Wapping Wharf housing

Urban Living SPD – revised version

Bristol Council has been consulting again on an Urban Living Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). ‘Urban Living’ is a policy that prioritises housing growth in certain city areas, with denser development, primarily on brownfield sites. The Society responded to the earlier consultation and has now responded to this revised version.

Whilst the Society supports the purpose of the Urban Living SPD, we do not think that the revised draft has responded sufficiently to the weight of consultation responses on the earlier draft, and it should be more cautionary and more explicit about the acceptability of tall buildings. If too many tall buildings are built, it will make Bristol more like other cities (or areas of cities), and the special quality of Bristol might well be lost.

We said that:

  • The SPD should give a balanced appraisal of alternative building forms that achieve densification without building tall.
  • The SPD should not be partisan in favour of tall buildings. A policy document should use measured terminology.
  • The policy tests for tall buildings need to be strengthened.
  • We support the guidance given on location of areas with potential for intensification.

Bristol Civic Society’s full response.

Alan Morris

1 thought on “Urban Living SPD – revised version”

  1. You state that ‘If too many buildings are built, it will make Bristol more like other cities and the special quality of Bristol might well be lost.

    As a born and bred Bristolian personally I find one of the special qualities of the city is its diverse topography, famously built on so say seven hills. The centre of the city in particular demonstrates this as no matter which way you look you can see the hills rising up around you, which is why I find Bristol Civic Society’s constant objections to buildings over 6 floors quite bemusing.

    Surely it’s this undulating nature of the city that makes it so interesting? Random tall buildings in a flat city achieve an effect that Bristol has naturally, so why try to hide that pleasing effect by only having bland cooker cutter 6 storey buildings everywhere? Surely tall buildings accentuate the landscape and give it more diversity and interest, not the other way round?

    I’d rather have a well designed stunning 20+ storey building than a bland 6 storey one any time, but it seems to me that due to BCS’s constant anti tall buildings stance this beautiful city is getting over run by mediocre, generic squat blocks that don’t intrude on the skyline but equally don’t do much more than tick the ‘average’ box when it comes to functionality or aesthetically pleasing.

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