Agenda item

19/04331/F Old Building Bristol Royal Infirmary Marlborough Street City Centre Bristol BS2 8HW


The Head of Development Management and his representative gave a presentation and summarised the report for this item highlighting the following:



Cllr Khan arrived after the start of public forum so was unable to participate in the discussion and decision making for this application.


The Head of Development Management and his representative gave a presentation and summarised the report for this item highlighting the following:


a.     Committee were provided with an overview of the extensive history of this development and explained the fundamental changes in terms of the current scheme. The submitted schemed addressed the majority of issues that had arisen about the redevelopment of the site over recent years.

b.     The application sets out: The intended retention and refurbishment of the former BRI building Fripps Chapel for residential and community use / A3, D1 and D2 uses; the erection of new buildings to provide 416 student bedspaces; the enhancement to the public realm with landscaping; public access to a newly created  square; the widening of the pavement around the site; connection to the District Heating Network and use of the same; the offer of 12 units to made available for affordable rent, albeit in this instance not a policy requirement.

c.      The report detailed the remaining outstanding concerns raised by interested parties and the conditions outlined to meet a number of these concerns and agreements arrived at between Officers and the Developer.  Officers were confident that they had now arrived at a place that the application could be approved together with the necessary conditions and with the Committees’ delegated authority move forward to resolve any outstanding issues as matters progressed.

d.     There was no requirement for the provision of affordable housing as the development benefits from ‘vacant building credit’  but the applicant had voluntarily offered 12 units to be made available at a discounted rent likely to be used by essential workers – health workers or educational workers employed by the hospital or university. Committee were advised that this element could only be given neutral weight in coming to a resolution.

e.     Officers recommend approval subject to a s. 106 legal agreement and a number of conditions.

Questions for Clarification

f.       Further clarification was sought on the offer of affordable housing; who was to manage those units? What measure could be put in place to prevent the future sale of units on the open market? Also if the space standards been met for each of the units?  Officers were able to comment as follows:

·       The offer of 12 units was discretionary; not a policy requirement ; the details of the  management of which will be finalised and secured through the s. 106 agreement, Unite would remain the Landlord and manage all units;  Bristol University are the preferred client whose students would likely occupy the cluster units; the studio units likely to be offered to other establishments recognising that they can be more suitable to mature students.

·       As ownership remains with Unite they are in a position to sell the flats on the open market should they choose to do so.

g.      Heat network connection – the report detailed the use of the network in the development but a question was asked as to why some units would not use the energy source for all its needs;

·       Officers confirmed that the development will connect to the district heating network as outlined in the report; with the network supplying hot water and heat to the residential units and hot water only to the student accommodation. Heating for the student accommodation is to be by electric panel heaters. The report details the objection to this latter element.

h.     A question was asked on how access to the Bus Station that backs onto Whitson Street would be treated and management during and after construction particularly concerns were raised about the disabled drop off area.

·       Members were assured that the construction management plan would condition the need for continued access to the Bus station by all including those with a disability and would deal with access to Whitson Street in consultation with Highways.

·       The intention is to ensure that on completion of the development the proposed wider pavements would not be used as an unofficial drop off area; the public realm design layout will include strategically placed street furniture.

·       The taxi rank is to be relocated in part to adjoining Earl Street in the vicinity of the Magistrates Court. This has been agreed in consultation with the Taxi drivers group.

i.       An explanation was sought on the steps taken in the design to mitigate the devastation that a fire causes in the building; clarification on the kind of materials being used in the construction and whether there was any potential that such materials may accelerate such a fire?.

·       Members were assured that the issue of building materials used in the construction of buildings are well aired and therefore well controlled by Building Regulations.  In addition its known that the insurance industry have strict restrictions in place that encourages & supports good practice from Developers when selecting construction materials. 

j.       Discussion

k.      Members of the Committee commended the developers for work done with the planners that has now resulted in a proposal that is fitting and in keeping with the area.  

l.        A Member further acknowledged the work done to retain a building that had significant value to the citizens of Bristol.

m.   Members noted that the development satisfied the aspiration of committee to locate accommodation for students within a reasonable walking distance to their centre of learning.

n.     The developers and highways team were requested to do what they could to ensure that traffic and access on Whitson Street was properly managed throughout the construction process.

o.     Cllr Davies proposed and seconded by Cllr Mead, that the planning application be agreed as set out in Officer report, with conditions detailed therein together with that set out in the Amendment Sheet, when put to the vote;

p.     Resolved (10 members available to vote: 10 for; 0 against) that the application be granted as per Officer recommendation detailed in the Report & Amendment sheet.


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