Central Area Plan & Castle Park

(Scroll down for links to further information & updates)

The latest stage in the production of the new ‘Bristol Local Plan’ (previously referred to as the Local Development Framework) is the issue of the Preferred options consultation document for the Central Area Plan. The consultation runs until 18 October 2013.

The full document and links to background information can be found on the Council’s website via the link below.

www.bristol.gov.uk/centralarea

Of particular concern to many will be the impact on the west end of Castle Park (also refered to as St Mary Le Port) where it is proposed that part of the park could be used for development and the mature trees on Wine Street could be felled.

This is the only section of the document that has specific questions as part of the consultaion, it is shown on pages 49 & 50 of the document.

Proposals for building on a large part of the western end of the park were first published in 2006 and resisted by the Parks Forum and many others. The Parks & Green Spaces Strategy was then adopted in 2008 showing that the area has a shortage of green space and that the existing space should therefore be protected. No disposal of green space at Castle Park was proposed as part of the AGSP consultation in 2010 and all political parties said they would protect green space not already proposed for disposal. The plans proposed from 2006 were then dropped.

The February 2012 consultation version of the Central Area Plan showed the area available for development restricted to the area of the disused buildings with the park being shown as important open space. The BPF response to that consultation can be seen here.

However, the current document suggests that a much larger area could be developed including a significant part of the park. It also suggests that the mature trees on Wine Street could be felled. The image below compares the illustrations from the two documents. The area proposed for development in February 2012 is shown in orange.

CastleParkFeb12Sept13

The current document asks the following question about Castle Park (p49)

9.3.6     The scale of development in this area will be an important consideration in determining whether the redevelopment of St Mary-le-Port and the delivery of the wider regeneration objectives for the area can be achieved.  The City Centre Retail Study identifies the need for any proposal to provide sufficient floorspace to ensure financial viability. It is therefore necessary to consider options for the development of a wider area than is occupied by the existing site buildings. This may include moving the existing building line forward and/or using some adjacent open space for development. Any proposal would need to meet the policy requirements set out above including an appropriate transition between the development and the park and the retention/restoration of the existing avenue of trees running north east from Bridge Street.
To bring forward a well-designed and viable scheme should the area proposed for development fall within the boundary indicated on the aerial photograph below?
Are there other options which should be considered?

Condidering the trees on Wine Street it says (p50)

9.3.7     Increasing the site area could also include the narrowing the building lines of High Street  and  Wine  Street  closer  to  their  historic  proportions  (with  the  potential  for reinstatement  of  the  historic  High  Cross  and  Dutch  House  or  a  modern  equivalent).  This approach  may  necessitate  the  removal  of  existing  street  trees  along  the  western  and northern edge of the site (with appropriate replacement planting elsewhere). 
To enable the narrowing of High Street and Wine Street closer to their historic proportions should any existing street trees be removed and replaced elsewhere?
Are there other options which should be considered?

Comments on the Central Area Plan can be submitted by e-mail or in writing by 18 October 2013 to  bdf@bristol.gov.uk

Central Area Plan Consultation (CD/BH)
Freepost BS6529
BRISTOL
BS1 5BR


Further Information

You might also be interested in the article below from the Bristol Civic Society Newsletter of a couple of years ago by Roger Mortimer suggesting an option for a more sustainable development that would not take part of the park.

St Mary Le Port and Castle Park – Article from Bristol Civic Society Newsletter

This issue will be discussed at the next BPF meeting on 12th October 2013, following which the BPF will be making a formal response.

Update 30 Sept 2013:
Report on Bristol 24-7

Update 02 Oct 2013:
More information on Castle Park Users Group website
New Castle Park Facebook Page
Report in Bristol Post 01 Oct
Report in Bristol Post 02 Oct
Bristol Post Comment 02 Oct

Update 04 Oct 2013:
Blog by Tony Dyer on Bristol 24-7

Update 08 Oct 2013:
Bristol 24-7 Cautious welcome as mayor tries to allay fears
Bristol Post Mayor hints at a partial climbdown
Petition: Keep Castle Park Green

Update 18 Oct 2013:
Bristol Parks Forum response to consultation
Tree Forum response to consultation

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