Plans submitted for comprehensive redevelopment of St Catherine’s Place, Bedminster

CGIs showing Firmstone's proposals for St Catherine's Place, Bedminster. L to R: aerial view looking north west; view from Whitehouse Lane looking north; aerial view looking south east; view from East Street looking south east.

A detailed planning application for the comprehensive redevelopment of St Catherine’s Place in Bedminster has been submitted to Bristol City Council.

The owners of the site, local developers Firmstone, are aiming to create an exciting new place which will act as a focal point for the local community and will kick-start the much-needed regeneration of East Street and the wider Bedminster area.

The proposals for St Catherine’s Place, which is in the heart of Bedminster on the corner of Dalby Avenue, are for a mixed-use development with hundreds of new homes, together with shops and leisure facilities, all within an attractive, high quality environment.

The mixed-use scheme will create 271 homes based in high-quality new buildings. 244 of the one and two-bedroom apartments will be situated in three residential buildings ranging from four storeys to 22 storeys and a further 27 apartments based in two buildings above the existing shopping centre. Responding to feedback from the public, the taller tower has been designed to be more slender and elegant and the new facades of the taller buildings will help them blend into the skyline.

The existing shopping arcade, which is run-down and with several vacant units, will be re-organised and upgraded with new shop frontages and a new central public square. There will also be new leisure space introduced at street level. The developer aims to attract a range of new leisure uses to the area, such as a cinema, gym, cafes and workspace, that will help revitalise the existing arcade and contribute to the regeneration of the wider East Street area.

A sequence of public spaces will be created to encourage the community to gather and linger, with the footpaths widened and the edges ‘softened’ to provide better routes for pedestrians, with a safer and more attractive 24-hour public route from East Street to Dalby Avenue. There will be extensive new cycling spaces in the development.

The proposals have been informed by detailed technical assessments and consultation with Bristol City Council, other key stakeholder groups, the local community and wider public over the past 18 months. This scheme takes account of the needs of proposed and existing neighbouring occupiers and aims to set an exemplary standard for Bristol in terms of its overall quality and sustainability.

Catherine’s House, which forms part of the mixed-use St Catherine’s Place scheme, is currently being converted into 54 apartments by Firmstone Consortia One. The homes were built to a very high standard and priced for the local community. These apartments were put on the market earlier this summer and are now 95% sold.

Francis Firmstone, director of Firmstone said: “Our proposals will mark a real ‘step change’ for this area, which is badly in need of regeneration and has the potential to make a major contribution to the homes that the city needs. This is an important ‘gateway’ site to the Bedminster Green area, which also has the potential to act as a catalyst for the revitalisation of East Street and indeed, the whole Bedminster area.

“To achieve this potential, we need to focus a significant amount of our investment on creating a central gathering place for both the immediate neighbourhood and wider local community. This needs to be an attractive place where people want to congregate, socialise and enjoy themselves at different times of the day and in the evening.

“Our proposals will also create a significant number of badly-needed new homes in a striking set of buildings that we hope will become a positive symbol of local regeneration for the area. Due to its prominent position, we believe St Catherine’s Place is the most suitable site for a taller, iconic building, creating a sense of arrival to Bedminster, but we have responded to the public and other stakeholders and changed the scale and appearance of the towers, so they blend more into the skyline.

“We’ve been incredibly encouraged by the response from the local community to Catherine’s House, where we have brought our trademark commitment to good design and quality construction to the creation of over 50 new homes. Our ambition, once we’ve been given the go-ahead for this development, is to be on site and delivering our proposals as soon as possible.”