Improving the public realm in Nelson Street

Closed 9 Feb 2015

Opened 15 Jan 2015

Feedback Updated 3 Dec 2015

We Asked

Public consultation on the draft Nelson Street Public Realm Strategy closed on 9 February 2015. 149 responses were received via the online consultation survey and 8 additional comments were received from individuals and groups containing detailed comments.

You Said

It is clear that the overwhelming perception of Nelson Street is negative and there is great support for the need to improve Nelson Street generally (96%) and the pedestrian and cycling experience (80%) in particular. The design principles outlined for doing so were broadly supported (68%), with unanimous support for knitting the area back into either Broadmead or the Old City, the use of high quality materials and for a segregated cycle route. There was support for further restricting traffic in the area to access only, for making Bridewell St one way (71%) with less parking (80%), and for making The Pithay one way all the way down (60%). There was less certainty regarding the Nelson St/Bridewell Street junction on whether traffic should go straight across into All Saints St.

We Did

1. The draft document has been revised to reflect the comments received, in particular regarding the integration of Nelson Street into the wider area.

2. Funding has been found through Cycling Ambition Fund to implement the segregated cycle route along Nelson Street. The detailed design of this will include further consideration of:
i. The junction of Bridewell Street and All Saints Street 
ii. The introduction of one-way traffic on Bridewell Street 
iii. The continuation of the route down Fairfax Street 

3. The developers of the former Magistrates Courts, New Bridewell and Froomsgate House have been required to design their public realm in accordance with the strategy. This will provide a significant uplift in quality to the central area of Nelson Street. 

4. MetroBus works will start on site in October 2015. These will close the access from The Centre and start to reduce through traffic, making the area useful for access only.


Supplementary Planning Document (SPD8) Nelson Street (2006) sets out a vision for transforming Nelson Street from an underused and unloved canyon into a vibrant new quarter of the city centre and a key pedestrian/cycle link between Broadmead, Harbourside, Old City and Christmas Steps. The enhancement of the public realm (parts of a city that are available without charge for everyone to see, use and enjoy) was central to this vision.

The Nelson Street public realm strategy envisages the comprehensive enhancement of the public realm in the Nelson Street area, which will help to stimulate new investment. The strategy will inform both the public realm and public art of the current and future regeneration proposals. It will also guide future maintenance and investment from the city council.

Before responding to the survey, you may wish to look at the full  Nelson Street Public Realm Strategy (50 pages) Part 1 – Analysis & Part 2 – Vision and Traffic Options in the related documents below.

Excerpts of the document are embedded in the survey to help you respond. 

You may also wish to look at the Related links below, which show the Supplementary Planning Document 8 Nelson Street Regeneration Framework (2006), and Related Documents which show some images of how the Central Area will look after the MetroBus changes.


Why We Are Consulting

To understand how people currently use and perceive Nelson Street.
To seek community input and support for the Nelson St public realm strategy.
To seek views on the traffic options outlined in page 48 & 49 of the Nelson Street public realm strategy - vision and traffic options document. 

As well as this online response option, the Nelson Street public realm strategy will also be discussed at:
Cabot, Clifton and Clifton East Neighbourhood Forum meeting
on 27th January from 7pm to 9pm at the Pavillion,  No1 Hannover Quay,Harbourside,Bristol, BS1 5JE

What Happens Next

Feedback will be analysed and the document amended as appropriate. The public realm works for the current developments will be developed in accordance with the principles of the strategy.


  • Ashley
  • Bedminster
  • Bishopsworth
  • Brislington East
  • Brislington West
  • Clifton
  • Cotham
  • Easton
  • Eastville
  • Filwood
  • Frome Vale
  • Hillfields
  • Horfield
  • Knowle
  • Lawrence Hill
  • Lockleaze
  • Redland
  • Southmead
  • Southville
  • St George West
  • Stockwood
  • Stoke Bishop
  • Windmill Hill


  • Business
  • Community & Voluntary organisations


  • Environment
  • Planning
  • Regeneration
  • Traffic and transportation