An application for planning permission has been submitted to the Council to demolish the public toilets at Seawalls on the Downs and replace the building with a café incorporating new toilets (ref: 18/02629/F). The Society welcomes the demolition and replacement of the unsightly toilets. We are also broadly content with the contemporary design of the proposed replacement. However, we have concerns about the precise location of the new building and, in particular, the lack of analysis of its impact upon views within, into and out of the Downs without which it is not possible to judge whether any harmful impacts of the proposal outweigh its potential benefits.
The proposed replacement is effectively a two storey building incorporating a café. A well designed and managed café which replaced the mobile food outlets could be a beneficial asset to the Downs. Its location, however, is much closer to the edge of the gorge. The Downs is the premier open space in Bristol. It is characterised by its almost uninterrupted open parkland vistas. There are important views into the Downs and equally important views out of the Downs into the Avon Gorge and many miles beyond including the hills of South Wales. The proposed toilets and café must be considered in terms of their impact upon this setting. In the absence of analysis of the impact on views, the Society fears that the proposed location would be intrusive and a preferable location would be on and extending south from the site of the present toilet block.
The Society has also expressed concerns about anti-social behaviour, advertising and litter that could follow the proposed development.
Pending the resolution of these issues, the Society has lodged an objection to the proposal.