Bridging the Gap in the heart of Bristol (Finzels Bridge)

Following on from our appointment back in April 2015, we are pleased to see that the landing point of the new 91 metre long Finzels Bridge over Bristol’s Floating Harbour is taking shape and nearing completion.

Photographs showing the bridge and landing point taking shape (February 2017)

The new bridge has been designed to give a much needed link for pedestrians and cyclists between the city centre and Castle Park and Finzels Reach, the former Courage Brewery site off Hawkins Lane.

Landmark’s appointment was to design the landing stage area in Castle Park, taking the sketch ideas that had informed the development consent up to RIBA stage 3, with technical input to enable discharge of planning conditions.

A 3D working model during development design.

Landmark’s ecologists worked alongside our landscape architects and the client team to ensure that features of nature conservation interest, particularly associated with the Bristol Floating Harbour – Upper Reaches Wildlife Network Site, were safeguarded.  The scheme includes a sensitive lighting strategy to avoid creating a barrier to bats commuting along the Floating Harbour, as well as features designed to encourage bird nesting and bat roosting opportunities in and around the site.

Development at the site was constrained by the presence of historic features and protected trees, which had to be safeguarded by the design, during construction works, and once operational, when the bridge will be subject to heavy use as a main pedestrian and cycle access between two heavily trafficked spaces in Bristol.

Originally planned as a pedestrian bridge with public space at each end, the need for cycle access across the Floating Harbour had a dramatic effect on the design. Levels had to be adjusted and this inevitably reduced the expanse of public spaces on both sides of the river. Working alongside the Bristol City Council Parks Team the planting palette on the Castle Park side of the bridge was selected to include low maintenance species, and to incorporate measures that support the established bat corridor along the northern bank of the harbour.

An illustrative plan view during concept design.

Planning permission was granted in May 2015 and the bridge construction started in December 2016.  The associated public spaces are currently being constructed and planting was carried out a few months ago to aid establishment before the bridge opens in the near future.

Work has also been undertaken on upgrading the ferry landing stage as part of the work, to offer improved access and encourage more users of the ferry services. With a new planting scheme, improved lighting and cycle access, the landing area will welcome walkers and cyclists to Castle Park as they travel over the bridge.

The Landmark Practice has helped to develop this scheme in conjunction with developers Cubex, Bristol based architects ‘The Bush Consultancy’ and Bristol based quantity surveyors ‘Dickson Powell Partnership’.  We are delighted to see the new access over the Floating Harbour, planting and landing area taking shape, on this significant new feature in the centre of the city.

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