Council reverses decision and approves new ‘brutal’ Bristol Uni library

It’ll be completed in 2026, so you might need to apply for a PHD to use it…

A new Bristol Uni library due to open in 2026 has been granted planning permission by Bristol City Council, reversing a rejection of the plans in February.

Councillors voted 6 to 4 in favour of the “brutal” library, which will be built on the corner of Woodland Road and Elton Road, replacing The Hawthorns.

The plans were initially rejected in February after the council cited road safety concerns, design concerns, and the impact on the surrounding conservation. Organisations such as Historic England, Bristol Grammar School and The Victorian Society have objected to the design, and insist it is out of character with the Woodland Road area.

The ground floor is set to be a “cultural destination” housing the University’s Centre for Cultural Collection, galleries, and events space. Whilst the upper floors will be for staff and students.

The new library will have 2,000 seats, 420,000 books, and 70,000 journals according to Bristol Uni.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Judith Squires, said: “We are delighted to have been granted planning permission for our new university library and thank everyone for their input and support throughout the planning process.

“The new university library will provide world-class state-of-the-art library facilities for our staff, students and visitors. It will support the learning of generations of future students and cutting-edge research into our most significant societal challenges.

“It will also be a new cultural destination for the city of Bristol, with a museum-style cafe, exhibition galleries, reading rooms to explore archival and museum collections, and programmed event spaces.

“The new university library will sit in a new city square, providing a welcoming and inspiring public realm for the whole city. We look forward to delivering this new heart to our university campus and currently anticipate that the new library will open in 2026.”

Images/Video: University of Bristol 

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