Underground river running through South Bristol could be opened up and restored

-Credit: (Image: 3D Drawing Office/ JBA Consulting/ Bristol City Council)
-Credit: (Image: 3D Drawing Office/ JBA Consulting/ Bristol City Council)


An underground river running through South Bristol could be opened up and restored as part of a regeneration project. About 420 metres of the River Malago in Bedminster could see major restoration work, as part of plans to improve access to the water and reduce flood risk.

But campaigners and local residents are concerned that the plans also include chopping down some trees. The river is currently in poor condition, with much of it running through an underground culvert, and the wider area is at risk of flooding.

The plans include bringing the underground river back above ground, replacing some channel walls with plants and embankments, and installing new benches. They form part of the wider Bedminster Green regeneration, with hundreds of student flats under construction nearby.

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Bristol City Council is applying for planning permission from itself for the restoration project. Councillors are due to decide whether to give the go-ahead during a meeting of the development control A committee on Wednesday, June 5.

The plans are being opposed by the Bristol Tree Forum and the Windmill Hill and Malago planning group, due to the loss of several trees. 31 trees are due to be planted elsewhere, to make up for the trees that will be chopped down, although this has not allayed their concerns.

Writing to the council, a representative from the planning group said: “We think further work needs to be done on this application. WHaM believes that the application should be rejected in its present form.

“The site is well known and liked by local residents. It is a popular stopping off point for families with young children in part because of the flowering plants in spring but also because it is a shaded spot with a variety of trees and interesting animals.

“The local population is well aware that Bristol has declared a biodiversity crisis, and as such is understandably concerned to ensure that any proposal affecting green space improves the current situation rather than harms it.”

Several local residents also wrote to the council, urging councillors to refuse planning permission.

One said: “While I am in favour of opening up and restoring the Malago, I object strongly to any more trees being lost. The trees are well-loved by the community, who feel under siege by all the intensive building being done in the small area.”