Land north of Freestone Road – amended scheme for purpose built student accommodation.
Bristol Civic Society noted that the previous five storey proposal departed from the development framework for the area in terms of its height. However, we felt that the site adjacent to the railway could accommodate the proposal although we considered that the severity of the design, as it would appear above the railway embankment, should be relieved with architectural features to give the elevation some variety.
The latest proposal is for four eight/nine storey buildings as opposed to five five storey buildings. Glazed corridors connect the individual buildings at each floor level. The Society cannot support this upward extension of the proposal. It would protrude much further above the railway embankment resulting in a grim, grey wall when viewed from the north and from trains approaching or departing from Temple Meads. This would spoil the ambience of Dings Park, overbearing it and possibly overshadowing it particularly at darker times of the year.
Although we had some reservations about the brickwork and fenestration of the previous scheme, we nonetheless felt that it was quite an interesting design. The move from five blocks to four taller buildings undoes that. We consider that this proposal would dominate Freestone Road and create a series of very sombre grey structures unrelieved by lighter architectural features. More verticality in the fenestration rather than the predominance of square windows would, in our view, improve the appearance of the buildings but would not overcome our objections to the height.
The number of student beds has increased by approximately 10%. Whilst the location is suitable for student accommodation in view of the proposed new university campus, the potential concentration of student accommodation now approved or proposed for the area should be considered when deciding this application.