Cubex poised to start work on next phase of Finzels Reach

Posted on September 23, 2019

CGI of Coopers Court affordable homes

CGI showing reception area of Millwrights Place build-to-rent homes

CGI of the exterior of Halo office building



Cubex is poised to start work on the second phase of Finzels Reach this autumn, after agreeing deals with specialist operator Grainger and with housing association Yarlington Housing Group, to buy and operate the build-to-rent and affordable homes, respectively, on the mixed-use scheme.

The Section 106 agreement, which covers additional improvements to infrastructure and the local community facilities to be funded by the development, has now been agreed with council planning officers. Funding is in place for the speculative office building from investment partner Palmer Capital and the Bristol based family run company Wring Group have been lined up to start the demolition.

The final proposals have been submitted by Cubex for planning permission and are set to be decided by Bristol City Council at its planning committee meeting on 25th September, the final step before work can start.

The major regeneration project marks the next phase of the award-winning Finzels Reach, a new thriving neighbourhood already created out of a derelict, brownfield, city centre site on Bristol’s harbourside.

Gavin Bridge, executive director of Cubex says: “We are firmly focused on delivering much-needed homes and business space to support our economy through regenerating this neglected city centre site.”

“There are too many stalled sites in Bristol which have planning consent but are not being built out and with the current economic uncertainty, many business decisions are being put on hold. But the success of Finzels Reach, coupled with our existing relationships with funders and operators, have enabled us to get partnerships in place so we are in position to start work straight away, should we get planning consent later this month.

“Getting the Section 106 agreement sorted provides certainty about delivering the 20% affordable homes in the scheme, as well as the improvements to the surrounding area and transport infrastructure.

“We worked with Grainger on the build to rent homes in the first phase of Finzels Reach, which have let extremely well, demonstrating the strong demand in Bristol for this new type of high quality, long term rental model. We’re also very pleased to be working with Yarlington on the 20% affordable homes which will help meet a pressing need for social housing in our city.”

The plans by Bristol developer Cubex for the former headquarters site of Avon & Somerset Fire and Rescue will deliver 297 homes, including 231 build-to-rent apartments and over 20% affordable homes[1], helping to meet the pressing need for housing in the city centre. A cutting-edge office building for around 1100 workers will help support Bristol’s growing economy and significant investment in improvements to the area around the site, including new landscaping, traffic management, pedestrian and cycle routes, will help create a more attractive area and foster a sense of community.

The site on the opposite side of Counterslip from the current Finzels Reach development now stands derelict and has been identified by Bristol City Council as an area for more dense urban development. The £140M scheme has been designed to create a strong identity with a sense of place and a high quality environment for people to live and work, whilst ensuring it connects well to the surrounding area and compliments the heritage buildings nearby, such as the Grade II* listed Generator Building, Lead Shot Tower and Temple Church.

Plans for this next phase of Finzels Reach include £2.4M investment in the community and public realm, including £1.2M investment via the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL), which helps fund infrastructure, facilities and services, and £1.2M investment in improvements along Temple Street, Counterslip and Temple Back. These include improved dedicated separate cycle and pedestrian routes with wider pavements, one-way traffic routes to reduce the dominance of vehicles, new ‘pocket parks’ and trees, seating and soft landscaping. Together, these are designed to make the surroundings more attractive to people and knit the new development into the wider area. Cubex hope the proportion of CIL contributions to be spent in the immediate area (25-30%) could be used for much-needed improvements to Castle Park.

Finzels Reach is now home to a mixed, balanced community, with new homes, workspace for the likes of Channel 4, Historic England, Simmons & Simmons, Barclays, EDF and Bafta-winning BDH. It is also a fast-emerging social hotspot, with the likes of Left Handed Giant, Mission Pizza, Pacific Yoga, Café Matariki, Spicer & Cole, and the soon-to-open Bocabar, together with the striking new Castle Bridge linking this historic area to Castle Park.

By the end of the year, 2,500 people will live or work at Finzels Reach. The plans for phase two of Finzels Reach would increase that total to 3,300 people, with an investment value of £400M in total.

[1] In line with Bristol City Council’s requirements in its ‘Planning Performance Agreement’.