Multi-million pound housing development looks set to be blocked by planners

A multi-million development in one of Bristol’s most prestigious areas has been recommended for refusal by planning officials.

The scheme is to transform a former school overlooking Clifton Downs into an £85m retirement scheme.

The proposals include the redevelopment of  five villas overlooking the Downs and regenerate the rest of the site which was occupied by St Christopher’s School.

Investment firm FORE Partnership and care operator Amicala submitted the plans for the five acre site to the council last year.

Developer Socius has been appointed to manage the project which has attracted hundreds of objections from local residents.

Planning officers have recommended Bristol City Council refuse permission for the development, when councillors meet next week.

Officials said the proposals, which could see the demolition of existing buildings on the site and the erection of new blocks of flats ranging between three- and five-storeys in height, would be “unacceptable in terms of design”.

Basil Demeroutis, managing partner of FORE Partnership, said: “We have worked incredibly hard on this scheme for two years now, in close consultation with the community and other stakeholders, and we strongly believe that our plans deliver important benefits for Bristol.

“Our proposal addresses the shortage of specialist accommodation in the city for older people, enabling them to live independently for longer – a priority recognised by government just last week with the creation of the Older People’s Housing Taskforce.

“Not to mention, the wider benefit our proposal brings by freeing up under- occupied family homes in the local housing market and helping first-time buyers.

“We are ambitious with our designs in order to achieve the highest standards in sustainability, setting a new standard for the city and the wider care sector when it comes to low carbon, socially impactful design, construction, and operation.

“Beyond that, this is a significant opportunity to open a location that has been gated for decades, and to breathe new life into a deteriorating heritage building on an otherwise derelict site. A chance to deeply integrate community use, creating new opportunities, facilities, and open green spaces for local residents and the wider city, the benefits of which we can already start to see with the socially-driven community initiatives we have delivered to date.

“While we are disappointed that these benefits have not come to the fore in the officer’s report and recommendation, we stand by and remain confident in our proposal.”


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