Bristol City Council recently released the consultation for the next iteration of their Local Plan review. It includes, amongst other things, the release of large areas of previously protected industrial land – notably around St. Philip’s Marsh, Bedminster, Frome Gateway and Lawrence Hill as areas of growth and regeneration. Over the next few weeks, I, and many others in the industry, will be getting to grips with the nuances of the new draft policy and seeking for its interpretation and possible application in practice. Listening to the council speak in recent weeks, I am pleased to hear they remain open minded to different approaches to industrial land use and its managed release, not necessarily having a siloed view. However, with the proposed wholesale release of industrial land in key areas of the city, this could create problems for the council.
Personally, having recently relocated from London to Bristol, it is easy to draw comparisons between the two cities; especially with where London was in circa 2011 to 2015. The GLA administration under Boris Johnson lost too much industrial land too quickly. This is now well documented, and the consequences are becoming clear. Sadiq Khan’s administration is now having to try to protect industrial land and even intensify it. A difficult ask, whilst still seeking to deliver large numbers of private and affordable homes. This is a path Bristol could follow. Let’s skip this step. Let’s learn from our big brother and let’s co-locate residential and industrial uses now.
Let’s not pretend that co-location is easy. It needs careful consideration and a design-led approach. By its very nature, traditional residential use is not a complementary use with general industry. However, there are design solutions to overcome this where the two uses can co-exist. Detailed design work in relation to orientation of blocks, aspects of apartments, scope and location of external amenity space, method of ventilation, access and services etc. is required. It is essential that the residential use does not prejudice the function or viability of the industrial use. There are a number of schemes in London that successfully co-locate industrial and residential use, such as Travis Perkins, Camden; Old Vinyl Factory, Hayes; Caxton Works, Canning Town; and emerging schemes at the Royal Docks and are all good examples. Lessons can also be learnt closer to home, with earlier developments such as the Paintworks which have strived to create a better mix.
Importantly, not all industrial uses are noisy neighbours. Some, notably the B1c and B8 uses (the maker spaces, the R&D, the last mile logistics) can happily live cheek by jowl. Not only that, they can successfully co-exist – creating a sustainable, viable place, where people can live, work and play.
Bristol is a fantastic city. One of creativity, innovation and forward thinking. But now we all need to build on this and embrace the opportunity to build more genuinely mixed-use neighbourhoods where business and homes can be integrated. If done well, the prize isn’t just solving a land use planning conundrum. It creates place, builds neighbourhoods, creates community cohesion, builds resilience amongst the population, reduces the need to travel, improves air quality and improves health which increases wellbeing and improves sustainability. Co-location of residential and industrial uses offers huge benefits. And it could be a key part of the solution for providing new homes and creating jobs.
Bristol. Let’s embrace co-location.
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Residential, Industrial, Planning, Bristol