Bristol design watchdogs unite against an 18+ storeys tower in Redcliffe
Bristol Civic Society supports the proposed new Redcliffe Quarter urban hub, but joins Heritage England and the local Design Forum in opposing an 18 floor tower that would dominate Bristol's city centre skyline and harm the setting of St. Mary Redcliff. For the good of the future Redcliff Street scene the Society also questions the height of the general street profile of some of the perimeter buildings. Change Real Estate has applied for planning permission to build 274 flats, a 186 bed hotel, café/restaurants, a food hall, office space and public realm work on the site formerly part occupied by Patterson and Miles Druce in Redcliff Street. The Society supports the principle of the developer’s vision to revive an underutilised part of Bristol, into a bustling urban hub. The developer’s aspiration is to create a bustling new neighbourhood housing a variety of developments accessible and attractive to people of all ages and to make it a desirable place to visit and enjoy.
Regional spatial strategy concentrates housing and activity in city centres. The Society supports a higher density in the city centre, and an increased building height; it reduces urban sprawl. But, it is not necessary to build tall buildings to support densification. The 18+ floor tower of flats in Redcliff Street would be taller than the neighbouring Robinson Building. Planning policy specifically identifies the Redcliff Conservation Area as being a quarter inappropriate for tall buildings.
The Society supports Historic England who say that “The proposals are out of scale with the predominant heights of existing, historic buildings in the Redcliffe Conservation Area where it will be an especially unwelcome intrusion. The incongruous and overly assertive nature of the 18+ storeys element will be exacerbated by the addition of a blue “feature”, the equivalent of an additional two storeys. The Society fully supports Historic England when they say that “Given the unacceptable scale of the proposals and the harm it would cause to the setting of the designated heritage assets in the vicinity, Historic England objects to this scheme and recommends that it is refused, on heritage grounds, or preferably withdrawn, to allow for meaningful dialogue over development proposals of a considerably reduced and far more realistic scale.”
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