Community split over £100 million Broadwalk Shopping Centre plans

Plans for the £100 million development of Broadwalk Shopping Centre have caused a split among local people.

Broadwalk went into administration in 2017 and owners Moorfields are hoping these plans will prevent the ailing centre from having to close.

A further blow was struck recently with the announcement Wilko would close its store in September.

But many residents are worried about the height of the planned buildings of up to 12 storeys to house 420 flats – and the parking problems they envisage around the area.

Local people and traders who support the scheme say it will inject a new lease of life into the centre and create a valuable community asset.

Plans include pulling down the multi storey car park which has structural issues and replacing it with enclosed parking. A mixed use scheme will include 40 -50 shops, as well as bars and cafes in a piazza opening into Redcatch Park.

A petition has been started by Laura Chapman who lives close to the centre concerned about the height and density of the proposed buildings.

It says: “Developers are proposing 12 storeys of flats on the site of Broadwalk’s current car park.  They want permission to build tall and wide, and to cram 420 flats into a small plot of land.

“We say they are too high, and too dense!  They will tower over Redcatch park and surrounding houses, and will be visible from all over the city. They will define the South Bristol skyline for decades to come, and could set a precedent for other high rise developments in South Bristol’s suburbs.

“We want Broadwalk Shopping Centre to be regenerated, but want planners to challenge the developers to create a mid-rise alternative (6 storeys).  …They will define the South Bristol skyline for decades to come, and could set a precedent for other high rise developments in South Bristol’s suburbs.

“We want Broadwalk Shopping Centre to be regenerated, but want planners to challenge the developers to create a mid-rise alternative (six storeys). We cannot allow them to build a monstrosity in order to bail out the mistakes of Broadwalk’s 30 years of mismanagement.”

A spokesman for Broadwalk Shopping Centre said six storeys would not work financially due to the £15 million cost of refurbishing the centre and rebuilding the car park  – and they had pulled height back from neighbouring properties.

He said “Broadwalk, like many shopping centres and high streets, is in a downward spiral.  These plans are about turning this around, creating an exciting destination that brings people back, safeguards 450 jobs and delivers much needed housing in a great location.  This will be done by refurbishing the centre, diversifying the offer, rebuilding the car park (which has structural issues) and creating a family friendly, Wapping Wharf style piazza.
“Some have suggested the development is too tall and should be capped at six storeys but most welcome the investment and understand that six storeys doesn’t work financially due to the high costs of refurbishing the centre and rebuilding the car park (£15 million in total).
“We’ve pulled height back from neighbouring properties and last month reduced the height of the block near Ryde Road in response to further feedback.   The development will also financially support a new Residents Parking Zone should local residents want one.”

The application is likely to go to Bristol City Council’s planning committee in March or April.

To view the petition visit tinyurl.com/Broadwalkpetition

To have your say visit www.planningonline.bristol.gov.uk

To view the plans visit: www.regeneratingbroadwalk.co.uk