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Planning permission has been granted for the restoration and conversion of the grade II listed Brunel House in Ashley Down, together with a new adjoining apartment block, to create 92 new apartments and houses.

The City of Bristol College is relocating the teaching facilities formerly housed in the building to a more suitable site, and the sale of Brunel House will help to fund this.

The granting of planning permission has followed a lengthy process of consultation and design refinement which sought to address conservation issues and community concerns. AWW has worked closely with developer Baystar, the College, Bristol City Council and local residents and stakeholders, to resolve these.

18 SW Court - Elevated view from S

Brunel House was built in 1857 by the missionary George Műller, funded by voluntary contributions. It was the second of the five orphanage buildings which form the core of the Ashley Down Conservation Area in Bishopston, two of which have been previously converted to residential use; in both cases AWW were the architects.

The historic building – an orphanage for nearly 100 years – will be restored and converted into 60 generous, well-lit apartments and 2 small houses, and a new building will provide a further 32 apartments, most benefitting from dual aspect and south-facing balconies. Unsightly external additions to the historic building dating from the 1950s and 1990s will be removed, and replaced by garden courts, with more formal landscaping to the main front approach.

Insulation and communal heating will improve comfort levels and radically reduce energy consumption and emissions in the historic building, while the new apartments will benefit from solar electricity and insulation standards well in excess of the current regulations’ requirements. The project also includes both turf and sedum blanket green roofs, sustainable rainwater drainage, a car club space, extensive cycle parking, a wildlife corridor with native planting, and improvements to surrounding urban realm including pedestrian safety.

“This project will make a significant contribution to Bristol’s supply of quality new homes, including a substantial proportion of much-needed affordable homes. At the same time it will reveal and restore the oldest of the larger Muller orphanage buildings and provide it with a fitting setting. As project architects and leaders of an excellent design team, including Hydrock engineers, AWW is delighted to have helped to make this possible.”

Phil Bevan, Director, AWW