Finzel’s Reach bridge – a new connection from Castle Park to Temple Meads
In July 2014, the Society responded to the planning application to say that the bridge design the failed to achieve the simple lightweight quality of Valentine’s Bridge or Meads Reach Bridge. The design enveloped the columns that support the deck within large steel boxes that widen to 7m at their tops. The bridge would block the view from Bristol Bridge of the river. The Society also objected to a new 3.5m wide flight of steps up to the main path level, which would bisect the present retaining wall. There are existing steps to the west and a ramped path to the east; no new staircase was needed.
The Council and Cubex, the developer of the Brewery site, are firm in their wish to build a new bridge from the Park. The Council’s policy, which the Society supports, is to increase access over the river for pedestrians and cyclists. Cubex wishes to make the Brewery site more accessible and attractive and has now revised the original design by:
- Removing the fairings from the piers, which become simple piloti. The Society would prefer the piers to stand in the water without crash barriers but the barriers may be an unavoidable safety requirement.
- The piers would be closer to the banks, which would extend the width of navigable water.
- The design omits a new central staircase into Castle Park, at right angles to the river.
The Society’s aim is to secure a bridge in a simple and elegant design of which the city can feel proud. Although the Society would prefer a bridge with a straight simple span, Cubex say that the design could not accommodate the height difference between the Park and Redcliff banks. The Society has said to the Council that it will withdraw its objection if the Council is satisfied that the revised design is the only design of bridge capable of spanning the river that manages the 3.5 metre difference between the banks. If there are other options, the Society reserves the right to comment further.
The Planning Officer’s report recommended that the Planning Committee refuse this application. However, the Committee overruled the advice and has granted planning permission.
Bristol Civic Society’s original full statement [PDF, 672KB] Right-click to download, click to view.
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