Clifton Suspension Bridge Trust has submitted planning and listed building applications for the designs of new toll houses on both the Clifton and the Leigh Woods sides of the bridge. The proposals are to replace the existing 1950s toll booths on the Clifton side of the Bridge and the 1970s addition to the original toll houses on the Leigh Woods side. The original Victorian toll houses on the Leigh Woods approach will be retained and carefully refurbished.
Replacing the current toll houses offers an opportunity to design new attractive buildings that respond better to the context of the Grade 1 listed Bridge and also to provide up-to-date accommodation for the staff that meets modern operational requirements.
Since the project was launched, in September 2015, Purcell Architects and the Trust have been consulting with key stakeholders such as heritage and amenity groups as well as neighbours, wider public, bridge staff and volunteers at each stage of the design and planning process.
The resulting proposed new toll houses are of a simple, functional and contemporary design that is deliberately subservient to the main bridge. The design responds to the material quality and strong symmetry of the bridge towers through the use of stone and raking facades which reflect the rubble finish and angle of the existing bridge towers and enhance the view of the bridge on the approaches. The palette of materials features a rough hewn pennant sandstone from the Forest of Dean, zinc for the roof and fascia, and dark metal reveals and panels lining the openings.
Inside the toll houses have been carefully designed with input from the bridge staff to provide a compact, modern working environment with the necessary space, amenities and facilities, to enable the bridge staff to operate effectively 24/7.
The planning submissions have been made to both Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council as the two local planning authorities for each side of the Bridge. The full suite of planning documents is available to view on both authorities planning portals.
Bristol City Council www.bristol.gov.uk follow the planning links and insert the following references: 17/01768/F – for the full planning application and 17/01769/LA for the Listed Building Application
North Somerset Council www.n-somerset.gov.uk/contactplanning insert the following references:17/P/0911/F – for the full planning application and 17/P/0912/LB for the Listed Building Application.
Subject to planning consents the Trust will appoint a contractor with a view to starting on site some time in 2018. The work will be carried out to minimise disruption as much as possible and it is intended that pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles will continue to be able to cross the bridge.
Trish Johnson, Bridge Master said: “Brunel’s famous bridge is such a wonderful symbol of the city. For over 150 years this Grade I listed structure has attracted visitors from all over the world. Working up proposals for the replacement toll houses has been a considerable challenge and responsibility. We have worked hard to ensure that these proposed new buildings will provide a modern, fit for purpose, working environment for our staff as well as a high quality, understated design that complements the main attraction of the Bridge.”