New student housing causes concern among campaigners


By Benjamin Salmon, Deputy News Editor

Local and national campaign groups say student developments near Temple Meads are unkind to the local heritage architecture.

Plans for new student housing near Temple Meads station have been criticised by campaign groups and residents’ associations.

The designs for the 953 student flats, which come as part the University’s landmark Temple Quarter construction project, came under fire after campaigners said they ruin the view of Bristol for visitors arriving by train.

Campaign group Historic England said of the plans: ‘This is a very prominent site, and its location adjacent to the London-bound platforms at Temple Meads will be the first impression of Bristol to visitors arriving in the city.

‘There is a danger that the proposed buildings may appear as sheer unrelieved monoliths with little sense of refinement in their detail.’

View of the flats from Temple Meads station. Photo courtesy of the University of Bristol

Local residents’ associations Totterdown Residents Environmental and Social Action and Windmill Hill and Malago Planning Group also oppose the plans.

However, the Bristol Urban Design Forum, a local architecture and city planning collective, support the proposals: ‘The height of the development, when seen from surrounding areas, does not appear intrusive.

‘We support the design approach.’

A Bristol University spokesperson also defended the plans, saying they would ‘regenerate a long-neglected central area of the city by creating a welcoming campus in Temple Quarter.

‘The colour and materials used for the facade were chosen to reflect and complement the station and the industrial heritage of the site.’

Bristol City Council is due to vote on October 16th on whether to give the development the go-ahead.

The proposed Temple Quarter campus, which the University is hoping to turn into a science, technology and enterprise hub for the city, is billed for construction on what currently is a relative brownfield area of the city – that is, land which is either unused or derelict.

Featured image credit: University of Bristol

What are your thoughts on the proposals? Do they match the needs of the University and the city?