Mayor ‘confident’ promised £100m boost for Temple Quarter scheme on its way despite Levelling Up snub
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Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees says he is ‘confident’ that a £100m investment is on track to fund a massive regeneration project at Temple Meads after the city was snubbed in the government’s ‘Levelling Up’ agenda.
At a press briefing this week, Mr Rees said he was still ‘frustrated’ that promised funding to kick start work on the Temple Quarter scheme, which was expected to materialise as part of the Levelling Up plans announced earlier this month, never appeared.
While Sheffield and Wolverhampton were earmarked for ‘King’s Cross style regeneration projects’, Bristol was left off the list, despite it presenting ‘potentially the biggest opportunity’ for such a project ‘in the country’.
However, Mr Rees added that he’d been in discussions with ‘very senior people’ who assured him that Temple Meads was a ‘priority’, suggesting that the multi-million pound boost was on its way.
He told the press briefing: “My point is that I’ve been told that Temple Meads is a priority constantly - what we need is the money in the bank.
“But I’m confident we will eventually get the sign off and support from national government.
“This is significant and it’s flagship, and we’ll keep pushing.”
The Temple Quarter regeneration project would see 130 hectares of brownfield land around Temple Meads transformed into a mixed-use community including 10,000 homes.
Under the vision, Temple Meads would undergo a £200m refurbished with the area surrounding it rejuvenated with shops and restaurants.
Mr Rees has said in the past that Temple Meads hasn’t seen major regeneration for more than 80 years and the project would make it ‘fit for the future’.
With the Levelling Up agenda aiming to bring the rest of the country’s public transport systems ‘closer to London standards’ by 2030, Mr Rees said he was baffled that Bristol had missed out.
“The government have been talking about the new Kings Cross stations,” he added.
“Well, this could be potentially the biggest ‘King’s Cross’ type regeneration project in England.
“A major entertainment, employment and retail area within active travel distance of Temple Meads just ticks all the right boxes.”
Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove unveiled his Levelling Up plan for the UK two weeks ago, which was aimed at improving services and facilities in areas in need of investment.
Mr Gove said: “This will not be an easy task, and it won’t happen overnight, but our new national levelling up missions will drive real change in towns and cities across the UK, so that where you live will no longer determine how far you can go.”