fbpx
Bristol Zoological Society - Strategy to 2035

Frequently asked questions – Bristol Zoo Gardens

Please see below a list of frequently asked questions regarding our Bristol Zoo Gardens proposal.

Why are you selling the Bristol Zoo Gardens site?

The Society intends to sell the Bristol Zoo Gardens site to safeguard the future of Bristol Zoological Society and relocate Bristol Zoo to the Wild Place Project site to create a new world-class zoo for Bristol and the West of England.

More information on our Strategy to 2035 can be found here.

As a charity it is important that we ensure that the sale of our site allows us to achieve best value and deliver our charitable benefits for the long-term, specifically our mission of Saving Wildlife Together. We continue to believe that a residential-led scheme on the Bristol Zoo Gardens site is the best way to do this.

The funds raised are not only to enable the delivery of the first phase of the development of the new Bristol Zoo but also to increase and grow our education and direct conservation programmes.

What are you planning for the Bristol Zoo Gardens site?

We are in the early stages of developing a design for the residential-led scheme for the Clifton site.

The redevelopment of the Bristol Zoo Gardens site represents an extraordinary opportunity to make a significant contribution to address the combined housing, climate and ecological crises.

The site is in a central and sustainable location and we are committed to creating a scheme that provides:

  • Good-quality, eco-friendly, low-carbon homes largely in areas where there are already built structures on the site.
  • Enhanced green spaces to encourage greater biodiversity, with consideration of public access to the gardens beyond the Clifton Conservation Hub that is already planned.
  • We want to ensure that we create an exemplar for environmentally and socially sustainable development that Bristol can be proud of and showcase to other cities across the UK.

What is the Clifton Conservation Hub?

The ‘Clifton Conservation Hub’ will be in the Zoo’s iconic main entrance building to ensure the heritage and story of the Clifton site will continue to be told. This would become the base of the Avon Gorge and Downs Wildlife Project, community and conservation programmes, an exhibition of Bristol Zoo Gardens’ heritage and a café.

When will we find out more?

A period of public consultation started in August 2021. Bristol Zoological Society has been meeting with, and listening to feedback from, a range of interested groups including near neighbours and Clifton residents.

Information on how and when you can get involved will be shared on an ongoing basis and will be located on our ‘Get involved page’.

How can I get involved?

We know there is an enormous amount of civic pride in our institution. We will embrace this sense of pride and invite people to join the conversation. It is important that staff, volunteers, Bristolians, and zoo visitors, Members and supporters contribute to the exhibition space within the new Clifton Conservation Hub in the iconic entrance building at the Clifton site.

If you would like to get in touch with us regarding the plans to safeguard our future, please email us at future@bzsociety.org.uk.

Why don’t you open a new visitor attraction or venue at the Clifton site instead?

As part of our extensive strategic review in 2020, we explored other options for the Clifton site, which included other types of visitor attraction and different types of zoos. Working with professional advisors we do not believe that any will be viable or sustainable over the long-term on the Clifton site.

For many years Bristol Zoo Gardens, at only 12 acres in size, has been struggling with fundamental and persistent challenges. Namely the size of our site, declining visitor numbers and restricted parking.

Since our announcement last year both zoos have been closed for a further three months as a result of the national lockdown. In addition our parking issues have been further amplified following the settlement of a judicial review brought by Downs for People against Bristol City Council, meaning that from 2024 onwards the North Car Park at the Zoo will only be able to be used by people visiting the Downs.

Have you been involved in developing the OurWorld Bristol concept?

No, in May 2021 a concept was launched by an independent group of people for an alternative future for the Bristol Zoo Gardens site involving an augmented reality experience, called OurWorld Bristol.

We have received a range of proposals for the site from interested parties including the OurWorld concept.

As a charity it is important that we ensure that the sale of our site allows us to achieve best value and deliver our charitable benefits for the long-term, specifically our mission of Saving Wildlife Together. We continue to believe that a residential-led scheme on the Bristol Zoo Gardens site is the best way to do this.

We remain committed to our exciting new strategy and our thoroughly-considered plans which have come about following an extensive strategic review last year.

More information on our Strategy to 2035 can be found here.