Home News ‘Dilapidated’ row of garages could be turned into tiny council houses

‘Dilapidated’ row of garages could be turned into tiny council houses

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A row of “compact” eco-houses could be built on a disused strip of land near Southmead Hospital.

The unusual site in Horfield, sandwiched in between existing residents’ back gardens, was lined with dilapidated garages until they were demolished last month.

Bristol City Council is now working with BDP architects to build nine one-bedroom ‘Gap Houses’ there, with a striking angular shape and clever features to maximise use of space.

Read more: Derelict buildings in South Bristol to become ‘affordable’ housing

Located just off Bell Close, the two-storey buildings would be council-owned and largely constructed off-site.

The council launched a consultation last week, through which neighbours and members of the public can share their feedback on the draft designs.



One of the draft designs showing how the ‘Gap House’ development in Horfield could look

Its consultation material stated: “This project will revitalise the disused garage plots and deliver much-needed homes.

“The proposed development can regenerate this overgrown site and reduce the risk fly-tipping and anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood, and help build a stronger, more resilient community.

“These are compact, single bed-two storey homes and are laid in a terrace of seven then two, with a gap to maintain an appropriate distance to the closest neighbouring homes.”



The dilapidated garages have already been demolished to make way for the development

It anticipates that Project Etopia, a London-based construction firm specialising in sustainable homes, will deliver the project if it goes ahead.

BDP first unveiled its ‘Gap Houses’ idea in 2018, when it estimated that Bristol alone has 2,000 garages on 300 different council housing estates, which have the potential to be transformed into homes.

The project has been promoted by Bristol Housing Festival, and the homes are specifically designed to fit the footprint of urban garage plots.

‘Carbon neutral’

They are pitched as being eco-friendly thanks to highly efficient insulation, solar panels and air source heat pumps.

The council’s consultation described them as “highly sustainable, carbon neutral dwellings”.



An aerial view of the Bell Close ‘gap houses’ site in Horfield, Bristol

Information on the Housing Festival’s website adds: “Disused garage plots on housing estates have fallen into disrepair, becoming a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

“Placing these new, attractive and carefully designed houses in their place will not only help deliver much-needed homes, it will also bring new energy and life, revitalising neighbourhoods and helping to build stronger, more resilient communities.”

The development would be accessed via a pedestrian footpath to the north, connecting Bishop Manor Road to Tilling Road, or by vehicle from the adjacent road, Bell Close, which would be widened to allow better and safer access.

Five car parking spaces are also proposed.

Each of the nine houses would have a front terrace with outdoor seating, and residents would also have access to a shared community garden and planted areas.

Comments can be submitted via the consultation until Wednesday, July 14.

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