Proposals have come forward for the redevelopment of a warehouse building along Lower Bristol Road, currently in use as the headquarters of the charity Mercy in Action. Development seeks to create a new mixed-use building which incorporates student flats over a new distribution centre for the charity at ground floor level. As of 2022, planning permission has been secured but on-site construction works have not started.
2021 – Revised Proposals for Student Accommodation Development
Revised application 21/02354/FUL proposed an improved design with greater reference to the industrial character of the area and a better articulation of the corner elevation on the junction with the bus depot. BPT continued to object to the principle of PBSA; whilst we considered that the use of a sawtooth roof profile was an improvement, the development would continue to be excessive and visually dominating in its height, massing and appearance.
Read our revised response to the 2021 application here.
The Local Planning Authority granted planning permission on grounds that “represents a significant evolution in terms of design by the applicant” with the design having a much stronger contextual reference. The design of the building was felt to appropriately break up its height and reference was made to similar neighbouring developments which were felt to be comparable in scale, such as Twerton Mill.
2020 – Planning Application for Development of New Student Accommodation Block
Application 20/01794/FUL proposed the mixed-use redevelopment of the existing Jubilee Centre building for 121 new student bedspaces whilst retaining a storage and distribution use of the ground floor. BPT submitted an in-principle objection to the provision of purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA) on the site, and continued to push against the increasing pressure for speculative PBSA developments within the city, particularly along Lower Bristol Road, where these sites could offer much-needed affordable housing. We also raised concerns that excessive height and massing of the proposed development would result in harm to the conservation area and would overshadow multiple Grade II buildings.
Read our response to the 2020 application here.
The scheme was subsequently refused at Planning Committee on grounds of the proposed bulk, height and design being of harm to local character and the setting of the adjacent Grade II terrace at Rackfield Place. Additional concerns were highlighted regarding flood risks due to the site’s riverside location within Flood Risk Zone 2, without demonstrating consideration of other lesser risk sites for development first.