Bristol Civic Society is joining with other groups and individuals to campaign against Bristol Zoo’s application to renew the temporary planning permission it has to use part of the Downs off Ladies Mile as an overflow car park for up to 60 days a year.

 As many of you will know, the Downs have been designated as ‘a place for the public resort and recreation of the citizens and inhabitants of Bristol’. This designation has the force of an Act of Parliament passed in 1861. However, the Zoo has been using the Downs for overflow car parking since 1969 and has had a series of temporary planning permissions for this use since 1997.

The Society has consistently opposed this practice for many reasons as we consider it is:

Harmful to the recreational value of the Downs;

Visually intrusive;

Damaging to the ecology of the grassland;

Contributing to traffic congestion.

The Society also considers that it is contrary to national and local planning policies and the Council’s wider objectives of reducing the pressure for parking in and around central Bristol, improving public transport and working towards a greener city.

We feel that the Zoo must do more to promote and provide for alternative means of access for staff and visitors. The Society has suggested, for example, that a park and ride service is provided from its site at Cribbs Causeway, where it is aiming to open a wildlife park in July.

Bristol Civic Society is urging its members to add weight to this campaign by making their own representations
and we suggest that you do this by writing to or emailing your ward Councillor. Details of the Society’s submission to the Council are available on the Society’s website here and you can find more information, including photographs showing damage to the grass and the visual intrusion, using the following link –

Bristol Civic Society website: