Signal Success for CHIS

Sep 9, 2021


The following is a statement released to the media by OurWorld Bristol.

A community group has successfully asked Bristol City Council to list Bristol Zoo Gardens as a community asset, to protect it from future housing development.

Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society applied for Bristol Zoo Gardens to become an Asset of Community Value and the local authority approval has created a community right to bid to own the site if it is put up for sale any time in the next five years.

This is happening as Bristol Zoological Society progresses with proposals to turn the gardens into a private housing development. CHIS representatives say the historic site is too important to the city for that to happen.

Chris Jefferies, joint planning coordinator at CHIS, said :

'The Bristol Zoo Gardens are too precious to be lost to a housing development. This is why we asked Bristol City Council to list the site as an Asset of Community value so that if the Zoological Society try to sell the site we have an opportunity to buy it and shape its future. We are delighted that Bristol City Council has backed our bid to safeguard the historic site for future generations.'

An alternative plan for the site is proposed by OurWorld Bristol, a collective of business, academic and media organisations who are working together to bring the world's first augmented reality zoo to the city.

The proposals set out an ambition to create a virtual visitor attraction on the 12 acre site, alongside plans for an enriched and more accessible city garden.

Mr Jefferies added :

'Like so many in the city we are inspired by OurWorld Bristol's proposal. It offers a fantastic future for the site that supports what the Zoological Society stands for. We call on Bristol Zoological Society seriously to consider this alternative which is so much more imaginative and appropriate than developing the site for private housing.'

OurWorld Bristol is supported by internationally renowned organisations and city institutions including Eden Project, the Cabot Learning Foundation and We the Curious.

Commenting on behalf of OurWorld Bristol, Stuart Wood said :

'Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society's successful application to list the gardens as an Asset of Community Value is further endorsement of the site's unique importance to the people of Bristol. We are grateful to them for taking this initiative. Our proposals continue to build support. We are keen to work with Bristol Zoological Society and partners to find a better way forward for this vital asset for the city.'

In a letter to CHIS confirming the successful nomination the Bristol City Council property Team said ;

'The Council has considered the nomination for Assets of Community Value....and decided that the nomination meets the criteria for listing. The property will now be included on the list of Successful Assets of Community Value and shall remain on the list for five years.'

The images are displayed courtesy of LDA Design.

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