Vacant Building Credit – Redevelopment of a Historic Warehouse to Residential in St George, Bristol

Local Authority

Bristol City Council


  • Heritage and Conservation
  • Residential
Decoration Decoration

Planning permission secured for The Boot Factory - comprised of 26 open market apartments via new build development and the conversion of historic building

Client Christian Grant Properties Ltd
Architect Angus Meek Architects
Author Dan Rogers

Project Overview

Bell Cornwell has secured planning permission for the conversion and redevelopment of a historic warehouse and office building to residential use in St George, Bristol on behalf of Christian Grant Properties Ltd. The scheme will provide market housing in a highly desirable urban location.

The development, which will be known as The Boot Factory (due to its historic use) will see the delivery of 26 open market apartments, provided through a mixture of new build development and the conversion of this historic building. The site is in a densely populated residential area with associated constraints typically found within inner city locations. The building was last used as a mixture of warehouse and offices.

We were asked to devise the planning strategy for this project. This included progressing the scheme on the basis that our client would benefit from the Vacant Building Credit, an incentive set out in Government guidance which enables developers to gain a discount against their Affordable Housing calculation where vacant floor space is being brought back into use or demolished. This can significantly reduce the overall burden of this obligation on the scheme and improve viability. It is an opportunity which all clients should consider when looking at housing regeneration projects on brownfield sites.

Bell Cornwell successfully led discussions on this politically sensitive issue and acted as planning agent throughout the project.

The new development offers the following benefits:

  • 26 open market apartments providing a mix of one, two and three bed accommodation,
  • Provide a comprehensive restoration of a heritage asset,
  • Regenerate an attractive Victorian building and bring a building no longer fit for its original purpose, back into a beneficial modern-day use,
  • Provide reduced levels of parking (reducing car ownership and congestion) due to the sustainable location of the site,
  • Despite its inner-city location, be located within close walking distance of some of Bristol’s most vibrant and accessible neighbourhood centres,
  • Is within walking distance of some of Bristol’s most attractive historic parks and open spaces,
  • Includes road safety measures to benefit the wider community.

The scheme is one that Bell Cornwell are very proud to have worked on as the development will secure the urban regeneration of an attractive building and provide much needed high quality housing for a range of prospective purchasers including first time buyers and small families.


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