Redevelopment plans for the historic United Free Methodists’ “Ebenezer Chapel” at 683 Fishponds Road have been altered again – and seemingly for the better!
The prominent stone building to the North-West of the Fishponds Road/Hockey’s Lane crossroads has seen various planning permissions granted over the years, including use as a gymnasium, which have never reached fruition.
The chapel, completed in 1881, had in recent years been languishing as a tyre and exhaust business, and latterly a car wash.
Under the latest plans, drawn-up by Redland-based O’Leary Ross Architects, the chapel would be converted for use as 8 self contained apartments, with the further addition of 6 self contained apartments to the rear (North) elevation in a new two-storey building. The plans had also included the addition of a single-storey glazed office extension to the front (South) elevation on Fishponds Road – but following Fishponds Planning’s detailed submission criticizing the plans, the office extension has been removed!
The plans propose giving over the ground floor of both the existing and new buildings to accommodate resident parking, with garage door openings added to the (East) Station Avenue South elevations.
Members of Fishponds Planning and other local residents, as well as representatives of Bristol Civic Society, Bristol Planning Network and UWE discussed the proposals as part of FP’s last meeting on November 24th 2015. While everyone present was in agreement that a housing development represented a good use for the building and an opportunity to save and enhance one of the area’s key buildings, a number of concerns were raised over the scheme, the chief ones being:
- The poor relationship between the proposed single-storey office unit and the chapel’s Victorian frontage (now resolved!)
- The practicality of vehicles entering and exiting the chapel’s East wall, given the traffic signal cycle and traffic on Station Avenue South
- The impact on neighbouring homes and gardens in Channon’s Hill, particularly from the new construction at the rear/North elevation
As ever, Fishponds Planning wants to know what you think of the proposals; please consult the plans below and then get in touch here. You can STILL have your say directly by submitting comments through BCC’s planning portal here and using reference 5/04152/X.
Those interested in learning more about the chapel’s history may like to look at the Bristol Records Office’s files, here.