Controversial Bristol Zoo Gardens plan for new homes passed by councillors

A computer-generated image of what the development would look like Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

Controversial plans to transform Bristol Zoo into a multi-million pound housing development of nearly 200 homes have been approved.

Members of the city council's planning committee voted six to three to grant the zoo's planning application to redevelop the historic site in Clifton which closed last September after 186 years as a public attraction.

The plans include the building of 196 homes, up to six storeys high with 20 per cent of them classed as 'affordable'.

A CGI of what the north of the site could look like Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

The charity which runs the zoo has vowed to retain much of the site's green space for free public access while also retaining its listed buildings.

However, it wants to demolish most non listed buildings and create parking for 120 cars.

Campaigners spoke against the proposal at today's (April 26) meeting in City Hall but failed to convince the majority of councillors the 12-acre site should not be built on.

Speaking against the application were members of the Save Bristol Zoo Gardens campaign, neighbouring Clifton College and the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society.

Mayor Marvin Rees had earlier tweeted his support for the development but his predecessor, George Ferguson, called it "a Bristol Establishment stitch-up" urging councillors: "This is the last chance to put yourselves on the right side of history".

Chief Executive of the Bristol Zoological Society, Justin Morris, said he "profoundly disagreed" with those opposed to the scheme which he said would be "for the benefit of people and nature". Tourism trade body Visit West were among those supporting the scheme.

Campaigners have vowed to fight on to stop the plans but the zoo's next significant step will be appoint a developer in an effort to make their plans a reality.