Masterplanning Filton Airfield’s future
Long synonymous with aerospace innovation, Filton Airfield is famously where Concorde and the Corps in the First World War and RAF Spitfires in the Second and had been an important site for aircraft production in the decades following. Yet since the turn of the century, this 142 hectare South Gloucestershire site on the northern fringe of Bristol has sat largely idle. Today, however, it is set for a development of an altogether different kind as one of the UK’s largest brownfield regeneration projects with an emerging masterplan that will create a new neighbourhood of 2,675 homes.
This ambitious undertaking will also deliver a new town centre, three new schools, open spaces for recreation, community, commercial and industrial buildings. The project will enable connections between existing communities previously severed, as well as enhancements that will benefit the wider area’s transport infrastructure in the form of a railway station, MetroBus link and extensive cycle network. The emerging masterplan incorporates elements of Filton’s aeronautical heritage including the Brabazon and Spitfire Hangars, which will frame a new town centre. The trace of the runway reinterpreted in a sequence of routes and public spaces will together form a linear park through the heart of new districts with a mixture of uses and a rich variety of architecture.
At 3km long, the airfield is equivalent in scale to Bristol city centre. Set within the wider context the city – one of the UK’s fastest growing and a place attracting many families and businesses to relocate – a site of this scale offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity. ‘The intention is not just to add to suburbia, but to have the density of a piece of urban planning and create a new local centre’, the RIBA journal commented recently.
Filton Airfield is being developed by YTL Developments UK Ltd who purchased the site from BAE Systems in 2016. The masterplan team is lead by Allies and Morrison and brings together Grant Associates (landscape architects), Gehl People (public space and community planners), Peter Brett Associates (engineers), Phil Jones Associates (transport planners) and Alder King (commercial property consultants).
Allies and Morrison partner Simon Gathercole will be presenting the emerging ideas for Filton at the upcoming RIBA Smart Practice Conference 2017: New Opportunities, 3 October 2017 at the M Shed, Bristol.