Our Future: BZS opens consultation on development of its West Car Park

BZS have started an extensive engagement programme with the local community to ask their views on future plans for Bristol Zoo Gardens’ West Car Park on College Road in Clifton.

It is the first phase of Bristol Zoological Society’s new strategy, revealed in November, to safeguard the future of the charity.

This will see the relocation of Bristol Zoo to the Wild Place Project site in 2024 to create a world-class zoo with spacious, modern facilities, significant growth in conservation and education work and a ground-breaking, innovative visitor experience.

This initial phase relates solely to an area of Zoo-owned land on College Road, for which the Society will be submitting a planning application in the spring. The sale of the car park site will provide a vital contribution to the funds required to deliver the ambitious plans for the new Bristol Zoo.

The Society’s proposals for the West Car Park site include a scheme for 65 high-quality new homes, a mix of one, two and three-bed apartments and three to four bed mews houses, of which 20 per cent will be affordable in line with Bristol City Council planning policy.

The Zoo-owned car park and adjacent land is a brownfield site just over half an acre in size. It is used mostly for Bristol Zoological Society colleague parking, but also for overflow parking for visitors in peak holiday periods and weekends and the Clifton Pavilion venue hire guests.   

Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society, said: “It is important to us to have open discussions with our neighbours and other interested stakeholders over the plans for our future and for them to have their say. This consultation period on the West Car Park, follows an in-depth review of all our strategic options.

“We are committed to developing plans for the West Car Park that respond sensitively to the setting and context of the site. The intention is a high-quality, sustainable scheme, making use of materials that are sympathetic to the surrounding environment.”

Dr Morris added: “As a wildlife and conservation charity, our proposals will also have high environmental and sustainable standards, and we want to ensure our proposals give a helping hand to local wildlife.

“The proposed scheme includes bird and bat boxes and bee bricks across the site, use of soft landscaping, green roofs and wildlife-friendly planting.

“In addition, the plans include use of energy-efficient materials and build methods, making use of renewable materials, include mechanical ventilation and heat recovery, and the installation of electric car charging points and plentiful cycle parking provision.

“As we have been Clifton residents since 1836, we want to leave behind a legacy of which we can all be proud.

“Public feedback will help shape our planning application for the car park site. Community consultation will also be an important component in developing our future plans for the Bristol Zoo Gardens site, as well as the new Bristol Zoo at the site of Wild Place Project.

“Our new strategy ensures that Bristol Zoo continues to exist for generations to come, offering millions more people the opportunity to experience the magic of a new Bristol Zoo.”

Bristol Zoo Gardens will remain open until late 2022 and visitors will not see an immediate change while plans are developed further. Wild Place Project will remain open throughout this time, until it becomes the new Bristol Zoo in 2024.

The announcement of the Society’s new strategy comes following years of declining visitor numbers to Bristol Zoo Gardens and the organisation having made an operating loss in four of the last six years.

A separate planning application relating to the main Bristol Zoo Gardens site will be submitted either late 2021 or early 2022.

Further details will be announced in due course and additional information is available here and by subscribing to the Bristol Zoo enewsletters.

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