This Grade II listed building has stood empty for some years. The University has applied for listed building consent to enable it to bring the building back into use. There will be various minor changes to the fabric. The Society welcomes the application. The sensitive repair of the original fabric will be a substantial conservation gain and benefit St. Michael’s Hill.
At the same time, the University presented its early thoughts about the development of the land behind and on the lower side of the former hospital. The Society supports the repair and retention of the historic rubble boundary wall of Royal Fort Road. Unless the design mitigates the height increase created by the falling contour, a new building rising above the boundary wall could repeat the insensitive impact on the conservation area of the Life Sciences building.
The Society’s other concern is the impact of a five storey new building rising above the former hospital’s roof line. The photograph on the left shows that the demolished wards behind the listed building created an apron tiled roof that slopes away from the viewer. It is unlikely that this solution is possible in a new building. The University agreed that the development must avoid an abrupt cliff above the ridge of the listed building; it must be set back.
The Society supports the proposal to reuse the former hospital’s grand staircase to access the new building and the principle that the new building should adopt the scale of the bays and respond to the detail of listed building.
The Society is delighted that the Listed Building application now has consent and work will commence in 2015.
Bristol Civic Society’s full statement [PDF, 360KB] Right-click to download, click to view.