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Twenty-storey 'landmark' building opposite Temple Meads with 400 flats proposed

By Tristan Cork

This is the latest plan for the transformation of a key city centre site, with a 20-storey block of flats in the middle of it.

Developers Dandara have unveiled what they would like to do at the former Robins & Day Peugeot dealership and garage site opposite Temple Meads station, which Bristol Live revealed they bought last year, after the garage closed in March 2021.

The plans, which will be presented at a public exhibition next week, include 400 build-to-rent flats, new shops and cafe units on the ground floor and filling in a ‘missing link’ on a key cross-Bristol cycle path.

Read more: Plans for new secondary school and hundreds of new homes FINALLY gets permission

The developers are already building in Bristol. Dandara are the city council’s ‘development partner’ at one of the five Bedminster Green sites, where they are constructing a 17-storey tower block as part of plans for 316 build to rent flats on Malago Road, and the firm has also applied to city council planners to build another 350 homes across the road around Bedminster Green.

Now Dandara have revealed what their plans are for the landmark Robins & Day site, which sits on the corner of Clarence Road and Temple Gate, facing Temple Meads station and the Bath Road Bridges at a key gateway into Bristol City Centre.

The site is a big one - Robins & Day occupied all of that corner plot right the way round to the Holiday Inn building, and also another site on the other side of Chatterton Road, further along Clarence Road into Redcliffe. The developer’s big reveal did not commit to the number of flats which will be classified as ‘affordable’ under planning rules - although the developer did say there would be some. There will be a public exhibition of the plans at the Engine Shed at Temple Meads next Tuesday, May 17, running from 3.30pm to 7.30pm.

A spokesperson for Dandara said that, since it was a ‘landmark site’ it needed a ‘landmark building’.

“It is a prominent location that warrants a landmark building to identify the gateway to the city centre,” he said. “The scheme is conceived as a set of buildings of different heights, detail and materials that cluster around a terraced landscaped courtyard. This approach provides a considered silhouette that frames the long views of key heritage assets and also responds in scale to its different neighbours,” he added.

“We have sought to design a sustainable and attractive place where new and existing residents feel safe and welcome. We want to create a new community for everyone. Our proposal seeks to transform this high-profile site into a striking new gateway to the city, as part of the exciting new Temple Quarter regeneration,” he added.

Building heights

Illustration of proposed new Chatterton Square, one view of the proposed development at the former Peugeot dealership opposite Temple Meads station (Dandara)

With Bedminster Green, Whitehouse Lane, Temple Quarter and the area opposite this site at Mead Street being transformed from light industrial units to densely-packed residential flats, much of the controversy and opposition has been around the height of the tower blocks being proposed in these areas.

Opposite the Robins & Day site, there is a proposal from a developer to construct blocks of flats up to 22 storeys high, with campaigners across Bristol coming together to fight to protect the views of the famous Totterdown escarpment and its coloured houses at the top.

Across the river at the old Peugeot dealership at the Clarence Road-Temple Gate site, the buildings will be smaller, but only just.

A range of building heights are proposed across the scheme, the developers said, to create ‘a varied & interesting urban texture and streetscape ‘silhouette’.

“The building heights start at four storeys (including ground floor) closest to neighbouring homes and climb to six, seven, nine, ten and - adjacent to the Holiday Inn Express building - eleven storeys, increasing in height as they move away from those neighbouring homes. As a prominent gateway location, the site also warrants a landmark, taller building; so, in the centre of the site, set back from other homes and from Clarence Road, is a 20 storey building,” they added.

“Visual impact and heritage experts have worked alongside the architects throughout the entire design process to fully assess key views and ensure impact on nearby heritage assets is appropriately sensitive,” they said.

View of proposed development site at the former Peugeot dealership opposite Temple Meads station (Dandara)

How many flats?

The build-to-rent proposal includes approximately 400 new homes, all for rent, including affordable homes, the developers said.

At the Malago Road site at Bedminster Green that Dandara are building, the developers proposed no affordable homes at all - and it was only when Bristol City Council included a public car park next door to be developed as part of the site, were 21 affordable homes included.

At Clarence Road, Dandara are proposing a mixture of one, two and three bedroom homes, ‘most with their own private balcony or terrace’.

“Residents would also be able to use a shared gym, communal lounges and shared workspaces, all covered within the monthly rent. There would also be a shared garden terrace for residents on a first floor podium in the centre of the scheme, along with other rooftop spaces,” the developers said.

What extras are proposed?

Across the site as a whole, 400 flats will be built, but the ground floor on the main roads won’t be residential.

The existing building line on Temple Gate and Clarence Road is to be ‘pulled back, to allow space for improvements to the public realm including widened pavements (at least two metres wide) around the whole proposal, space for street tree planting and a segregated cycle lane’.

The view now looking from Bath Road Bridge, up Temple Gate with the Robins & Day dealership closed on the left, and the Station Approach up to Temple Meads on the right (Google Maps)

“New commercial units are proposed fronting on to Temple Gate and Clarence Road to provide activation at street level,” a spokesperson said. “Currently the Whitchurch Way cycling route - which passes next to the site - has a missing section, which the proposal would resolve by connecting from the south side of Clarence Road to opposite Temple Meads on the west side of Temple Gate.

View of proposed development at the former Peugeot dealership opposite Temple Meads station - looking along Temple Gate towards Station Approach (Dandara)

“There would be a range of private and public places within the proposal. The ground floor of the development would have indoor and outdoor commercial spaces open to everyone, as well as social and workspaces for the new residents,” they added.

What next?

The first step to take before a formal planning application is submitted will be the public consultation event on May 17.

“Dandara Living is also seeking to collaborate with residents, local groups and city-wide organisations to identify ways in which the development can further contribute towards the community,” said a spokesperson for the developer.

“Dandara Living welcomes input from the community on options which could include using space on the ground floor for community uses; temporary use of the buildings currently on the site for community groups; and, working with police and residents to make the area safer and more welcoming,” he added.

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