Dismay at bid to knock down old bank

Hundreds of people have objected to plans to knock down a former bank on the Gloucester Road.
The old Nat West at number 248 is on the corner of Longmead Avenue, between Sainsbury’s Local and Horfield Prison.

The derelict Edwardian building has been a roofless shell for several years. Just the façade of the red brick and stonework remain, wrapped in scaffold and tarpaulin.

Now the owner Omid Jalil has submitted plans to Bristol City Council to have it totally demolished, and nine flats built in its place, with a café on the ground floor.

But people living and working nearby say it’s a historic landmark, and should be saved.

Others are concerned about lack of parking if the new six storey building is allowed.

The building was last in proper use about ten years ago, when it was home to an employment agency.
During the following years it remained mostly empty, apart from when squatters lived there.

In 2016 the current owner was given planning permission by Bristol City Council to build two more floors and convert it into nine flats. At the time a BCC planning officer report said the bank was “considered a prominent building that is attractive benefiting the street scene”.

It’s thought work started, but was halted during the Covid pandemic.

Objectors to the demolition say that old permission is still valid, and they want to see the façade preserved.
One objector said on BCC’s planning portal: “The existing building provides a visual reminder of Gloucester Road’s cultural heritage and the people, businesses and industries that played a pivotal role in establishing the area into something which we all love and enjoy living in today.

“The decision to demolish the existing structure and replace with a characterless shoebox facade will strongly contrast to surrounding architecture in the Gloucester Road area.”

Another said despite being empty for some time, “The existing building is an extremely attractive building that adds to the street scene of the area.

“The initial plans to redevelop it were brilliant and retained a lot of its original features.”

Another said the demolition plan was “criminal”. They said: “As a Bristolian and local business owner I strongly object to this proposal and feel to pull it down would be totally out of keeping with the area.

“The proposed large apartment building will significantly increase local population density, exacerbating existing issues with parking and access to essential services like healthcare.

One resident said: “Parking problems are already severe and the area cannot cope with more vehicles. The quality of life will have a detrimental impact on residents.”

Among more than 230 objections, there was one comment in favour. They said: “Please get rid of this eyesore and build some much needed housing.”

The plans are on the council planning website: reference 23/04158/F