Go-ahead given for 'hidden' Avon Gorge home
COUNCILLORS have given permission for an ambitious new hidden home to be built into the face of the Avon Gorge.
The three-storey, five-bedroom house will lie just below the Avon Gorge Hotel off Prince's Lane.
It has been designed into the existing terraces with the aim of making it virtually invisible from the Portway, 160ft below, and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.
Last night, the city council's development control (central) committee passed the application by four votes to one, with one abstention.
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Impressed by the unusual design, committee member Christian Martin (Lib Dem, Clifton East) said: "Wow! Quite an application in terms of its audacious proposal to blend into that escarpment.
"It has something of the James Bond about it. I'm just looking for the shark tank. I covet it already."
Colin Smith (Lab, Bedminster) described the designs as "innovative and radical", adding: "The principle of development on this site is that we need a special building, and we've got one."
Derek Pickup (Lab, Hartcliffe) commended the adventurous nature of the plans and said innovative architecture would help set Bristol above other cities.
The Post first revealed the designs for the house last year. Neighbours were divided, with 35 people objecting to the scheme and 27 writing in support.
Developer Satyen Joshi, who manages Abingdon-based Chest Properties, bought the site, which used to be part of an orchard and garden belonging to a property on Hotwell Road, four years ago for £135,000. If built, the house would be worth an estimated £1 million.
Mr Joshi has worked with award-winning architects 3W and agents Aspect360 Ltd on the plans.
Addressing the committee at the Council House, he said: "Conservation relies on change as well as preservation."
He described the house as an "ornament" in the Clifton and Hotwells Conservation Area that will "politely blend into the gorge."
The new house will have flat, green landscaped roofs and the material used would be similar to existing walls of sandstone and limestone rubble. Access will be from Prince's Lane.
Such is the sensitivity of development in the area, there have been three public consultations.
People speaking against the application last night raised fears of instability in the land it will be built on, the loss of the orchard that used to grow there and what they believe will be a negative impact on one of Bristol's most famous beauty spots.
Objectors included the Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society and Brian and Janet Yaldron, who live in the house on Hotwell Road to which the land in question used to belong.
Mr Yaldron warned: "This site is unstable. It's liable to slippage. How much risk can be justified for the building of one luxury house?"
But English Heritage and the Bristol Urban Design Forum submitted positive comments.
Planning officers recommended approval and the committee agreed, with the condition that the developers are suitably insured for any detrimental changes to the land that might happen during construction.