First steps taken in plans to demolish former Debenhams in Bristol

The owner has submitted an environmental impact assessment screening opinion request
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The owner of the former Debenhams department store in Bristol city centre has taken the first step in a major plan to pull down the building and replace it with tower blocks providing more than 500 homes.

Property landlords AEW, which purchased the store last year, has submitted a basic set of its plans to Bristol City Council’s planning department as part of a request not to provide an environmental impact assessment as part of a planning application still to be lodged.

The paperwork also details how two retail blocks connected to the former Debenahams, which face on to Horsefair and The Haymarket, will be demolished. These blocks contain shops like Greggs and chairty shops Tenovus and St Peter’s Hospice.

The buildings, all owned by AEW, would be pulled down with a series of blocks going up to 28-storeys in height going up in their place. They would provide 530 homes, of which 20 per cent would be affordable. The redevelopment would also see the reinstation of Barr’s Street, which would take extend the walkway from Merchant Street to St James Barton roundabout.

There would also be shops at ground level of the buildings which will line the reinstated road. A consultation was held on the proposal earlier this year which BristolWorld attended.

Image shows the site of the former Debenhams ahead with the created Barr’s Street going through its centreImage shows the site of the former Debenhams ahead with the created Barr’s Street going through its centre
Image shows the site of the former Debenhams ahead with the created Barr’s Street going through its centre

In the environmental impact assessment screening opinion request sent to Bristol City Council, Savills, on behalf of AEW, said: “There is not anticipated to be a high level of contamination at the site beyond that which would be expected of a standard mid-20 Century building.

“The proposed development of up to 28 floors will be of a greater scale than the existing building and will have impacts on townscape. Heritage, townscape and visual impact assessments will be included within the planning application and it is considered that these matters can be appropriately considered and assessed by the Council in this way. It is not considered that these matters require assessment within an Environmental Statement.”

Bristol City Council will make a decision on the request - meanwhile, it is understood that planning officers are in talks with the developers over finer details of the proposal which will be submitted as part of a full planning application in due course.

Related topics: