CHIS Newsletter December 2020


​Future development of the Bristol Zoo site in Clifton after 2022 will be as significant and sensitive a challenge as any in our area since the Contemporis/Boyce’s Buildings development nearly twenty years ago. The Zoo Trustees are to preserve the delightful main entrance building and garden areas. They promise to build only on where there is current construction. CHIS will not be alone in pressing for designs of the highest quality and appropriate mass in so special a location. We were able to persuade the developers of the Contemporis site to complete Boyce’s Buildings with a third section, in keeping with the original style. It is to be hoped that the advice of societies like ours will be borne in mind by the Zoo. Demolition of the squalid WHS/Clifton on Ice block is set to proceed by February. Whilst no lucid person could regret the removal of that long-kept eyesore, we can only reiterate our outrage at the quality of the replacement, objected to by c. 400 residents for its gross scale, banal design and failure to conform with current green energy and emissions requirements. ​Interestingly, during that strange recent period of Spring and Summer, nearby cafes set out chairs and tables not only in Boyce’s Avenue but also in the adjacent section of King’s Road. People even sat on ledges of buildings to socialise. Precisely this lay-out was at the heart of the Design recommended by CHIS for good development. The new building would front Clifton Down Road. In a pedestrianised part of King’s Road, shielded from traffic, bus stop and taxi-rank, customers could sit out in a stylishly redesigned setting. The current plan disastrously does the opposite. ​FALLEN ANGEL: Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust. A year ago we praised the Trust for the considerate and sensible way in which it listened to comments from interested groups and individuals concerning the sensitive issue of replacing toll booths at the Clifton side of the Bridge. It was pleasant to receive a letter from the Trust thanking us for our public acknowledgment. ​Unfortunately, the Trust seems to have forgotten How To Do It. A plan to adapt the 1920s Public Toilets building has been put forward without pre-consultation, a more than regrettable matter. Please see full details in the Planning section of this Newsletter. ​All the more galling for us is that in 2008, when the Trust and the Council agreed to demolish the rustic-designed block and replace it with a glass and concrete Visitor Centre and reduced number of toilets open for fewer hours, residents raised considerable funds to resist the scheme. CHIS supported them, suggesting that a more substantial Visitor Centre should be built on the Leigh Woods side of the Bridge. After a Planning Inspector’s public enquiry and an appeal at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, where I had to represent the objectors versus The Secretary of State for Transport, Bristol City Council and the Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust, the decision was made to create a Centre.... guess where.... on the site which CHIS recommended all along. ​Fingers crossed for co-operation this time. The Trust is to be thanked for stewarding what many people think is the responsibility of BCC but it is important to take into account local advice. Remembrance Day. ​The increasingly attended service at St. Andrew’s Memorial could not take place this year. Peter Stanley and RoseMary Musgrave, however, made sure that the CHIS Wreath was in place. ​On Christchurch Green is one of the earliest war monuments in the kingdom, having once been in the garden of Manilla Hall. By happy chance it is within vision of Glendower House where our green plaque commemorates Sir Fabian Ware, a great Bristolian who was the prime mover in creating the (now) Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

​A wildflower meadow is planned for part of the Green. I hope the result is as attractive as the comparable garden at the Royal Fort-Earth Science Buildings of Bristol University, with the CHIS Award for Excellence plaque nearby. ​Our Clifton Councillors are to be congratulated on furthering the improvements promised in Park Place. ​Two improvements in the area by the Observatory are to be seen: rocks are in position to prevent vehicles being driven on the grass and a relief trench is draining a sizeable puddle on a higher up path. ​Few people may realise that a corner of BS8 lies to the Redland side of Whiteladies Road at Blackboy Hill. Behind the ASDA petrol station lies the Elizabeth Backwell site, of surprising extent. The developers have been scrupulous in consulting local residents and groups at more than one informative pre-app meeting. Not only that, they take into account what is said (see otherwise for the WHS presentations alas) before returning to the BCC Planning Department. The outcome is an inventive scheme which is acceptable in this mixed setting. ​A number of members are concerned about the alterations to driving and parking in Clifton Village which were imposed early this year. We share the worries, whilst appreciating that there may be a case for amendments to the current system but urging the authorities to give a measured trial of temporary changes in order to assess the impact on a range of users, including pedestrians, motorists, visitors and businesses. On a wider scale we have been asked to protest at the closing of access to Bristol Bridge via Baldwin Street. It is not in our designated area so we can only say to members that we sympathise with the complainants.

Foliage. Lucky as we are to live in a suburb graced with trees and gardens, private and communal, the downside too often is tiresome and even dangerous when hedges and branches overhang the pavements. ​If the offending address is identified the BCC Department should take action. A direct way for members to help is to telephone or email the appropriate Committee Member, in this case Peter Stanley (details on the back page). He will contact the authorities with the information. ​The officers of the Society have agreed to serve for a further year. RoseMary Musgrave and Brian Worthington are re-elected for three years more on the Committee. ​Congratulations and thanks to members for their continuing interest during this difficult year and to the Committee for breasting the waves. ​A Merry, partially distanced, Christmas and, above all, a Happy New Year to everyone! Brian Worthington.