260 new homes planned for Fishponds factory site as company leaves after 100 years

THE first of three big redevelopment schemes for Fishponds has been unveiled.

Fishponds-based Graphic Packaging International has confirmed it is leaving its Filwood Road factory and wants to build 260 new homes on the site – ending a presence in the area dating back more than 100 years.

The US-owned company says 174, or two thirds, of the homes would be two, three and four-bedroom houses, and the other 86 would be flats.

It is one of three developments revealed in February, as part of a master plan for the area named Atlas Place.

The tallest buildings on the site would be four-storey apartment blocks next to Goodneston Road, which is currently overlooked by tall factory buildings.

Two-storey housing would be built facing the existing terraced homes on the opposite side of Enfield Road.

The rest of the site would be a mix of two and three-storey housing.

A road would run through the middle of the development, with one junction on each of Goodneston Road and Enfield Road. Access to Lodge Causeway and Filwood Road would be pedestrian-only.

A map from the consultation shows the new road through the site, with exits on Goodneston Road (left) and Enfield Road (right), in brown and pedestrian routes in blue, including exits onto Lodge Causeway (bottom) and Filwood Road (top).

A green, public open space is proposed for the centre of the site, with cycling routes connecting to the Bristol & Bath Railway Path.

There would be at least one parking space per home, with one extra space for every four two-bed houses and one extra space for every two three- or four-bed homes.

Graphic Packaging International is planning to move to a new factory in Yate, which will give it extra space to create 134 new jobs “in the medium term” on top of the 230 jobs moving from Fishponds.

It would bring to an end a 102-year association with the site for the company.

Predecessor ES&A Robinson’s bought it in 1921 and its current building dates from the 1930s.

At its peak the factory employed more than 2,200 people.

Graphic Packaging International general manager Martin Sheppard said the current building was “simply no longer fit-for-purpose”.

He said: We’ve planned this move for a long time and – finally – have secured a bespoke building on a long-term lease that will allow us to invest in significant growth, that will create 100 new jobs in the medium term.

“Our Filwood Road site sits in the middle of a mainly residential area, with a primary school among our nearest neighbours.

“Running a large industrial business – with lots of HGVs coming in and out throughout the day – is not ideal. This location is far better suited to new homes.

“Securing planning permission for 260 new homes will allow us to invest in growth and job creation. It will also free up a large, urban, brownfield site for much-needed new homes to help address the ongoing housing crisis Bristol faces.”

The overall layout for the development

Graphic Packaging International previously won planning permission to redevelop the site 11 years ago, but said it did not move then because no suitable relocation site could be found at the time.

It says the proposed development would be “more harmonious” with the predominantly residential surrounding area.

The plans, drawn up by designed by Bristol architects Pad, were exhibited at a one-day exhibition at Graphic Packaging International in Filwood Road on March 27, 2.30-7.30pm, with people invited to make comments there or call 0800 193 9403 to ask for a paper feedback form. The consultation is open until April 7.

An outline planning application on the main principles of the development, including the number of homes, green spaces and access points, is expected to be submitted in the next few weeks, after the public comments have been reviewed.

If planning permission is granted Graphic Packaging International would then sell the site to a developer, who would draw up detailed plans.

Plans for the two neighbouring sites, on the opposite sides of Filwood Road and Goodneston Road, are expected to be unveiled later in the spring.

In an area earmarked for 1,500 homes by the city council in its 2019 local plan review, the Atlas Place master plan includes a “parkland edge” next to the railway path, a “green corridor” on Goodneston Road and possibly student or care homes.

For more details of the master plan visit atlasplacefishpondsfuture.com.