*** Planning permission granted through appeal ***

Planning application for the bridge was submitted to Bristol City Council in March 2016. In July 2016 Bristol City Council Development Control Committee resolved “that permission be granted subject to conditions and subject to a legal agreement to secure a financial contribution towards tree mitigation planting.”1. As a legal agreement could not be arranged by the land owner at the time, the application was taken back to the Development Control Committee and was refused in January 2017. The Committee however stated that “The Committee’s original resolution to grant planning permission would still stand as a material planning consideration.” An appeal was submitted to the Planning Inspectorate in May 2017.

Outcome of the appeal:

“The appeal is allowed and planning permission is granted for a pedestrian/cycle bridge over Bridge Valley Road at land between Ladies Mile and Clifton Down, Bridge Valley Road, Bristol in accordance with the terms of the application (Ref 16/01266/F), subject to the conditions in the attached schedule. […]”

Reasons granting planning permission:

[…] The Council confirm that there are highway safety concerns in respect of the existing crossing facilities at Bridge Valley Road. There is also public support for the bridge in terms of the highway safety benefits it would provide to groups such as pedestrians and cyclists.

 […] The bridge would be constructed using traditional methods and materials (limestone) […] and would be entirely in-keeping with its traditional and grand surroundings in terms of its design and use of materials. The design and materials to be used for the bridge itself would be high quality and in-keeping with the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

The bridge will significantly improve the safety of the junction and reconnect the two parts of The Downs that is currently separated by fast flowing traffic along Bridge Valley Road.

We would like to express great thanks to everyone who have supported the application so far.

The project will open up exciting opportunities for ‘travelling back in time, exploring how stone bridges used to be built during the history and adapting them for 21st century construction. We are excited about involving the local community throughout the construction process and to the challenge of raising funding for the bridge.

BBC (Oct 2017) 3Background

A bridge is proposed over Bridge Valley Road to provide safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists and reconnect the Downs. Crossing Bridge Valley Road is difficult and potentially dangerous because of the multiple junction at the top of Bridge Valley Road and poor visibility. Vehicles accelerate rapidly up/downhill and turn left/right, creating a dangerous crossing for pedestrians and cyclists trying to cross the road. The key crossing point for pedestrians is at a small traffic island at the top of Bridge Valley Road, directly facing oncoming traffic from Clifton Down that is inadequate and poorly aligned to offer safe crossing to pedestrians, particularly with groups or families with prams. Due to the fast flowing traffic and limited visibility, the crossing is not accessible for people with limited mobility or visual impairment. The steep approach to/from Ladies Mile makes it also impossible for wheelchairs users to get to/from the junction.

Traffic lights and zebra crossing cannot be installed as they would need to be located outside the junction further down Bridge Valley Road, making crossing even more dangerous by closer proximity to the bend and further reduced visibility for the upcoming traffic.

The area of The Downs was pastureland throughout the history and records of grazing rights date back to an Anglo-Saxon charter from 883[1]. “It was the sheep that had ensured the survival of the Downs. […] The extent of grazing declined in the nineteenth century and in 1925 it ceased altogether on the Downs.”[2]

The proposed bridge (classical stone arch bridge) has been designed to complement the local historic and natural environments (utilising compatible materials and architectural features) and the construction would provide significant opportunities for training, employment, apprenticeship programmes, re-introduce the construction of stone bridges and closely involve the local community.

The project has been developed entirely on a voluntary basis. Funding is to be raised for the full cost of the bridge through a dedicated charity. The bridge is intended to be built through the charity, on a non-commercial basis. 


[1] Clifton and Durdham Downs: A Landscape History. Planning, Transport and Sustainable Development, Bristol City Council, 2006

[2] Durdham Down history trail leaflet – Bristol City Council https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiz9piY3fLTAhVJJ8AKHRHQABgQFggwMAI&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.bristol.gov.uk%2Fdocuments%2F20182%2F32863%2FDurdham%2BDown%2BHistory%2BTrail%2Fed1afcb4-a84d-4a11-adb5-e912e47a7b70&usg=AFQjCNFXjdyQpUmwhpggn_2cw2N5IH1JHw&sig2=qJEXx263LGwvDpxqNnqh4A


Bags of Help

Tesco teamed up with Groundwork to launch its Bags of Help initiative across England and Wales. The scheme sees three community groups and projects in each of around 200 Tesco regions awarded grants of £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 – all raised from the 5p bag charge.

Bags of Help offers community groups and projects across the UK a share of revenue generated from the 5p charge levied on single-use carrier bags. The public will now vote in store from 1 to 31 December on who should receive the £5,000, £2,000 and £1,000 awards.

A “Stone Bridges: Heritage & Future” project has been submitted to the Bags of Help scheme and selected for customer vote during December 2016 in the following Tesco stores in Bristol.

  • Clifton Regent St Express, 32 And 34 Regent St, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 4HU
  • Clifton Express, 169a Whiteladies Rd, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 2RL
  • Henleaze Esso Express, 142 Henleaze Rd, Henleaze, Bristol, BS9 4NB
  • Westbury On Trym Express, 77 Westbury Hill, Westbury On Trym, BS9 3AD
  • Bishopston Express, 171 Gloucester Rd, Bishopston, Bristol, BS7 8BE
  • Bristol Filton Esso Express, 73-75 Gloucester Rd North, Filton, Bristol, BS34 7PL
  • Bristol Filton Ave Express, 390 Filton Ave, Bristol, BS7 0LJ
  • Lime Trees Rd Superstore, off Kellaway Avenue, Lime Trees Rd, Bristol, BS6 7XW
  • Bristol Trymwood Parade Express, Shirehampton Rd, Bristol BS9 2DP


To vote, you will need to make a purchase within store of any value. You will receive one token per transaction and it’s not necessary to purchase a carrier bag in order to receive a token.

Planning permission granted

The planning committee voted for granting planning permission for a classical bridge in Bristol on the 13 July 2016. The bridge will provide great improvements for pedestrians and cyclists at a busy and dangerous junction and would allow people with physical disabilities for the first time to fully enjoy the Downs.

The bridge will be a wonderful contribution to the area and become an added site of interest along the unique circular walk around the Downs. The bridge will be almost entirely hidden within the valley and natural landscape and offer a new experience of a canopy walk through the woodlands.

This is the first time that a large stone bridge has been approved for construction during the past 100 years. Granting planning permission represents a new era for masonry arch bridge construction in the UK and Europe.

The project will offer opportunities for relearning the art of building masonry bridges, create jobs, provide training opportunities, apprenticeship programmes, create local income generation opportunities and involve arts and heritage. Local community involvement will be an integral part of the construction.

The next task is to finalise the planning conditions with Bristol City Council and set up an independent charity for the construction. Fundraising can only start after that.

The initiative is not only about building a bridge over Bridge Valley Road, but about a much larger vision to leave a legacy in Bristol and be an inspiration for generations to come.

Thank you for all those who have supported the application.


Planning application resubmitted

The planning application for a classical stone bridge near the top of Bridge Valley Road was resubmitted on the 5 March 2016. Once the application is registered, we are planning to organise a series of public events to provide information and gather feedback. Details of the proposal are included in the ‘Proposed design’ section.

Planing application to be resubmitted early 2016

We are currently carrying out further consultation with user groups, e.g. disabilities. While the bridge would be a great help to pedestrians and cyclists, it would make an enormous difference to people using wheelchairs or have limited vision. The steep approach and difficult crossing from Ladies Mile excludes a lot of people from accessing the Downs and act as physical and mental barriers.

The application is not a commercial one, but is representing user-groups. We are planning to organise a series of information events and resubmit the planning application early 2016. Support from user groups and individuals would make a great difference for the success of the application.

In terms of funding, we will need to raise the full cost of the bridge. We believe this is possible, as the project is a highly unique one and has already received notable recognition in Bristol and further afield. We do not want any money at the moment. Funding is a story to be pursued once planning application is granted…

If you would like to get in touch you can email us on bridgevalleyroad@uwe.ac.uk.

Planning application withdrawn, to be resubmitted…

After the planning application was submitted to Bristol City Council in April 2015, they informed us that they were waiting for an independent report related to the Downs and were not making any decision until the report becomes available (expected towards the end of 2015). They suggested the application to be withdrawn and requested some further information.

We are hoping to resubmit the application early in 2016. We are also hoping to organise another information day and talks early 2016 to introduce updates on the proposal to anyone interested.

Planning permission submitted for Bristol City Council

The planning application for a pedestrian and cycle bridge over the top of Bride Valley Road has been submitted to Bristol City Council.

The bridge would offer safe crossing for pedestrians and cyclists at a dangerous junction at the top of Bridge Valley Road, near the Zoo.

To be appropriate for the location and reflect the architectural style in Clifton, a classical stone bridge was selected. The bridge is designed to last 300+ years, require minimal maintenance, be viable to build and highly sustainable on the short and long-term.