Clifton Observatory

Aug 31, 2017


As arranged, CHIS representatives met recently with Ian Johnson, the owner of Clifton Observatory, to discuss with him the recent licensing application.

Ian was very ready to amend his application to bring the hours applied for into line with those of other licensed premises in Clifton. What is now proposed is that the licence be from noon until 11.00 p.m. Monday to Friday, with 30 minutes clearing up time. CHIS will not oppose this.

Those members who belong to the Nextdoor Clifton Down website can read a full reply from Ian, posted several days ago, where he discusses not only the licensing issue but also his future plans for the Observatory. His expressed desire is to retain the building for his lifetime and to donate it to a charitable trust for the benefit of the people of Bristol, with profits benefitting good causes. His aim at present is 'to create a nice viewing platform to enjoy a glass of wine and enjoy a beautiful view.' He continues to hold discussions regarding his plans for improving the building and its environs with the City Council, the Downs Committee, Historic England and other interested groups, including CHIS. He speaks of using a small electric vehicle (like a golf buggy) for deliveries, of improving the surfaces of the nearby paths and introducing very minimal low-level lighting .

It has seemed to CHIS ever since our first meeting with him, early last year, that Ian is full of enthusiasm for this project and most keen to do his very best to revitalise this interesting and historic Clifton landmark. Certainly, the internal renovations already executed are of a high standard. Being a local man and a close resident, he tells us that conservation and enhancement of the surroundings are more important to him in this project than commercial success. We shall watch with great interest as the project unfolds and look forward to enjoying an ice cream, and perhaps even a glass of champagne, whilst contemplating the glorious view from the roof terrace.


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