Bristol co-housing development gets planning permission

A community-led housing development on the outskirts of Bristol has gained unanimous support at committee, following a collaborative planning application by Bristol Community Land Trust, United Communities and architects, Architype.

The proposal provides 49 affordable new homes for members of the community land trust and the local area, as well as 2 common houses on the site that will offer mixed-use communal space.

The abandoned and overgrown site in the Lockleaze area of Bristol had a number of issues to overcome in relation to its steep sloping topography, lack of vehicle access, and the existing ecology before a planning approval could be granted.

The layout comprises a shared surface avenue that sweeps through the site, with the houses strung along the contours of the slope. The landscape incorporates sections of existing wild land and generous areas of usable recreational common land.

The architectural language has been strongly influenced by the extensive period of design collaboration with future residents as well as the famously colorful and varied Bristol vernacular. Properties will be self-finished by residents to improve affordability, including an opportunity to personalise facades and characterise the neighbourhood. The individuality of the units is complemented by a common material palette that unifies the overall vision for the development.

With an aim to keep resident’s energy bills low, the houses and flats will be built to a stringent fabric-first construction method, incorporating mechanical ventilation with heat recovery units in every home. A combined heat and power network is also proposed, which will utilise photo voltaic tiles on rooftops and an air source heat pump to provide district heating and electricity.

The project is currently out to tender through the Westworks Framework and a contractor is expected to be appointed by the end of October. The programme for delivery of the completed units is scheduled for spring 2019.

Elly Deacon-Smith, Project Architect for the scheme said:

“We are delighted that this unique and innovative community scheme has been granted planning permission; this is a great result for both the local community and the city of Bristol. We have hugely enjoyed the process of working with the clients and the BCLT residents group to develop a truly collaborative scheme. We hope that the delivery of Shaldon Road Co-housing will set a new benchmark nationally for low cost, sustainable and affordable housing.’

Keith Cowling, Chair of BCLT said:

“Bristol CLT is delighted to have achieved this important milestone in our latest project, which will provide much needed affordable housing in Bristol. The high standard of the design, which Planning Committee members remarked upon, sets it apart from most current market housing and puts social and environmental need at the heart of the scheme. We believe the new residents will be living in some of the most energy efficient homes in the region. Although there are still a lot of challenges to overcome before we can hand over the keys in 2019, I’m really pleased that Bristol City Council has supported our vision and we now have the chance to turn it into reality.”