Revised plans for comprehensive redevelopment of St Catherine’s Place Bedminster recommended for approval by planning officers

Fresh plans to kickstart the long-awaited regeneration of East Street at St Catherine’s Place have been recommended for approval by planning officers.
Set to go before Bristol City Council’s planning committee next Thursday (4 March), the revised plans would deliver 180 much-needed homes, newly refurbished retail units on East Street and increased public open space including a pocket park, a children’s play area and a new, landscaped walking and cycling route through from Dalby Road to Mill Lane.
St Catherine’s Place and its East Street home have long been in need of refurbishment and investment. After original proposals for a mixed-use redevelopment of the site were rejected last year, Bedminster-based developer Firmstone appealed the decision but also went back to the drawing board to work up new plans, bringing in a new team of architects and planning consultants to directly address the concerns of planners, stakeholders and a group of local residents. Firmstone also worked closely with Bristol City Council officers to address their concerns.
Designed by Bristol architects Stride Treglown, if approved the new proposals will offer a full range of one, two, and three-bedroom homes in three new buildings on the site. These have been significantly scaled back and include a 14-floor building on the corner of Dalby Avenue which is three storeys lower than the previously proposed building, smaller in footprint and set further back from the road. The height of the adjacent building to the rear is also stepped down to match the level of the existing Catherine House.
Firmstone is also making nearly £1.25 million of community contributions, partly via the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and in relation to wider transport improvements.
A new open-air pedestrian route, Mill Lane Greenway will provide a direct link between Bedminster Green and East Street. Designed to celebrate the area’s industrial heritage, it will include planting, cobble stones and historic mill stones recovered during archaeological investigations on site.
The revised scheme will offer larger areas of public open space including a new pocket park on Mill Lane, providing accessible green space to rest, play and socialise. There will be increased private amenity space for the new homes including a new children’s play area.
An ‘East Street First’ approach has been taken to regenerating the retail spaces, with existing shops on the East Street side of the development being replaced with new, modern shops and the historic façade refurbished or rebuilt. This will breathe new life into the area and mark the start of the area’s retail revival, particularly given the increased footfall to and from the new development.
Francis Firmstone, director of Firmstone, said:
“We are very pleased that Council officers have recommended our revised proposals for approval, recognising the benefits that our plans will bring to this part of Bedminster, and are hopeful that the Committee will agree. St Catherine’s Place is an important gateway to the wider Bedminster Green area, which has long been earmarked for regeneration and development and is desperately in need of new homes and investment, particularly now we are facing such challenging economic times.
“Our proposals for 180 much-needed and carefully-designed new homes, along with newly refurbished retail units and a new shopping centre entrance, will give East Street a much-needed boost, making it a thriving area for shopping, leisure and hospitality once again, as we have seen on nearby North Street.
“We have significantly scaled back the larger buildings, both in terms of height and massing and have moved the tallest building further back from the road. We’ve listened to local concerns and added lots more public green space including a pocket park and children’s play area. We’re particularly excited about the newly revived Mill Lane Greenway which will create an attractive, landscaped traffic-free route through the development connecting East Street with the wider Bedminster Green area and further increasing footfall.”