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Archaeological investigation to start at Wapping Wharf, Bristol7th December 2012

An archaeological investigation is now underway at Wapping Wharf, a major regeneration site on Bristol’s Harbourside.

Developers Umberslade have appointed Bristol-based BaRAS who are currently preparing the land ahead of the main archaeological excavation, which is due to start next week (w/c 10 December).

The excavation will kick start work on the first phase of new homes, shops, cafes and public spaces situated at the western end of the site between the floating harbour and Avon New Cut.

A team of seven archaeologists will be based on the site until mid February 2013 when works are expected to complete.

The team will be looking for remains of 18th and 19th century industrial buildings, which are known to include a timber yard and a ropewalk associated with Bristol’s role as a port.

The timber yards were for storing and onward transport of imported timber. The ropewalk was used for laying out and twisting lengths of rope, which were made for and supplied to the visiting ships.

John Bryant, BaRAS said: “Next week the interesting part of the excavation work will get underway. We’ve worked on several projects across the city centre but this is quite unique as it’s a large site with more recent history to uncover that is central to a key part of the city’s history.”

Stuart Hatton, director of Wapping Wharf (Umberslade) Ltd, said: “This scheme is one of the final pieces in the jigsaw of Bristol Harbourside’s regeneration and we are delighted to be able to get the ball rolling with this archaeological investigation.

“This phase of the development will open up the waterfront to the people coming to the city centre from the south and will create a really vibrant area that will complement the new M Shed and leisure area along the floating harbour.”

The first phase of Wapping Wharf will include 180 apartments, including 24 affordable homes together with up to 865m sq of retail and leisure space. After the archaeological investigation the main construction work is expected to start in spring 2013.

A new stepped and ramped pedestrian route called Gaol Ferry Steps will run from Gaol Ferry Bridge, the existing footbridge over the Cut, through the site to Museum Square, a new public landscaped square on the waterfront by the new M Shed.

When complete, Wapping Wharf will provide a total of 625 home, as well as local shops, cafes, restaurants, offices and a 150 bed boutique hotel.

The scheme will retain and restore several key listed buildings and the old jail gates to enhance the City Docks conservation area and new public spaces and routes to the waterfront will also be created.

Most of the site area is owned by Wapping Wharf (Umberslade) Ltd, but the master plan also covers waterfront land and buildings, including M shed, owned by Bristol City Council.

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