Controversial Bristol Zoo Gardens plan for new homes approved by Secretary of State

Proposed homes at Bristol Zoo
A CGI of what the west car park could look like Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

Controversial plans to build hundreds of houses on the grounds of Bristol Zoo Gardens have been given the green light by Secretary of State Michael Gove.

Almost 200 homes, up to six storeys high, will be built on the historic 12-acre site in Clifton with 20% of the homes classed as 'affordable'.

It comes after the zoo closed in September last year after 186 years as a public attraction.

The plans were originally approved in April, with members of the city council's planning committee voting six to three to grant the planning application.

However, an opposing group wrote to the Secretary of State asking for the decision to be reversed.

Mayor Marvin Rees confirmed that Michael Gove had refused to 'call in' the decision and as a result the plans to build the homes will go ahead.

He said: "Bristol Zoo Project's plan for 200 new homes (20% affordable) in Clifton will proceed, after the Secretary of State declined to “call-in” the decision.

"The conservation charity can thrive at a site ten times bigger, while the old zoo gardens open for free to people in Bristol."

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.