Bristol Retirement Community and Leisure Center plans submitted

Plans have been submitted to turn the former site of a Bristol school into an £85million retirement community and leisure centre.

Investment firm FORE Partnership and care operator Amicala acquired the five-acre site in Westbury Park, which borders Clifton Downs, last year for an undisclosed sum.

The companies said the proposed development on the grounds of St Christopher’s School – which closed in 2020 – could provide around 120 additional care homes for the elderly.

The project, titled St Christopher’s Square, could see the renovation of existing buildings on the site, including the villas overlooking Westbury Park and the Grade II listed Grace House, as the site is open to the public for the first time in years.

According to plans, residents of the retirement community and the wider local area could access a new leisure centre, including a cafe, an urban party hall, a wellness center including a hydrotherapy pool and a gym, as well as activity rooms.

The project is designed with the goal of making it one of the few supplemental care communities in the country to operate with net zero carbon emissions. Under the proposals, the community could be fossil fuel-free and generate up to 25% of its energy from on-site solar panels.

Supplementary care communities are different from traditional nursing homes both in scale and in the services provided. The model allows older people to remain relatively independent and settled in the community, with a minimum of basic care which can then be increased as they age.

According to the plans, a total of 122 residences for the elderly could be developed within a set of two-storey chalets and four three- to six-storey buildings.

Following a public consultation that lasted several months, “significant changes” were made to the plans, including a reduction in the height of certain buildings.

The tallest element of the proposals has also been moved to the center of the site, while other proposed buildings have been moved away from the site boundaries to minimize the impact of development on existing neighboring properties.

Henry Lumby, Amicala’s development director, said the care operator was “excited” about the development, which he said could meet an “acute need” for additional specialist care homes in Bristol.

Mr Lumby said: ‘It will provide sustainable, high-quality housing for older people, with the option of wraparound care close at hand as needed, thereby reducing the burden on health care and social services.’

Basil Demeroutis, Managing Partner at FORE, added, “We are committed to delivering remarkable projects that meet the highest standards of environmental sustainability, while generating significant positive social value.

“As the first net zero carbon later living development for Bristol and one of the first in the UK, St Christopher’s Square will pave the way for a new generation of ultra-sustainable, later living communities for older people across the country.”

Developer Socius, formerly known as First Base and behind the regeneration of Bristol’s former soap factory building, has been appointed to manage the project.

Socius Project Director Lucinda Mitchell said: “After engaging early and listening carefully to the local community, we have revised elements of our plans to respond to their feedback and are pleased to present a highly sustainable and inclusive program that will respond. high quality as needed. later housing specialist for Bristol.”

The development is aligned with Bristol City Council’s social value policy, with the site so far used as a Covid-19 vaccination centre, rent-free space for community groups and affordable temporary accommodation for 90 people while it is vacant.

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