An evening with Stuart Hatton – the person behind the Wapping Wharf scheme

Stuart Hatton Managing Director of Umberslade Corporate Development spoke to FrANC members on Wednesday 23rd June via Zoom about the Wapping Wharf development:

  • Umberslade is a small, family-run company
  • The Wapping Wharf site was bought in 2003 from British Rail Residuary Board with outline planning permission in 2007 for 625 dwellings and 200,000 square feet of commercial/retail space
  • Vision of more suitable/attractive pedestrian route to the centre, with independent shops and cafes spilling out onto the sides
  • The economic downturn in 2008 put things on hold, so Umberslade ran the space as a carpark
  • A conversation with the local MP led to grants from the Government’s New Homes Bonus allowed the project to take off
  • Sovereign Housing run the housing; a mixture of tenures – including affordable and social
  • Water for all 450 apartments heated by three boilers below ground. Plans for a sustainable heating system for subsequent phases of the scheme
  • 2019 Phase 1 finished with construction of Museum Street, allowing Museum Square to be free of traffic
  • Retail vision with the focus on independent businesses which show passion and drive (one tenant remortgaged his home to get started). Reasonable leases and fair rents – ‘it is the people who make the place’ – have encouraged a range of businesses: a pub – Wild Beer now a considerable community hub – a yoga studio, flowershop, book shop in July, fine dining + take-away (17 eateries in all) and others
  • Restoration of the former Bristol Gaol as new entrance to Phase 2; outline of the gaol walls and buildings marked in resinated gravel
  • Phase 3: Office space in former Fry’s warehouse and a further block of 83 apartments with 20% affordable homes; one entrance through refurbished gaol wall.


  • Concerns about deliveries to the retailers; and rubbish: plans for on-site recycling
  • Heavy footfall on Gaol Ferry Bridge. Steve Fay and Tim Wickstead raised the issue of the future viability of the existing structure
  • How far will this go?  When is saturation for the area reached? (Chris Hanmer’s question)

Umberslade keen to stay in Bristol: already supporters of M Shed (as part of planning agreement), SS Great Britain, Gig Club, Bristol 24/7, Bedminster Lantern Parade, Secret Garden Project, 1625…use the charity tap point at Better Food.

17 FrANC members joined this very interesting event and several made positive comments about the overall impact of the Wapping Wharf scheme.

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