Popular store to be expanded in south Bristol neighbourhood begging for supermarket

Expansion approved for popular local shop in South Bristol with new flats built on top

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City planners have given the green light for a popular local shop in South Bristol to expand with seven new flats also built on top. The expansion will mean the convenience store in Filwood, an area with no supermarkets, can now stock much more fresh food.

Seven flats can now be built on top of the shop on the eastern end of Melvin Square, after Bristol City Council approved planning permission for the scheme. Planning officers urged councillors to refuse permission, but many local people are supporting the plans.

Developers were given planning permission to expand the building on 10 Melvin Square and 1 Ilminster Avenue, by the development control B committee on Wednesday, April 5. The current two-storey building will become much larger, with an added third-storey on top.

Speaking to the committee, John Rooney, a planning agent, said: “There’s lots to like about this scheme and hence so much local support. There’s a social benefit of more housing for the area; there’s the environmental benefits of reusing the space above the shop and improving the offering in the shop, thereby reducing the need to travel; and the economic benefits of supporting the proposed new local centre.”

Most of the buildings in the surrounding area are two-storey houses, apart from the new Carpenter’s Place flats on the opposite side of the square, which is three storeys tall. Planning officers said the shop expansion would create a building that was too big and tall, but local councillors said the proposals were popular among locals.

Labour Councillor Zoe Goodman, representing Filwood, said: “There’s too much uniformity in Filwood which stifles provision of diversity of accommodation types, particularly one and two-bedroom properties which this development would provide. The ground-floor store is a popular local convenience store that currently has very limited floor space.

“It has narrow aisles that lead to overcrowding at times, which restricts access to people in wheelchairs or those with buggies. The improved layout would provide 50 per cent more floor space, and this proposed expansion would allow expansion of the fresh produce range, which is important given that Filwood currently has no supermarkets.”

Most of the councillors on the committee voted to approve planning permission, apart from Conservative Cllr Lesley Alexander who voted to refuse permission, and Green Cllr Lorraine Francis who abstained, due to concerns about the size of the development.

Green Cllr Guy Poultney said: “I can’t recall a situation where we had a recommendation for refusal on the basis of loss of residential amenity to neighbours, and there being nobody here to complain or express concerns. There were only two objections throughout the entire process.”