New homes on Green Belt, high rises and more for Bedminster
Published on: 23 Feb 2018
PIctured: The council's map of the green belt areas that could be partly built on
SOUTH Bristol has the potential for 11,000 new homes – many of them in Bedminster, according to the city’s new Local Plan.
The city council has released a far-reaching blueprint for how Bristol will develop over the next 20 years.
The aim is to “help deliver the new homes and jobs we need and safeguard the environmental assets we value”, according to the council.
The plan is packed with important announcements and detail – such as building on the Green Belt at Ashton Vale, thousands of homes for central Bedminster, new transport links and a new policy allowing more tall buildings.
There is only a few weeks for the public to make their comments – consultation closes on April 13 [see panel, right].
As the Voice went to press, councillors and commentators had not had time to absorb the impact of the Local Plan, but several gave their initial reactions below.
Here are the main proposals for South Bristol:
(From the Local Plan)
“Central Bedminster and Parson Street will be a focus for urban living which may have the potential for around 2,200 new homes, including affordable homes.
Tall buildings in the right setting and of the right design may be appropriate in these areas as part of the overall approach to development. There is an opportunity to capitalise on the accessible location through the redevelopment of key sites around Bedminster Down Road, West Street and Winterstoke Road to deliver new homes. In conjunction with measures to calm or reduce the impact of traffic through the area this could do much to regenerate the area.
This will include the redevelopment of some industrial and warehousing land in the Whitehouse Lane area, improvements to connections between East Street, Dalby Avenue and Bedminster station and an improved environment around Parson Street station.”
“ THE new link road and part of the MetroBus system has the effect of separating the area to the east from the rest of the Green Belt. The transport infrastructure acts as a boundary. In order for the Green Belt to serve its purposes it is no longer necessary for it cover all areas to the east of the link road.
It is proposed to remove land at south west Bristol from the Green Belt as indicated on the diagram [right]. Important open areas will be safeguarded and some potential sites for development will be identified.
To maintain their undeveloped status it is proposed that Ashton Vale town green, Bedminster Down common and its surroundings and Highridge Common are designated as Specially Protected Local Green Space. Existing allotments will be retained in allotment use.
It is proposed that land north of Ashton Vale town green, to the west of The Pavilions and west of Elsbert Drive are considered as potential development locations.”
The Local Plan deals only with the parts of the Green Belt mentioned above, which are within the city boundary. Just over the boundary in North Somerset, and next to the South Bristol Link road, developer Taylor Wimpey is proposing several thousand new homes in a cluster of three villages called The Vale. This idea has won backing from many politicians because it puts new homes close to transport links and the facilities of Bristol. North Somerset’s leadership are opposed – but elsewhere it is seen as an idea waiting for its time.
A separate document, Urban Living: Making Successful Places at Higher Densities makes the case for more high-rise residential buildings.
Bedminster Green is clearly one of the areas singled out for tall buildings – but the policy doesn’t say exactly where they should go.
Mayor Marvin Rees makes his enthusiasm clear in the introduction to the Urban Living document.
“I want Bristol’s skyline to grow. Years of low level buildings and a reluctance to build up in an already congested city is something I am keen to change.
“I acknowledge that higher density development – particularly tall buildings – is an emotive subject both for and against; advocates suggest tall buildings represent ambition and meet growth requirements, while those against often cite the need to protect the unique character of the city, and voice concerns that we do not repeat the mistakes of the past. The Urban Living SPD seeks to reconcile these often polarised views.”
South Bristol councillors reacted cautiously to the Local Plan, stressing that it would take time to absorb its implications.
Cllr Stephen Clarke, Green member for Southville ward, which includes Bedminster Green, told the Voice: “Bedminster Green development is potentially a huge opportunity for the area as most people would agree that the area needs some serious regeneration. What worries me is that, rather than having a cohesive and joined-up plan for the area, we will end up with a mess of competing schemes and priorities and that many of the possible community benefits will be lost.
On tall buildings, he said: “We need more homes in Bristol and clearly tall buildings can provide those. However, we are all scared of the mistakes of the past being repeated. What I would prefer is more mid-scale developments, like Wapping Wharf for example, to be built. They could provide a reasonable density of buildings without being too overpowering.
Bedminster Labour councillor Celia Phipps said she and Cllr Mark Bradshaw would study the Local Plan carefully before responding in detail.
She told the Voice: “I’m not a huge fan of massive tower blocks. It’s almost inevitable we are going to see high buildings, but we have a planning process, and it has to be done sensitively.”
Neil Sellers, chair of BS3 Planning, a community planning group, said members would be looking closely at the Local Plan. He wants members of the public to send him their views at firstname.lastname@example.org