Press Release: Planners must ensure ongoing community involvement

A community group is calling on Bristol Planners to keep them involved in the redevelopment of a city centre site that has been derelict for 30 years.

The Grade II Listed Carriageworks and neighbouring Westmoreland House were last occupied in the 1980s. Since then they have been a blight on the local neighbourhood as they have fallen into ruin. In early 2011 the Carriageworks Action Group (CAG) was formed to prepare a Vision for the site. Now, nearly five years later, it looks like something might be about to happen. But are the planners about to cut the community out of the scheme?

On Wednesday 14 October the Council will decide whether to give giving planning permission to Fifth Capital London to redevelop the site.

Lori Streich, Chair of CAG, said:

“The local community has worked incredibly hard to get these proposals. To begin with we were very opposed to Fifth Capital’s proposals as they were so different to our Vision for the site.  But in the last six months they have worked closely with us and made significant changes and improvements. Assuming planning permission is given on Wednesday, we want this strong working relationship to continue while the fine details of the scheme are worked up.

“Fifth Capital say they are happy to work closely with us, but the planners have not written us into the draft planning permission.  This must change.  It’s like an insurance policy – we need it in writing in case things go wrong.  It’s the only way to ensure that the community voice remains heard and that community needs are met”.

CAG is hoping that the Council’s planning committee will tell its Officers to change the wording of the planning permission to ensure that the community stays part of all future discussions.

Council must ensure community stays involved

We want to make sure that the Council gives its weight to ensuring that the community stays involved in the Carriageworks development as the detailed proposals are drawn up. Fifth Capital have assured us that we will be closely involved but we want to see something in writing and attached to the planning permission. At the moment the Council has singularly failed to do this.

We are asking you to send a statement to the Council’s Planning Committee urging them to write CAG’s involvement into future discussions. For our part, we will make the process as open as possible and involve other people with the expertise or knowledge to contribute and ensure that the Community Vision is delivered.

You can use this form to send an email to the Planning Committee on 14 October. You must send the email by noon on Tuesday 13 October. You don’t have to attend the Committee to read it out, but you can if you want (and it will add to the impact).

Paste the following text into the comment box below or, even better, write your own thoughts (which will increase the impact).  Make sure you add your name and address or postcode so that the Council knows you are a real person!

Dear Councillors

The Carriageworks and Westmoreland House are incredibly important to our community. For the last four years we have worked hard to express and then secure our Vision for the site's long term future. 

If you give planning permission today there will still be many details to agree. I believe that it is essential that, via the Carriageworks Action Group (CAG), we as a community have a place in the discussions that will follow. I also believe that this will result in an improved development that will benefit everyone involved.

As drafted, the planning permission makes no provision for the involvement of the community and CAG in any future discussions or decision making. Fifth Capital have said that they have no problem with this, but we want to see it in writing and backed up by the Council.

When you make your decision, please ensure that future community involvement via CAG is sufficiently written into and protected in the legal documentation.

Yours sincerely


The Carriageworks Action Group will also receive a copy of your email. We will add your email address to our mailing list (we send out about six email updates per year) but will not share your address with anyone else. If you do not wish to be added to our mailing list please send a message to

Message from Fifth Capital

Mark Pennick, Director of Fifth Capital, has asked us to post this message from him:

I am encouraged that the planning officers have recommended the current application for approval. This is only the start of the process and I hope that the Planning Committee members give this a vote of confidence on the 14th October. We need to make sure that this scheme is delivered and my company works closely with the community to get this right.

Good working commercial space is needed with a thriving market that is run by the community. Should the members vote positively on the scheme we need a management plan that includes everyone and delivers the plan set out by CAG which is community driven.

I would ask that local residents and the wider community get behind this proposal so we can finally deliver this exciting development.

Marc Pennick
Fifth Capital

Planning Committee recommended to approve

The report to the Planning Committee on 14 October has been published and recommends that planning permission be granted.  Click to link to it on the Council’s website (2.4Mb PDF).

The 89 page report deals with the ten points raised at the April committee meeting and other changes since made by Fifth Capital.  Included as an Appendix is the April report.

Your next step, should you choose to take it, is to make a statement to the Planning Committee.  Click for our guidelines on what to do.

Once we’ve read the report we’ll post our observations.

Submit your statement to Planning Committee – 14 Oct

The Council has sent letters to everyone who commented on the Fifth Capital planning application telling them that the application will be considered by Development Control Committee A at its meeting on Wednesday 14 October 2015.

The meeting will take place in the main conference room (Waterside 3) at the Watershed, 1 Canons Road, Harbourside, Bristol, BS1 5TX starting at 6pm, although it is not possible to say exactley when the application will be discussed.

Download the notice (60kb pdf).

The planning officer’s report should be available from Wednesday 7 October via  the Council’s planning website.

To make your written or verbal statement to the Planning Committee (speaking is by far the best way of making sure your opinion is heard by the elected members) you must send it to Democratic Services by 12 noon on Tuesday 13th October. Download the Council’s guidelines on making a statement (330kb pdf).

A familar tale?…


By Grayson Perry.  Remind you of anywhere?

Raises interesting questions worthy of much debate over a white cider, homebrew, craft ale or chablis (depending upon which picture you inhabit).

  • What do you do when an area becomes totally run down?
  • Have things reached rock bottom when the artists move in?
  • Once things start to improve does the area attract new types of people?
  • Do the old inhabitants get squeezed out or does the regeneration process extend to them as well?
  • Are the hipsters, like the cuckoo, the first sign of spring? And do the investor developers follow them just as one season follows another?
  • Are high end apartments an inevitable conclusion to the regeneration process?
  • And what happens after the bohemian apartments? Does it start all over again?
  • Can one place accomodate everyone, old and new, traditional and progressive, ordered and anarchic, conventional and challenging?
  • Finally, is it possible (or desirable?) to press a pause button, to freeze the cycle and preserve it in time? And who decides when?

Mull, discuss, respond; because it’s happening in a street near you!