The controversial structure has been backed to bring millions of pounds and thousands of visitors to the city
Plans to build a tourist attraction offering 70m-high views of Bristol that has been forecasted to bring a multi-million pound boost to the local economy have been approved.
Bristol City Council’s development control committee voted on April 15 to unanimously approve proposals for the Bristol Arc, submitted by Arc Global and the city’s science exhibition We The Curious.
The solar powered rotating observation pod, which has drawn comparison to the London Eye, will be able to take up to 42 passengers on a 20-minute “flight” above Bristol via a pivot moored in Anchor Square.
A report by We The Curious suggested that the attraction could bring £13.3million to the city’s economy and attract between 250,000 and 330,000 visitors a year.
Permission was granted for the controversial structure despite the council being advised by planning officers to reject the plans.
Business Live’s sister site Bristol Live previously reported that the plans for The Arc had drawn objections from Historic England which said it would ruin views of the city’s cathedral.
A Bristol City Council planning officer voiced concerns to the development committee that viewing pod’s “alien-like” shape would clash with the medieval, Grade I-listed cathedral and Grade II*-listed abbey buildings alongside it in the city skyline.
However, business leaders, tourism chiefs and the Dean of Bristol Cathedral have all expressed their support for The Arc.
Councillor Fabian Breckels said the attraction could be an economic “shot in the arm” for the city as it recovers from the economic impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.
He said: “I have to support this. It is a brilliant, exciting thing, and to throw it out and the potential regeneration would be incredibly unwise of us.
“The skyline of Bristol is already changing. Things happen, stuff changes and that’s how cities evolve. This is just another stage of our evolution as a city and we should give it our wholehearted support.”
An Arc spokesperson said they were “delighted” with the decision.
“It was absolutely clear to councillors the economic, social and environmental benefits far outweighed the technical ‘harm’ to the docks conservation area and the cathedral,” they said.
“From the outset we have been met with huge enthusiasm for Arc. We strongly feel this is a really positive message that this wonderful, creative city, with its rich history and heritage buildings, is also bold and ambitious and understands how the new and old can coexist beautifully.”