Planning Committe date – 8 April

Fifth Capital’s planning application will be going to the Council’s planning committee on Wednesday 8th April 2015.  The meeting is at 6pm and is due to be held at @Bristol (not City Hall which is closed for refurbishment).

Make sure you submit your comments on the application as soon as possible.  For details on how to do this and what to write, go to http://carriageworks.org.uk/proposals/fifth-capital-planning-application/making-an-objection/

Developer tells disabled drivers to shout when blocked in!

Fifth Capital, a London property developer, have suggested that disabled drivers ‘should shout for help’ if they get blocked in by delivery vans parked in front of their dedicated parking spaces.

Fifth Capital are applying to build 118 residential units and 5 shops on a city centre site in Bristol. The scheme is car-free, so there’s no resident parking apart from 6 spaces for drivers with disabilities. But the only parking space for delivery drivers is right in front of those spaces. So if there’s a van parked there’s no way in or out for disabled drivers.

In the transport assessment submitted as part of their planning permssion, Fifth Capital’s transport planners, WSP, write, “service vehicles and disabled car parking spaces will share access … into the site.” “The predicted servicing demand during the (morning) … peak (0800-0900) is forecast to be one service vehicle which will have little impact on disabled driver movements. If one of the residents wishes to leave their space whilst a service vehicle is loading/unloading, the delivery driver will not be far away to move the vehicle away from the vehicle access route.”

Given that disabled drivers often find it difficult to move about, the message is “just shout – the driver won’t be far away”.  What a considerate way of designing something!

 

CAG response to the Fifth Capital Planning Application

The CAG Liaison Group has looked in detail at Fifth Capital’s Planning Application for redevelopment of the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House site – reference 14/05930/F on Bristol City Council’s Planning website.

We do not believe that the Fifth Capital proposals will achieve what the area wants, needs and deserves. Click here if you share our concerns.

CAG members have been working for the past 4 years to secure a resolution to the dereliction of the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House. But it needs to be the right resolution. We have used the Community Vision as a framework for presenting our thoughts which are grouped under the Vision’s either headings. Click the headings below to get the details, or download our submission in one PDF.

If you are particularly concerned about one, or more, of these themes you should make an objection.  Follow our ‘easy to use’ guide….

What local people said to Fifth Capital

Last week (on 14 January) local people met with Fifth Capital to discuss their proposals to redevelop the Carriageworks site.  After Fifth Capital and their architects had given their presentation the 60 or so people attending were asked to get into groups and formulate questions about the proposals. These were written on post-its which are typed up below. The post-its formed the basis of the subsequent Q&A session with the developers grouped around the Vision themes. Not every issue could be covered and not every question got a clear answer but what they did tell us is covered on the accompanying page ‘What Fifth Capital told the community meeting‘. On the whole the people who came along were sceptical to the extent that at the end of the meeting John Assael, the architect, was almost pleading for some support!

 Community (and ground floor) Uses

  • Essential to have answers about the management of the site. Proposals for management e.g. shop units, hard and soft landscapes. We need confidence in the application.
  • The exhibition in Autumn 2014 said there would be consultants talking to the community in quarter 4 about arts and ground floor uses of the community space behind the Carriageworks.
  • Will it have anything to offer the local community – Picton St or multiculturalism in St Pauls?
  • Fear of supermarkets.
  • Why is there so little for the community?
  • Will commercial businesses be local independents or chains?
  • There should not be an “inside”! Unclear about uses about these especially commercial and ability to combine units to form unsociably large units.
  • We’re not happy about the loss of community / workshop spaces.

Through Route

  • Will it be open? Need public right-of-way.
  • Permeability shown is disingenuous.
  • Permeability – convoluted route. Could be gated later for exclusivity.
  • Disingenuous permeability – this is designed to fail. Will gates get added? New residents will complain.
  • Access is arranged so that it can be blocked off. How can we be sure this will not happen?
  • The through access is designed so it can be blocked off. How can this be retained?

Housing

  • SPD10 7.2 Affordable Housing 7.2.1 shows affordable housing as 30% – why has this been ignored? 7.2.2 Family Housing having gardens at ground floor level. Where is the provision on site for the block backing onto the rear of Hepburn Road?
  • Fear that flats will be bought off-plan or as investment opportunities.
  • Lack of affordable housing.
  • Buy to rent market? Will buyers buy flats and rent at high prices forcing lower paid workers out?
  • No provision of social housing – no homes available for rent.
  • Who are these apartments really for?
  • Where is the social rented property?
  • Will homes be sold on the open market?
  • How quickly will be for sale?
  • How many at a time?
  • Any priority for local people?
  • Will they be available under help to buy scheme?
  • Is it right that family homes are adjacent to a bail hostel?
  • What provision will there be for internal community space?
  • Need to know who will live there – need cohesion with wider community especially St Pauls.
  • There is no social housing – shared equity does not count.
  • Too many single flats, too few family homes.
  • SPD10 – local Plan to encourage family and affordable housing.
  • Lack of affordable homes – only 7%. SPD10 says 30%.
  • Poor mix of tenure with no homes for rent.
  • Concerns about buy-to-let opportunities.
  • Lacks any thought about need for social housing and community businesses.
  • Who will live there? If market decides how fit with locality? Social housing – need some. No more gated communities. What about access – public right of way?

Design

  • Does it have to be so dense to be viable?
  • Where will building materials be sourced from? Local? Are building materials locally sourced? Are the materials sourced locally?
  • Will the scheme be built in one phase? If it is to be built in two or more phases presume that the Carriageworks will be done in Phase 1.
  • What has happened to Future City?
  • Is this not further gentrification of St Pauls?
  • Concern re height of units on Hepburn Road and overlooking roof top gardens.
  • Demolition of Westmoreland House unanimously approved.
  • Concern about shadowing of immediate area.
  • Design is ‘inside’ and ‘out’ – there’s no flow – will lead to a feeling of exclusion
  • Hepburn Road gets a Berlin Wall as a view – very overpowering for St Pauls residents – how will this be addressed?
  • Tree – protection of.
  • Flood plain.
  • Conservation area.

Parking and access

  • Deliveries to the new businesses: where will they arrive? Traffic at the top of Ashley Road is often very heavy.
  • How will businesses do deliveries – very difficult.
  • Fire service access to the site. Moving into flats – access is very restricted.
  • How do people move in to the flats? Access is very restricted. How is this supposed to work?
  • How is fire service going to access the site to ensure safety of residents?
  • How to residents empty their refuse and recycling? How does it work? Any refuse trucks would block the disabled parking access.
  • Concern regarding expensive parking provision affecting the project viability and so the percentage provision of affordable housing.
  • Disabled parking will be blocked by refuse trucks.
  • On site car club – 10-12 spaces – will parking be adequate.
  • Concerns about car parking.
  • Junction – create an improved general space.

Delivery – finances

  • Is the scheme financially viable?
  • How much is being paid for the site?

Delivery – jobs

  • Given the number of jobs that have gone out of the local area, will there be a commitment to local employment?
  • Will any consideration be given to employing local people in the development?
  • Given that all jobs (and profits) so far are destined for London please can the architect and developer assure us that jobs and training opportunities and senior posts will be available to local people.
  • Local jobs – employment opportunity. Apprenticeships for project for after build.

Delivery – relationship with Comer

  • The relationship between Fifth Capital and the owners is murky.
  • Can the current owner still scupper your plans and, if so, what is their disincentive? How much would it cost them to prevent it and keep the site undeveloped again?
  • Can you set out in plain English what the on-going relationship is with / between Fifth Capital and Comer?

Delivery – involvement of the community

  • What community involvement will be there be from now on?

Delivery – long term management

  • Do Fifth Capital intend to retain the development or sell it on? If it is sold on, how will commitment on management be honoured?
  • What guarantees that whey they say now will go forward?

And finally…

  • What are the water run-off plans?
  • Given that the value of these buildings have given their owners assets on their balance sheets, isn’t it time for the local community to benefit?
  • Why should we accept profit making outsiders over the popular model developed by CAG and Knightstone, designed to meet local need?
  • Not by commercial non-local.
  • Anything to stop foreign investors bulk buying?
  • How can we trust a company whose representative so blatantly disrespects the Chair of this community meeting? (refers to architects refusal to keep to agreed time).
  • As the Chair of a Social Housing group why should I support this (at present I am urging Councillors to reject) as:
    • No social housing – shared equity is NOT social
    • Car parking is naive
    • Money not clear
    • Relationship Fifth Capital and (Comer)
    • No community element
  • Why are there no detailed plans on display tonight?
  • Comparison with the Knightstone scheme is unfair. Their proposals were really very early stage ideas. This should be made clear.
  • How to you feel about riding on the back of years of community work and wrecking it?
  • This is a real tooth and claw private development that offers little or nothing to the local community. It offers nothing in terms of self-determination. It is a luxury development visited upon a vibrant community that will change its nature irrevocably – all in pursuit of profit. How do you sleep at nights?
  • There is no element of community ownership in this development.
  • This is a purely commercial development. It is not clear how this benefits the local community.

What Fifth Capital told the Community Meeting

Last Wednesday Marc Pennick of Fifth Capital and his team of architects and planners came to tell the Carriageworks Action Group about their planning application to redevelop the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House site.

What Fifth Capital said:

You can find a summary of Fifth Capital’s proposals here on our website but this is some of the extra detail that they provided us with:

Comments from agencies and other groups

  • English Heritage are very supportive of the proposals. Simon Ramsden (Principal Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas) was quoted as saying that they “warmly welcome the proposals” and that they “Will be a significant enhancement of the historic environment”.
  • The Civic Society are also supportive and were quoted as saying that they are “delighted to see Westmoreland House demolished”.

Commercial and community space

  • Property agents have advised Fifth Capital that commercial space inside the site would not be viable.
  • The five units shown in the planning application can be sub-divided but it will be difficult to merge them into a bigger unit – so they won’t be suitable for big retailers.
  • Fifth Capital have said that the commercial / community units will be for local businesses. In response to a question asking how this will be achieved we were told that it would be via the S.106 agreement (a legal agreement between the developer and the Council that sets out how the impact of the development is mitigated and managed).

Ongoing Management

  • Fifth Capital are in the process of identifying a suitable company to manage the site once it is redeveloped. Mark Pennick gave little comfort that its brief will be anything other than a conventional role of making sure the rents are paid and the bins are emptied. However, he did agree that the company should have a working relationship with the local community.

Through Route

  • There will be two open spaces (one primarily for residents and one open to the wider community) and a route through the site. These will be controlled by the management company. The police have concerns about the route being open after dark. Marc Pennick said he has no problems with the area being open 24/7 but he has to be guided by the police and the planners.

Housing

  • There will be 8 affordable units for sale, but no social housing for rent. The Council is assessing the viability appraisal which shows that they can’t afford to provide more than 8 units.
  • Marc Pennick refused to be drawn on how much the flats and houses will be sold for, instead saying that it would be for the market and local agents to decide. However, he did say that he thought they would be most suited to first time buyers. There will not be any preference for local people and equally they could be bought by investors. Marc Pennick hopes to find a way of prioritising local purchasers over overseas investors.

Design

  • They don’t consider any over-shadowing to be significant. However in response to concerns about people looking down from the roof gardens into neighbouring properties Marc Pennick said they would go back and look again at the designs.
  • It is not feasible to put commercial or workshop uses upstairs in the Carriageworks. Marc Pennick stressed that it is his money that he’s spending on the building and he wants to put it back to how it should be.

Parking

  • They’re leaving it up to the City Council to say how much parking is required on the site. At the moment they have none.
  • They’re looking at improving the Stokes Croft Ashley Road junction.

Documents in the planning application

  • Renditions of the proposed scheme were requested by the planners. As the whole scheme has been digitally modelled they can be easily provided from any other viewpoint.
  • In response to a question about the cultural consultants we were told that their Cultural Strategy had been submitted with the planning application. It later transpired that the Council has not placed it online with the other planning documents but we have been sent a copy so the Cultural Strategy can be viewed with this link.

Timescales and delivery

  • If planning permission is given in March they will start building at the end of the year. All the funding is apparently in place but Marc Pennick will not reveal what he is paying for the site or how much it will cost to develop
  • The travellers living on the site will be given plenty of notice to move out, although this will be backed up with legal steps to make sure that the scheme is not delayed.
  • Fifth Capital will build the scheme (they’re talking to Leadbitters and Thomas Pane about being the builders) and then sell all the flats and houses.
  • Marc Pennick has a business relationship with Comer Homes (current owners of the site) and a 22 month option that started in November 2014. So long as Fifth Capital gets planning permission there is nothing Comer can do to step the sale of the site going through.

Press Coverage

Bristol 24/7 were at the meeting to record architect John Assael and CAG Chair Lori Streich.

Evening Post article the day after the meeting.

What local people said:

The views of the 60 or so people who came along varied but on the whole you / we were sceptical to the extent that John Assael, the architect, was almost pleading for some support! The main concerns are written up on the page ‘What local people said to Fifth Capital

So what happens next?

Marc Pennick wants to keep an open dialogue with CAG and the wider community whether this be face-to-face, by phone or by email. He will answer any questions and is happy for them to be put on the CAG website.

CAG will be working up its response to the planning application.  We’re holding weekly meetings every Thursday at Cafe Kino to help and advise people preparing their own responses.

UPDATE

Fifth Capital have sent their response to the questions raised.  Click this link to see what they said (opens pdf in new window)