Controversial 79-meter Bristol Arc tourist attraction approved by We The Curious against notice

Controversial 79-meter Bristol Arc tourist attraction approved by We The Curious against notice

A 79 meter “alien” observation capsule from Bristol Arc to We The Curious was unanimously approved by the advisers against the advice of the officers to refuse.
The eight members of the City Council’s Development Control Committee voted last night (Thursday, April 15) to allow the controversial moving observation capsule despite objections from historic England that it would ruin the view of the cathedral.

The unique tourist attraction will take up to 42 passengers on a 20-minute ‘flight’ up to 67 meters above Bristol via a hub moored at Anchor Square, although the top of the structure is 12 meters higher than the cabin itself.

It will be solar powered, travel at 5 mph, run up to 18 hours a day, attract between 250,000 and 330,000 visitors a year and boost the local economy of £ 13.3million, with around 10 % of free or subsidized trips. disadvantaged areas.

A Bristol City Council planning official told the committee there was “serious concern” about visual damage to heritage properties, including the Grade I listed cathedral, the Grade II * listed abbey buildings next door. of it and three conservation areas.

“Taken together it hurts a lot, it will have a negative impact and it is on such a scale that it is not outweighed by public benefits,” he said.

The officer said the view from Park Street would be an “alien shape and structure behind the medieval cathedral that would really change the feel and feel of the church,” adding that the old and the new “would clash very wrong “.

He said the design of the Arc was “innovative and unique” but that the reaction had been very mixed, with some seeing it as the natural historical movement of masts and sails in the harbor, but others as detrimental to it. the horizon line.

However, business leaders, tourism heads and the Dean of Bristol Cathedral have largely supported Arc Global and We The Curious projects.

Cllr Mark Wright, Hotwells & Harborside, told the meeting he was baffled by the recommendation to decline, adding: “The Arc will put Bristol on the map in a way Brunel would have liked. “

Transport activist David Redgewell said objections from historic England and the Victorian Society were “a legacy gone mad”.

Committee member Cllr Richard Eddy said the agents council to deny the request made him feel like he “lived in a parallel universe.”

An impression of the Bristol Arch, a giant glass cabin that will rise 69m into the sky above We The Curious
(Image: We the Curious / Nick Stubbs)

“If this committee received a request for the Brunel suspension bridge, I wonder if it would be recommended to refuse,” he said.

“This app is intended for a graceful, sleek and elegant structure, and the fact that it is 100% solar powered should be a real godsend for us.

“The economic, educational and tourism boost this could give Bristol is immense.

“We have to grab this with both hands.

“I sincerely believe that our heritage assets in the downtown core will in fact be enhanced and not be damaged.”

Cllr Fabian Breckels said the Arc could be compared to the London Eye and Regency Brighton’s i360, both of which changed the skyline without damage.

He said: “Millennium Square is already a mix of the historic and the new.

What the Arch will look like behind Bristol Cathedral
(Image: Copyright unknown)

“It’s a pretty fabulous mix. I love it there.

“We have to be brave and courageous and support this.

“It’s striking, it’s different, it’s completely sustainable. If that doesn’t work, it can be easily removed.

“It’s very Bristol, it’s the one thing that could give us the kind of economic boost we’ll need as a city emerging from this Covid depression.

“I have to support this. It’s a bright and exciting thing, and throwing it out and potential regeneration would be incredibly reckless of us.

“Bristol’s skyline is already changing. Things happen, things change and this is how cities evolve.

“This is just another step in our evolution as a city and we must give it our full support.”

Cllr Fi Hance said: “This is completely nuts and nothing would get me to step on this thing, but I’m happy to vote for it. “

How the height of the Arc compares to Bristol Cathedral and other buildings nearby
(Image: Copyright unknown)

Cllr Lesley Alexander said: “Bristol has been late on these things so many times so we have to grab that and support it in any way we can. “

It is understood that the application cannot be called by the Secretary of State for reconsideration despite the objections of Historic England.

A spokesperson for the Arc later said they were “delighted” that the members rescinded the officers’ advice.

“It was absolutely clear to the advisers that the economic, social and environmental benefits far outweighed the technical ‘damage’ to the Quayside Conservation Area and the Cathedral,” they said.

“From the start, we were greeted with enormous enthusiasm for Arc.

“We firmly believe that it is a really positive message that this wonderful and creative city, with its rich history and heritage buildings, is also daring and ambitious and understands how the new and the old can coexist wonderfully.

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