Community News

Design competition for new housing in Knowle West

Main image: Development Assistant for Goram Homes, Courtney Littlechild at the site of the former primary school at Novers Hill where the new homes will be built.

Developer Goram Homes is inviting local architects to submit designs for its Novers Hill development on the site of a former primary school on Belstone Walk.  

Bristol City Council’s housing company is looking for entries that will “transform the brownfield site and respect its well-loved surroundings”. Community feedback will also be an important part of the design process.

Goram Homes and Bristol City Council reduced the number of homes planned for Novers Hill last year, following ecology surveys that confirmed the importance of the adjacent Western Slopes as a wildlife corridor.

Around 50 homes are now planned for the site, and at least 30 per cent will be for affordable Housing.

Goram Homes says it aims to exceed this number and currently almost half of the homes in its development pipeline are for social rent or shared ownership. 

A panel of judges, also including members of the community, will choose the winning design to be taken forward by Goram Homes and its development partner. 

Campaign group Friends of the Western Slopes ( Novers Hill) are part of this panel. 

Local resident Julia Victor, who established Friends group said: “The community has been rightly protective of our much-loved green space for decades, but we also recognise the need for affordable homes in this area of the city.

“We want to see proposals that are sensitive to the ecological importance of the Western Slopes, and ultimately a development that fits well within its surroundings.”

The Western Slopes which back on the the site and are an area of ecological importance.

Senior Development Manager at Goram Homes, Christiana Makariou, said: “We’ve run really successful design competitions in the past, including on Portwall Lane Car Park in Redcliffe Way, and we’re pleased that community groups have been positive about this one too. 

“We commit to protecting ecology and increasing biodiversity across all our sites, but it will clearly be important here. There’s a real opportunity to create a special and unique development, and I can’t wait to see the ideas come in.”

Bristol City CouncilCabinet member for Housing Delivery and Homes, Councillor Tom Renhard, said this was “a brilliant opportunity” for local architecture firms in Bristol and the West of England area to create a “unique and inspiring development for Knowle West”. 

He said: “We’ve got our city building 2,563 homes last year. Here, on another brownfield site, we plan to build more affordable homes in a way that protects important community assets. Working with local residents on a design competition like this is the best way we can do it.” 

The competition is being administered by the Bristol Housing Festival. It is open to firms in the Bristol and wider West of England region, with no more than twenty employees – and entries must be submitted by Wednesday April 12. Find out more on the Bristol Housing Festival website

To view the film about the competition visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdOlqUUWfLQ