The Marsh Islanders of St Philips reunite as plans are laid for the future of the area

October 26 2018
Thumbnail Image

AS THE long-departed residents of St Philip’s met for a reunion, plans are being submitted for a new vision for the area. Two planning applications are now being considered – for a 4,000 capacity open-air music venue and a block of almost 800 homes.

Pictured top: Former residents of St Philips gather for a reunion 

Site for the new music venue off Feeder Road

Above, the site proposed for the new music venue by the owners of Motion nightclub, seen from the south; it's next door to the Wessex Kia car showroom,

Artist impression of the music venue

Above, the music venue as it might look, seen from the other side of the Feeder canal

Student homes proposed off Feeder Road, St Philips

Above, the proposal for student homes off Feeder Road

AS THE long-departed residents of St Philip’s met for a reunion, plans are being submitted for a new vision for the area.

Around 6,000 people who lived in a tightly-packed community of terraced houses were moved out in the 1960s to make way for commercial uses. But the St Silas Royal British Legion in Meriton Street was packed on September 30 for a reunion with the offer of free open-top bus tours of ‘Marsh Island’.

On show were the residents’ ideas for the island’s future – a watersports centre on the Feeder canal, for example, with a concert hall and shopping centre.

The likely future of the island is revealed in two planning applications now being considered – for a 4,000 capacity open-air music venue and a development of almost 800 homes, most of them for students.

The idea of a new music venue has already stirred dissent from some Totterdown residents.

The developer is MJR, owner of the nearby Motion nightclub on Avon Street

So far 13 objections have been lodged to the venue, a former warehouse and car park, to be called St Philips House, next to the Wessex car showroom.

MJR has previously told the Voice it wants to be a good neighbour, though the council has received complaints about late-night noise from Motion from residents in St Philips, Brislington, Totterdown and Knowle.

One Totterdown resident who lives near Wells Road wrote: “For several years we have been kept awake at weekends, sometimes until 5 and 6 am. Even nearly a mile away from the venue, we are subjected to inescapable thudding music. The proposal to extend events to outside is extremely concerning, as we anticipate the noise nuisance to be even worse.”

The police have lodged a vehement objection, citing public safety so close to the Feeder canal, as well as the extra police resources needed. a statement said police may oppose an alcohol licence, and are concerned at the impact on emergency vehicles, which use Feeder Road as a “blue light run”. 

The music venue would hold up to 3,500 people – 500 more than first proposed. It would be open until 3am at weekends, though music would stop at 11pm. It would include an indoor venue of 1,800 capacity, plus office space for small businesses and a separate event space which might become an indoor crazy golf venue, similar to one in Cabot Circus.

The housing is proposed for the Manor scrapyard and next-door Autochoice car showroom. The owners of the two business want 760 student rooms in up to nine storeys, with 30 two-bedroom affordable flats.

No homes would be on the ground floor, as the area is rated at high risk of flooding. 

Neither site has much room for parking. The music venue has a handful of spaces if the outside space is in use, while the housing blocks appear to have about 46 spaces, including disabled parking.