475 Former United Free Methodist Chapel CopyApplication Summary: Address: 102 Gloucester Road Bishopston Bristol BS7 8BN
Proposal: Construction of 9 x (2 bedroom flats) over extended ground floor retail area, following part demolition of ground and first areas, and conversion of loft area to create office space.

Plus external alterations to existing building and forecourt on Gloucester Road and Berkley Road Elevation including roof extension to tower.

Comments: Berkeley Road Methodist Chapel is a local landmark and a locally listed building within the Bishopston Conservation Area.

We are supportive of the principle of residential development to compliment the existing residential character of Berkeley Road, but we do have concerns with several aspects of the design submitted for planning approval:

- the proposal is overdevelopment which harms the conservation area.
- the design is too high and bulky and is overbearing to both the existing chapel and the houses in Berkeley Road.
- the proposal makes no attempt to relate to either the chapel or the existing houses and furthermore does not attempt a satisfactory transition between the two.
- the building is far too high as it sits alongside No. 4 Berkeley Road and has a huge blank 4 storey high side wall facing the house which is clearly visible from Berkeley Road.
- the red brick treatment for this elevation (shown as dark blue on the elevations) is a weak reference to the Bristol North Baths which are not visible from Berkeley Road, which is almost completely in stonework. This does not contribute to local character and identity.
- the Gloucester Road frontage is spoiled by the curious arched double height corner window. This large opening should be set centrally within the front gable of the chapel in order to look balanced.
- On practical matters, the plans show 11 parking spaces accessed across the pavement on Berkeley Road which is an unacceptable hazard to both pedestrians and local traffic. The plans make no reference to a loading bay, for a business which is intensively involved in both receipt and despatch of large quantities of bulky goods.

There are many aspects of this submission which need to be reworked and refined, not least the size and scale of the proposal but crucially its relationship with the conservation area and the buildings around it. This is a great opportunity to enhance the quality of the chapel and its setting within the local townscape.

 We recommend refusal of the application.