Clifton and Hotwells
Improvement Society (CHIS)

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Clifton Suspension Bridge
Suspension Bridge at night
Spring in the Mall Gardens
Spring has arrived in the Mall Gardens



Welcome to the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society website.
This site contains information about this Bristol society, what it is involved in, details of its events and information about all that we care about in Clifton and Hotwells.
If you need our help, or want to help us, please join our Society.

Founded in 1968, over 45 years old and still much to do!

join How to join: Membership Form. more Read more about CHIS

The society's main aims are:

Latest Items of Interest

CHIS Events
Now held in THE APOSTLE ROOM of the CATHOLIC CATHEDRAL PEMBROKE ROAD 20:000 unless stated otherwise.

  • Weekend August 16/17: Green Squares and Secret Gardens Details. Do keep checking this page as it will get updated.
  • Tuesday 23 September: Celebrating 150 Years of Clifton Suspension Bridge
    An exploration of the colourful history of Clifton Suspension Bridge including the difficulties faced in making Brunel’s ‘first love’ a reality. This talk will also unravel a few mysteries surrounding the bridge, give an insight in to how the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust maintains Bristol’s most iconic landmark and how we are celebrating it’s 150th Year.

CHIS plaques This year CHIS will be putting up plaques to

  • Dorothy Brown, the indefatigable campaigner at Buckingham Vale who died last year
  • Charles Richardson, the eminent engineer who was born 200 years ago and who lived in Berkeley Square
Green Squares Charles Richardson
Latest News and more events
  • Victoria Square: We want to draw your attention to the following web link:
    Following approval by the Neighbourhood Partnership work is planned to start in Victoria Square in the autumn to remove some failing trees from Victoria Square and replace them with new ones. Raising of tree canopies, clearance of overgrown areas and removal of self-seeded saplings is also planned.

    Neil Burwell will be in Victoria Square with colleague Laura Hayton (Laura is the Project manager) on the following dates to meet with local and interested people to discuss this work, listen to any ideas and respond to concerns:

    • 9th July: 12.00 – 2.00
    • 15th July: 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm
    • 16th July: 3.00 pm – 5.00 pm
    Details of how to contact us in relation to this matter can be found on the web link. I hope that you find this useful and look forward to hearing you should you wish to contact me.
    Neil Burwell

  • Saturday 13 September 10-4: Bristol Doors Open Day a once-a-year chance to look behind closed doors and discover the city’s hidden treasures. You can explore fascinating buildings, join guided tours and enjoy a range of events and activities – all free for the day. With over 60 venues taking part this year – the event’s 21st birthday – join us for a fantastic celebration of Bristol’s history, architecture and culture.
    Several venues in BS8 including the Brunel Swivel Bridge and Clifton Rocks Railway

    Contact if you wish to join a Guided walk at 14:00 from SS Great Britain to the Swivel Bridge with Mr Brunel

  • Monday, December 8, 2014 will mark the 150th anniversary of the opening of the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
    150 years ago on May 7 2014, the suspension chains were completed, joining the two sides of the Avon Gorge permanently for the first time.
    Wednesday 2 July 2014, the last of the cross girders was fixed in the centre of the bridge, and a small party was allowed to pass over on planks placed accross the girders.

  • Does anyone remember Lana Peters?
    25 May 2014: CHIS was contacted by Kevin Cattell of Blue Brook Productions who sent the following: I am producing a play entitled ‘Stalin’s Daughter’ which is going to be performed at the Brewery Theatre, Tobacco Factory Theatres from July 30th to August 9th. It recalls the years that Svetlana Alliluyeva aka Lana Peters aka Stalin’s daughter spent in Clifton. Apparently she was here for about 18 years then returned to America in 2009, and died in 2011. Although this fact is mentioned in biographies and historical records, we have been unable to gain any more knowledge and it seems that during her time here she was determined to remain anonymous. More details

  • 15 September 2014 7pm-8:30pm Cabot Neighbourhood Forum, Kings Centre Clifton and Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership
  • 20 September 2014 7pm-8:30pm Clifton Neighbourhood Forum, Clifton High School, College Road. Clifton and Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership
  • 8 December 2014 7pm-8:30pm Clifton Neighbourhood Forum, Clifton High School, College Road. Clifton and Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership
  • 9 December 2014 7pm-8:30pm Cabot Neighbourhood Forum, tba Clifton and Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership
  • 3 February 2015 7pm-8:30pm Clifton Neighbourhood Forum, Clifton High School, College Road. Clifton and Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership
  • 16 February 2015 7pm-8:30pm Cabot Neighbourhood Forum, tba Clifton and Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership
  • 11 May 2015 7pm-8:30pm Clifton Neighbourhood Forum, Clifton High School, College Road. Clifton and Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership
  • 18 May 2015 7pm-8:30pm Cabot Neighbourhood Forum, tba Clifton and Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership
Clifton Suspension Bridge
Planning (holds advice)
  • Step 1: Look at official Bristol City Council weekly list for BS8
    This page provides a list of each weekly list and may comment on what to look out for.
  • Step 2: Look at Latest CHIS Monthly planning report on applications
    This page provides a list of the month's notable applications, outstanding ones and the ones commented on
  • More details of some currently and recently considered applications.

    • January 2014: Christchurch School refurbishment
    • 18 June 2014: Whiteladies Road Cinema was  considered  by  the  Development Control Committee A at its meeting.  The Medinbrand/Everyman plan was granted
      31 March 2014: Many members are wondering what on earth is going on regarding the renovation and reopening of the cinema.
      Things seem to have hotted up considerably during the past few months. In December the cinema owners, Medinbrand unveiled some proposals in conjunction with Everyman Media Group who are professional cinema operators. Many of you will have seen their plans at the Whiteladies Shopping Centre.
      What they propose is to preserve the 3 screen cinema layout which existed in 1978 and to create six flats above the auditorium in what was the Odeon boardroom, the manager's flat and the roof void. There will be no changes to the cinema's façade and the interior will be extensively restored to retain all the old cinema's distinctive architectural features.
      This enormous project will cost several million pounds and the developers say that the inclusion of flats is essential to make it commercially viable.
      Medinbrand have now formally contracted to lease the cinema to Everyman and the two companies have made a joint application to Bristol City Council for planning consent. Melanie Chiswell Brooks, who acts as publicity agent for Medinbrand/Everyman, has been canvassing support for this application. CHIS has posted its support for the project on the BCC planning website.
      In mid March this year CHIS learned that another group, Whiteladies Picture House Ltd also has proposals for the cinema. This group has been formed locally as a charity, has raised £ 10000, secured the support of some local professionals and says it has pledges for funding. An impressive brochure has been produced showing ambitious plans to restore the building and to create a two screen cinema. No flats are included.
      Whilst this scheme has much to commend it, many members doubt that WPH would be able to find the money to buy the cinema from Medinbrand and then to carry out the restoration and renovation. The other huge obstacle seems to be that Medinbrand would not, and could not, sell to WPH since they are under contract to lease to Everyman.
      CHIS believes that, above all, its members are keen to see this historic, much loved cinema rescued from its present state of decay and reopen after 13 long years of neglect.
      When we gave our support to the Medinbrand/Everyman plan the WPH scheme had not been made public. The present position is that the only planning application which the council actually has before it is the M/E one. That application has the support of the Conservation Advisory Panel, the Civic Society, ORA and other local residents' associations. M/E say that, once planning consent is obtained, the cinema will operational within 15 months. Though commendable, the WPH plans seem unlikely to be capable of being realised without the intervention of a very rich benefactor.

    • March 2014: Double glazed log cabin complete with toilet, cooking facilities, bedroom in the garden of 4 Princes Buildings. Gone to appeal.
    • March 2014: First House, Kensington Place Appeal against enforcement notice: Breach of condition 2 (restricting further removal of front boundary wall) of conservation area consent 12/01326/LC - demolition of front boundary wall. Appeal withdrawn. The wall will have to be put back by October
  • The council is creating a list of buildings, structures and sites that do not already have listed status but which are valued and are considered worthy of preservation, and would like you to help. More details
  • Site Allocations and Development Management Policies. Main modifications are proposed which, without prejudice to the Inspector"s final conclusions, the council considers are necessary to make the plan sound. The consultation period on proposed modifications to the Site Allocations and Development Management Policies has now ended (24 Feb). The next steps in the process will be a note to the Inspector including the consultation comments and our suggested responses, and this is intended to happen between the 7 and 14 March, followed by the Inspector’s report which is expected a few weeks later. The document (Site Allocations and Development Management Policies) will need to be formally adopted by the Full Council, and this is anticipated to take place on 22 July 2014, with the document becoming part of the statutory Local Plan from that date. This means that any application decided from that date onwards will be determined under the new policies. The Planning Inspector, Mr Andrew Freeman, will consider them as part of his examination of the soundness and legal compliance of the Plan.
    More details
cinema tower
Whiteladies Road Cinema news

Photo by Brian Joseph, Princess Victoria St. What a way to be woken up!
This is what happens when scaffolding is not tied and a strong wind catches it.

Licensing BRISTOL FRINGE, 32 PRINCESS VICTORIA STREET (FORMERLY THE GREYHOUND) Application Withdrawn (the dates and times requested were misleading and entered on the application form incorrectly)
Residential Parking Scheme parking protest tank

Historic telegraph post by the Observatory Let us know your opinions on this telegraph post. Should it go into a museum or should it stand here and tell its story in situ? More details

Cobblestone Mews
Bristol Water and Rossco Civil Engineering make a good job of relaying the cobbles in this wonderful street after major roadworks.

incongruous temporary lamp post in Christchurch Rd replaced after 9 years

telegraph post telegraph post

christchurch rd

Brunel Swivel Bridge
Brunel's Other Bridge (new website created 26 Jan 2014)
Read the latest. See the new signs to promote it.
2014 work schedule next working party (26+27 April NOT 19+20 April 2014 (Easter)), 24, 25 May, 21, NOT 22 (due to Big Bicycle Ride) June, 19, 20 July, 16, 17 August, 13, 14 September, 19, 20 October. Note 13 Sept is Doors Open Day CHIS and BIAS have each bought a 50 ton jack to lift it.
18 June 2014: Application for £2,930 granted by the Cabot, Clifton and Clifton East Neighbourhood Partnership for information panels, leaflets, guided walk through the Brunel structures by "Mr Brunel" on Doors Open Day in September. The application was put in by the Avon Industrial Buildings Trust.

Read the latest, find out next open days at Clifton Rocks Railway 27 April, 18 May, 13,14 September 2014 10-4

St Andrews Churchyard work party

Brunel Swivel Bridge

Clifton Rocks Railway

St Andrews
advertising: Includes planning applications

Latest: Litfield House signs and gateposts

Nature, Landscape and Environment
  • May 2014: New Downs Playground equipment erected, after consultation and planning applications in 2013. Watch out for the CHIS seat to arrive.
  • 4 Dec 2013: £50,000 Transformation of Victoria Square. Detailed consultation will take place January 2014.
  • 4 Dec 2013: Plans are afoot to create a Clifton Tree Trail
Victoria Square
Refuse, Pollution and noise in Clifton

Latest news on refuse issues

14-15 December 2013: George Ferguson, Bristol’s Mayor is launching a new campaign to highlight the cost of litter and to encourage people to dispose of their rubbish responsibly.

Dec 2013: Smokers Litter Initiative

domestic bins
Photographs of how bins affect streetscape
Security in Clifton The Police have noticed there seems to be a small increase in Theft of Motor Vehicle from both Clifton beats. Please keep your eyes out for any “dodgy” people or tow trucks. Call 101 non-emergency or 999 if you believe a crime is being committed. Or email the beat team if it is just for their information.


Clifton East-


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