The Society supports this development, which could set off a succession of developments surrounding the least visited and inviting end of Castle Park. Bouygues Development (BD) has acquired the right to develop the site of the former Central Ambulance Station (the site) tendered for sale by the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA). The HCA tender required the site to deliver high density new housing.
So far, BD has consulted only on the proposed height, scale and layout of the site. Planning policy allocates the site for redevelopment and expects it to provide a strong relationship with Castle Park to give natural surveillance. Other requirements are active frontages onto Castle Street, Queen Street and Tower Hill and measures to reduce the influence of traffic on Castle Street and Queen Street. The Central Area Plan says, ‘There is an opportunity to intensify the use of the site with buildings of greater height.’ BD says that to reopen the 19th century culvert of the castle moat would be of limited value, the ditch is deep and narrow, and the water relatively low and prone to stagnation.
Subject to a view test to assess the impact of a point block on the townscape, the principal block includes a tall building at the eastern end. The point block and the tower over the Harvey Nicholls podium would have similar heights. The illustration (right) is one of several massing options being considered. The site layout aims to animate the space around the blocks. The scheme would include a public open space at its centre framed by the main block to the north and flanked by two smaller blocks that would face the back of the Central Clinic. The site trees will remain. The scheme would offer rented homes. An institutional investor would be the landlord of the main block, and a social housing provider of the smaller blocks.
BD proposes to work with the Council to reclaim some of the unnecessary tarmac that surrounds the site. The traffic reduction in Castle Street and Queen Street could be the opportunity to create pedestrian priority zones or to lay shared surfaces.
Use this link for the Bouygues Development website on Castle Park View.
To locate this site, use this link to the Google map of the area.
Bristol Civic Society’s response [PDF, 244KB] Right-click to download, click to view.