Judicial review granted over controversial redevelopment plans for Bristol shopping centre

An artist's impression of how the site could look. Credit: Redcatch Quarter

A judicial review has been granted to residents in the Knowle area of Bristol, who are bidding to stop controversial plans to demolish Broadwalk Shopping Centre.

Planning permission had been approved by Bristol City Council to knock down the 50-year-old shopping centre and replace it with more than 800 flats.

But campaigners were opposed to the scale of the plans and what they describe as a 'low level of affordable housing'.

The controversy around the proposals began after councillors approved the demolition of the shopping centre, just five weeks after the same committee unanimously refused the application.

Developers are planning to build 820 homes as part of a huge mixed-use scheme.

Some buildings could reach 12 storeys tall, and the development would include a dentist surgery, cinema, and community space.

The sudden U-turn raised suspicion among campaigners, who have now asked a judge to inspect how the decision was made.

The judicial review could eventually lead to the planning permission being quashed.

Campaigner Laura Chapman, who requested the judicial review, said it was 'a victory' for all residents.

She said: "The High Court have given us permission to go ahead with the Broadwalk Judicial Review. We submitted five issues that we believed needed to be investigated, and Judge Jarman has agreed that all five of them are legitimately concerning and should be explored by the High Court.

"We have always believed that our case is strong, and today’s verdict is a hugely positive step forward for the campaign."

Last July after approving the plans, Conservative Councillor Richard Eddy, chair of the committee, said: “St Catherine’s Parade was recently dubbed by the tabloid media as the saddest shopping parade in Britain. My great fear was that actually Broadwalk would soon become the same.

“This mixed-use scheme is a clear opportunity to give certainty and provide the regeneration of the shopping centre with £200 million of investment.

"Plus we’re talking over 500 jobs, which is no mean feat. If we’re not successful at appeal, what would be the cost? It could be quite considerable on the planning budget here in Bristol.

“The almost 10% minimum offered by the applicant is lower than we would expect, but in view of the circumstances and the opportunities here, I think it’s worthwhile.

"And we’ve heard that three housing associations would work with the applicant to augment that further.”