The proposal is to demolish the current buildings to build 82 flats of mixed sizes with some ground level commercial floorspace. The site stands on the north west corner of Dean Street and Wilder Street within the St. Paul’s Conservation Area. There is an unexpired planning permission to redevelop the site for student accommodation. The Society supports the redevelopment of the site but does not support this proposal for the same reasons that it previously opposed the similar size block of student accommodation.
This monolithic five floor block would be an over-scaled development that would harm the historic character and legibility of the area. The Society agrees with the Council’s Conservation Section that, ‘The degree of harm posed by the development is not outbalanced by the public benefit of the less-than-policy-compliant affordable homes offering.’ The Society supports the demolition of the current buildings, which are a negative feature in the conservation area and supports residential use.
The St. Paul’s Conservation Area Character Appraisal says, “This Conservation Area represents one of the best surviving examples of formal Georgian town planning in Bristol. It has the highest proportion of listed buildings of any of the city’s conservation areas (almost 70%) and the only Grade I listed square in Bristol, the Conservation Area is of national significance.” Any proposal should take into account the character of its context. This site is bounded by Dean Street, Wilder Street and Cave Street, which are service streets behind the architectural centrepiece, Portland Square.
The proposed building is bland, the design is generic and built to the back of the pavement. The five floor elevations would dominate the narrow secondary streets. The Society supports Conservation Team who conclude that the proposal ‘fails to conform to policies that protect local character and distinctiveness.’ The Society could support a street elevation that is three floors tall, including the ground floor. It would not object to a fourth floor that is substantially set back. There must be no projections above the top floor to house plant. The roof should add interest to the skyline.
To locate this site, use this link to the Google map of the area.
Bristol Civic Society's original response [PDF, 563KB] Right-click to download, click to view.