What is that ugly tower in Cumberland Basin and what is it used for?

what is that ugly tower in cumberland basin and what is it used for - What is that ugly tower in Cumberland Basin and what is it used for?

With plans going out to consultation on how to improve one of Bristol’s biggest eyesores, Cumberland Basin, interest has been raised on the historical site.

There are three possible options to transform the area to create Western Harbour. The plans include demolishing Brunel Way to transform the Cumberland Basin.

But there is one part of the Cumberland Basin which leave some wondering exactly what it is.

In particular, many people are unlikely to know why this imposing, dull grey building has such a unique position on the busy road, or what’s its function is despite passing it every day.

It is the control room for Plimsoll Swing Bridge below, and when operational it allows boats to go to and from Bristol Harbour.

The picture below was taken in 1969 soon after the room was built overlooking the complex, and for some mind-boggling, road system and landscaped park below.

what is that ugly tower in cumberland basin and what is it used for 1 - What is that ugly tower in Cumberland Basin and what is it used for?

Plimsoll Swing Bridge control room in 1969 (Image: Bristol Post)

According to Bristol Times writer Eugene Byrne, the network was actually welcome by most when it was built in 1964 costing £3.5m, but some did fear it would be an ugly harbinger of what could happen elsewhere in Bristol.

These days 48 hours’ notice is required from river users to have the swing bridge operated by the harbour master as the traffic caused by the delay can be considerable.

In 2013 the bridge broke down and it caused massive traffic jams throughout that side of the city.

Now the majority of the network has reached the end of its lifespan and plans have gone out to consultation about what should happen next.

what is that ugly tower in cumberland basin and what is it used for 2 - What is that ugly tower in Cumberland Basin and what is it used for?

what is that ugly tower in cumberland basin and what is it used for 2 - What is that ugly tower in Cumberland Basin and what is it used for?

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However these have received criticism, one critic being former mayor George Ferguson who said was part of ‘pie-in-the-sky’ planning and a ‘wasteful’ exercise.

Nearby Riverside Garden Centre has also complained saying they had no idea two of the proposed plans involved putting a road through their car park, effectively ending the business.

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