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25 July 2019

Bristol Mayor checks out Willmott Dixon’s transformation of city landmark

The Willmott Dixon team transforming one of Bristol’s most historic landmarks received two special visitors when city mayor Marvin Rees and Willmott Dixon chief executive Rick Willmott dropped in to see latest progress

Willmott Dixon built Colston Hall’s foyer ten years ago and returned earlier this year to deliver a full refurbishment of the iconic 151 year old venue into a world-class concert hall that Bristol can be proud of for the next 150 years.

It enabled both to see the intricate detail of the refurbishment as well as being an opportunity to underline at the highest level the close collaboration of Bristol City Council and Willmott Dixon in making the project a reality. A key part of the One City Plan’s sustainable development goals, Colston Hall’s transformation will be a catalyst for new growth when it opens in 2021.

Rick Willmott says, “Willmott Dixon was founded just 15 years before Colston Hall opened and our values mirror those of the council, such as its ambition for carbon neutrality by 2030 and for Bristol to be a diverse and inclusive city.

“We were the first construction company to become carbon neutral, in 2012, and since then have won three Queen’s Awards for Enterprise for our track record in sustainable development and promoting opportunity through social mobility with our work to improve the life chances of 10,000 people by 2020. Inclusion, collaboration and social mobility are just as important to Willmott Dixon as they are for the mayor’s vision for Bristol’s future and I wanted to show him how we’ll be able to contribute to that with our work at Colston Hall.”

At Colston Hall, the local Willmott Dixon team – the company has a main office less than six miles away from the site – are focused on a number of initiatives that will create opportunity for people. These include working with the charity Key4Life to help support rehabilitation of young people both in prison and at risk of going to prison in the Bristol area. This will see the company equipping them with a range of skills to find employment within the construction sector.

There will also be over 620 hours of construction learning and development opportunities for people, ensuring that over a third of the project’s £37m construction budget is spent with companies located within 20 miles, plus running a series of training weeks to boost apprenticeships and encourage new entrants to the construction industry. Recently, Willmott Dixon partnered with local companies to deliver new homes at East Street Mews aimed at transforming the lives of young homeless people in Bristol.

Mayor Marvin Rees said: “I enjoyed the opportunity to see the work of Willmott Dixon and the Bristol Music Trust and how their plans are progressing for the Colston Hall up close. The landmark project demonstrates our shared ambitions of environmental sustainability, community engagement and inclusion. It was great to learn from Rick Willmott of his experiences of leading the company as it became carbon neutral, as we as a council tackle that challenge.

I look forward to continuing to work with Willmott Dixon in ensuring their other major projects across the city deliver positive impacts for all of Bristol’s communities.’’

Willmott Dixon is behind a host of key projects shaping Bristol’s future, including the Aurora office and Build to Rent development at Finzels Reach, Queen’s Building at University of Bristol, the Bower Ashton campus at University of West England, three new fire stations at Kingswood, Hicks Gate and Temple Back for Avon Fire and Rescue, plus the Centre for Nanoscience & Quantum Information for the University of Bristol.


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Willmott Dixon is a privately-owned contracting and interior fit-out group