Update, October 2017
Councillors have granted planning permission. The Society is disappointed that Councillors ignored Historic England’s advice. Historic England said that the new apartment block next to the West Purifier House should be of a similar size to the new block that stands next to the East Purifier House. Councillors approved a scheme to build a much bigger new apartment block that will overbear the restored West Purifier House; this is a planning mistake.
The scheme is now under construction. When complete the surviving buildings of the former gas works will all have a new use.
A while ago an item appeared on this website to describe the Society’s support for the Soil Association’s proposal to convert part of the former gas works into its new headquarters. The Soil Association did not build and sold the land on Anchor Road to Square Bay (Anchor) LLP who wish to build housing. The Society strongly supports the long delayed development of this important derelict site.
Linden Homes have carefully restored and redeveloped the East Purifier House. The two purifier sites and Gas Ferry Lane are a major industrial heritage and, with Capricorn Quay, relieve the bland Crest Nicholson Harbourside master plan. The Society supports Square Bay’s proposal to construct a new building to the east of the site but there are features of the design that the Society does not support and wishes to see Square Bay improve.
The current proposal is to build five floors above ground. Square Bay’s new design substitutes a full floor of accommodation plus a penthouse in place of the gable and pitched roof of the Soil Association’s consented scheme. The effect would be to make the Grade II listed Purifier House subsidiary to the new building. The greater build mass and flat roof of the proposed new building would harm the setting of this assemblage. The new building would be much larger than the ‘Boat House’, the new building that Linden Homes built next to the East Purifier House. To create a high quality design, the West Purifier House should be lower and include a pitched roof similar to that of the Soil Association’s consented scheme. The Society suggests that when the design is developed it should include materials to reflect the quality of the materials in the surrounding heritage buildings. The quality of the materials used to pave the courtyard area is equally important.
Bristol Civic Society’s response [PDF, 442KB] Right-click to download, click to view.