Former Esso filling station Bath Road
The Bath Road runs left to right across the photograph; the Totterdown Bridge is to the left of the tower block. The Hadley Property Group proposes to construct 159 apartments in a 16-storey residential tower (14 above street level) with lower blocks facing the Bath Road. Commercial space will be along the riverside area. Parking spaces and the service area will be below ground level.
The Society welcomes the regeneration of this site, which has been a long-standing eyesore but unfortunately cannot support 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 it viable. The Temple Quarter Spatial Framework proposes that the height of development in the Avon Riverside Character Area should be between 2-4 floors to create a liveable quarter and ensure that the Totterdown escarpment views are not spoilt. In 2007, a planning appeal refused an earlier proposal. At the appeal, the Council and the Planning Inspector accepted the principle of a landmark building on this site.
If the Council does not follow its own more recent planning advice, the Society has said that, to be acceptable, tall Buildings should be of exceptional design. This is a significant site for a tall building because it ‘turns the corner’, it will be widely visible. The design does not lift the building above examples of the standard apartment blocks of an earlier planning regime. The parallel sided design does not justify or mitigate the impact of a tall building on this prominent site. The elevations require a more sensitive architectural articulation. The design of the tower should make it appear slender. The scheme has a respectful approach to the site’s ecology. A new riverside walk from Totterdown Bridge through to the Paintworks site would be an important planning gain as will a green edge along the Bath Road. To make the site permeable. there will be a public space between the tower and linear building.
Bristol Civic Society’s full response [PDF, 394KB] Right-click to download, click to view.