Bristol Zoo Gardens site goes on market

BUYERS are being sought for the Bristol Zoo Gardens site in the heart of Clifton.

Agents Savills are marketing the 11.4 acre site in Guthrie Road, with tenders in the region of £40 million being invited for the opportunity to develop nearly 200 luxury homes.

A scheme has been drawn up to convert historic buildings including the Giraffe House and Clifton Pavilion and create new apartment blocks. Much of the gardens would remain as open space, with improvements to the lake, and creation of a new play area.

Bristol Zoological Society, which shut the Clifton zoo last year and moved most of the animals to its site at Cribbs Causeway, has already sold the West car park for housing.

Many locals, including musician Tom Jones, and the Save Bristol Zoo Gardens campaign group, still hope the site can be saved, but their efforts were dealt a blow after the Secretary of State Michael Gove refused to “call in” the planned 196-home development, a decision backed by Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees.

Ben Taylor, head of development for Savills Bristol, said: “Bristol Zoo Gardens is an extraordinary site, with consent to deliver an exceptional scheme that befits its unique heritage and features. It is an incredible one-off opportunity for an outstanding developer to make their mark at this high-profile site within Bristol’s most prestigious residential suburb.”

Dr Justin Morris, chief executive of Bristol Zoological Society, said: “Our plans for the Bristol Zoo Gardens site will not only deliver high quality, sustainable homes for Bristol, but will see the gardens free to access for the first time. 

“The sale of the site will safeguard the future of our 186-year-old charity and support the creation of a new, world-class conservation zoo at Bristol Zoo Project. 

“At this inspiring visitor destination on the outskirts of the city, at least 80 percent of species will be linked to our conservation work around the world, living in spaces more closely reflecting their natural habitats. Construction is expected to begin in 2024.”

Prospective buyers are beiung advised that some animals, including gorillas, will remain in Clifton until May 2025.