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New plans to transform the University of Bristol’s Campus Heart

The plans include a new civic square, with proposed new road layouts to improve traffic flow, enhance the pedestrian and cycling routes and make the whole area safer and accessible for everyone.

Following feedback from university staff, students and local resident groups on the initial plans, the updated pre-application planning proposals will be submitted to Bristol City Council next week and will be open for public consultation from 1 October until 21 October.

Located on the site of The Hawthorns, on the corner of Woodland Road and Elton Road, the new University Library will be an architecturally significant new building for the city. It features a stepped design which is initially three storeys tall and rises to seven-storeys to integrate with the local built environment. It will have a focus on natural light, with a high level of energy efficiency, a low environmental impact, and green roof terraces.

The new University Library will welcome students, staff and Bristol’s wider community by opening up the University’s world-class cultural collections which includes the University’s Special Collections and the nationally renowned Theatre Collection. It will house new study seats and approximately 420,000 books and 70,000 journals. There will be public-facing exhibition galleries, events space, a programme of new public art commissions and a café which will be open to the whole community.

In response to consultation, a new civic square is being proposed, in between the University Library and the refurbished Senate House, at the current Woodland Road/Tyndall Avenue junction. This not only offers the opportunity to connect these two high-profile buildings in the University campus and Royal Fort Gardens but will also improve accessibility and road safety and create a distinctive, welcoming public space for the citizens of Bristol and national and international visitors to enjoy.

Professor Judith Squires, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost at the University of Bristol, says: “We are excited to be developing a flagship new University Library at the heart of our campus. It will not only provide an outstanding new space for our students and staff to research and learn but will also create a new cultural space for all the citizens of Bristol, by opening up our Theatre Collection and our Special Collections and offering a year-round programme of exhibitions and activities.

“We are also seeking to enhance the public realm around the new University Library, turning a congested road junction into a calm and welcoming civic space, making the roads safer and creating new accessible public space for everyone to enjoy.”

Public consultation on the updated new University Library and public space plans runs from 1 October to 21 October, with a range of opportunities to provide feedback;

Public drop-in events on:

These events will be an opportunity to talk to the University Library team, alongside architects, Hawkins Brown, transport consultants, Arup and landscape architects, Grants.

Design plans will be on display in Beacon House reception and Hawthorns Terrace café from 1 October – 21 October.

An online survey will be live on

Following feedback from the consultation exercise and Bristol City Council, the University is aiming to submit the full planning application in January 2020.

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