Planning application submitted for glass harbourside attraction

Arc is a ‘vital addition’ to promoting the cathedral’s 860 year history says Dean of Bristol

A planning application has been submitted to Bristol council for a world-first, glass viewing cabin that will allow passengers to view the city from 69 metres above the harbourside.

The idea for the attraction, called Arc Bristol, was revealed late last year and after further design work, the final plans have been submitted to the council.

If planning permission is granted, Arc is expected to open in 2024.

Arc will hold 42 passengers and be suspended between two carbon fibre masts. 

The masts, designed by some of the UK’s leading engineers, would pivot on a 3.2-metre diameter base in Millennium Square allowing guests to see the Clifton Suspension Bridge and the edges of the city.

Academics from universities in Bath and Southampton are collaborating with marine structure experts at Argo Engineering Solutions to assess and design Arc’s working mechanisms. 

Arc will be fully solar powered with panels on its departures lounge roof. Energy will be stored in yacht batteries, which recharge as the electric motors slow down.

We The Curious’ chief executive Donna Speed said: “After a really difficult year, this is wonderful news for We The Curious and for our city. We believe in curiosity. We want to continue to inspire people to ask questions, to explore the world around them. 

“And we believe that Arc will be an amazing, innovative, and inspirational experience that will bring a totally new perspective on what We The Curious already does so well.”

The Very Reverend Mandy Ford, Dean of Bristol, said Bristol Cathedral is encouraging the council to approve the application: “A flight in Arc will show a fabulous new view of the cathedral to visitors and the people of Bristol, which […] will become a vital addition to our promotion of the cathedral, its history and its mission. 

“The cathedral has successfully navigated 860 years of change and we need to look to the future, embracing whatever the 21st century will bring – welcoming beneficial changes like Arc as well as building resilience against damaging changes like the [COVID] virus.” 

Bristol city council’s ward councillor for Hotwells and Harbourside Cllr Mark Wright, said: “Arc has been open and forward in engaging with stakeholders over the last two years as these plans have taken shape. Its proposal will boost Millennium Square and give Bristol a wonderful and unique vantage point for people to enjoy the beauty of our harbourside, city centre, and the cathedral. The elegant nature of the engineering solution is very ‘Bristol’, and I’m sure Brunel himself would be pleased that such an imaginative machine will give a great view of his SSGB just over the water. 

Anyone wishing to comment on the application can do so via the Bristol City council planning website. 

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