Initial plans by the city architect, Albert Clark 'covered the site with three slab blocks each of sixteen storeys' (see Benjamin Gregory, High Kingsdown 1967 - 1974, A Modern Courtyard Housing Exemplar, 2013: 55) similar to those in lower Kingsdown, but these plans were the subject of vigorous protest, with opposition led by The Council for the Preservation of Ancient Bristol, the Bristol Civic Society and Royal Fine Art Commission (RFAC). The RFAC had one of its first successes against high-rise developments when in May 1967 they prevented the scheme from proceeding although by this time the land had been cleared in preparation for construction. (see Gordon Priest and Pamela Cobb, The Fight for Bristol, pp 46)
'In 1968, however, the City's Housing committee decided to offer the site for private housing.' (see: Bristol School of Urban Studies' 1974)
During the late 1960s there was a change in central and local government architectural policy from high-rise to low-rise and medium-rise housing developments. The design implications of this are outlined in the introduction to a special issue of 'Architectural Design'. (Birkin Hayward, Martyn Haxworth and Peter Rich 'Housing primer, 'Low and medium rise housing')
An overall development plan was produced by Anthony Mackay of Whicheloe, Macfarlane and Towning Hill, initially with 400 dwellings on a large site that extended to Portland Street, replacing the public baths, and including land on the west side of St Michael's Hill. A revised scheme on the western part of the site comprised 103 houses set around a retained Victorian pub, the King's Arms, with a children's playground and a line of 110 flats along the northern edge intended to shield the development from a projected new road..
After being approved by the RFAC, outline planning consent was given by the Council planning department.(High Kingsdown, An Application by the Residents Association for High Kingsdown to be Granted the Status of a Conservation Area, 1994:; Chapter 2) Working in partnership with JT Building Group, a design for High Kingsdown developed, reflecting the character of the surrounding Kingsdown area with its small town houses. However, a major source of inspiration was provided by the schemes developed by Jørn Utzon in Denmark in the late 1950s and early 1960s, notably the Kingo Houses in Helsingor and the Fredensborg Houses (1962-5); Anthony Mackay had worked with Utzon on the latter project. Utzon's grouping of 'L'-shaped units around courtyards and patios was indebted to traditional Danish housing but also to old Chinese and Islamic models. (see Benjamin Gregory, High Kingsdown 1967 - 1974: A Modern Courtyard Housing Exemplar, 2013: 35., attached as pdf below)
"A new village is growing in the heart of Bristol":
Original developers' brochure for HK houses and flats.