Housing association wants to redevelop City Motors site in Brislington with new homes

Sovereign Housing Association says a planning application will be submitted this year

Plans for a ‘flagship’ housing development at the site of a major car dealership in Brislington are to be unveiled to the public.

Sovereign Housing Association bought the land occupied by the City Motors group in May 2020 - and now, after drawing up its housing plan for the large site, it is about to share the blueprint with community leaders along with local residents and businesses.

In a statement issued to BristolWorld, the national housing association said that the ‘Castle Court’ developement will involve a ‘high-quality’ mix of new homes, commercial space and public facilities.

The current proposal would see existing buildings and structures demolished at the site, which is bordered by the Paintworks to the west, the River Avon to the north, existing terraced housing to the south, and St Philips Causeway to the east.

While no figures have officially been provided on the number homes, the site is big enough to accommodate hundreds of properties with good access to transport links and nearby shops, such as Sainsbury’s at Arnos Vale.

The City Motors site was purchased by Sovereign Housing in 2020 - and now the housing association is about to present plans for the area

Affordable homes at the site could also contribute to Mayor Marvin Rees’ target for 1,000 new affordable homes each year from 2024.

City Motors, part of the Carco Group, sell new and used Renault, Citroen and Volvo vehicles from the site. The emergence of the plans confirms what City Motors owner Robin Cook told Bristol Live last year, when he said he believed the new owner intended to redevelop the site.

BristolWorld has contacted the car dealership for comment.

Sovereign Housing Association said a ‘community liason group’ was being set up to give locals the opportunity to have a say on the ‘early proposals’ ahead of a wider public consultation in early July.

A planning application to Bristol City Council will be submitted later this year.

The statement said: “Sovereign Housing Association is bringing forward proposals for a new residential led development at Castle Court, in Brislington.

A satellite view of the City Motors site with Sainsbury’s supermarket car park to the bottom right

“The proposal is to demolish the existing buildings and structures on the site and to bring forward a high-quality development providing a mix of new homes and commercial space, and other public/community uses, arranged within a strong landscape setting.

“Sovereign is committed to community engagement and involving stakeholders and neighbours in developing these early proposals, prior to submission of a full planning application later this year.

“As part of early engagement, Sovereign is setting up a community liaison group to work with the project team and to act as a sounding board and link to the community for the duration of the Castle Court development programme.

“This will include representation from local councillors, adjacent residents and businesses, neighbourhood planning groups and community/special interest groups. This will be followed by an initial round of wider public consultation in early July.”

The company has already contacted local councillors on the plans, including Brislington West councillor Andrew Varney.

Sovereign Housing Association is no stranger to Bristol - last year, the company purchased Clifton Down shopping centre with the long-term plan to potentially redevelop the site on Whiteladies Road with housing.

It said income from ownership would help it deliver additional affordable housing in the region.

Last year, the firm had a proposal to build nearly 150 homes near the City Homes site, on land opposite Arnos Court Park in Brislington, refused by Bristol City Council.

The housing association already manages homes at Wapping Wharf, and at schemes in Charlton Hayes and Hanham Hall in South Gloucestershire.

Nationally, it builds 1,800 new homes a year, but has aims to increase that to 2,400 by 2026.