Clifton Suspension Bridge
Clifton Suspension Bridge

With an estimated population of 13,300 Clifton ward covers the area between Bridge Valley Road and the Feeder in the west, Pembroke Road and Jacobs Wells Road in the east, the Downs to the north and Rosemont Terrace to the south. These individual districts are known as Hotwells, Clifton, Clifton Wood and Clifton Village. The ward includes the famous Brunel-built Clifton Suspension Bridge, the 1970s splendidly brutalist Roman Catholic Cathedral and (for the time being) Bristol Zoo Gardens. Clifton Village has a distinct character due to its mix of shops, restaurants and green spaces.

Clifton is an outwardly prosperous area marked by its rows and crescents of Georgian townhouses and Victorian villas. According to the Bristol City Council ward profile, over 90% of its residents say they are happy living there. Life expectancy is significantly better than average and amongst the highest in Bristol and the ward has a high quality of life. The ward also has quite a significant number of young professionals (29%), mostly living in private rented accommodation. Only 9 % of the population of Clifton are children aged between 0 and 15.  Housing remains a hidden issue, however, since Clifton has significant pockets where buildings in poor repair are multiply occupied.

Key challenges facing the local community in Clifton are:

  • Development —a number of developments are coming on stream in the ward. Bristol Zoo is closing its historic Clifton site and moving all attractions to its “second home” at Cribbs Causeway. The site is due to be redeveloped for much needed housing in the area, with the famous gardens retained, although one group has campaigned for it to be listed as a community asset, in an attempt to stop this.
  • Princess Victoria Street pedestrianisation – Princess Victoria Street in Clifton Village (the main shopping street) was pedestrianised in 2021. This initially proved to be divisive, with a mixed response from residents and traders.
  • Western Harbour Regeneration Project – Western Harbour is a key area in the continuing regeneration of Bristol’s city centre and the floating harbour. The need to replace parts of the highway infrastructure at Cumberland Basin provides an opportunity for change in the area but there has been strong local opposition to the proposals to date.
  • Air Pollution – the ward will only partially be included in Bristol’s Clean Air Zone, but it is significant that Bridge Valley Road down to the Feeder will be included as a main gateway to the Clean Air Zone.
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