On the 10th October some of Kingsdown Conservation Group’s committee attended the University’s meeting to publicise the progress of its Masterplan.
The University’s Landscape Consultant presented its Urban Realm Framework Document. The Masterplan requires the University to improve the appearance of the land between buildings and to upgrade local roads. It proposes to convert Tyndall’s Avenue, University Walk and Woodland Road into routes where vehicles share the space with pedestrians in a restricted speed zone.
Stakeholders challenged the University’s continued use of the word “precinct”. The University denied a wish to claim ownership of the area and would like to find an alternative word to describe the area. The plans preserve the public’s rights of way and will not impede traffic. The plans will improve the University’s outward facing appearance and the surrounding public space.
The University’s Architect presented the designs for phase 1 of the former Children’s Hospital site. The Biological and Life Sciences Department (BLSD) and the Mathematics Department will each occupy a new building. The University is preparing planning applications. There will be a public exhibition in Senate House of the proposed buildings soon.
Stakeholders were dismayed at the appearance of the BLSD to be seen from St. Michael’s Hill. It will be a five-storey office building, which will run down the slope of the hill. These were some of the criticisms:
* The height of the new building will dominate the domestic scale of its neighbours. The size of the building is determined by the University’s accommodation needs and standards and not by any consideration of the architectural context of the site, which stands in a Conservation Area.
* There are no architectural features to break up or give vitality to the long side of building whose main entrance will be in Tyndall’s Avenue. The building will be aggressively horizontal. It will make an unfortunate pair with the brutal design of St. Michael’s Hospital on the other side of St. Michael’s Hill.
* There was great concern that the view of Royal Fort, seen from Kingsdown Parade, should not be compromised.
No questions were asked about the Maths building, which will have a human scale. It is an interesting circular design set within a courtyard.
Finally, the Bursar outlined the plans to improve the front gardens of the Arts Departments, which are housed in Woodland Road villas. The University wishes to restore the landscape of the front gardens so that they appear to be the gardens of individual houses. In the process the overgrowth of trees and shrubs will be cut back.
If you have concerns about the hoardings around the former garden at the top of Horfield Road please send them to the email@example.com
Next Meeting of the committee – is on Tuesday 13th November 2007.