Debenhams building redevelopment

Original post January 2024

Yet another 28-storey tower with depressing ‘anywhere’ architecture…..

We have objected in the strongest terms to the planning application for the redevelopment of the Debenhams building.

We have underlined that, like anybody else who cares about Bristol, we see tackling the housing crisis as a priority for the city. We also want to see a vibrant city centre. It is not, therefore, the principle of housing that concerns us, or even the prospect of taller buildings, but the massing of these proposals, their overwhelming bulk, the totally inappropriate height of a 28-storey tower in this location and the lack of decent, affordable, homes. The headline in B24/7 in the run up to Christmas says it all “Proposed 28-storey tower would ‘blight Bristol’s landscape’“.

In our objection we emphasise that height of the tower is alien to the Bristol loved by many, both residents and visitors. And the sort of Bristol the clear majority, when asked, have consistently said they do not want. We are very concerned that despite the clear expressions of public preference the city council steamrollers on, encouraging developers to bring forward 28-storey towers in advance of any consideration through the formal local planning process; and without the clear strategy for tall buildings the Civic Society, and others, have repeatedly called for.

In our view, and we have said this to the city council planners, Bristol deserves better than these proposals. We can house our citizens in decent, affordable homes and densify with civilised dignity in ways that keep the essence of Bristol.

We don’t have to panic ourselves into accepting such a dominating and depressing development. National planning policy tells us that creating high quality, beautiful and sustainable buildings and places is fundamental to what the planning and development process should achieve. We believe we should have the same ambition locally.

Update (April 2024)

The planning application will be considered at the Development Control A Committee on 24 April. Officers are recommending approval. We have submitted a Public Forum Statement setting out our concerns: BCS Public Forum Statement


Full Civic Society report.



3 thoughts on “Debenhams building redevelopment”

  1. Leigh Sutherland

    The only blight on the landscape is the Bristol Civic Society and your constant objections to any building over 50 feet tall, for goodness sake stop holding Bristol back and allow us to move into the 21st century, and by the way you don’t represent the majority of Bristolians.

    1. Exactly, Leigh. Couldn’t agree with you more. Who do the BCS think they are representing? What about the people that would like tall buildings in Bristol. Plenty of people I know think they are great and are fed up of the ‘big village’ mentality. This city needs to be dragged into the 21st century. I would gladly give these BCS boffins a trip to Birmingham and Manchester to see what truly dynamic, progressive cities look like.

  2. Just saw on the news the massive new arena opening in Manchester (their 2nd one) and it looks absolutely spectacular. What a shame that Bristol remains such a backwater with its prehistoric sports stadia and leisure arenas. We have second rate sports teams and the only viable option for big bands at the already overused Ashton Gate. Surely the BCS should be more involved in encouraging big construction projects a la the aforementioned arena other than going after tall buildings?!

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