Project Summary

  • Vacant ground floor retail and cafe units within seven-storey office building in heart of Bristol city centre.
  • Amalgamation and conversion into single mixed-use space, comprising restaurant, bar and studio/event facility.
  • Loss of designated shopping frontage.
  • Protection of amenity of residential neighbours.

The Planning Process

The proposals involved the conversion of two long-vacant units into a holistic entertainment and cultural space, hosting theatre, arts, music and dance activities, supported by an evolving food and drink offer throughout the day. In policy terms, the units fell within secondary shopping frontage in a primary shopping area, with Local Plan support for a mix of uses including leisure, entertainment and arts and cultural facilities. In principle the proposals should have been appropriate here, however the near proximity of a block of 33 flats represented a significant operational constraint. 

In collaboration with Bristol-based noise consultants ION Acoustics, our submission included a full acoustic assessment, venue management and noise control plans, to demonstrate that the space would be properly managed in terms of music events, late night disturbance, customer dispersal, security, servicing and deliveries etc. The installation of additional insulation, high-spec CCTV and reduced opening hours were also offered during application negotiations as further mitigation to any amenity impacts. 

With officer support, the proposals were approved at Bristol City Council’s first ever virtual Planning Committee meeting, with Members acknowledging the dwindling appetite for retail uses in this part of the city centre. They welcomed the dynamism and vibrancy the venue would re-introduce and were satisfied that the amenity concerns of neighbouring residents had been robustly addressed.

‘As a first-time planning applicant, it was essential to work with someone who knew what they were doing and made us understand the process. For many months, Lyn was always available to answer any questions and supported us along the way. This business is everything to us and Planning Ventures helped us to get one step closer, thank you!’

Adda Cohn, Dareshack