Former Esso filling station Bath Road
The photograph was taken on Totterdown Bridge facing Totterdown. The Bath Road runs left to right across the middle of the picture. The Hadley Property Group proposes a mixed use residential/commercial development of 136 apartments, underground parking and pedestrian access to a riverside walkway. The Society welcomes the regeneration of this site, which has been a long-standing eyesore but unfortunately cannot support the initial configuration of the proposed scheme.
The demolition of the former petrol filling station’s extensive hardstanding, its massive supporting concrete columns and the site topography make this a demanding site to develop. The critical issue for the Council to assess will be the quantity of development to make development viable. The proposal is to construct a 12-storey tower at the Totterdown Bridge end of the development and a separate a 7-storey block to the east whose long elevation would face the Bath Road. The Enterprise Zone Spatial Framework proposes that the height of development in the Avon Riverside Character Area should be low-rise - between 2-4 floors to create a liveable quarter and ensure that the Totterdown escarpment views are not spoilt. The planning advice responds to the height of the Bath Road terraced houses.
In 2007 a planning appeal refused an earlier proposal. At the appeal, the Council and the Planning Inspector accepted the principle of a tall, landmark building on this site. The Society’s comments apply if the Council 2007 conclusion prevails over more recent planning advice. The line drawings and detail included in the photographs are only indicative. This is a significant site for a tall building because it ‘turns the corner’ and will be widely visible. If included, projecting balconies would exacerbate the impression of bulk. The Society suggests that the design of the tower should make it appear slender, the shape should change with the angle from which the tower is viewed. The indicative line drawings included in the design statement give an impression of a monolithic and unwelcoming linear block. At this stage, the design shows no vertical articulation or horizontal hierarchy to mitigate the block’s impact.
Apart from our comments about height and mass, the Society would not want to suggest any constraint on a high quality imaginative design that complements the context of the site. The Bath Road frontage should have a green edge. The Society welcomes the adoption of the Enterprise Zone Public Realm Guide proposals to improve public access to the Avon riverside, which would produce an important planning gain. Discussion between the developer and the Council continue. There will be a further presentation later in the summer. Use this link for the exhibition boards displayed during public consultation, when feedback was gathered on the initial ideas for the site.
To locate this site, use this link to the Google map of the area.
Bristol Civic Society's full response [PDF, 371KB] Right-click to download, click to view.