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Soapworks, Bristol - First Base

The consultation for Soapworks used the bespoke app Give-My-View, an engagement tool developed by First Base with Built-ID, with consultation meetings, newsletters, telephone and posted information to receive almost 6,000 responses to their proposals.

Who is the developer/client of the project?

First Base


Describe the context of this project in 250 words max. and please upload any image, drawings or reports that explain the initiative.


Soapworks comprises three buildings on a 2.25 site close on the edge of Bristol city centre, close to Bristol Temple Meads station and between the city’s business district at Temple Quay and cultural quarter at Old Market.

The buildings, which include a Grade II-listed former soap factory, date back to the 1860s and have been at the heart of Bristol’s economy for generations.

In 2019 First Base acquired the site with a vision to revitalise the site as a new mixed-use dis-trict, comprising flexible workspace, over 240 homes, cafes, restaurants and community spaces. The scheme has been designed to align with Bristol’s vision to be one of the UK’s most creative and cutting-edge cities.

We believe placemaking is much more than just bricks and mortar. It is people who really make a place. This is why we work in partnership with communities from the outset to deliver real social, economic and environmental value.

The development received planning permission from Bristol City Council on 28th April 2021.

Community Engagement Approach – our core principles
• People make places
• Early engagement vital to learn and build trust
• Deliver better benefits in partnership
• Engagement influences social value

Soapworks, Bristol – what we will deliver for the local community

• £170m+ private investment
• £200m+ social value
• New homes, work and social spaces
• Exciting spaces for indie food, drink, arts, culture; promoting 18/7 economy
• Meanwhile-use
• A sensitive approach heritage and diversity
• High quality and sustainable design


How does this project enable the community to make a meaningful contribution to a place? 250 words max. Please attach an image or other documentation of the project, or context, that supports your statement.


Soapworks is one of the largest UK regeneration schemes to embrace digital consultation to ensure the plans are shaped by all parts of the local community, including the silent majority, not just the vocal minority.

First Base developed Give-My-View in partnership with Built-ID, an innovative new tool for community consultation. The tool is easy to use, allowing the local community to view proposed developments through their smartphone and instantly provide their feedback. To incentivise consultees to complete and submit their response, they were also given the choice of three local charities for First Base to support.

Give-My-View is able to reach:

• People whose first language is not English – with information displayed in their language of choice
• People with disabilities who may struggle to attend in-person consultation meetings
• Young people, who are more comfortable engaging digitally and using gamified tools
• Busy parents, who require flexibility

At Soapworks we complemented this digital approach with face-to-face consultation meetings, newsletters, and updated by post, telephone.

Overall, the plans received an overwhelmingly positive response, with almost 6,000 people responding to the consultation and over 80% of respondents indicating that they were supportive of the proposals. The digital response rate of 5,888 is roughly ten times what we believe would have been achieved using purely traditional methods.



How will the community engagement be taken forward? Have you actively responded to their contribution and continued the conversation, facilitating their continued involvement? 250 words max. Please attach an image of the project that supports your statement.


Following the extensive community engagement undertaken by First Base, Bristol City Council resolved to grant planning permission and listed building consent of the Soapworks site.

• Following the feedback we gathered through the consultation phase we have committed to:
• Deliver new homes, including affordable housing
• Provide spaces for local independent businesses
• Green a brownfield site with a new public square, green roofs and over 100 new plant species
• Delivering a sustainable development, responding to the UN Sustainable De-velopment Goals, embracing cycling, renewable technology, energy efficiency and connecting to Bristol’s District Heat Network
• Working with Cognitive Paths and Black South West Network to ensure we support diversity through our procurement process. Promoting more inclusive and accessible supply chains, maximising opportunities for local organisations right from the construction of Soapworks, to its operation.
• Work with 16-25 Independent People about how to tackle homelessness in Bris-tol by supporting their life-changing work.
• Support Off The Record charity to promote health and wellbeing in the area, in-cluding mental health initiatives and designing spaces that actively promote wellbeing and healthy living.


Please share any reports, news clippings, data or figures that support your entry, for example reach, news clippings, reports. You may also attach an additional image or document to support your entry.


Our plans for Soapworks will help to deliver an inclusive and sustainable economic recovery as the city builds back better following the Covid-19 pandemic.

• Deliver £200m in Social, Economic and Environmental value to the local community over the next 20 years, including employment, apprenticeship and training opportunities for local people
• Commitment to a policy-compliant level of affordable housing in this part of the city, helping to meet the demand from local people for new homes
• Deliver more than 2,000 new local jobs including targeting local people, NEETs and rehabilitated offenders
• Skills provision and training opportunities for local people will be placed at the heart of our procurement process for a main contractor
• Provision of over 5,000sqm (equivalent to 19 tennis courts) of green, open and play spaces for community use
• Commitment to support diversity through procurement and ‘buy local, buy social’ in the supply chain
• £1million of financial contributions to Bristol City Council to maintain, and where possible, improve local infrastructure


Winner of Community Engagement - The Pineapples Awards 2021



  • 12-16 JULY, 2021
  • Online event
  • Airmeet


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