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An aerial photo of Bristol Zoo Gardens taken from a drone

Blog post by Dr Justin Morris – Chief Executive Officer of Bristol Zoological Society

New homes in Clifton will tackle the housing crisis and safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society
Portrait of Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society
Dr Justin Morris, Chief Executive of Bristol Zoological Society

As highlighted by the recent motion at Bristol City Council, “to protect the Greenbelt and Bristol’s Green spaces”, a debate has been raging for some time across Bristol and throughout the country about how to both tackle a significant shortage of housing, whilst also protecting and encouraging the wildlife that exists throughout our city. 

As a socially responsible wildlife conservation charity  we feel this debate more acutely than most. In February 2020 we signed Bristol City Council’s declaration of the ecological emergency that Bristol faces and have contributed since then to the development of the ecological emergency strategy and action plan that have followed.

At the same time, we have announced our plans to develop a residential-led scheme for Bristol Zoo Gardens and have submitted a planning application for a residential scheme on our West Car Park site.

There is a huge under-supply of housing in Bristol. New homes are needed in all parts of the city, including affordable homes, to address the housing crisis.

Alongside delivering substantial benefits for Bristol, the sale of our property assets will enable us to safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society, create a new Bristol Zoo at our Wild Place Project site, and continue our mission of Saving Wildlife Together, with the people of Bristol and beyond.

We care what happens to our sites, which is why we are leading the planning application for these developments ourselves.

The West Car Park development, if approved, will result in the provision of 62 high quality homes of which 20% will be affordable, and a standard of environmental sustainability that far exceeds that required of new housing. Importantly to us the development will generate a biodiversity net gain on a brownfield site.

Some have objected to this application. But if not new housing on a brownfield car park site in a residential neighbourhood, then where in Bristol will new homes be built?

The site is located in a central and sustainable location in Bristol and Clifton is a long-established residential neighbourhood. 

Please don’t believe the claims that we don’t care about our neighbours or Clifton. We do care and we want to leave a positive legacy that helps to provide much-needed housing, that helps to address the climate and ecological emergencies, and that, most importantly, enables us to continue our vital conservation and education work.

We need your support now more than ever before. 

To find out more please go to our website future.bristolzoo.org.uk. Please join us in saving wildlife together.