For those interested in this floating pontoon, details of the planning permission are set out below. TRESA supports this development in principle although concerns remain about the safe segregation of pedestrians and cyclists.
19/01050/F | The proposed development is a new floating pontoon walkway along the southern bank of the Floating Harbour, to provide shared pedestrian and cycle way between Temple Meads ferry landing and Cattle Market Road. The walkway will be constructed under Temple Meads viaduct, considered curtilage listed as associated with Temple Meads Railway Station Grade I listed building. The application site is currently river and river bank. | Floating Pontoon Between Bristol Temple Quay And Cattle Market Road Bristol BS1 6DG.
Planning permission has previously been granted for the provision of a harbourside walkway in this
location, under reference 15/03772/F. However, that permission expired without being implemented. The current application is in effect a resubmission of that application, and includes the same details as were submitted with the previous approval. As such, these are applications for full planning permission and listed building consent for an approximately 450m long pontoon walkway to connect Temple Meads Ferry Landing to Feeder Road, the River Avon Trail path and the Temple Island site. The walkway will be 4m wide and include a 1.4m tall safety barrier. The walkway will be lit. No part of the development will be attached to Network Rail structures.
RESPONSE TO PUBLICITY AND CONSULTATION
The application was advertised by writing to 183 neighbouring properties, by site notice and by advertisement in a local newspaper. As a result of this 6 comments have been received from members of the public, two listed as supporting the application and 4 as neutral. The comments received are as follows:
Principle of Development
* The principle of providing additional pedestrian/cycle routes in the area is generally supported.
Transport and Movement Issues
* It appears that the pontoon is not wide enough, and does not have an adequate level of separation, to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists safely, and will create conflict between users. A segregated path would be preferred.
Residential Amenity (see key issue D)
* The surfacing of the bridges in the area result in noise and disturbance to neighbours of the site, so alternative materials are suggested.
Plan-El (Neighbourhood Planning Group) have objected to the proposal on the basis that a shared
pedestrian and cycle path will cause conflict between users, and will present a health and safety risk. It is noted that this group were advised regarding the proposals to segregate the route, which was welcomed, but with the conditions suggested by the Walking Alliance.
The Totterdown Residents Environmental & Social Action group have commented that they support the proposal, but have raised concerns that the ecological appraisals are dated, and the circumstances may have changed, and that a shared pedestrian and cycle route will result in conflict
between users. It would be preferred that the routes are segregated, and signage should be used to
ensure pedestrians have priority.
Bristol Civic Society have indicated their support for the proposal, although have raised concerns
about the segregation of pedestrians and cyclists, and have suggested that any arrangements made
should be reviewed after six months.
Bristol Walking Alliance support the principle of the development but consider that the design of the pontoon as a shared route will be inadequate. Whilst the scheme would be adequate for pedestrians only by being used by cyclists as well it will result in conflict between users. It is suggested, therefore, that the use as a shared surface is conditional on peak measured flow of pedestrians. In addition, signage should be used to ensure pedestrians have priority.
Living Streets Bristol have objected to the application on the basis that a shared route will lead to
conflict between users, would be hazardous, and a poor experience for both pedestrians and cyclists. It is also noted from experience in other parts of the city that low impact segregation does not work for the users.
The Conservation Advisory Panel have objected to the application on the basis that changes to proposals in the area (including the facts that plans for an arena are not being taken forward) remove the justification for the proposal. In addition, the proposals lack detail, and any moorings on the pontoon must be temporary.
(A) IS THE APPLICATION PROPOSAL ACCEPTABLE IN PRINCIPLE?
The application proposal is consistent with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (2018) in
that it is a proposal for sustainable development involving a walkway between the Temple Meads
Ferry Landing and Feeder Road, the River Avon Trail Path and the proposed arena.
Policy BCAP32 in the Bristol Central Area Plan (March 2015) states that development on or adjacent
to existing to proposed Quayside Walkways will be expected to provide or contribute appropriately
towards a continuous and accessible route finished to a high standard of design including, where
practical, seating and appropriate landscaping.
Policy BCAP35 states that sites within the Bristol Temple Quarter, which are identified as key sites,
will be expected to enhance Temple Meads as a major transport interchange and the development of sites adjoining the station to the north will be expected to accommodate this interchange function.
The application proposal is consistent with these development plan policies. It will enhance the
Temple Meads as a major transport interchange by increasing its accessibility to neighbouring sites,
including the proposed University Campus and the development of Temple Island. It is also noted that improvements to the route are identified in both the Temple Quay Enterprise Zone Spatial Framework and the Temple Quay Sustainable Urban Movement Plan. The proposal will, therefore, contribute to the long standing policy aim for provision of a continuous and accessible route around the Quayside.
It is noted that concerns have been raised through the public consultation regarding whether the route is needed, given that the potential development of an arena on Temple Island is no longer being brought forward. However, it is recognised that this is still a significant potential development plot, and any improvements to its accessibility will contribute positively to the development for this plot. In any case, the proposal does have wider aims around providing a route from the south of the city to the centre away from the busy, heavily trafficked road network in the area. As such, the changes in respect of the potential development of Temple Island do not significantly diminish the benefits of the development.
(B) IS THE DESIGN OF THE APPLICATION PROPOSAL AND THE IMPACT ON HERITAGE ASSET
Section 66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 states that in considering whether to grant planning permission for development which affects a listed building or its setting, the local planning authority shall have special regard to the desirability of preserving the
building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses.
The Authority is also required (under Section 72 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation
Areas) Act 1990) to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character
or appearance of the conservation area. The case of R (Forge Field Society) v Sevenoaks DC 
EWHC 1895 (Admin) (“Forge Field”) has made it clear where there is harm to a listed building or a
conservation area the decision maker ‘must give that harm considerable importance and weight’ .
Section 16 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2018 states that when considering the
impact of a proposed development on the significance of a designated heritage asset, great weight
should be given to the asset’s conservation, with any harm or loss requiring clear and convincing
justification. Paragraph 195 states that where a proposed development will lead to substantial harm to or total loss of significance of a designated heritage asset, local planning authorities should refuse consent, unless it can be demonstrated that the substantial harm or loss is necessary to achieve substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss. Paragraph 196 states that where a proposal will lead to less than significant harm, the harm should be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal.
In this case, it is considered that there will be limited harm to the heritage asset, particularly as the pontoon is reversible. It is considered that any harm to the setting of the listed arches is outweighed by the benefit of allowing greater appreciation of the original Brunel Bridge, and increasing accessibility for pedestrians and cyclists in this part of the city.
Core Strategy Policy BCS21 states that new development should contribute positively to an area’s character and identity, creating or reinforcing local distinctiveness. Amongst other things it should deliver a safe, healthy, attractive, usable, durable and well-managed built environment comprising high quality inclusive buildings and spaces that integrate green infrastructure. This is reinforced by Policy DM26 which states that development proposals will be expected to contribute towards local character and distinctiveness and Policy DM28 which states that development will be expected to provide for or contribute towards the creation of a safe, attractive, high quality, inclusive and legible public realm.
Policy DM26 states that the design of development proposals will be expected to contribute towards local character and distinctiveness by (amongst other things) responding appropriately to local patterns of movement and the scale, character and function of streets and public spaces; and reflect locally characteristic architectural styles, rhythms, patterns, features and themes taking account of their scale and proportion.
It is noted that when the decision was made on the original submission limited details were available regarding the detailed design of the proposal, and these details were secured by condition. Whilst some of these details have been produced the applicant does not want these additional details to be considered as part of this application. Notwithstanding this, the scheme was previously approved with this level of information, with officers satisfied that the impact on the character of the area was acceptable. Therefore, subject to the same conditions that were previously applied it is considered that there would be no harm to the character of the area, and there are no objections to the proposals on these grounds.
(C) ARE TRANSPORT AND MOVEMENT ISSUES ADEQUATELY ADDRESSED?
Policy BCS10 states that proposals will be determined to reflect the transport user priorities set out in the Joint Local Transport Plan, specifically, putting the pedestrian first followed by the cyclist, public transport, access for commercial vehicles and only then the private car.
Development proposals should be located where sustainable travel patterns can be achieved. The application forms part of a wider network of walking and cycling routes across the Enterprise Zone, and form part of a £21 million investment. It is noted that planning permission has previously been granted for the development, although again to a large degree the detailed design of the proposal had not been agreed at that stage. As a consequence there were a number of outstanding issues at the application stage, which were left to be addressed by conditions. These include:
* Details of segregation between cyclists and pedestrians;
* Agreement in Principle to be sought from BCC Structures;
* Confirmation of level of protection offered to the walkway;
* A Memorandum of Understanding to be concluded between BCC and Network Rail in relation to the interface between the viaduct and the walkway.
It is also noted that a number of objections have been received on the basis that the lack of proper segregation between pedestrians and cyclists would lead to conflict between users. It is noted that the comments on the application are the same as were raised with the original application, and the recommendation was that these issued could be addressed by condition. Since the previous application was granted there have been further discussions between the highways team and the applicant, and solutions have been suggested that the highways team are satisfied with. Whilst those solutions are not being formally considered as part of this application, it is considered appropriate that conditions are applied to allow for final approval of the details.
It is noted that this application is not supported by a Memorandum of Understanding between the
applicant and Network Rail, as requested by the highways team. It is, however, evident from the consultation responses that the applicant is working with Network Rail in order to deliver the proposal. In addition, a Memorandum was not provided as part of the previous approval, and indeed the issues raised appear to go beyond the scope of a planning application to deliver.
Therefore, notwithstanding the above issues, it is not considered that there are any highway concerns that are outstanding, and subject to the same conditions being applied as for the previous application, there are no highway objections to the proposal.
(D) WOULD THE IMPACT ON THE AMENITY OF NEIGHBOURING RESIDENTS BE ACCEPTABLE?
Given the nature and location of the proposal it is not considered that the proposal would impact on neighbouring amenity in relation to visual amenity or access to daylight. In addition, there are currently no residential properties immediately adjacent to the site, and as such there would be no impact on privacy above and beyond the impacts from the existing public realm.
A concern has been raised by a resident of a neighbouring property on the basis of the noise levels that would result from the use of the walkway, particularly in relation to the surfacing materials proposed. However, given the fact that the nearest residential properties are around 100 metres from the walkway it is not considered that it would result in a level of noise and disturbance that would be harmful. As such, there should be no greater impact that the existing bridges, and given the walkway is further away from the existing residential properties, it is considered that the proposal is acceptable in this regard.
(E) WILL THE PROPOSAL HAVE A HARMFUL IMPACT ON TREES, WILDLIFE AND ECOLOGY IN THE SURROUNDING AREA?
Policy BCS9 of the Core Strategy states that ‘Individual green assets should be retained wherever possible and integrated into new development’. It also states that ‘Development should incorporate new and/or enhanced green infrastructure of an appropriate type, standard and size. Where on-site provision of green infrastructure is not possible, contributions will be sought to make appropriate provision for green infrastructure off site.’
The river bank in this area currently includes a considerable level of self-seeded vegetation. This does support wildlife, including habitats for protected species. The plans include the removal of two trees, although it was previously considered that the levels of replacement planting would more than compensate for the loss of the trees. Subject to a condition requiring details of the planting it is considered that the proposal is acceptable on these grounds.
It is noted that concerns have been raised that the developers are relying on dated ecological survey work in support of the application. However, the surveys have been reviewed by the Council’s ecologist. Whilst it is recognised that the reports are dated, it is acknowledged that the construction
works will require a Precautionary Method of Working, which will necessitate up-to-date reviews to inform the methods of working. In addition to this, the previously approved landscaping plans also include details of a floating reed bed as ecological mitigation. It is also noted that details of external lighting have also been provided, which were previously secured by condition. Therefore, subject to
appropriate conditions, it is considered that the proposal would provide for appropriate mitigation for any impacts on planting and ecology.
It is acknowledged that planning permission and listed building consent form just part of the required consents that need to be in place in order to deliver this walkway. However Officers have assessed this application proposal on the basis of Development Plan policy and have concluded that it is compliant. There are not considered to be any planning grounds for resisting this application.
On the basis of Development Plan policy and the relevant material planning considerations, officers recommend that planning permission and listed building consent are granted.
Development of less than 100 square metres of new build that does not result in the creation of a new dwelling; development of buildings that people do not normally go into, and conversions of buildings in lawful use, are exempt from CIL. This application falls into one of these categories and therefore no CIL is payable.
RECOMMENDED GRANTED subject to condition(s)
Time limit for commencement of development
1. Full Planning Permission
The development hereby permitted shall begin before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission.
Reason: As required by Section 91 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, as amended by Section 51 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004.
Pre commencement condition(s)
2. External Lighting
Prior to commencement of development, details for any proposed external lighting shall be submitted and agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. This shall include a lux level contour plan.
Reason: To conserve legally protected bats and other nocturnal wildlife.
3. Nesting Birds
No clearance of vegetation or structures suitable for nesting birds, shall take place between 1st March and 30th September inclusive in any year without the prior written approval of the local planning authority. The authority will require evidence provided by a suitably qualified ecologist that no breeding birds would be adversely affected before giving any approval under this condition.
Reason: To ensure that wild birds, building or using their nests are protected.
4. Details and Maintenance
No development shall take place until further details of the following have been submitted and agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority:
– Confirmation of method of segregation between pedestrians and cyclists
– Confirmation of materials
– Structural Agreement in Principle (AIP)
– GI Factual Report
– Confirmation of areas of ownership, responsibility and maintenance.
Reason: In the interests of the proper planning of the site.
5. Landscaping Plan
No development shall commence until a landscaping plan for the approved walkway, including replacement tree planting and a phasing plan for planting, have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. All planted materials shall be maintained for five years and any trees or plants removed, dying, being damaged or becoming diseased within that period shall be replaced in the next planting season with others of similar size and species to those originally required unless the council gives written consent to any variation. The development shall be completed strictly in accordance with the approved details.
Reason: In the interests of the proper landscaping of the walkway.
6. Walkway _ Adoptable Standard
No development shall take place until construction details of the proposed harbour walkway, to achieve an adoptable standard, have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The walkway hereby permitted shall not be brought into use until it is constructed in accordance with the approved plans.
Reason: In the interests of highway safety.
7. Highway Retaining Walls
No development shall take place until structural details of the proposed excavation works have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The excavation works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved plans.
Reason: To ensure the works safeguard the structural integrity of the highway in the lead into the development both during the demolition and construction phase of the development.
8. Construction Management Plan
No development shall take place including any works of demolition until a construction management plan or construction method statement has been submitted to and been approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The approved plan/statement shall be adhered to throughout the construction period.
Reason: In the interests of good planning.