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.
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. “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.”
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.
 Clifton and Durdham Downs: A Landscape History. Planning, Transport and Sustainable Development, Bristol City Council, 2006
 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