West Car Park

Have your say: Redevelopment of West Car Park, College Road

To safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society, we will relocate Bristol Zoo to our Wild Place Project site, to create a world-class zoo for Bristol and the West of England. (Please see ‘our future’ page for further details.)

As part of the first phase of this strategy, we are preparing a planning application for residential development of Bristol Zoo Garden’s West Car Park on College Road in Clifton. Sale of the site will provide a vital contribution to the funds required to deliver the new Bristol Zoo.

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. As Clifton residents since 1836, we want to leave behind a legacy of which we can all be proud. We intend to submit a planning application for West Car Park in early spring. Before we do so, we very much want to hear what you think of our proposals for the site.

Please see below for:


Digital Exhibition Boards

artist impression of West Car Park development, as viewed from College Road, corner Cecil Road
West Car Park artist impression, view from College Road / corner Cecil Road

To view an accessible version of our Exhibition Boards online, please click here.


Q&A

Why are you planning to sell the West Car Park on College Road?

The challenges of recent years have had a highly detrimental impact on Bristol Zoological Society’s finances and the Society has made an operating loss in four of the last six years.

To safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society, we are relocating Bristol Zoo to the Wild Place Project site to create a world-class zoo for Bristol and the West of England.

As part of the first phase of this new strategy, an application for planning permission is being prepared for residential development of Bristol Zoo Garden’s West Car Park on College Road. The sale of the West Car Park will provide a vital contribution to the funds required to deliver the first phase of the new Bristol Zoo.

Why are you suggesting housing on this site?

Housing is the most profitable use for the site and will provide the funding needed to deliver the first phase of the new Bristol Zoo. In addition, there is a shortage of homes in the area and the site’s location is suitable for housing according to Bristol City Council’s planning policy.  

How big is the West Car Park site?

The West Car Park site is a 0.51ha brownfield site.

Are there details about the development? For example how many apartment buildings and town houses form part of the proposed application? 

We’re proposing 65 high-quality new homes in a mix of 1, 2 and 3 bed apartments and 3-4-bed mews houses. Twenty per cent of the homes will be affordable in line with Bristol City Council planning policy.

What is the height of the highest building in the proposed scheme? 

Building heights will range from 4.5 storeys along College Road to 2 to 2.5 storeys within the site in response to the surrounding context. Informal, mews-style, two-storey homes will be located on the westernmost part of the site that borders neighbouring properties. A larger, more formal, apartment block will front on to College Road, creating an attractive frontage. 

How many affordable homes will be provided?

Twenty per cent of the housing is proposed to be affordable. This is in line with Bristol City Council’s Core Strategy Policy BCS17, and the requirements set out in the Affordable Housing Practice Note 2018 for proposals in the ‘inner west’ part of the city, responding to the significant need in Bristol.

Surely there should be no development here as the site is in a conservation/special historic area?

This is a brownfield site which is already developed as a car park. 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. As Clifton residents since 1836, we want to leave behind a legacy of which we can all be proud.

Government policy sets out to develop, where possible, brownfields sites for new homes as part of a strategy to put previously developed land to productive use, support regeneration of cities, towns and villages, support economic growth and limit the pressure on the countryside.

 Building heights will range from 4.5 storeys along College Road to 2 to 2.5 storeys within the site in response to the surrounding context. Informal, mews-style, two-storey homes will be located on the westernmost part of site that borders neighbouring properties. A larger, more formal, apartment block will front on to College Road creating an attractive frontage. High-quality materials will reflect the local vernacular architecture and the site’s heritage setting.

Why are there so many flats proposed?

Bristol City Council’s Urban Living Supplementary Planning Document encourages increased densities of housing where appropriate, particularly on a site such as this which is well-served by public transport and within walking distance of centres including Clifton Village and Whiteladies Road. The apartments will all be above the space standards, and most will have their own outdoor space in balconies.

We have undertaken in-depth analysis on the local market and the desire for additional housing/type of housing required in the Clifton area which has informed our proposed mix of differing types and sizes of properties.

Who will develop the site?

Bristol Zoological Society has entered no agreement with a private developer at this stage and we are taking forward the planning application ourselves, to ensure we leave behind a positive legacy development that is sensitive for the site. The intention is for the site to be sold with planning permission.

How sustainable will the new development be?

We wholeheartedly support Bristol City Council’s commitment to becoming carbon neutral and climate resilient. As a wildlife and conservation charity, we also want to give a helping hand to local wildlife. Our proposals include:

  • Fabric-first approach for energy efficiency, with the potential to include high levels of thermal insulation and air tightness;
  • Mechanical ventilation and heat recovery, renewable materials and triple-glazed windows;
  • Electric car charging points and plentiful cycle parking provision;
  • Bird boxes, bat boxes/bricks and bee bricks to be integrated on site.

We are also considering air-source heat pumps, solar thermal and photovoltaic panels, green roofs and living walls, and soft landscaping that will use wildlife-friendly species.

Will any of trees be removed to make room for the new development?

We have asked an expert arboriculturist to survey the site’s trees. Any trees that replace existing trees will be better integrated into the development’s design layout in line with Bristol City Council’s Tree Replacement Standard.

How can you ensure that a developer will adhere to high quality and sustainable design once permission has been granted?

All proposed developments and any proposed changes to developments have to follow the planning process. This proposed scheme follows official planning guidance and professional advice regarding town planning. We are currently investigating the potential mechanism for how we can protect the plans once the ownership passes to a developer. It is important to us that the West Car Park development is one we can be proud of.

Where will staff and visitors park while Bristol Zoo Gardens is still open?

Before the development becomes available, we will relocate office-based support colleagues at Bristol Zoo Gardens to Wild Place late this year. This will significantly reduce the need for colleague parking in Clifton.

Visitors parking at Bristol Zoo Gardens mainly use the North Car Park, and use Ladies Mile overflow on peak days. Timed tickets will ensure adequate parking is available relative to the number of visitors and we will continually monitor this.

Once the land is sold, where will your staff, volunteers and visitors park? Are you making any additional provision?

The West Car Park is used largely by colleagues. Bristol Zoological Society will be relocating office-based support colleagues based at Bristol Zoo Gardens to Wild Place in late 2021. This will significantly reduce the staff parking requirements in Clifton.

There are no other planned changes to our parking. Our transport consultant has run modelling data for our predicted visitor numbers and this is informing our transport strategy for peak periods.

The introduction of timed tickets means that we are able to ensure adequate parking is available relative to the number of visitors arriving at Bristol Zoo Gardens. This will continue to be monitored. It is anticipated that there might be a short period of time between the sale of the West Car Park and the closure of Bristol Zoo Gardens in late 2022. However, we will work with the purchaser of the land to reduce this period of time where possible.

How long will you continue to hold events at the Clifton Pavilion on College Road? Where will venue hire guests park?

This is currently being discussed with our catering partner who operate events at the Clifton Pavilion. Event guests will park in North Car Park or use on-street parking. Many events happen in the evening when the North Car Park is not otherwise in use.

Won’t the new homes generate more traffic and parking problems?

We have undertaken in-depth surveys with expert transport consultants Peter Evans Partnership over several years. This has allowed us to gain an insight into parking need and availability in the local area. Our transport consultants have calculated that the new scheme will generate less traffic than the current site’s use. We’re proposing 45 residential parking spaces, with an additional six spaces retained for use by a neighbouring property.

Won’t local schools, GP surgeries and other local services be overwhelmed?

The purchaser of the site will be required to make a developer contribution to Bristol City Council to assist with the impact of the delivery of local services.

Has the Society undertaken transport and other relevant surveys?

Yes, the Society is working alongside expert consultants to ensure that all relevant information is gathered to inform and support the planning application, including information required by Bristol City Council. We have undertaken detailed and extensive analysis of the sensitive nature of the site and its surroundings. Our work, along with initial feedback from Bristol City Council planning officers, has shaped our proposals.

When and how frequently are you holding Community Forums?

These are held on a regular basis, with the next one proposed for mid March.

Who is invited to Community Forums?

Local resident groups most directly impacted by the application, as well as local ward councillors, and representatives of local and other organisations, such as the Bristol Civic Trust.

I’m a local resident, can I attend the Community Forum meetings?

These meetings are not aimed at individuals but are for local resident and other groups as well as local ward councillors, all of which represent local residents. Neighbours in the local area were contacted via a leaflet drop from 10 February with the opportunity to complete a hard copy survey and attend a digital Q&A Forum.

Have you spoken with local ward councillors to share your plans and to get their views?

Yes, we have regular contact and they are invited to the Community Forum meetings.

Have you sought Bristol City Council guidance in preparing this planning application?

Yes, it is important that we work closely with Bristol City Council to ensure that the application is well considered and right for the local environment. We have had pre-application discussions with planning officers which have shaped our proposals.

When do you intend to submit the planning application for the West Car Park?

We expect to submit the planning application in spring 2021.

When do you expect the planning application to be determined?

We expect the application to be determined in summer 2021.

Why don’t you wait and submit this planning permission as part of the wider planning permission for Bristol Zoo Gardens?

The planning application is part of the first phase of our strategy. The sale of the West Car Park will provide a vital contribution to the funds required to deliver the first phase of the new Bristol Zoo.

When do you plan to close Bristol Zoo Gardens to visitors?

Bristol Zoo Gardens will remain open to visitors until late 2022. Wild Place Project will remain open throughout, until it becomes the new Bristol Zoo in 2024.

When do you expect to open the new conservation hub and café building in the current admissions building?

We are working on proposals and this will form part of considerations for the main site.

Once, and if, planning permission is granted, how quickly do you expect Bristol Zoological Society to sell the land, and do you know how quickly the building work will start?

We intend to begin marketing the site as soon as possible, with the aim of securing a sale after planning permission is granted. Our hope is that we will secure a sale by the end of 2021 in order to deliver the first phase of the new Bristol Zoo.

Can you guarantee that the plans won’t change once the land is sold?

All proposed developments and any proposed changes to developments have to follow the planning process. This proposed scheme follows official planning guidance and professional advice regarding town planning. We are currently investigating the potential mechanism for how we can protect the plans once the ownership passes to a developer. It is important to us that the West Car Park development is one we can be proud of.

How are you planning to ensure that build noise and other related building work disruption is kept to a minimum?

Any contractors will work within the agreed hours set by Bristol City Council and take extensive noise and dust mitigation measures whilst on site. This will be monitored regularly.

The application will also need to include a provision for a Construction Management Plan, setting out how the development would be constructed and how any rights of access are maintained during the construction phase.

How are you sharing information about Bristol Zoological Society’s plans for the West Car Park on College Road?

We are running a comprehensive consultation programme which includes regular conversations with very near neighbours; a leaflet and survey pack distributed to over 200 local residents and businesses; an online questionnaire; regular Community Forum Zoom meetings; a digital exhibition on our website; planned Public Digital Forums; and a geo-targeted Facebook advertising campaign. We are also including updates in our enewsletters.

How to have your say

You can email any questions you may have to bristolzoo@jbp.co.uk or telephone 0800 1303270 (9am to 7pm, seven days a week).

Consultants JBP are supporting the Bristol Zoological Society team on the planning application. Please see a link to our privacy policy and how we are using your data.

We look forward to receiving your feedback before the deadline of 2 March 2021.

Thank you.


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