Marchioness jetty

The proposal to build this 96-metre long jetty was rejected by Bristol City Council’s Development Control Committee B which met on 18th March 2020. What follows is our case against the jetty.

The planning application sought by Dr and Mrs Hugh Pratt for the ‘reinstatement of a historic landing stage for use associated with Marchioness site’ was refused on 23rd April 2018 and they were given six months to appeal. Subsequent to the six-month appeal period, they offered a second submission for the same asset to be built, but with additional details. The Friends of Bathurst Basin are strongly opposed to the scheme, as are the Friends of the Avon New Cut, who have urged ‘the Planning Committee to reject this application.’

To date there have been 12 planning applications for this site for a variety of uses. The last proposal found little support from agencies that were approached. For example, the Conservation Advisory Board ‘could not find a clear description of the proposed use of this landing stage. There was concern that this large deck would have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of the conservation area.’ And the Flood Risk Manager took the view that if the jetty had ‘an operational use, e.g. storage or car parking, it presents an increased risk of debris entering the water course during times of flood.’

Bristol City Council refused the application on several grounds including:

  •  Loss of greenspace with the New Cut.
  • The scale, form and design of the jetty does not enhance or contribute positively to ‘the character, appearance, identity and distinctiveness of the Conservation Area.’ The proposed jetty is of considerable size – 9m by3 96m. The image above roughly covers the length of the New Cut affected by the jetty.
  • The potential use of the landing stage for car parking purposes would be considered visually intrusive in this location.

In opposing the proposed jetty, the Friends of Bathurst Basin make the following observations:

Repair of the riverbank

The latest covering letter from the developer WYG states that ‘the over-arching principle is to provide for an elegant solution for repairing the riverbank.’ And the letter elaborates: ‘the principal purpose of the jetty is to provide for the improved stability of the riverbank.’

Our responses:
Why does the riverbank need repair? The covering letter provides no details on this or why the bank needs to be stabilised over a 96m length.

How does a fixed, piled jetty repair the riverbank? With a fixed jetty it will become very difficult to inspect the walls of the Cut or to remedy any deterioration as it occurs, a point made by the Friends of the Avon New Cut (FrANC).

Maritime use

The covering letter claims ‘that the applicant stores/repairs his own boat at the site and has access by slip to the New Cut and access to the Inner Harbour. Therefore, the site retains in part its historic maritime use.’ And the letter later claims that there ‘is some motorboat traffic in the New Cut.’

Our response:
To our knowledge the vessel standing on land next to the Marchioness shed has not been near water for some years. Almost no motorboat traffic uses the New Cut, and the very few vessels that do will not require, or wish to use, a fixed jetty in this position.

Echo an historic jetty

In justifying the proposed jetty, the developer claims ‘to echo a previous historic asset that existed at the site.’

Our response:
To echo the style and purpose of the historic jetties, it will need to be a pontoon-style, floating jetty, not a fixed structure. Furthermore, the jetty structure proposed is inadequate for any maritime use – for example no mooring bollards provided.

Purpose of the jetty

The developer stresses that the site would continue to be used for the two purposes covered by two separate Certificates of Existing Lawful Use – long-stay commuter parking and residential use of the Marchioness building.

Our response:
We are happy for the Marchioness building to be used as a private residence with about 12 private car parking spaces.

Bristol City Council provides 21 public car parking spaces close to the site of the proposed jetty. About 10 cars a day now park off road during the week on the Cut side of Commercial Road where the Metro Bus stop was constructed but not commissioned. This site is also open to the public but needs to be adopted by the City Council as an extension to the public car park. The area is well served with public parking spaces – there is no need for additional paid parking spaces.

We strongly object to the use of the jetty for car parking – whether short-term or long-stay. We would like to minimise traffic fumes in an increasingly residential area and the use of the riverbank for car parking is both unimaginative and visually unpleasant.

FOBB have made a formal objection to Bristol City Council about this application.

4 thoughts on “Marchioness jetty”

  1. Dr William Ritchie (FOBB member)

    I fully support FOBB’s objections to this proposed plan. The environment around the docks and adjacent new cut sadly lacks green spaces so to reduce this further with a car park occupying a “wild” river bank will be detrimental to the local natural environment. Bristol City Council are required by law to improve the levels of traffic related air pollution as a significant public health measure. Additional car parking around this location will only serve to increase vehicle traffic and thus air quality.

  2. Christopher Green

    I cannot see any benefit either to the proposers, or occupants of the immediate neighbourhood in this, so called “landing stage”, or “jetty” other than for reasons which are not abundantly clear at this time.
    Surely, if the proposers actual reason for applying for permission is to site a new car-park then surely this should be declared as such rather than merely declaring it as a “potential use”.
    For the reasons already mentioned a new car park would be completely counter to the city’s aims for traffic and availability of green spaces.

  3. Thanks to those who have succinctly offered reasons not to trust! Our history with the proposer, as residents in and around the Basin, doesn’t inspire confidence. We had a big struggle to get him to move his yacht which was covered with unsightly scaffolding for some years, and he gave the unconvincing reason that its position had sentimental meaning related to his deceased wife. I find it equally difficult to accept that his motive is conservation re this proposed jetty.

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