Notes from the 20th July Community Meeting

Summary

Although there are still serious concerns about the scheme proposed by Fifth Capital London, there was also a recognition that the developer has made changes to the scheme that constitute significant improvements.

There are many differing views in the local communities around the site, ranging from total opposition to this scheme, through to support for any scheme that will end the dereliction of the site.

There is a real desire, and need, to have an honest dialogue with the developer, and disappointment that he was not at this meeting to enable such a dialogue to continue.

The majority of people at the meeting discussed the need to be deeply pragmatic about the development of the Carriageworks site.  There was a focus on what we can realistically influence.

Positives:

The meeting noted the positive changes:

·      Access form Ashley Road

·      Removal of gates

·      Potential market space

·      Less housing

·      More commercial units

·      Ashley Road set back

Key concerns and issues to resolve

Scheme Design:

Significant concerns about the design of the scheme were expressed:

·      The design is bland, boring, boxy and looks like a “London import”.  It is out of place in this heritage street-scape

·      The scheme is not in keeping with the spirit of the community vision, which calls for a mixed development “designed to a high quality with good environmental standards”.

Housing:

·      There is real concern that the housing is not going to offer a good experience for people to live in.

·      Poor quality housing tends to be bought only by Buy-to-Let landlords.  The result is short term tenancies with constant throughput.  This is damaging to communities

·      Poor quality housing will not meet local need.

·      There is a real need for well-managed, affordable housing in this area.

·      The scheme needs to address sustainability:  renewables, heating, ventilation, insulation. We want to see the best renewable energy programme on the site.
There needs to be more information about the quality standards of the accommodation being developed.  It must, as a minimum, meet BCC’s quality standards.

·      There is strong support for having a housing association as a responsible owner.  And a strong view that CAG Liaison Group members should be in dialogue with the housing association partner as soon as possible.  This is necessary for people in the communities to have confidence in this critical element of the scheme.

Commercial units/space

·      People are pleased that the number of commercial units has increased, but concerned about their management.

·      The success of the scheme will rely on the use of the commercial spaces.  There are many positive, constructive and realistic ideas about this, based on local experience.  A number of successful local traders and entrepreneurs are keen to be involved in a discussion about how to make the space and units work in this area (and in the face of the various challenges, e.g. parking).

·      A management plan is essential.  Local input into this is essential: this area is unusual and there is local knowledge about how best to deliver co

·      The units and the central “square” must be accessible, or they will remain vacant/will not work.  This will undermine the whole scheme, and the community.  There needs to be active marketing and active ongoing management of the site as a whole, and especially of the commercial units.

·      The need for a robust and realistic management plan is essential, as is local dialogue and input to ensure that it is deliverable.

Going Forward:

·      The meeting wanted to have a dialogue with Fifth Capital London, and so the whole meeting agreed that we need to hold another community meeting, at which the developer is present.

·      Four issues were identified as of primary importance:

  1. Liveability of the units and the need for an excellent renewable energy programme
  2. Uses of, reaching and using the commercial spaces:  terms for local businesses; what kinds of businesses; what business opportunities; what businesses will make these units in this location (with their challenges, e.g. parking, vehicle access etc.) have the greatest chance of success; how will customers know they are there, etc.
  3. A robust management plan for the site as a whole, with local input
  4. A housing association as a responsible owner

·      The need for open dialogue is essential in order that the community can have confidence in the scheme, and in the developer’s commitment to deliver.

JRF call for guidelines on viability assessments

Viability assessments, like statistics, can be used to prove just about anything.  Interesting that the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have found that recent changes to the planning system have made it even more difficult to secure social housing from private development.  Reported in Inside Housing.

Viability assessment guidelines should be introduced to make it more difficult for developers to reduce affordable housing in planning agreements, a research charity has said.

“The Joseph Rowntree Foundation has today published a report, which finds that changes to the planning system have made it more difficult for planning agreements to ensure homes are built for those on the lowest incomes.

“The charity argues that the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), introduced by the coalition government, has led to negative impacts, including a greater emphasis on viability assessments, giving developers more ability to renegotiate agreements if they can show they make the scheme unworkable.

“JRF is calling for the introduction of viability assessment guidelines, which would set parameters for building costs and land values and allow councils to extract an amount from the rise in land value resulting from the granting of planning permission.

“It is also calling for the NPPF definition of affordability to be changed so it is aligned with households’ ability to pay.”

Community Meeting

A quick reminder about this evening’s Community Meeting which will be at 6:30pm at Hamilton House (update: relocated to Freedom Room, top Floor), Stokes Croft. Unfortunately the Fifth Capital team will not be able to attend the meeting.  However, we will be able to discuss their latest proposals and consider CAG’s position.

ground floor comparison

Comparison of November 2014 and July 2015 proposals

Thank you to everyone who has sent comments on the latest proposals. If you haven’t already, we’d really like to know what you think. Write your comments below, send them  to ideas@carriageworks.org.uk or leave them on our Facebook page.

The latest proposals

Fifth Capital have just released their latest proposals.  You can view them in a single PDF or see the individual pages below.

We hope to receive CGIs of the proposals in the very near future.

These proposals will be discussed at the Community Meeting on Monday 20 July, 6:30pm at Hamilton House.

The first two drawings show the changes that were proposed at the June Community Meeting.

page3-groundfloor_annotated_changes

Ground floor – annotated changes, June 2015

page4-firstfloor_annotated_changes

First floor annotated changes, June 2015

The next two drawings show the further changes that are now being proposed.

page6-groundfloor_annotated

Ground floor annotated changes, July 2015

page7-firstfloor_annotated

First floor annoated changes, July 2015

These are the floor plans as of July 2015.

page10-revisedgroundfloor

Ground floor

page11-revisedfirstfloor

First floor

page12-revisedsecondfloor

Second floor

page13-revisedthirdfloor

Third floor

page14-revisedfourthfloor

Fourth floor

page15-revisedfifthfloor

Fifth floor

page16-revisedroof

Roof plan

 

Squares in Bristol

At the Community Meeting in June someone asked for a comparison between the proposed square (ish) behind the Carriageworks and other similar sized spaces in Bristol.  The architects said they’d provide this, but haven’t as yet.  So here’s our own DIY comparison.  All the aerial views are at the same scale.  Remember that the buildings around the square will be 4-6 stories high, so the sense of enclosure is important and something to be borne in mind when viewing on the ground.

The Fifth Capital proposed scheme with the square outlined in blue.

The Fifth Capital proposed scheme with the square outlined in blue.

westmoreland-house

The boundaries of the proposed square overlaid on the existing site.

quakers-friars

Quakers Friars, Broadmead. Possibly the best comparison although the surrounding buildings are only 3 storeys high.

broadmead

The Podium, Broadmead.  Surrounding buildings are four stories high.

cabot-circus

Cabot Circus.  Mostly 3-4 storey buildings surrounding.

anchor-square

@Bristol, Anchor Square

brunswick sq

Brunswick Sq, St Pauls

albanygreen

Albany Green, Montpelier

king square

King Square, Jamaica St