Bristol Civic Society was disappointed with the proposals for this important site. We cannot support the preapplication plans as they stand.
Temple island will be the gateway to the commercial centre of Bristol on the approaches from Bath on the A4 and Wells on the A37. The Society feels strongly that the proposal, as presented at this stage, fails to live up to this important role which would require an outstanding development. Instead, the site is to be laid out with a series of buildings of varied height but mostly tall. Despite some architectural relief, these buildings are largely orthogonal in nature and located around the periphery of the site. We are concerned that this layout will create an unattractive environment at ground level which would be exacerbated by the effects of the tall buildings on wind currents. The Society would prefer a far greater sense of enclosure and intimacy at ground level and we feel that the proposal’s aspiration of creating a square in the centre will not work well with the proposed layout. We wonder if this could be achieved with a lower rise development spread over a broader footprint comprising more interesting building shapes, particularly at ground level.
We have a number of concerns about both pedestrian and traffic circulation. The success of the development in terms of its liveliness and, possibly the viability of the retail outlets, will depend on footfall particularly when the conference facilities are not in use and there is no guarantee at this stage that the hotel and conference facilities will be built or be successful if they are. This is a major challenge as the site is bounded by a number of physical barriers and is not, as yet, on a clear route to anywhere. Potential traffic problems relating in particular to the hotel and conference facilities need to be resolved in any application.
We are concerned that the preponderance of tall buildings will exacerbate the proposed development’s carbon footprint.
The Society believes that Bristol deserves a response to this important location which accords with national policy to produce beautiful architecture. We strongly urge the applicants to address this.