‘It’s a case of building up or out’ - developer makes case for huge apartment block at Temple Meads

The plans for the tower block are for the site of the former Peugeot garage Robins & Day

Developers hoping to build a 20-storey apartment block opposite Temple Meads station say it’s a case of ‘building up or out’ to solve Bristol’s housing crisis, as a a public consultation into the plans launched this week.

The ‘landmark’ mixed-use building would replace the former Robins & Day Peugeot dealership on Clarence Road, creating 412 homes along with a ‘more attractive’ public space for people arriving into Temple Meads.

Sign up to our BristolWorld Today newsletter

The 20-storey tower block will house 412 homes, which will be up for rent only.

BristolWorld went along to the consultation launch at the Engine Shed on Tuesday (May 17) to speak to Dandara Living about what the plans mean for Bristol.

What do the plans entail?

Along with the apartment block, Dandara Living would create a new public route through the development from Bath Bridge roundabout to Chatterton Square.

An artist’s impression of the building opposite Temple Meads.

The apartment block itself would consist of two buildings featuring a range of heights and elevations, including a 20-storey tower block, with one on each side of Chatterton Street and linked by a footbridge.

The 412 homes, all for rent, would include a mix of one, two and three bedroom apartments, some with private balconies, along with a shared gym, social and workspace on the ground floor.

‘People don’t like tall buildings - but it’s a case of building up or out’

Housing developments are a hot topic in Bristol at the moment thanks to the city’s ever-present housing crisis.

Bristol City Council is aiming to deliver 1,000 affordable homes a year until 2024, in line with government targets - but doing so while avoiding the ‘overdevelopment’ residents don’t want is going to be a difficult balance to find.

Rachel Allwood, planning director at Dandara Living, told BristolWorld that although Clarence Road will be a ‘built to rent’ scheme, some of the apartments will be ‘affordable’ and help towards these targets.

She said the main push-back she expected from opposing residents would be the height of the apartment block.

She added: “Compared to other cities like Birmingham and Manchester, Bristol doesn’t have a lot of tall buildings.

An artist’s impression of the new building.

“I think that many residents believe the city doesn’t need them, but I’d love to see how Bristol is going to solve its housing crisis without them.

“It’s a case of either we start building up, or out onto greenfield sites which obviously none of us want.”

Ms Allwood said that a commerical business such as a cafe would likely be invited to operate on the ground floor of the building, but the firm were also keen to provide facilities that would fit the needs of the community.

She said: “Ideas that have been milling around include a yoga space or sustainable pop-up food market.

“But it takes engagement from the public to pin down what people need and want, so we’d really encourage them to put their ideas forward.”

New building is ‘worthy’ of ‘main entry point’ into Bristol

Jacqui Pollard, senior associate architect at Stride Treglown who are designing the development, said the new apartment block was crucial in helping to regenerate the area around Temple Meads.

She said it would compliment Bristol City Council’s Temple Quarter project, which aims to transform 130 hectares of brownfield land around the station into a ‘thriving’ community over the next 25 years.

She said: “This is your entry point into the city, it’s the first thing you see as you leave the station.

The consultation into the plans launched at the Engine Shed on Tuesday (May 17).

“But while Temple Meads is obviously a beautiful building, the space around it isn’t worthy of your arrival.

“In fact, it’s a bit of a hostile space at the moment. Our development will help make it a safer, and much more attractive, place to be.”

Resident: Built for rent properties ‘won’t solve’ housing crisis

However, one woman, who did not want to be named, told BristolWorld at the consultation launch that she found the plans ‘depressing’.

She said: “I’m old, so Bristol doesn’t look anything like it used to, and I don’t expect it to.

“But this building just looks like any other building in any other city.

“That I can get over, but my main issue is that built for rent schemes won’t solve the housing crisis.

“That’s not what I want for my children and other young people. I want them to be able to afford a house.”

A planning application is expected to be submitted to Bristol City Council in June.

To have your say, visit www.clarence-road.info or call 0800 193 9403.