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    Supplementary Planning Document 1


    Adopted January 2005

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    | Tall Buildings | i |

    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    Clear and consistent guidance on the design andlocation of tall buildings in our city is to bewelcomed. This has been a very successful projectin terms of generating public debate about tallbuildings and I am pleased that officers havelistened to and heeded the views of residents. Inparticular, I am pleased to see how the use of aninteractive website has shown how more peoplecan become involved in important debates as to thefuture of our city.

    Consultation revealed support for the new tall

    buildings in Bristol so long as they are welldesigned, sustainable, distinctive and located to 'fit'into the existing urban landscape. The tall buildingspolicy now maps out clearly those areas in the citycentre where they may be acceptable.

    This supplementary planning document on tallbuildings is a welcome response to the citys urbanregeneration programme and positive investment incommercial property areas such as Broadmead,Temple Quay and Harbourside. Tall buildings areincreasingly featuring in development proposals soit is essential that there is clear policy guidance.

    The new planning guidance will shape Bristol'sfuture skyline by setting criteria by which futureproposals for tall buildings are to be considered.

    Bristol's tall building guide is one of the first newstyle planning policy documents in the country andhas already been recognised by national bodies asan example of best practice.

    I hope you take the time to read, what is, a very

    useful document.

    Cllr Richard Pyle,Bristol's Executive Member for the Environment,Transport and Leisure

    January 2005

    Cllr Richard PyleBristol's Executive Member forthe Environment, Transportand Leisure

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    The Ordnance Survey mapping included within this publication is

    provided by Bristol City Council under licence from the Ordnance

    Survey in order to fulfil its public function to act as the local planning

    authority. Persons viewing this mapping should contact Ordnance

    Survey copyright for advice where they wish to licence Ordnance

    Survey mapping for their own use.

    If you would like this information in a differentformat, for example Braille, audio tape, largeprint or computer disc, or community languages,please contact the Strategic & Citywide Policy

    Team on: 0117 903 6720

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1


    1.1 Purpose/status of guidance

    This Supplementary Planning Document (SPD1)provides a set of assessment criteria that theCouncil will require applicants of all tall buildingproposals to address in their detailed planningsubmissions. It also identifies areas within the citycentre where tall building schemes may beacceptable subject to them making a positivecontribution to their surroundings. Applicantsshould note that it will not generally be appropriateto use outline applications. The Planning Authoritywill strongly recommend the submission of a

    detailed application in accordance with the adviceof English Heritage and the Commission forArchitecture and the Built Environment (CABE).

    These assessment criteria are as follows:












    At the time of consulting, this document wasreferred to as Policy Advice Note 22 (PAN 22).However, under new arrangements associated withthe recent enactment of the Planning andCompulsory Purchase Act (2004), the term PolicyAdvice Note has been replaced with SupplementaryPlanning Document (SPD). SPD1 has been preparedin accordance with regulatory requirements and isthe first component/document of Bristols LocalDevelopment Framework.

    This SPD has been prepared specifically to advise ontall building schemes being promoted in the citycentre, as this is currently the focus for tall buildingapplications. Any application that is received from

    outside the central area will be required to gothrough the same assessment procedure withsupporting contextual analysis.

    Status of SPD1 the relationship to existing planningpolicy and its use in the decision making process

    Proposals for tall buildings should be made inaccordance with the relevant policies of the adoptedBristol Local Plan and SPD1, an important materialconsideration with significant weight in thedecision making process.

    SPD1 has been prepared as a SDP in accordancewith PPS12 Local Development Frameworks (2004)and the associated Town and Country Planning(Local Development) (England) Regulations 2004.Bristol City Council is currently preparing its LocalDevelopment Framework and consequently theadopted Bristol Local Plan (1997) and its policies willbe saved until replaced by suitable LocalDevelopment Documents.

    As any proposed new tall building will require theconsideration of a number of planning issues avariety of these saved policies in the adopted BristolLocal Plan will apply to which SPD1 supplements(see 1.6), in particular policy B1 Design Criteria andAssessment, B2 Local Context and B5 Layout andForm. It is considered SPD1 is in conformity withthese saved policies and consistent with nationaland regional policy.

    Policy B7A Tall Buildings, of the ProposedAlterations to the Bristol Local Plan (2003)demonstrates the City Councils commitment to

    providing an explicit tall buildings policy and islikely to be included within a future DevelopmentPlan Document. On adoption this policy wouldreplace the adopted Bristol Local Plan policies asabove as the primary Development Plan reference.

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    It is therefore important that the impact of tallbuildings is critically assessed through the planningprocess and that only proposals which pass arigorous examination are put forward for approval.There is a particular need to strengthen theprotection afforded to Bristols 33 ConservationAreas in terms of siting of tall buildings and theirdetailed design.

    Differing views exist to the adequacy of existingpolicies to inform and guide decisions in relation totall buildings. Whilst locally there is a school of

    thought that tall buildings should be treated likeany other building types through the developmentcontrol process, Government is increasinglyencouraging local planning authorities to developspecific policies around tall buildings. Itrecommends that local authorities identify areaswhich are and are not appropriate for tall buildingsin their development plans. This is further endorsedin the recent guidance provided by the CABE andEnglish Heritage which seeks to advise localauthorities on a more rigorous assessment

    procedure.1.3 Definition of tall buildings

    Policy B7A of the Proposed Alterations to the BristolLocal Plan, 2003 defines tall buildings,

    as those that are substantially taller than theirneighbours and/or which significantly change theskyline.

    In Bristol City Centre, background buildings tend tobe 4-6 storeys high. This has been an essentialelement in the citys distinctive identity. A tallbuilding would therefore be in the region of 9+storeys. Between 6-9 storey proposals will beassessed on a site by site basis as to whetherSPD1 will apply, taking into account the prominenceof the site within the townscape. In the suburbs,buildings tend to be 2-3 storeys. In this context atall building would be in the region of 6+ storeys orabove.

    Notwithstanding, any building of 27m or taller(approximately 9 storeys) will automatically trigger

    the need for applicants to address the assessmentcriteria as set out in this SPD, regardless of whetherthe proposed building is significantly taller thanthose around or not. This height threshold will

    T h e c u r r e nt H Q o f B r i s t o l a n d W e st - T h e H ei g ht M a t te r s su r v ey s u gg e st s t h at t h i s i s o ne

    o f B r i s t o l s m o s t p o p u l a r t a l l b u il d i n g s

    b ui lt i n r e ce nt d e ca de s

    Cus tom Hous e i s v ie we d as a s ucce s s f u l re ce nt

    addit ion to Re dc l i f f e Backs

    - a g o o d mo d e l of h o w t o a c hi e v e a n a t tr a c t i v e,h igh de ns i ty towns cape

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    include extensions to existing buildings includingsignificant plant. It should be noted however, thatdefining a tall building in terms of the number ofstoreys could sometimes be misleading becausefloor to ceiling heights differ according to use. Forexample office and retail storey heights are oftenhigher than those of residential. Thereforeprospective developers are required to quotebuilding heights, number of storeys and OrdnanceDatum Level when presenting proposals. Heightsshould also include visible roof-top equipment.

    1.4 Experience of other UK citiesLondon has obviously been the focus of the majorityof tall building schemes. Indeed, a recent article inThe Guardian suggests that at present there are 32high rise buildings under construction in Londonwith a further 70 approved and 96 proposed.However, interest in building tall is not confined toLondon, with many of the English Core Cities, beingtargeted by developers. Permissions for very tallbuildings (+25 storeys) have been granted inManchester, Leeds, Birmingham and Liverpool, as

    well as smaller cities suchas Brighton andPortsmouth.

    Most of the core cities areresponding positively tothe guidance fromCABE/English Heritage onpreparing specific policieson tall buildings.

    Some cities have opted for a detailed, area specificapproach to preparing guidance; others have takena more criteria based approached to assessment.

    Cities like Birmingham have proactively encouragedthe building of tall landmark buildings at keynodes and gateways in the city through their policyguidance. The London Plan identifies a viewprotection framework to guide development there.Brightons guidance promotes a number of nodesand transport corridors as appropriate locations fortall buildings. Further details can be found inAppendix A.

    1.5 National policy context

    House of Commons Tall Buildings, Sixteenth Report ofSession 2001-2, Volume 1 (DTLR, 2002)

    The Urban Affairs Sub-committee of the House ofCommons Select Committee on Transport, LocalGovernment and the Regions undertook an inquiryinto Tall Buildings in 2001-2. Witnesses representinga wide spectrum of interests (including amenitysocieties, developers, architects and localauthorities) submitted memoranda to thiscommittee. This SPD supports therecommendations of the Government Select

    Committee, which broadly speaking are:

    Beetham Tower,Manche s te r

    - t h i s 4 7 st o r e y b u i l d i ngwi l l be come Manche s te r s

    t a l le s t b u il d i ng

    King Al f re d s i te , Br ighton (by Frank Ge hry)

    - t h i s u n u s u al c on c e p t s c h e m e w o n a d e si g ncompe ti t ion f or the Hove s e af ront

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    Tall buildings are not essential to the urbanrenaissance. They are only one of several waysof increasing building densities. They can beenergy efficient and can be part of mixed useschemes; however, other high densitybuilding types have similar advantages. Inseveral respects high rise buildings are lesssustainable than high or low rise buildings:the inflexibility of space and difficulties ofchange of use have been a problem.

    Transport capacity must be a majorconsideration in deciding whether a proposalfor a tall building, or for any high densitydevelopment, is given planning permission..Developer contributions should be used muchmore than at present to enhance thetransport system, particularly where largebuildings have a significant impact on thetransport system;

    High quality design is essential if tallbuildings are to play a role in enhancing the

    beauty of our cities and continued vigilance isneeded to ensure that buildings do notdeviate from approved designs during theconstruction process The location of tallbuildings is of paramount importance andspecial attention should be paid to historiccontext;

    Tall buildings should be clustered togetherrather than pepper-potted across a city;

    Tall buildings are not inherently unsafe asplaces to live or work but there are areas inwhich further regulation could furtherpromote safety in tall buildings.

    Guidance on Tall Buildings, English Heritage andCABE, 2003

    This English Heritage/CABE guidance seeks to:

    Enable areas appropriate for tall buildings tobe identified in advance within the local

    development plan or framework;

    Enable proper consultation at the plan-making stage on the fundamental questionsof principle and design;

    Reduce the scope for unnecessary, speculativeapplications in the wrong places;

    Protect the historic environment and thequalities which make a city or area special;

    Highlight opportunities for the removal ofpast mistakes and their replacement bydevelopment of an appropriate quality;

    Set out an overall vision for the future of a


    1.6 Local policy context

    Bristols Community Strategy, Bristol Partnership, 2003

    This strategy has been prepared to guide all othermajor public strategies and plans in Bristol andinfluence a longer-term strategic view of the citysfuture ambitions, needs and priorities. Its has avision of Bristol as a vibrant city, where everyonecan thrive economically, culturally and socially; a

    safe city that promotes health, learning andsustainable development, and a diverse city thatvalues all of its people and communities. Itidentifies a number of important environmentalgoals that promoters of tall buildings should beaware. These include the aim of creating anddeveloping:

    A carbon-neutral city;

    Zero-waste policy and practices;

    A sustainable transport system;

    Attractive, well-designed safe streets,buildings and neighbourhoods;

    Newly built environments that provideaccessible modern space to support Bristolshistoric buildings, and that contribute to thesustainable development of the city;

    Better accessibility to local community

    facilities; and

    Sustainable communities across the city.

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    Bristol Local Plan, 1997

    SPD1 has been drafted to meet the followingobjectives of the Built Environment chapter of theLocal Plan:

    To reinforce the attractive and varied qualitiesof Bristols built environment in order tocreate a positive image and identity for thecity, and enhance the quality of life for itsinhabitants, workers, visitors and businesses.

    To secure a high standard of design for alldevelopment, ensuring that it issympathetically integrated within the localand city context, and respects principal viewsacross the city.

    To promote a quality of new developmentthat achieves sustainable development andwhich enhances the environment generally.

    To preserve or enhance the character and

    appearance of Conservation Areas, and otherareas of special interest and character.

    SPD1 supplements a number of policies in theadopted local plan including:

    B1 Design Criteria and Assessment

    B2 Local Context

    B5 Layout and Form

    Proposed Alterations to the Bristol Local Plan, 2003:

    New Tall Buildings Policy

    In a period where proposals for new tall buildingswere coming forward in greater numbers, raisingparticular issues for consideration, it was apparent anew specific policy and supplementary guidancewere required. Subsequently alterations to theadopted Plan proposed a new tall buildings policy(B7A) to clarify Bristols position. (See Appendix G)

    Adopted Local Plan built environment policies andProposed Alterations likely to be relevant to the

    assessment of tall building schemes include:

    B1 Design Criteria and Development

    B2 Local Context

    B3 Accessibility

    B4 Safety and Security

    B5 Layout, Form and Identity

    B5A Public art New policy in ProposedAlterations to the Bristol Local Plan, 2003

    B5B Density New policy in Proposed Alterationsto the Bristol Local Plan, 2003

    B6 Building Exteriors and Elevations

    B7 Landscape Treatments and EnvironmentalWorks

    B7A Tall Buildings New policy in ProposedAlterations to the Bristol Local Plan, 2003

    B8 Development: Criteria for New Housing

    B13 Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings:General Principles

    B15 Streets and Open Space

    B16 New Buildings

    B22 Sites of Archaeological Significance

    The weight and status of Proposed Alterations isclarified at point 1.1

    Bristol Sustainable Development Guide forConstruction

    This is a guide produced by the City Council to assistdevelopers to adopt more sustainable approachesto how they plan and build and is consistent withmany Local Plan Policies. It is associated with thecompletion of a Sustainable Development Profileto be submitted with major planning applications.This would be a desirable to accompany any tallbuildings application. Reference to the PlanningPolicy website will confirm the formal status of theemerging update of this guidance.

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    1.7 Height Matters a public consultationinitiative on tall buildings

    The consultation process has been branded underthe heading of Height Matters? and was devisedwith the following aims and objectives:

    To raise awareness that BCC is in the processof producing a Supplementary PlanningDocument on Tall Buildings, and get somedirect feedback on the content of the SPD as ithas developed

    To find out what the general public feel abouttall buildings, thus ensuring that the tone ofthe SPD is correct

    To encourage creative thought and debate onthis emotive and often controversial issue

    Following an initial consultation period (Stage 1),SPD1 was substantially redrafted to take on boardcomments received. A further period of consultation

    (Stage 2) was then embarked upon to allow forfurther comment on the amended document.

    Stage 1 (April-June 2004 for six weeks)

    The following consultation activities took place:

    A comprehensive and dedicated website hasbeen created to support the consultationinitiative under the umbrella of the Councilsown website (www.bristol-city.gov.uk/heightmatters). Members of thepublic have been invited to download copiesof the SPD1, join in on-line discussion groups,complete on-line surveys, and consider the

    arguments for and against tall buildingsthrough the E-Decide facility

    A series of events have been staged at theArchitecture Centre, particularly targeted atlocal built environment professions (12 Mayand 9 June 2004)

    Members of Bristols Citizens Panel wererecruited for two facilitated discussions (27May 2004)

    3000 surveys were distributed across the cityin public buildings, foyers of tall buildings,universities and Bristol College. Members andamenity societies were also sent copies of thesurvey. Over 650 people completed the survey

    Statutory consultees were sent copies of theSPD1 by post

    A copy of SPD1 was made available to view inthe Planning Reception of Bristol City Council(Brunel House)

    The initiative has been widely publicised inthe local media, on the homepage of theCouncils website and through features in theCouncils Weekly News

    Stage 1 consultation has revealed support for newtall buildings in Bristol with the important proviso that they are well designed, sustainable, distinctiveand located to fit into the existing urban

    landscape. Consultation has also shown theunpopularity of existing tall buildings, most notablyfrom the 60s and 70s and the desire to rid thesefrom Bristols skyline. Despite this dislike of many

    H e ig h t M a tt e r s? -comple te d by ove r 650 pe ople

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    post-war tall buildings, people remain receptive tonew tall buildings in suitable areas of Bristol. Theconsultation provided some useful feedback.Consultees generally welcomed the preparation ofguidance that expands Local Plan policy, andexpressed support for the assessment criteriaidentified. However, a significant number ofconsultees (including English Heritage and CABE)requested that the Council be clearer about thoseareas in the City which are inappropriate for tallbuildings and those areas of the City where theymay be acceptable.

    Stage 2 (September-October 2004 for four weeks)

    The following consultation activities took place:

    A notice was placed in the Bristol Evening Poston the 21 September advertising a furtherone month period of consultation on the TallBuildings SPD1. This conforms with the latestregulations

    All respondees to the Stage 1 consultation

    exercise who had provided email contacts(over 500) were contacted by email to informthem that the revised policy was available toview online or at the Councils planningreception

    All respondees who had provided writtenresponses to the Stage 1 consultation wereinformed by letter to them that the revisedpolicy was available to view online or at thecouncil planning reception

    Statutory consultees were sent copies of therevised SPD1 by post

    Presentations were made to the Central AreaPlanning Committee, Conservation Area Paneland Women in Property Group

    A copy of SPD1 was made available to view inthe Planning Reception of Bristol City Council(Brunel House)

    A summary of the consultation can be found inAppendix B. Furthermore a detailed Statement ofCommunity Involvement can be downloaded atwww.bristol-city.gov.uk/heightmatters. Thisdemonstrates the rigorous procedures of publicparticipation undertaken beyond the minimumrequirements of PPS12 Local DevelopmentFrameworks and associated regulations.

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1


    This section provides an urban design appraisal ofthe city centre, making particular reference to therole that tall buildings play in the urban context.

    2.1 TopographyBased in a valley at the lowest crossing point of theRivers Frome & Avon, Bristol grew enormously inthe eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries; to thenorth up the steep slopes of the escarpments ofKingsdown, Clifton and Brandon, in the south across

    Figure A: Bristol's Topography

    City Centre

    Contours (5 metres)

    Bristol City Council's Boundary

    Main Roads

    50m Contour

    160m Contour

    1000 meters

    Dundry Hill

    Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.

    Bristol City Council. Licence No.100023406. 2005.

    Figure A -

    Bristols Topography

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    the valley basin to the slopes of Bedminster, Eastonand Windmill Hill. In the twentieth century, the cityexpanded four times its original size encompassingto the north the Clifton Downs, Trym Valley, KingWeston Slopes, Cotham and Redland Hills, and inthe south, all the lower escarpment up to the 160mcontour of the Dundry slopes.

    The steeply sloping escarpment that runs fromClifton Wood to Kingsdown is one of the citycentres defining features. This has been picked outas the 50m contour on the supporting maps. Whilst

    along much of this escarpment development hasrespected the topography, tall buildings along theKingsdown section of escarpment havedetrimentally masked the topography.

    Along the top of this escarpment, the BristolUniversity buildings on St. Michaels Hill commandthe high ground. This cluster of buildings, whilst notparticularly tall, dominate the skyline when viewedfrom the south, and are important features of theBristol townscape.

    The neighbourhoods of Broadmead, Old Market,Temple, Redcliffe , Old City and Harboursideeffectively sit in the low-lying river basin of theFrome and the Avon. Tall buildings tend to be lessdominant in these low lying areas.

    2.2 Open spaces and water courses

    The city centres principal defining watercourses arethe Floating Harbour and to a lesser extent The NewCut. Whilst the former is a well used, recreationalresource for the city, the latter is predominantly a

    vehicular corridor. The Floating Harbour cutsthrough most of the city centre neighbourhoods,and connects a series of important new and historicurban spaces. These include The Centre Promenade,Millennium Square, Castle Park, and the LloydsAmphitheatre. Indeed over 80% of the harboursedge is now accessible by the public. As a result, itsimportance as a pedestrian route is increasing, as isits role as a vantage point from which to enjoy thetopography of the city. Bridges over the harbourprovide particularly good vantage-points.

    Brandon Hill is an important green space occupyingthe high ground of the West End. Its south-westerlyaspect makes it a pleasant and tranquil space totake in the views across the south of the city. Other

    green spaces within the city centre (College Green,Queen Square and Castle Park), are far busier andmore contained spaces, providing important lunchtime spaces for city workers, and increasingly usedto host events, particularly in the summer. Viewsinto and out of these spaces are of particularimportance, as is the potential of a tall building toreduce the openness of their character.

    In addition, there are a number of open spaces onthe outskirts of the city centre which provide a goodvantage point from which to view the centre. These

    include Windmill Hill, Perrets Park, BedminsterDowns and Ashton Court.

    2.3 The urban structure

    Bristol is historically a city that comprises a networkof streets with domestic scale, arranged withinperimeter blocks that front onto these streets. Forcenturies Bristols built character evolved assuccessive generations developed and redevelopedon the street patterns and blocks of the past.

    Post-war reconstruction of the city centre has, ingeneral, not respected the traditional, tight grainblock structure to the city centre. In its place, blockshave been replaced with stand-alone buildings(with much larger footprints than before), sitting inlarge plots of poorly defined open space. Punter(1990), documents a period between1940-1990during which 250 large office buildings were built,transforming the scale of post-war Bristol. Many ofthese buildings were tall point or slab blocks andtended to be clustered around the city centre looproad to the North and East of the city, in the lowerlying neighbourhoods of Stokes Croft, Broadmead,Old Market, Temple, Redcliffe and Old City. 15 ofthese buildings have gross floor areas of over10,000sqm, a substantial increase over anythingthat had existed before.

    2.4 Movement corridors and gateways

    During the post-war period in some parts of the city,the underlying fine-grain structure of streets andblocks has been significantly eroded. The permeablenetwork of streets being replaced with large

    engineered highways.

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    The city centres main vehicular corridor is now thecity centre loop, a dual carriageway extending fromBath Bridge, past Temple Meads Station, theBroadmead shopping area, and then diverted viaPerry Road, Park Row, and Jacobs Wells Roadthrough to Hotwell Road. The dual carriagewaysection of this route was built in the post-war era inconjunction with a number of tall buildings.

    Arterial roads into the city centre (M32, CheltenhamRoad, Old Market Street, Temple Gate) all formimportant gateways where they meet the city

    centre loop.

    The city centre is focus of the citys bus network,and as such, all of the city centre could beconsidered well-served by public transport. Theprincipal public transport interchanges are at theCentre, Temple Meads Train Station and theMarlborough Street Bus and Coach Station.

    The City Centre Strategy identifies a mainpedestrian route through the city centre which linksTemple, Harbourside and Broadmead. 90% of

    Bristols major destinations and points of arrival arewithin 100 metres of this route.

    2.5 Historical assets

    To date, the City Council has designated 33Conservation Areas, where the architectural quality,history of the townscape, distinctive character andappearance merit preservation and enhancement. Adescription of these areas can be found in theConservation Area Enhancement Statements PolicyAdvice Note 2 (Bristol City Council, 1993). The

    following Conservation Areas lie within the CityCentre Strategy area:

    City and Queen Square

    Portland Square

    St. Michaels Hill and Christmas Steps

    Park Street and Brandon Hill

    College Green


    Old Market

    City Docks

    Stokes Croft

    These conservation areas cover approximately 2/3of the city centre (see. Fig F).

    Bristol has a fine heritage of prominent landmarkbuildings, each bearing public, state or religioussignificance. Figure B categorises them asmonuments. These buildings have tended to bebuilt by the nations leading architects, and definethe citys status, quality and aspirations, projectingit nationally and even internationally. Often thesebuildings are physically detached from surroundingbuildings, occupy prominent positions and are

    designed to a high quality, utilising qualitymaterials and a richness of design. Many landmarks(although not all) tend to use height to expresstheir significance, utilising spires, towers andcupolas to achieve this. This is certainly the case forsome of Bristols most significant landmarksincluding St. Mary Redcliffe Church, The Cathedral,Cabot Tower, The Wills MemorialBuilding/University Tower, The ss Great Britain andto a less extent Temple Meads Station. The HeightMatters consultation initiative suggests there is a

    general acceptance that it is entirely appropriateand desirable for these types of building todominate the skyline of the city, an acceptancewhich is not often conveyed to tall residential orcommercial buildings.

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    The Wi l l s Me moria l Bui ld ing/U nive rs i ty Towe r Te mple Me ads Stat ion

    C a bo t To w er St . Mary Re dc l i f f e

    Some of Bristols primary landmark buildings

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    Bristol also has a wealth of industrial heritagebuildings that assert themselves on the skyline. Keysurviving landmarks include the BondedWarehouses and the cranes outside the IndustrialMuseum (both in Harbourside), and Gardiners andthe Lead Shot Tower in Temple.

    2.6 Post war tall buildings

    Figure B shows the locations of Bristol city centresprominent tall buildings, clearly illustrating thepost-war tall buildings relationship to the historicalmonuments and industrial landmarks. Figure Cprovides a height comparison of a selection of thesebuildings. Plotting the location and height of thetaller post-war buildings in Bristol has shown that:

    The extent of the footprint of buildings in the9+ storey range is often substantial, in somecases encompassing most of a city block;

    The building footprints of post-war towerblocks often do not respect the underlyingstreet pattern;

    Post-war tower blocks have not beenclustered within a single confined section ofthe city centre. Rather they are dispersedthroughout the city centre, often in smallclusters adjacent to the city centre loop (St.James Barton, Old Market and Lewins Mead);

    Post-war tower blocks tend to be uniform in

    design and appearance block form, squareprofile, and grid fenestration;

    On the whole, post-war tower blocks tend tobe bulky and squat rather than tall andslender.

    Residential tower blocks are widely scattered acrossBristol and particularly throughout south Bristol.The most prominent blocks in the city centre are inSouth Redcliffe, where there are several multi-storeyflats dating from the 1950s designed by the thenCity Architect. Distinction needs to be madebetween these buildings and a later inferiorgeneration of design/build tower blocks (e.g. inBarton Hill) that resulted from the pressure by

    The Cathe dral

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1







































































































































































































    Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.Bristol City Council. Licence No.100023406. 2005.Bristol City Centre Model Produced by Visual Technolgy.

    MonumentsIndustrial LandmarksPost-war Residential Tower BlocksPost-war Commercial Tower BlocksHotelsOthersRecent Tall Buildings

    Bristol's Prominent Tall Buildings

    Figure B

    Figure B:B ristols ProminentTall Buildings

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    Government to increase Local Authority housingacross Britain during the 1960s. These blocks tendto be 9-14 storeys high, designed as point blocks or

    slab blocks and utilise systems building techniques.They tend to sit in large plots of land that integratepoorly into the wider neighbourhood structure ofstreets and spaces. Furthermore, these spaces asdesigned, tended to lack any sense of ownership,progressive neglect leading to a spiral of decline. Inthe last decade significant regeneration work hasbeen undertaken in many of these areas,demolishing some tower blocks and upgradingothers. Refurbishment generally involvesovercladding to improve visual appearance andimprove energy efficiency and comfort. In recent

    years, there has been a growing realisation that tallbuildings are more appropriate living space forcertain groups of the population than others i.e.single people and couples without children.

    Many of the Citys commercial tower blocks arelocated in parts of the city centre that werecomprehensively redeveloped in the post-warperiod. Typically tower blocks are 8-15 storeys high,although there are a couple that exceed this(Fromesgate House 17 storeys, Tollgate House andColston Tower 18 storeys and Castle Mead House 20 storeys). More often than not they were designedin conjunction with new city centre roads,pedestrians being segregated from cars via

    walkways strung between blocks over the roads.Their response to context was negligible or non-existent. Many of the buildings from this period are

    unloved, of low commercial value, and are mediocrein quality. In recent years, a number of prominentcity centre towers have been converted fromcommercial uses to residential or hotel uses, e.g.Avon House, Avon House North, Market Gate andNelson Street.

    There are also a number of health, education, carparking and leisure buildings which could be viewedas tall buildings. Some of these assert themselveson the skyline by virtue of their elevated positionse.g. the Bristol Royal Infirmary Chimney, The

    University of Bristols Physics Building. Others areless prominent, tending to be built into theunderlying topography e.g. Trenchard Street CarPark and the Ice Rink. Others occupy prominentgateway locations e.g. Tollgate Car Park.

    2.7 Conclusion

    The relationship of the city with the surroundingtopography, harbourside and green spaces hasgreatly influenced the development of the citysurban pattern and built form. However, post-war

    reconstruction and particularly post-war tallbuildings, largely failed to respect and understandthis relationship. Hence the need for clear policyguidance to steer future development.

    4.One Redcliffe St

    (former Robinson

    building)Height 60 m

    Base Height 9 m

    5.Travel Inn

    (former Avon

    House)Height 60 m

    Base Height 15 m


    Bristol & West

    TowerHeight 56 m

    Base Height 8 m

    1.St. Mary Redciffe

    Height 87 m

    Base Height 12 m

    Prominent Landmarks/Monuments Post-war Commercial Towers Recent Commercial





    2. Bristol Cathedral

    Height 44 m

    Base Height 16 m

    3. Wills Tower

    Park Street

    Height 58 mBase Height 45 m

    10. BRI Hospital


    KingsdownHeight 60 m

    Base Height 70 m



    Height 50 mBase Height 13 m

    8. Castlemeads

    Height 60 m

    Base Height 14 m

    9. Bristol &

    West HQ

    Height 35 mBase Height 9 m

    Figure C: Height comparison of some of Bristols tall buildings

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1


    LOCATIONAL GUIDANCEThe following guidance has been put togetherfollowing feedback from the Height Mattersconsultation initiative, to give an indication to thepromoters of tall building schemes where a tallbuilding may be appropriate (section 3.3).

    3.1 Guiding Principles

    Informed by the tall buildings urban designappraisal (Section 2) and the Height Matters

    public consultation, the following guidingprinciples have been established:

    Tall buildings should not be positioned where they:

    Hide or mask the topography of the city e.g.they should not be positioned either on theside or the base of the Clifton-Kingsdownescarpment

    Obstruct views from key vantage-points (seethe View Protection Framework)

    Have a detrimental impact on the cityshistoric environment*

    Have a significant adverse impact on theamenity of nearby occupiers

    Tall buildings may be appropriate:

    Close to good public transport infrastructure

    At major highway gateways into the citycentre from the East

    Close to other tall residential or commercialclusters of tall buildings where it can bedemonstrated that a new tall building servesto raise the quality and coherence of thecluster

    At locations where the provision of alandmark building would clearly improve thelegibility of the city

    *The Planning Authority supports the view of

    bodies such as English Heritage that the locationselected for a tall building should be suitable interms of its effect on the historic environment at acity-wide as well as a local level. If the location isnot suitable, then no tall building will beacceptable, however good the design. Only if it canbe demonstrated that the location and context areappropriate will other factors including designquality be addressed. This guidance specificallyrelates to locations where the special historiccharacter makes it sensitive to change of any kind,particularly any change to the existing balance of

    dominance between structures and open spaces. Inline with good conservation practice such anassessment should be based on a comprehensiveassessment of historic character and not simplyassumptions about how well a place could or couldnot accommodate a tall building.

    3.2 Bristol View Protection Framework

    Bristols steeply sloping escarpments, open spacesand watercourses provide numerous vantagepoints from which to view the city and beyond.

    The SPD identifies a sample of indicative long-range panoramic views and short-range containedviews. It recognises that it is not possible to protectevery aspect of every long-range view point, andinstead seeks to protect and enhance the quality ofthe most important views.

    To do this, the SPD identifies a number of differenttypes of view which will need to be considered aspart of any visual impact study undertaken inconnection to a tall building scheme:

    A Panoramic views into the city centre (Figure D)

    A number of important long-range panoramicviews have been identified that provide good viewsto the city centres primary landmarks (CabotTower, the Wills Memorial Building, BristolUniversity buildings along Tankards Close, St. MaryRedcliffe Church and Temple Meads station) as theybreak the skyline. Primary landmarks have beenselected which are prominent on the skyline,symbolic of Bristol and are of a

    national/international importance. Vantage-pointsare publicly accessible and well used for either

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    recreational or movement purposes. The majority ofvantage-points fulfiling these criteria tend to be onelevated positions within public parks to the southof the city centre. In most cases, the viewing conesavailable from these vantage-points are fairly wide.However, Figure D just illustrates the most criticalportion of the viewing cone centred on thelandmark and extended to take in lateral andbackground areas which will also need to beconsidered as part of any future visual impactassessment.

    B Panoramic views out of the city centre (Figure E)

    A number of important long-range panoramic viewshave been identified that provide good views fromthe city centre out to the surrounding escarpments.Vantage points have been selected that providelong-range views westwards (to Ashton Court) andsouthwards (to Dundry Hill). Vantage points havealso been selected that provide closer rangepanoramic views to escarpments on the edge of thecentre (Totterdown, Clifton Wood). Vantage pointstend to be bridges across the Floating Harbour, asthese provide well used focal points along openvistas. The width of viewing cones is dictated by theextent of the view

    For each panoramic viewpoint identified in FiguresD and E, a description is provided of both thevantage point and the key features of the view inAppendix C. A description is provided of theforeground, middle-ground and back-ground to thevisible landmark as well as its lateral areas. Keymanagement issues are identified for each view.

    C Views within the city centre (Figure F)

    These are a mixture of panoramic views andcontained views. Viewpoints have been selected toboth the city centres primary and secondarylandmarks. Secondary landmarks have beenselected that are historic monuments which assertthemselves on the skyline and are of alocal/national importance. These views are alsoidentified in the City Centre Strategy.

    The Planning Authority will scope out further

    localised viewpoints for assessment on anindividual application basis. These viewpoints willneed to show how a tall building proposal fits intoits immediate surroundings.

    3.3 Indication of areas that may beappropriate for tall buildings

    Figure G provides locational guidance on where itmay be appropriate to locate a tall building drawingon the Guiding Principles (3.1), and the Bristol ViewProtection Framework (3.2). It has not been withinthe scope of this study to identify exact boundariesof sites that are appropriate for tall buildings, norestablish appropriate heights. The onus is thereforeplaced on the applicant to provide a justification forthe siting and design of their tall building scheme,

    drawing on guidance within SPD1 and other guidessuch as By Design (DETR/CABE, 2000) and TheUrban Design Compendium (EnglishPartnerships/Housing Corporation).

    There are clearly some neighbourhoods within thecity centre which are considered to be moreappropriate for tall buildings than others. AppendixD provides an appraisal of each of the city centresnine neighbourhoods and should be read inconjunction with Figure G.

    Green indicates those parts of the city centre whichmay be most appropriate for tall buildings. Thesetend to be the low-lying neighbourhoods(Broadmead, Old Market and Temple) to the easternedge of the city centre, in areas that neither maskthe topography of the city centre, nor obstructviews from key vantage points. These parts of thecity centre also tend to be well served by goodpublic transport infrastructure (Temple MeadsStation, and bus routes along the city centre loop).

    Broadmead and Temple are two of the city centresmain regeneration areas. Both areas offer scope fora comprehensive plan-led redevelopment guidedthrough an Urban Design Framework. In particular,the Planning Authority will be keen to see that theapplicant has reviewed alternative developmentoptions through the Urban Design Framework, as itis often possible to achieve similar levels of densitythrough alternative urban forms to a tall building(see Figure H). In respect to Temple neighbourhood,it will be particularly important that the UrbanDesign Framework demonstrates that any proposed

    tall building neither impacts negatively on TempleMeads Station nor St. Mary Redcliffe Church. Sitesimmediately adjacent to the railway station(including the island site) are not consideredappropriate for tall buildings for this reason. The

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    former diesel depot site may be appropriate for tallbuildings. However, tall buildings on this site willneed to be positioned in such a way that they framekey views to the Totterdown escarpment ratherthan obscure these views.

    Old Market has also been identified as an area thatmay be appropriate for tall buildings. However, anarea along Old Market Street (which corresponds tothe Heritage Economic Regeneration Scheme) hasbeen omitted as the objective here is to strengthenand restore the historic grain of this street. The Old

    Market neighbourhood features a number of listedbuildings that are the focal buildings in the localtownscape. Proposals for new tall buildings wouldneed to demonstrate an acceptable relationship.

    Existing tall buildings tend to be clustered close tothe city centre loop road, at the vehicular gatewaysinto the city centre. Whilst consultation suggeststhat these existing buildings are viewed as havinglittle architectural merit, there is still support forthese gateways to be marked by tall landmarkbuildings. However, future schemes will need to beof a higher design quality than existing tallbuildings. In gateway locations, this may beachieved through replacement towers orrefurbishing existing towers. It may also beachieved by adding a new tall building to the clusterwhere it was felt that this adds to the liveliness andvisual interest of the cluster. For example, thequality of an existing cluster of fairly squat, poorquality and uniform tall buildings, may be raisedthrough the introduction of a single, taller, moreslender high quality building, with a more dynamic


    Purple indicates an area where it may beappropriate to locate a single iconic building.This area occupies the top of the Clifton-Kingsdownescarpment in the St. Michaels Hill neighbourhood.This is a sensitive location, where designconsiderations will be paramount. A number oficonic monuments already occupy elevatedpositions along this escarpment (The WillsMemorial Building, Cabot Tower, Bristol Universitybuildings along Tankards Close). Unfortunately,

    there are also a number of buildings along theescarpment which are not considered iconic (BRI

    Chimney, Clifton Heights) and these compete withthe monuments on the skyline. Any new addition tothe skyline will need to work sensitively within thiscontext, whilst at the same time being acontemporary and memorable landmark building inits own right. It will be particularly important forthe building to respond positively to the guidanceset out in Section 4. A cluster of tall buildings is notconsidered appropriate in this location, as it couldundermine existing landmarks, reducing theirclimactic impact.

    In other parts of the City Centre it is not consideredappropriate to encourage tall buildings. Any tallbuilding proposals coming forward in these areaswould have to demonstrate exceptional qualitiesand would be very rigorously assessed against thecriteria identified in Section 5.

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    Important Panoramic Views

    into the City Centre.

    Panoramic View

    City Centre

    Prominent City Centre


    50 m Contour


    Figure D

    Bedminster Downs





    Blackboy Hill

    (Figure D) Panoramic views into the city centre

    Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.Bristol City CouncilLicence No. 100023406. 2005

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    Important Panoramic Viewsout of the City Centre.

    Panoramic View

    360 Degree View

    Prominent City Centre


    50 m Contour

    1000 m N

    Figure E

    Crown Copyright. All rights reserved.

    Bristol City Council. Licence No.100023406. 2005.

    City Centre





    Christmas StepsPerryRoad

    Brandon Hill

    (Figure E) Panoramic views outof the city centre

    Crown copyright.All rights reserved.Bristol City CouncilLicence No. 100023406. 2005

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    Brandon Hill











    Castle Park











































    [email protected]


    [email protected]istol













    Gardiner Haskins












    Important Viewswithin the City Centre

    Important Viewsto Primary City Centre Landmarks

    Important Viewsto Secondary City Centre Landmarks

    Conservation Area

    Public Open Space

    Figure F

    500 Metres


    (Figure F) Views within the city centre

  • 8/12/2019 SPD1 - tallbuildings















    Figure G

    Indication of areas that may be appropriate

    for tall buildings

    Areas that may be appropriate for tall buildingssubject to meeting assessment criteria

    Top of Clifton - Kingdown escarpment - areathat may be appropriate for an iconictall building

    Neighbourhood boundaries(as defined in the City Centre Srategy)

    City Centre Loop

    5 Metre Topographical Contours

    50 Metres contour above sea level

    Prominent City Centre landmarks

    Secondary City Centre landmarks


    500 Metres N

    Figure G: Indication of areas that may be appropriate for tall buildings

    Crown copyright. All rights reserved.Bristol City CouncilLicence No. 100023406. 2005

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    The Planning Authority shares the aspiration ofCABE that any new tall building should be of firstclass design quality in its own right and shouldenhance the quality of its immediate location andwider setting; it should produce more benefits thancosts to the lives who are affected by it.

    The following design guidance has been identifiedto supplement existing guidance contained withinthe Local Plan, and best practice guides such as By

    Design (CABE/DETR, 2000) and The Urban DesignCompendium (English Partnerships/The HousingCorporation). The guidance has been prepared toinform the development of a high quality andsustainable design scheme.

    4.1 The design process

    It is expected that the majority of proposals for tallbuildings will come forward in areas undergoing orrequiring major change. In such areas, an approvedUrban Design Framework will first need to be in

    place which shows how policies in the developmentplan may be applied to that specific area,identifying the design principles, and providing thebasis for development control. In instances whereschemes are being promoted in areas without anapproved Urban Design Framework in place, theonus will be on the scheme promoter to prepare anUrban Design Framework and then agree this withthe relevant stakeholders. This may then eitherneed to be adopted as a Supplementary PlanningDocument (SPD) or if developed to sufficient detail

    approved as an outline planning application. ByDesign (DETR, 2000) sets out guidance on preparingan Urban Design Framework. Diagrams, drawingsand models are to be used to express theframework. Content might include:

    Assessment of the existing area

    Public transport and possible improvements

    Potential to co-ordinate new patterns of landuse and transport

    Routes and spaces linking into the existingtransport system

    Location of major buildings (including tallbuildings)

    Frontage development

    Patterns of streets and block, building heightsetc.

    The submission of the planning application for a tallbuilding will need to be accompanied by a DesignStatement as commended in PPG1. This is

    essentially a written statement setting out designprinciples and context, appropriately illustratedwith plans and photographs. The Statement should:

    Explain design concepts and principles

    Explain the purpose of the proposeddevelopment and its relationship to the widerarea

    Explain how it meets the local authoritysurban design objectives/agreed objectives

    within the Urban Design Framework

    Provide a popular summary

    Due to the significant environmental impact of tallbuildings, many schemes will need to beaccompanied by an Environmental ImpactAssessment (EIA). The Council will determine theneed for an EIA through the necessary process andencourage developers to discuss this request withthe Council during the pre-application phase.

    The Height Matters consultation process hasdemonstrated a degree of support for future tallbuildings subject to achieving excellent sustainabledesign. The Planning Authority will therefore seekproposals to achieve a Very good or ExcellentBREEAM rating (or equivalent) through the EIAprocess, and may seek to use s106 agreements toensure a high rating.

    Proposals for tall buildings will not be supportedunless it is demonstrated through the submission

    that proposals are of the highest architecturalquality. For this reason, the Planning Authoritysupports the CABE and English Heritagerecommendation that outline planning applications

    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

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    would not be appropriate. The process ofcommissioning a trophy architect merely to takethe building to outline planning stage will bediscouraged, with applicants being encouraged toretain the same architect throughout.

    Furthermore, the Planning Authority supports theCABE and English Heritage recommendation thatwhere planning permission is to be granted, thedetailed design, materials and finishes, andtreatment of the public realm should be securedthrough the appropriate use of planning conditions

    and obligations, including Section 106 Agreements,where appropriate. Adequate guarantees areessential to maintain the original architecturalquality and ensure that inferior details andmaterials are not substituted at a later date.

    When producing high quality visualisations, theapplicant will be expected to be guided by thePlanning Authority in accordance with themethodology set out in Appendix E.

    Applicants will be expected to contact the Planning

    Authority at the earliest opportunity to discuss thescheme, and then to maintain regular contact withthe Planning Authority as the scheme develops.National organisations such as CABE and EnglishHeritage should also be actively consulted, asshould local stakeholders. It should be noted thatCABE in conjunction with Bristols ArchitectureCentre intends to establish a South West RegionalDesign Panel in the near future. Applicants will bestrongly advised to consult this panel from the earlystages of project development.

    Public Art should be incorporated as an integral partof tall building developments and should beconsidered from the outset as part of the designprocess. In October 2000, the City Council approveda Public Art Policy, which builds upon the currentLocal Plan Policy L10 (Policy B5A in 'ProposedAlterations'). The strengthened policy statementstress that major new development proposalsshould consider the following:

    The inclusion of public art elements in theexternal treatment of buildings.

    The provision of public art commissions whichenhance existing and new open spaces.

    The commissioning of artworks which aidlegibility and movement.

    In accordance with its Public Art Policy and Strategy,the City Council requests that developers appointindependent public art consultants and artists towork with other design professionals to preparePublic Art Plans for Tall Building developments.These are to ensure that artistic interventions areintegrated within the architecture of tall buildingsand engage the public during the development's

    construction. Public Art Plans are to be agreed withthe City Council's Art Project Manager prior to beingsubmitted as part of planning applications. They areto include the conceptual and material details ofpermanent and temporary artworks, a descriptionof the commissioning process, budget allocations,maintenance plans, timescales and relatedcommunity engagement and education initiatives.

    4.2 Density and urban form:Alternative development approaches

    One of the main justifications given for developingtall buildings is that they deliver a higher density ofdevelopment, However, as the Government Sub-committee states (DTLR, 2002);

    while there is little doubt that tall buildings canbe a method of achieving high densities, it is equallyclear that tall buildings are not necessary to providehigh density accommodation. In fact, there is abroad degree of consensus amongst witnesses thathigh rise is not the only or most efficient way toprovide high densities.

    As Figure H demonstrates (adapted from the UrbanTask Force Report, Towards an Urban Renaissance),there are significant advantages in adopting a lowor medium rise approach to achieving the samelevel of density, where the developable area is largeenough to allow the development of a perimeterblock (e.g. the larger regeneration areas such asHarbourside, Temple and Broadmead). A mediumrise perimeter block has several distinct advantagesover a point block standing in the middle of an openspace:

    It helps make a clear distinction betweenpublic fronts and private backs.

    A continuous building line provides good

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    enclosure to streets and public spaces.

    Frequent doors and windows onto the streetprovide animation and security to the publicrealm.

    Diversity within the block may be providedthrough differing plot widths.

    It allows for the provision of private openspace within the block.

    A tall building standing in the middle of an openspace is unlikely to either represent good design orfulfil design policies. A tall building on a moreconstrained site, perhaps incorporated into anexisting perimeter block might more readily be anacceptable design solution. However, it would firstneed to demonstrate that it relates well to thestreet and adjacent buildings.

    4.3 Size, shape and silhouette

    A key justification given for providing a tall buildingis to create a landmark. If the landmark is to registerin the publics mental map of the city, it needs to bememorable. This can be achieved by utilising aunique shape or silhouette (as typified by Fosters30 St. Mary Axe aka the gherkin in the City ofLondon which has proved to be a popular anddistinctive addition to the London skyline). It canalso be achieved by locating the most visiblecompositional elements at the top of the building. Itshould be recognised that this is a highly emotiveand subjective issue, and that considerable publicdebate should be both expected and encouraged.

    In particular, there is a need to consider the visualimpact of telecommunications apparatus and plantrooms at a high level. These can be extremelydamaging to the appearance of a building but also,if integral to the original design, something of afeature. In general tops of buildings work best ifthey are lightweight and transparent in appearance.The introduction of alternative accommodation onupper floors, such as a duplex apartment or rooftop

    restaurant, can provide a successful design solution.4.4 Relationship to the street

    A key failing of tall buildings in the past has beenthe way they meet the ground and therefore howthey are perceived/experienced at the short-distance.

    Ultimately the aim should be to create a publicrealm with a human scale. Human scale need notnecessarily be prejudiced by high buildings,provided that these are carefully located, designedwith a top and a bottom and have regard to theeffects on the microclimate. This often involves thefollowing:

    stepping down a large mass to its neighbours;

    ensuring that the ground level most relevantto the pedestrian experience is as active andinteresting as possible;

    ensuring that the public realm is naturally


    providing legible and accessible entrances;

    London Bridge Tower,London (by Re nz o


    s e t t o b e E u ro p e st a l le s t b u il d i ng , t h i s

    s h a rd o f g l as s w i l l

    provide a uniq ue s hapeand s i lhoue tte

    3 0 S t . M ar y Axe , Lond on(by Norman Fos te r)

    - th is unique ghe rk in s hape has prove d to be

    a p o p ul a r a dd i t io n t othe London s ky l ine

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    High rise low coverage

    75 units/ha

    Single Point Block

    No private gardens or amenities directlyavailable to the inhabitants

    No direct relationship between the building

    and the surrounding streets

    Large open space demands significant levelsof investment to manage and maintain it atacceptable standards

    Low rise high coverage

    75 units/ha

    2-3 storey traditional back to back terraces

    Public space is well defined by continuous

    street frontages

    Clear definition of public and private realms,with all dwellings having access to privateback gardens

    High site coverage minimises the potential forcommunal spaces and a more varied urbanlandscape

    Medium rise medium coverage

    75 units/ha

    Urban block enclosing open space

    Commercial and public activities located atground floor level, provide an active streetfrontage

    More space is available for rear privategardens, communal areas or a park

    Buildings of differing heights and plot widthsallow for the creation of a mixed community

    Possible problems with security when placingpublic spaces to the rear of buildings

    Figure H - Relationship between density and urban form

    Source: Illustrations by Andrew Wright Associates for the Urban Task Force, 1999

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    providing a richness to the detailing and highquality materials;

    mitigating against the adverse impacts a tallbuilding can often make on the microclimate;

    providing a continuity of frontage, thusproviding definition and enclosure to thepublic realm.

    4.5 Energy Efficiency

    Applicants should seek to maximise energyefficiency through:

    Adoption of appropriate building form &fabric e.g. through passive means such asincreasing the availability of thermal mass(which acts as a heat sink or source ofcoolth);

    Specification of an energy efficient servicessolution e.g. through double facades which

    allow natural ventilation of spaces and accessto openable windows;

    Sub-metering of major plant and equipment;

    Use of clever vertical transportation solutionse.g. energy recovery from lifts;

    Use of renewable energy e.g. daylight-integrated lighting systems, BIPV (buildingintegrated photovoltaics), wind power and


    In terms of solar gain, it is beneficial to utilise ashallow plan, atria or shafts to allow theintroduction of natural daylight and fresh air.Contrary to some attitudes and guidelines, it ispossible to achieve high levels of natural lightpenetration with a tight urban form.

    4.6 Water Consumption

    Applicants should seek to minimise water

    consumption through: Specification of low-flow appliances;

    On-site rainwater harvesting;

    Use of borehole water;

    Sub-metering of end-uses;

    Reduction of run-off through e.g. living roofs;

    Sustainable drainage.

    4.7 Microclimate

    Applicants should seek to create a pleasant

    microclimate at the base of the building.In terms of wind turbulence, this depends on thelocal grouping of buildings and their orientation tothe prevailing wind. Isolated buildings (of whateverheight) and the creation of inappropriate openspaces between buildings generally promotewindiness. It can also be exacerbated by raising thebuilding on stilts or pilotis. Conversely, a highlyintegrated street pattern encourages wind to moveover the tops of densely built up areas, henceresulting in a more pleasant microclimate. As a

    general rule of thumb, a tall building might have animpact on wind patterns in an area with a radius offive times the height of the building. The PlanningAuthority will be particularly keen that wind speedsare assessed around the entrances into proposedand adjacent buildings, along key pedestrian routesand in spaces designed for passive recreation, andwill scope out key locations in the early stages ofproject development. Where the assessmentindicates high wind speeds are likely at any givenlocation for prolonged periods such as to restrict thespace, the applicant will be expected todemonstrate how modifications to the siting of thebuilding or modifications to the design (e.g.canopies and windbreaks) would reduce the impact.

    Tall buildings should not adversely overshadow keypublic spaces, routes or other buildings. Theapplicant will be required to demonstrate theimpact of the building in terms of shadow patternsat different times of the year.

    4.8 Materials

    Applicants should seek to reduce the environmentalimpact of building materials through the use of anenvironmental preference or profiling system e.g.the BREs Green Guide to Construction. The

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    selection of materials will need to take into accountthe unique structural engineering requirements oftall buildings. For example, it may be possible to usecement-alternatives in concrete such as PulverisedFuel Ash.

    Furthermore, the future proofing of the design willneed to be considered in order to maximise thereuse and recycling of materials duringrefurbishment or eventual decommissioning of thebuilding. If more building components are to be re-used, the process of demolition needs to be

    replaced by the more sensitive process ofdeconstruction. Likewise, more recycling can beachieved if materials are more easily separated afterdeconstruction. The Construction Industry Researchand Information Association has recently providedguidance on this (CIRIA, 2004).

    The reflectivity and transparency of the building isan important consideration. A highly reflective andtransparent building material such as glass cansometimes cause obtrusive daytime glare (as hasbeen the case with Fosters scheme for 30 St. MaryAxe). However, transparent materials have oftenbeen used to great effect to create significantlandmark features at night. In future, applicants fortall buildings should consider how to exploitexciting advances in lighting projection technology,using it to bring attention to some elements of thebuilt form, whilst disguising others.

    4.9 Telecommunications

    Applicants should consider orientation and profileof the building taking into account the potentialnegative impact on television and radio receptionwithin the surrounding area. OFCOM can provideguidance on this. Furthermore guidance iscontained in PPG8 Telecommunications.

    Antennae and aerial arrays are commonly placed ontop of tall buildings. If this is proposed,consideration should be given to integrating theantennae into the design of the building (ratherthan left as an afterthought). For example, it mightbe possible to create a formal sculptural element to

    hold the antennae.

    4.10 Internal DesignApplicants should seek to create internal spaces,which are easy to adapt to ensure spaces do notbecome redundant over time, and can more easilyadapt to changing social, technological andeconomic conditions. Structural efficiency can bemaximised through careful consideration of floorplate solutions, and the positioning of service cores.This will be a matter that the EIA process will beasked to examine.

    4.11 Remodelling existing tall buildingsIn general, if a building or buildings in an area haveplanning approval or have been constructed,subsequent proposals of the same scale will berelevant factor in assessing other planningapplications.

    In the case of tall buildings, this is not considered anacceptable premise and both CABE and EnglishHeritage have emphasised that each case must be

    judged on its merits.

    The fact that a building exists already is materialbut CABE/English Heritage guidance is suggestingthat the weight given to this may be lesser due topast failings as to consideration of issues such ascontext. The assessment therefore needs to be doneusing the same assessment criteria as for newschemes.

    This is confirmed at para 4.4.22c of the ProposedAlterations to the Bristol Local Plan (2003).

    Should it be determined that it is acceptable toretain a tall building on a particular site, it ispossible to provide a new lease of life throughrelatively simple measures including:

    Recladding with more contemporarymaterials;

    Addition of upper floors to change the profileof the building;

    Removal of obscuring or unsightly services;

    Introducing active ground floor uses.

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    Urban DesignCompendium(EnglishPartnerships/TheHousingCorporation)

    By Design Urbandesign in theplanning system(CABE/DETR, 2000)

    City Centre Strategy(Bristol City Council,2004)

    Guidelines forLandscape andVisual ImpactAssessment(LandscapeInstitute/Institute ofEnvironmentalAssessment, 2002)

    Creating Successful

    Masterplans Aguide for clients(CABE 2004)

    Building in context New developmentin historic areas(CABE/EnglishHeritage, 2002)

    Conservation AreaEnhancementStatements, PAN2

    (Bristol City Council,1993)

    BristolsArchaeology PAN(Bristol City Council,2005)

    Using HistoricLandscapeCharacterisation(English Heritage,2004)

    City Centre Strategy(Bristol City Council,2004)






    How well the development responds toand reinforces locally distinctive patternsof development, landscape and culturetypical of its neighbourhood

    The impact the building has on thoseviews identified in the View ProtectionFramework, and other short range viewsidentified by the Planning Authority inconnection with a specific application.

    This will involve assessing the directimpact of the building upon viewsthrough intrusion or obstruction and mayinvolve consulting viewers who may beaffected.

    The impact the building has on itsimmediate environment, at street level.Of particular importance will be how wellthe building promotes the continuity ofstreet frontages and the enclosure ofspace by built form that clearly defines

    private and public areas

    The historical development of the area;the underlying morphology of the area(block patterns, plot sizes, historic

    routes); and the local vernaculararchitecture. It will need to bedemonstrated how an understanding ofthe historical context has informed thedesign of the building

    The impact the building makes towardsthe distinctive neighbourhood in which itis located

    The impact the building has on thefollowing: World Heritage sites and their settings,

    including buffer zones (being mindfulto the likely future designation of theTemple Meads Station)


    Urban DesignAppraisal

    Urban DesignFramework

    ViewsAssessment (seeAppendix D onthe preparationof AccurateVisualRepresentations)

    Physical Model(1:500 andextending oneblock in eachdirectionminimum)

    CharacterisationStudy of HistoricEnvironment



    Proposals for tall buildings will only be considered where a satisfactoryresponse has been made to each of the following criteria:-

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    Local Transport Plan2001-6 (Bristol CityCouncil, 2000)

    Creating ExcellentBuildings A guidefor clients (CABE,2003)

    Design Review Guidance on howCABE evaluatesquality inarchitecture andurban design (CABE,2002)





    Any of Bristols Scheduled AncientMonuments and their settings

    Any of Bristols 4500 Listed Buildingsand their settings, including theforegrounds and backdrops tolandmark buildings

    Any of Bristols 33 designatedConservation Areas and their settings

    Archaeology (see Bristols DraftArchaeological Statement)

    Historic parks and gardens, landscapeand their settings

    The contribution the building makes topeak travel flows;

    Additional demands placed on the localparking in the area;

    Proximity and accessibility to publictransport, and the capacity of publictransport to cope with this additionaldemand;

    Funded measures to encourage moresustainable travel behaviour in the formof a Travel Plan (e.g. car club)

    Access arrangements by all the non-cartravel modes and the access needs ofdisabled people.

    The Emergency Plan for the building,detailing access arrangements in theevent of an emergency or major incident.This will require involving BuildingControl and the Fire Service at the earlieststage

    The scale, form, massing, proportion andsilhouette of the building.

    The design of the top of a tall building.This will be of particular importancewhen considering the effect on theskyline.

    The relationship of the building to otherstructures.

    The materials used to face the building.Material samples will need to besubmitted.

    The assessment will be looking forbuildings that are far better designedthan previously and be icons ofarchitectural quality in themselves.


    Views Assessment(see Appendix Eon thepreparation ofAccurate VisualRepresentations)

    Design Statement

    Physical Model

    Material samples

    Design ReviewPanel

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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    Urban DesignCompendium(EnglishPartnerships/TheHousing


    By Design Urbandesign in theplanning system(CABE/DETR, 2000)

    Green SpacesStrategy (CABE,2004)

    Parks and Green

    Spaces Strategy(Bristol City Councilwork in progress expected adoption2005)

    Safer Places: ThePlanning Systemand CrimePrevention(ODPM/HomeOffice, 2004)

    Urban DesignCompendium





    By Design Urban

    design in the

    planning system

    (CABE/DETR, 2000)BRE Guidance



    How well the development promotesdiversity and choice through a mix ofcompatible uses that work together tocreate viable places that respond to localneed

    The types of uses being proposed at theground level, and whether they contributeto the vitality and vibrancy of thesurrounding streets and spaces;

    The types of uses being proposed for thetop floors of the building, and whether ornot it is the intention to provide thepublic with access to these spaces in orderthat they may enjoy the benefit ofpanoramic views across the city, or sky-


    The mix of uses proposed within thebuilding, with a particular focus on howthe building helps meet the need foraffordable housing (see PAN 12 AffordableHousing);

    How the proposal meets or exceeds theLocal Plan requirement for the provisionof public and private open space;How well the development promotesattractive and safe public spaces androutes, which meet the needs of allsections of society across the widerneighbourhood/City. The managementarrangements for these spaces need to bemade explicit.

    The ways in which the building can deliverpublic benefits beyond its own siteboundary by means of a Section 106agreement.

    The impact of the building on the windregime at the base of the building.

    The impact of the shading paths createdby the building.

    The night-time appearance of thebuilding.

    The reflectivity of the building, identifyingthe possibility of any obtrusive day-timeglare

    The impact on the amenity of nearbyoccupiers.


    Design ReviewPanel

    Market Appraisal

    Urban DesignFramework

    Wind TunnelTests/ComputerModelling



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    Urban DesignCompendium(EnglishPartnerships/TheHousingCorporation)

    By Design Urbandesign in theplanning system(CABE/DETR, 2000)

    Urban DesignCompendium(EnglishPartnerships /

    The HousingCorporation)

    By Design Urbandesign in theplanning system(CABE/DETR, 2000)GLA guidance(see Appendix E)

    Guidelines forLandscape and

    Visual ImpactAssessment(LandscapeInstitute/Instituteof EnvironmentalAssessment, 2002)

    Creating SuccessfulMasterplans Aguide for clients(CABE)

    Bristol SustainableDevelopmentGuide forConstruction(Bristol CityCouncil, 2002)

    A sustainabilitychecklist fordevelopments: acommonframework fordevelopers and

    local authorities(BRE, 2002)





    How well the development promotesaccessibility and local permeability bymaking places that connect with eachother and are easy to move through,putting people before traffic andintegrating land uses and transport

    How well the development providesrecognisable routes, intersections andlandmarks to help people find their wayaround, with a particular emphasis onassisting people find their way aroundusing key routes identified in BristolsLegible City Strategy

    Energy usage operational energy andCO2

    Health and Well Being Indoor andexternal issues affecting health and wellbeing

    Pollution Air and water pollution

    Transport transport related CO2 andlocation related factors

    Land use-Greenfield and brownfield sites

    Ecology- Ecological value of the site

    Urban DesignAppraisal

    Urban DesignFramework

    Urban DesignFramework

    Accurate Visual

    Representations/View Analysis

    Physical Model

    BREEAM orequivalentenvironmentalprofiling system(with a view toachieving a VeryGood rating)

    SustainableDevelopmentProfile (as set outin Bristol


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    TALL BUILDINGSSupplementary Planning Document No1

    Assessingenvironmentalimpacts ofconstruction Industry consensus,BREEAM and UKEcopoints (BRE,2000)

    Tall buildings &Sustainability - byFaber Maunsell(City of London,2002)

    Design fordeconstruction.Principles of designto facilitate reuse

    and recycling(CIRIA,2004)

    Towards an UrbanRenaissance (UrbanTask Force, 1999)

    Urban DesignCompendium(EnglishPartnerships/The


    By Design Urbandesign in theplanning system(CABE/DETR, 2000)


    Materials-Environmental implication ofbuilding materials

    Water-Consumption and waterefficiciency

    The preparation of the indicative low,medium and high rise schemes for thesite, producing comparative informationon density, amount of private open space,number of car parking spaces,vehicular/public access to site

    The production of cost-benefit analysis of

    the low, medium and high rise approachto development, covering such issues as:

    management of public realm;

    community safety

    creation of balanced communities witha variety of housingchoice/neighbourhood services

    connectivity with the surroundingstreet network (i.e. pedestrian andvehicular routes)

    Urban DesignFramework

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