Housing minister approves £375m Bristol masterplan

A plan to build 371 homes, a school and student accommodation in Bristol has been given the go-ahead.

Housing minister Stuart Andrew said the benefits of affordable homes and the development of land that was falling into disrepair were strong reasons to green-light the £375m development, dubbed the Silverthorne Lane masterplan.

A fifth of the planned homes, built across four blocks ranging from seven to 10 storeys, will be classed as affordable. The proposals also include the development of a 1,600-pupil-capacity school, two student accommodation blocks for 693 students and 25,000 square metres of office space across two buildings.

The scheme covers six plots in the Temple Meads area. Developer Square Bay, which owns the site, submitted the proposal in tandem with the University of Bristol, developers Studio Hive and Atlas Land, education trust Oasis Community Learning and the Department for Education. Square Bay said the plan would create 4,335 jobs over the next 10 years.

The plan needed ministerial approval following concerns that the proposed housing would have a heightened flood risk, and that the plan could damage some buildings of heritage in the area.

In his review of the proposal, Andrew resolved that “all dwellings” would be above the flood level and any risk of high water would be restricted to the car park, offices and staircases.

“The secretary of state agrees that the lower lift/stairs area, if flooded, would not conflict with the ability for the actual residential areas to remain safe as a refuge area or provide access to the high-level walkway and therefore on balance this would be acceptable in flood-risk safety terms,” the statement said.

Concerns over heritage centred on a number of listed buildings – including one that is Grade II-listed – some of which are being redeveloped and others that would be affected by the new development. The minister agreed that the plans could constitute “modest harm” to a number of buildings, but resolved that the housing benefits outweighed those concerns.

“The regeneration proposed, combined with the active restoration of some of the listed buildings, would rejuvenate the site and breathe active life back into it, and that the retention of 10 key buildings, which would be likely to be lost without active use, would also be a benefit of the proposals,” he said.

The green-lit masterplan joins other substantial projects to get the go-ahead in recent weeks. Last month, a £200m masterplan to develop 603 build-to-rent homes and 65,000 square feet of office space in Southampton received approval from the local council.

Meanwhile, plans were submitted in February to extend the so-called Warrington Town Centre Masterplan by adding 900 additional residential homes and a hotel to a regeneration scheme in the city. That scheme is worth £99m.

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