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26


RESTAURANTS & BARS PROJECT REPORT


A mix of materials, including Pennant stone and corten steel, was specified in keeping with Bristol’s gritty harbourside © Jon Craig


There are food retail units along the whole length of the route – including a beer shop, two cafes and an organic food


supermarket, as well as a pizza restaurant housed in the former stables


an incredibly busy thoroughfare – cross the bridge over there and you're into a mixed neighbourhood [Southville], and the people who live there pass through here.” Gaol Ferry Steps is designed as a ramp with level terraces relating to the buildings rising with the ground, with trees planted at podium level. There are retail units along the whole length of the route – including a beer shop, two cafes and an organic food supermarket, as well as a pizza restaurant housed in the former stables at the top. The sloping nature of the street has its pros and cons – the external landscaping had to be as non-slip as possible as well as durable and low maintenance. Osborne praises the landscaping design by interna- tionally renowned landscape designers Gillespies including Pennant stone hard paving which he says was completed to an “exceptionally high standard.”


Indie at heart


Osborne explains how the design of the street was conceived to offer distinctive frontages to independent retailers, aided by the gradient: “Stuart’s idea was about small individual units which can be adapted for local traders rather than international brands and we designed a series of shopfronts and part of walls in between – because you can't just have glazing.” He adds: “The units are nice and tall and as you go down there are double heights, so right at the end you’ve got a mezzanine, or


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a potential for one at least.”


The idea of encouraging independent retailers to bring bespoke food and drink offerings has been one of the main objec- tives for Umberslade, a company which is itself in essence a family business. “We are completely unlike the vast majority of developers,” declares Stuart Hatton, explaining that even though independent retailers may not have the track record of established market giants, his firm was still willing to take a gamble for one simple reason: “I wanted Wapping Wharf to become a food hub, and independent retail- ers do food best.”


Hatton insists it was vital for the devel- opment to get the right mix of businesses that could be complementary and serve the local community as well as draw people to the wharf from across the city. “You've got to buy into the community,” says Hatton, who personally sieved through and inter- viewed the candidates for the units. “When you get the chance to chat to these people, you understand whether they get it or not.” With individuality being key to the devel- opment, he was able to take a selective approach: “If we wanted, we could have put nine coffee shops in here – that’s how many people approached us.” To make matters simpler for tenants completing the fit-outs, the architects made some interventions to the empty units. “We designed them as shells and they were all the same type of specification,” explains


ADF APRIL 2017


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