Plans approved for 22-storey Bristol tower despite heritage concerns

Plans have been approved for a major 274-home, mixed-use scheme in central Bristol, including a 22 storey tower, despite a recommendation from Historic England that the scheme be refused on heritage grounds.

An artist's visualisation of the finished scheme
An artist's visualisation of the finished scheme

Bristol City Council granted full consent for the plans, which form the second phase of the Redcliff Quarter project, yesterday.

The second phase application sought consent for 274 homes, a 186-bed hotel, 3,018 square metres of café/restaurants, a 2,199 square metre food hall, and 1,547 square metres of office space.

The first phase of the scheme received permission in April 2015, comprising a further 128 flats and three retail units.

The plans include what would becomes Bristol’s tallest residential building at 22 storeys.

According to a planning report, this aspect of the development raised objections from bodies including the Bristol Civic Society and heritage watchdog Historic England.

The report said that the council’s City Design Group also said that a local supplementary planning document on tall buildings "takes a clear stance" that the area proposed for the scheme "is inappropriate for tall buildings".

Historic England objected to the scheme "due to the harm to the setting of the designated heritage assets in the vicinity" and recommended that it be refused on heritage grounds.

But planners concluded that the development should be approved, subject to conditions.

"As is recognised by the City Design Group, in design terms there is a lot to be supported within this application, but inevitably there are elements that could be improved", the report said.

The document said that planners had "balanced the contribution the applications’ proposals will bring to the regeneration of this important City Centre site against design reservations … Particular attention has been paid to the proposed tower and this has been the subject of considerable debate".

But it concluded that, "subject to confirmation of the materials to be employed in its construction, its design is considered to be acceptable".

"Your Officers are satisfied that the applications’ proposals are broadly consistent with the adopted Development Plan policy and there are not considered to be material considerations to outweigh that policy consideration."

GVA is planning consultant for the development.

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