Parking worries on plans for 103 flats in Brunel House

December 23 2015

PLANS have been submitted to the council to redevelop City of Bristol College’s Brunel House in Ashley Down.

PLANS have been submitted to the council to redevelop City of Bristol College’s Brunel House in Ashley Down.

The application has been put forward by architects Alder King to provide 103, one to four bedroom apartments.

City of Bristol College is selling the site, which accommodates its HR and administration services, to invest in a new university centre provision.

Current facilities will be relocated to the college’s sites across the city.

If plans are given the go-ahead, the development would start in autumn 2016, and be completed by spring 2018.

Plans include a conversion and refurbishment of the 150-year-old Grade II listed building, located in a conservation area in College Road, and a development of a new building in the south west.

The modern extension to Brunel House will also be removed, to make way for additional landscaping and garden areas for residents, around the building.

Alder King and assigned architect Wolfgang Kuchler presented the plans at a recent Bishopston neighbourhood forum, where a number of concerns were raised by local residents.

One of the main worries expressed by those at the meeting was the number of parking spaces compared to prospective occupants.

Alder King says that it has made a provision for 59 spaces, rather than its previously proposed 45. But residents say that it is still not enough.

A member of the public said: “This proposed development has been overbuilt – it’s dumping more problems in the streets of Ashley Down.  

“Why has it not been considered? The council needs to get a grip of this, it’s an important site.”

Nicola Sully, senior planner at Alder King, said: “We’re not providing as much car parking as we’d like, but it’s in line with the council’s policy on car parking.

“If we put a car park at the rear of site instead of building flats, we wouldn’t be able to afford to do the development.

 “When people are looking to buy a flat, it will factor into their decision. Parking spaces will be allocated to each flat, and it will be monitored by a management team.”

Ms Sully added that a financial contribution will also be made to the council to resolve any issues with increased demand for school places.

Alder King was also criticised for its lack of publicity over its consultation held in October. Residents attending the Bishopston forum, who live nearby the proposed development, said that they had not received an invite to the event.  

Another concern was that are were no plans for social housing within the development.

However, residents welcomed Alder King’s plans to implement 160 bicycle stands on the site to encourage prospective dwellers to cycle, as well plans for refuse stores and sheds with turf roofs.  

The assigned developer for the project is Baystar Developments Ltd.

Bishopston councillor Daniella Radice says that she will be objecting to the proposal. She said: “Having looked at the proposed redevelopment of Brunel House I am going to object to the proposal, first of all there is no affordable housing or housing at social rent proposed which is not in line with council policy, secondly the new build section is ugly and not in keeping with the conservation area, and thirdly the new proposed parking bays will make the route to school dangerous as it introduces parking across the pavement on both sides of the road crossing point on College Road.”

Cliff Shaw, deputy principal of City of Bristol College, said: “As part of the college’s ongoing review, we have been working towards reinvesting in our higher education facilities.

“Our HE provision has for some years been based at Brunel House, a very old building at our Ashley Down campus, which is not suitable for our very successful higher education provision going forward.

“However, in the medium term higher education will remain at the Ashley Down site, just not within the Brunel building.

“We took the decision to sell this building in order to invest in a new University Centre provision, focused on modernising our higher education facilities.

“The majority of our higher education students are local, many are adults with families who have been able to access higher education because of our excellent local provision, and often the courses are strongly linked to local employers.

“Higher education at the college provides a huge skills and social contribution to the city and region, and to that end it is important that we have the best and most modern facilities for our students.” 

Brunel House Ashley Down