Bob Bowden, 74, from Redland said: “It’s lost it. It could be better used than it is now, it’s just hanging on really.”

Isaac, returning to his car, currently only uses the centre for parking, he said: “I’d be for it, there’s nothing in here.”

Paul disagreed, saying: “If they could occupy the building as it is, I don’t see anything wrong with it. There’s enough other developments, there’s too many houses really.”

Paul Henry, 67, likes the building as it is.

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Yasmin Berndt was also wary of housing, she said: I guess housing, that has kind of taken over everywhere, which is good but also bad. But there’s a lot of empty shops in there, so it’d be nice to see more being done with it.

Zoë said: “I do agree that it does look a bit tired, but it’s a bit of a shame, as there’s a lot of affordable stuff in there if I’m honest. we’ve got the fancy bit in Cabot’s Circus anyway.”

Yasmin Lindsay, 20, said Bristol was continuously evolving and the new centre would make the city ‘even nicer’.

Aras agreed: “They need competition for everything. It sounds good for people when they need a house or offices. For us as shoppers, we need more shops, for competition, especially here in the city centre.”

A series of three public consultation events will take place next week.