The application looks to build 166 new homes at Baltic Wharf, whilst creating new public spaces, with a mix of uses, that encourage a sense of community and social inclusiveness, that are accessible to all, and which prioritise walking and cycling, social interaction and physical activity for a high quality of life.

The design of these public spaces will draw heavily on the site’s historical context and Harbourside setting, producing a unique space that acknowledges the area’s history as a busy and dynamic working dockyard. This will be achieved with materials and public art that reference the site’s heritage.

The proposals will make the most of the waterfront location with seating steps and social spaces with striking views across the water for residents and locals. In contrast, private and semi-private amenity spaces on terraces and roof gardens will be calm and relaxing with comfortable furniture and colourful and biodiverse planting.

Ground floor commercial space is proposed on the harbour frontage, which could include a mix of places to eat and drink, in turn enhancing activity in this corner of the harbour and creating a new destination. The commercial space will complement rather than detract from The Cottage Inn and Underfall Yard, and could incorporate some local social enterprises, which will enhance footfall and promote social activity to further enliven the harbour setting.
How do the plans respond to the local context?

The proposals respond to and complement the historical setting and heritage of the Bristol Harbour, particularly Underfall Yard. The architecture and landscape design are strongly influenced by the distinct wharf-side setting and traditional, red brick warehouses prevalent in the area.

Building forms, roofs and materials reflect the style and proportion of the traditional warehouse buildings around Underfall Yard, allowing the new buildings to knit into the fabric of this historic part of the city. The concept for the landscape design and placemaking is influenced by the harbour setting, and the historic use of the site as a timber yard.

Industrial materials such as concrete, corten and timber will be used to build the public and residential amenity spaces, while timber yard products such as beams, sleepers and stacks provide a strong reference for design and pattern throughout the scheme. This will build a strong sense of local identity, ensuring that the area’s future authentically incorporates its past.

How the proposed buildings will look within their context (click to enlarge)

How will the buildings be designed to reduce their environmental impact?
The proposals will embody sustainability throughout all aspects of design, addressing the Climate Crisis. There will be improved environmental performance delivered through a fabric first approach of enhanced thermal performance and airtightness, complemented with the use of renewable energy. Design for internal comfort and avoiding overheating have been integrated from the outset, with projecting eaves, balconies and solar shading on south and west facing apartments. The proposals incorporate the following sustainability measures:

Energy efficiencyEnergy-efficient LED lighting will be used throughout the proposed redevelopment. Smart energy meters will be installed in every home, empowering residents to monitor their own energy usage. Internal spaces have been designed to maximise natural daylight, with dual-aspect rooms and floor-to-ceiling glazing.

Waste minimisationA Site Waste Management Plan (SWMP) will be developed and implemented to reduce waste generation and aim to divert up to 95% of non-hazardous construction and demolition waste from landfill.

Smart water managementEfficient water fittings and dual flush toilets will be installed to reduce water consumption to approximately two thirds of the national average for residential apartments. Permeable paving, attenuation crates and rainwater gardens will also be installed to reduce the risk of downstream flooding.

Adaptable living spacesThe proposed buildings incorporate features that make the homes potentially suitable for a wide range of occupants, including older people, those with reduced mobility and some wheelchair users. This ensures a welcoming scheme for all, builds the foundations for a diverse neighbourhood, and enables people to buy homes that can change with them throughout their lives.

Support for natural habitatsThe new landscape scheme includes areas of varied shrub and perennial planting, which will support birds and invertebrates, including pollinators increasing the biodiversity of the area.

How have the designs developed in collaboration with the community and key stakeholders?

The design has been developed through extensive consultation and collaboration with key stakeholders, City Design and Design West, and resident groups. The programme has included the following events, workshops and discussions:

  • Pre-application discussions with Bristol City Council
  • Presentation to Design West Panel
  • Direct consultation with the Environment Agency on flood risk and mitigation
  • A meeting with Avon Fire and Rescue Service to discuss emergency access
  • A meeting with a representative of City Docks
  • A meeting with Ward Councillor Mark Wright
  • A meeting with Councillor Nicola Beech
  • A meeting with Sandy Hore-Ruthven, Green Party candidate for Bristol Mayor
  • The creation of a website and a leaflet drop to 3,000 residents around the nearby neighbourhoods.
  • Two news articles in the Bristol Post
  • Meetings with the resident group and directors of Baltic Wharf neighbourhood to the east
  • A presentation to Hotwells and Clifton Wood Community Association
  • A presentation to BS3 Planning Group
  • A meeting with Bristol Tree Forum
  • A meeting with the Vice Chair and members of All Aboard AAW
  • A meeting with The Harbour Master
  • A meeting with a representative of City Docks
  • A meeting with The Cottage Inn
  • An online public presentation and discussion attended by over 70 members of the public
  • Two meetings and continuing discussions with representatives of Spike Island on potential culture and art uses within the regeneration
  • A discussion with Bristol's Public Art Officer
The design has been developed and revised to address the issues raised through the local engagement process, particularly relating to concerns on height and massing. The team has worked closely with the City Design Group in forming the optimum strategy for acceptable height that can deliver appropriate density, and how the ground floor of the harbour frontage can be further animated with non-residential uses.

How tall are the proposed buildings?This is a prominent harbourside location and understandably, there has been a lot of interest in the design and proposed height. Our aim has been to deliver an exemplary scheme, fitting for this location and for Bristol. we’ve worked with an award-winning architect and spent a considerable amount of time talking to people including harbourside neighbours, Hotwells residents, community representatives, the Civic Society, Bristol Urban Design Forum, Historic England, Destination Bristol, and City Design Officers.

The submitted plans try to balance everyone's aspirations, concerns, and interests, and deliver an exemplary scheme. The buildings are slightly raised to incorporate flood measures, but range from three storeys on the eastern boundary, to six in the centre.

Please view the Design and Access Statement (DAS) for more information.

The proposed buildings viewed looking south across the Floating Harbour (click to enlarge)

How do the proposals relate to local destinations and landmarks?Baltic Wharf will become a new, vibrant, mixed-use destination, to complement the social activities around Spike Island, Wapping Wharf and the Underfall Yard. It will create new architecture and public spaces, which will make a positive contribution to life in the Bristol Harbour, enhancing the sense of place and distinct character of this vibrant part of Bristol.

Initial design proposals have been placed into an accurate 3D model of the harbour context, and this has been used to evaluate the visual impact of the proposals against the existing scale, massing and grain of surrounding buildings and landscape features. we have also evaluated the emerging and future developments, either already with planning permission, or with applications pending, to ensure that the Baltic Wharf proposals are aligned with the patterns of future growth of this part of Bristol.

The thorough analysis of the existing scale, massing and urban grain around the harbour has been employed to propose a new scheme that is respectful and in sympathy with the historic context, that assists in the continuing evolution of this part of Bristol, while preserving its distinct characteristics that make it such an important part of the townscape.

The proposed buildings compared to existing and recently consented buildings in the local area (click to enlarge)

How will people move through the site?A new public route and open space connects the River Avon to the Floating Harbour. The proposals retain the historic wall on Cumberland Road and will utilise the existing entrance to the site as the main access via Cumberland Road.

The site will be fully pedestrianised in the north half of the neighbourhood (floating harbour), with vehicles restricted to the southern half to gain access into parking areas. There will be a separated route created for pedestrians. All entrances to the new homes are accessed from the main public route through the site.

The proposed masterplan, showing public open spaces in relation to buildings (click to enlarge)

A birds eye view looking through the site from Cumberland Road (click to enlarge)
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