News: 6 October 2021Planning approved for Bristol Zoo sustainable residential development

Our inter-disciplinary team of architects and planners have gained full planning permission to transform a Bristol Zoo car park into a new, sustainable, urban living development with placemaking and connectivity at its heart. The planned development, on a constrained 0.51ha brownfield site, will bring 62 high quality, environmentally-friendly homes, 20 per cent of which will be affordable.

Bristol City Council has now approved the plans, which feature a mixture of apartments and mews houses. Our architects and town planners have developed the proposals having extensively engaged with local residents and stakeholders prior to preparing the detailed planning application on behalf of Bristol Zoological Society.

From the earliest stages of the design, sustainability has been a key priority, in line with the council’s ambitions and the ethos and legacy of Bristol Zoological Society. The scheme has been designed with a ‘fabric first’ approach to reduce energy demand – focussing on optimal form, high performance building fabric, and highly efficient, low carbon heating via air source heat pumps. The building fabric design is in line with the indicative Future Homes Standard specification, which is being adopted by Bristol City Council in the near future and it is anticipated that site emissions would reduce by around 82 per cent from the Building Regulations baseline.

Biodiversity has been integrated throughout the design, from the site’s net gain of trees, to the addition of sedum ‘green’ roofs, living walls, bat and bird boxes, and bee bricks. Beyond this, the plan prioritises sustainable connectivity. It will feature cycle parking, EV charging and an electric car club, and has been designed to encourage pedestrian and cycle transport through the shared spaces.

The other key objective of the design was to be sensitive to the heritage of the neighbourhood. Layout, massing and appearance has been considered carefully to respond to the Conservation Area. The design is high quality and reflective of the local palette with architectural details such as bay windows and window treatments referencing the surrounding buildings. The materials are also durable and have been selected to minimise embodied carbon and lifecycle maintenance requirements.

Architectural Director and project lead Tom Macklen said “Our watchword on this project has been sensitivity. Both in terms of integrating these new homes into their heritage and conservation area surroundings, but also in responding to the environment. We will transform an underused space, a former car park, into a prime example of modern, sustainable, urban living. It shows that even limited space is no excuse not to embed biodiversity and connectivity into every element of a new development.”

Francesca Fryer, director of transformation at Bristol Zoological Society, commented “This is an important step towards realising our exciting plans for the future of Bristol Zoological Society and, as Clifton residents since 1836, we want to leave behind a legacy of which we can all be proud. The sensitive development of the West Car Park site will release vital funds to help achieve our goal of creating a new, world-class Bristol Zoo for everyone in Bristol and beyond, and provide a sustainable homes  that will benefit both the people and the wildlife of Bristol.”

Savills have been appointed by Bristol Zoological Society to market the site.

Read more about how our team developed the proposals.

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Urban Living, Sustainable Development, Brownfield, Regeneration