Castle Park Users Group Bristol

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Castle Park

Castle Park lies in the centre of Bristol and is a haven for local residents, city centre workers and shoppers alike. It is one of the few open green spaces in the city centre and is the only green space adjacent to the floating harbour.  Being in the heart of the city, the park is unique in that is used extensively for many activities from concerts to cycling, picnics to Parkour and by people of various backgrounds and age groups.

Bristol Central Area Plan New Proposal - Consideration at Full Council Meeting Tues 17th December

In October Bristol city council's consultation on the Bristol Central Area Plan (BCAP) ended, it will be used to help develop polices that will influence planning applications in central Bristol over the next 15 years. An amended version will now be considered at a Full Council Meeting on Tuesday 17th December. Deadline for Public Statements at this meeting is 12 noon on Monday 16th December. Agenda.

The area of preferred development has been reduced, however a part Castle Park has still been included in development plans for the disused bank buildings. (See BCAP Sect. 9.3, Polices Map Page 7 & picture below). This could mean the loss of a significant green waterfront area within the park, the felling of up to 20 established trees both in the park and on High Street/Wine Street, and could affect a main pedestrian and cycle route.

Over 95% of Consultation responses relating to Castle Park were against any development that would mean building on the park, so continued inclusion of parkland in the revised version of the BCAP is unacceptable. Objectors include Bristol Councillors, CPUG, Bristol Parks Forum, Bristol Tree Forum and Roger Mortimer member of Bristol Civic Society.

The new boundary for development shown in the BCAP goes against 'The overidding design objective' in Section 9.3.4. which states 'Enhancement of Castle Park through the redevelopment at the western and south eastern edges of the park and by preserving, enhancing and better revealing its rich heritage, rationalising and improving its open space, activity, accessibility, connections and legibility of routes.'

We ask the Mayor/Bristol City Council to reject the BCAP document as it stands, and reduce the development area so that no parkland i.e.'important open space' or street trees are lost. Thereby meeting the BCAP 'design objective' of 'Enhancment of Castle preserving...its open space.'

Please continue support Castle Park by submitting a statement of objection -to loss of parkland- to The Mayor/Bristol City Council by 12 Noon on Monday 16th December.

Email -

Write - Bristol City Council. Democratic Services Section, Room 220, City Hall, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR.

Fax - 0117 9222146,

Sign the Keep Castle Park Green Petition

Tweet @BristolCouncil @GeorgeFergusonx

Castle Park Users Group is not against redevelopment of the St Mary-le-Port area so longs as buildings do not encroach on the park or mean the felling of large trees. What is currently Castle Park should remain Castle Park.

A more sympathetic design on the issue of redevelopment has been offered, although this would by no means be the only idea for the area. On the contrary many would like to see the expansion of the park around the St Mary-le-Port, however given the high monetary value of land in the city centre this is extremely unlikely to happen for the foreseeable future.

Preferred Options reasons for development according to the BCAP

The lastest version of the BCAP shows the council is once again putting forward the same old arguments in favour of building development. Here are just a few of the reasons why they think the loss of green space in Castle Park is acceptable, and why many Bristolians think their ideas are flawed:

Bristol City Council (BCC) - Redevelopment of St Mary-le-Port will only be financially viable and attract developers if plans are large scale.

Answer (A) - Why can't the existing buildings be refurbished? Do we need every new building in Bristol to be a landmark project? It was viable to build the bank buildings in the 1960s, is it now impossible to build on a smaller, more human scale? Large buildings can have greater running/maintenance costs and can reduce light levels and have an adverse affect on the surrounding environment.

BCC - Funding to improve the park will come from the building development and disposal of a part of the park.

A- What happens when funding provided by sale of land runs out, do the council then sell off another part of the park? Funding for maintenance of the park should come from the parks department budget. Recent ticketed events held in the park were supposed to raise funds to maintain and repair the park instead they have further added to the erosion of grassed areas. Funds of over 500,000 for improvement and maintenance of the park have been promised however have yet to used.

BCC - Building on a larger scale will connect St Nicholas market and Broadmead/Cabot Circus and create economic growth.

A - There are empty retail units, offices and houses all over Bristol that should be brought back into use before building new. Is it absolutely necessary to 'connect' the two completely different shopping ares with yet more shops. It is perfectly possible to travel from St Nicholas Market to the new 'shopping quarter' and stop off to enjoy Castle Park along the way.

BCC - It acceptable to allow building development today as before the Blitz the area existed as the historic shopping area of Bristol.

A - You cannot bring back or rewrite history. The historic streets have changed, the Dutch House was destroyed, the Old City slums were cleared, and thank goodness historic medieval sanitation no longer exists. Historically part of the development area has for the last 40 years been a park.

Bristol City Council winning the bid for European Green Capital 2015 and marking public parks for building development.

If the sell off of Castle Park were to happen Bristol could be known as 'Bristol European Capital 2015, (now with a little less green)'.

Closing Public Parks for Ticket Only Commercical Events

See Let parks be parks & Castle Park closure set on Flickr

Free Lost Cinemas of Castle Park App

The App is a location-based audio tour of the forgotten cinemas in Bristol's once thriving cultural centre, Castle Park, which was destroyed by the Blitz during WW2.

Community EventsInformation on holding small community events can be found on Bristol City Council website. Or by contacting Peter Watts, Events Licencing Team, Council House. 0117 9223466 Opening Hours 9 - 4 Mon, Tues, Thur & Fri.

Keep Castle Park Green

Castle Park Users Group was formed in 2006 when development proposals were unveiled to develop on up to 25% of the existing parkland. While we do not oppose refurbishment or redevelopment of the existing derelict buildings to the west of Castle Park, we are against any plans to expand the buildings on to the park. Having spoken to various users of the park over the past few years, many would in fact like to see the park expanded to incorporate the area around St Mary-le-Port. The council maintain this is not a viable option.

Following a biased consultation and public outcry in which thousands petitioned against the plans, original proposals were dropped. There have been no official plans since a review was announced in October 2007.

The user group has effectively opposed the development proposals to date with a 6,495 signatures petition being presented to the council.

Castle Park Town Green Public Inquiry

In order to try to stop further plans to build on the park, Castle Park Users Group submitted an application to the council to register Castle Park as a Town Green in 2008. Following a prolonged inquiry the report stated that all criteria needed to officially register the park as a Town Green had been met, yet the independent inspector recomended that Bristol City council should not adopt town green status. The council accepted this recommendation. This means that the city council have rejected this application, so Castle Park can now be built on if they choose to allow it.

The User Group expects that when new proposals are revealed they will still include development on the valuable land of Castle Park. It is unfortunate that, Bristol City Council cannot seamingly see anything beyond the immediate sell off value of land belonging to Castle Park and the still want to build on our city's green spaces.

Thank you to those of you who have supported, and continue to support Castle Park.

Development Lastest

Bristol City Council has not renewed to its contract with Deeley Freed. At an informal council meeting on 18/11/2011 Graham Sims stated, 'The buildings on Castle Park at the end of Bristol Bridge are not going to be developed anytime soon. Largely if I'm honest because of the economic situation, it's just not viable for developers at the moment.' In an aside Barbara Janke added this was also due to the legitimate concerns about access to green space.

Visit regularly for further updates

Thank you to all of those who have supported us so far.

The Cabot, Clifton and Clifton East Neighbourhood Partnership meeting (June 2011)

Councillor Simon Cook said, "The improvement of Castle Park is dependent on, and won't happen without, the development at St Mary le Port." See News Archive