Latest News Fri, Dec 3, 2021 8:15 AM
Historic England has formally objected to a proposed development on the Floating Harbour, arguing it would damage Bristol’s historic and distinctive cityscape.
Historic England has objected to the proposed seven-storey office block on the grounds that it will harm Bristol’s character and identity, and people’s appreciation and enjoyment of the city.
In advice given to Bristol City Council, Historic England goes on to say:
Ross Simmonds, Acting Regional Director for Historic England in the South West said: “We are concerned about how this scheme would impact the character and people’s appreciation of this historic part of the city centre. It would have a detrimental effect on views from the Floating Harbour up to the Cathedral and cityscape beyond.
“A dynamic city like Bristol needs to fully embrace development and we do not oppose change, but this scheme is not good enough to justify the damage it would cause to the City Docks conservation area, the setting of the Cathedral, and the views of some of the city’s most important buildings and spaces. It is possible to accommodate growth in this area without compromising valuable historic character, as many other repurposed historic buildings on Bristol’s waterfront demonstrate, such as the Arnolfini, the M-shed, the Mud Dock, and the Watershed.”
The Waterfront site sits within the City Docks Conservation Area and overlooks the meeting point of the river Frome and the Avon which were canalised when the city’s Floating Harbour was created in 1823. The site, which is largely undeveloped with some modest scale harbourfront buildings, affords important views towards the grade I listed Bristol Cathedral and many of the city’s landmark historic buildings, including the University’s Wills Memorial Tower (grade II*) and the Cabot Tower (grade II). These views are important to the character and appearance of the City Docks conservation area and key to understanding and appreciating Bristol’s unique and distinctive cityscape.
Simon Hickman, Development Advice Team Leader at Historic England, said: “We recognise the potential of the Waterfront site. The right scheme in this location could make a positive contribution to Bristol, but any proposal for this site must equal in quality the outstanding surrounding cityscape. This historic part of Bristol deserves a thoughtful development scheme which responds to and doesn’t dominate its surroundings.”
Full details of the proposed Waterfront Square development are here: https://pa.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=details&keyVal=R10YTTDN0DG00
In July, Historic England objected to proposals for St Mary le Port on the grounds that the scale and massing of proposed replacement buildings would not respond to the historic character of Bristol's Old City.
This scheme goes before Bristol’s planning committee in December. Historic England hopes councillors will recognise that with some adjustment, there is real potential for the St Mary le Port scheme to respond positively to Bristol’s heritage and that those plans need some modification.
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