Plans for homes on Bristol Zoo staff car park approved

The zoo now has permission to build 55 apartments on seven houses off College Road. Credit: Barton Willmore

Plans for new homes on a car park owned by Bristol Zoo have been approved for a second time.

Bristol Zoo's west car park will be redeveloped for the 62 homes to be built.

The zoo now has permission to build 55 apartments on seven houses off College Road, which is set to raise millions for the charity.

This is the second time the plans have been given the go-ahead.

Last year Bristol City Council granted permission, but this was later quashed after residents threatened to take legal action amid concerns about how the scheme could impact architectural heritage.

Architects revised the scheme and a committee have now again voted to give the green light to the new homes.

But concerns remain among local people about how the new buildings will affect the historic nature of the surrounding area.

Speaking to the development control committee yesterday (16 November), local resident, Adam Chivers, said: “Nobody is objecting to the sale of the zoo’s assets or the principle of housing.

"The only question is whether you give the zoo permission for an awful development to which all fair-minded people object.

“The design of the scheme is wholly out of keeping with the conservation area. This is most emphatically not a case of nimbyism, just an overriding concern that the greedy and unimaginative design of this scheme will leave a permanent scar on the conservation area.”

There is a separate planning application, which has not yet been decided, about developing the actual former zoo site and building 200 new homes, while protecting some of the existing gardens.

Chris Booy, vice chair of trustees of the Bristol Zoological Society, said: “We closed Bristol Zoological Gardens as part of our strategy to create a new world-class zoo at the Wild Place Project on the edge of Bristol.

"This will allow us to focus even more on conservation, education and research at this time of climate and ecological crisis. We need to develop the site to help fund this.

“However, we wish to leave a really positive legacy. So instead of securing permission for this brownfield, largely redundant car park and selling it to the highest bidder, we have this really high quality and detailed scheme.

"This development will be part of our legacy, including bringing affordable homes to a part of Bristol that for most is unaffordable.”

The development follows the closure of Bristol Zoo's Clifton site in September after almost two centuries there.

The zoo is now relocating to its sister site in South Gloucestershire, the Wild Place Project.