Call for feedback on St Christopher's site proposals

December 21 2021

Call for feedback on St Christopher's site proposals

Residents and the wider community were able to review and feed back on emerging proposals for an ultra-sustainable later living community planned for Westbury Park at a public exhibition.
The five-acre site of the former St Christopher’s School comprises about 93,000 sq ft of existing buildings, including the Grade-II listed Grace House. The proposals will provide about 120 much-needed specialist homes for seniors through the sustainable refurbishment of the existing buildings, along with a collection of two storey cottages and four low-rise blocks ranging from 4-6 storeys.
FORE Partnership, extra care operator Amicala and developer First Base, launched a public consultation on the proposals, with a public exhibition at St Christopher’s on December 1 and 4. The public consultation will continue until Wednesday 19 January, with a further exhibition to be held in the new year, most likely most likely to be mid-January. Additional information is available at www.stchristophersbristol.com.  
The latest designs by PRP Architects will see Grace House transformed into a hub for the wider community, with a publicly accessible café and activity rooms, as well as ‘wellness’ facilities, including a hydrotherapy pool and gym. The designs also include extensive open space, sensory gardens, community food growing spaces and other rich landscaping. The project team is committing to generating a biodiversity net gain of at least 10%.
Pledging to build to the highest levels of sustainability, the project will use low carbon construction techniques and materials. In operation, the community will be net zero carbon and fossil-fuel free, drawing energy from renewable electricity as well as generating onsite solar energy.
The plans will include 65 on-site parking spaces for residents, staff and visitors, including electric vehicle spaces, with the primary vehicle access from Westbury Park.
Representing an investment of up to £80 million, a package of socio-economic benefits to Bristol includes local jobs and training opportunities, from construction through to the ongoing operation of the extra care community.
Lucinda Mitchell, Director, First Base, said: “We’re grateful to everyone who joined us at our drop-in events to learn more about plans to create a new ultra-sustainable community for older people in Westbury Park. More than 200 people attended during the two days and many others have engaged online.
“Our proposals will address a real need for high quality specialist housing in Bristol for older people as well as providing new community facilities. By retaining and enhancing existing buildings and adopting ultra-low carbon construction techniques, we will minimise environmental impact and become the first retirement living community in Bristol to achieve net zero.
“These carefully considered plans provide for a scale and density that strikes an appropriate balance between optimising this important site for much-needed homes for seniors, while delivering designs that are environmentally friendly and sensitive to the local area.
“Our consultation period is open until 19 January 2022 and we would encourage anyone who hasn’t already to get involved and tell us what they think. The plans remain at an early stage of development and have already evolved following feedback from the community, demonstrating we have listened to people at the countless meetings, workshops and site tours we’ve held since the summer. Following the consultation period we will continue to explore how we can respond positively to feedback from the community as well as key stakeholders as the designs evolve.”
Design still tries to fit a quart in a pint pot: Pages 6-7