Community Meeting – 1 December, 6:30pm

A condition of Fifth Capital’s planning permission is that they consult with us on the management plan, employment and training, materials and finishes, and the public art plan and cultural programme.

Furthermore, we haven’t given up trying to get more affordable or even social housing in the development and are plugging away with housing associations that might be able to help. We’re also trying to ensure that the management and lettings on the ground floor provide the best fit and opportunities for the local community.

To ensure that we give effective input to the details of the development we need to agree how we organise ourselves in the coming months. So we’re holding a community meeting – Tuesday 1 December at 6:30pm at the Salvation Army citadel on Ashley Road (now reopened after their own redevelopment works).

This will also be an opportunity to get the latest on the site proposals.

Everyone is welcome to come along.

Permission granted – what next?

Last night Bristol City Council decided to grant Fifth Capital planning permission for their sccheme to redevelop the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House.  But the story doesn’t end there. As Marc Pennick said on BBC Bristol this morning, “we’re going to work with CAG and the local community, we’re going to keep working on these plans and we’re going to keep making them better.”

So what does that actually mean?  There will lots of things happening in the coming months including:

  • Fifth Capital have to complete the S.106 agreement with the Council (a legal document that binds them to fulfiling all the conditions attached to the planning permission). Once the agreement is signed Fifth Capital will exercise their option to buy the site from Comer Homes – a day for celebration!
  • Fifth Capital have to draw up detailed plans.  Surface materials have to be approved by the Council, Heritage England have to approve proposals for the listed Carriageworks, etc.
  • A contract has to be agreed with the construction company
  • The construction management plan has to be drawn up. This will include how to limit the impact on the neighbours
  • Formal notice has to be served on the travellers who have been minding the site for the past years
  • Agreement has to be reached with the long term owner, likely to be A2 Dominion.
  • The management plan for the site has to be agreed along with the details of how the ground floor units and market will be managed and by whom
  • Public art has to be agreed.

We need to make sure that the community stays informed and that our voice is heard at all the right times. At the end of the day we’re the ones who will live with the scheme so we have to make sure it’s the best we can get. We’ll be working closely and in partnership with Fifth Capital and their team to make sure of it!

  • If you want to get actively involved in the coming months then let us know
  • If you might be interested in occupying space on the ground floor let us know (but bear in mind that it won’t be completed until sometime in 2018)
  • If you want to invest, come and talk to us (or Marc!)
  • If you want to learn from our experience, get in touch.

CAG in the media…

Bristol Post

Bristol Cable



Bristol Post

Bristol 247

BBC Radio Bristol (Roughly 1hr10 and 2hr10 into the programme – also see transcript)

BBC Radio interviews with CAG and Fifth Capital

Members of the public interviewed on Stokes Croft:

  • I remember time and again there have been conversations in the Council about doing it up. They didn’t come to fruition so you kind of forget about these things.
  • There’s so much need for a push from the community to do so many different things in the building; it’s a terrific opportunity. It’s something that Bristol could do to be proud of.
  • It’s good news.
  • Such a waste. Could be such a lovely building with people living in there.
  • Should be affordable housing.
  • It isn’t an eye-sore. It should be opened up to let people do what they want with it. That would be better.
  • It’s been a bit of an eyesore for a long time. With many people looking for housing in the area. Will benefit Stokes Croft and also tenants or people looking to purchase property in the area.

Laura Rawlings interview with Lori Streich and Cllr Rob Telford

2015-10-15 07:40

LR: Is this good news?

LS: Yes it is. Cautious optimism – it’s been an incredibly long road. A very significant step to actually achieving the end of dereliction of the site.

LR: When we spoke last time (in April) there had been concerns about making sure the development is in keeping with quirkiness of the area, the lack of affordable properties, that it wouldn’t be this gated closed off community. Has that been addressed now?

LS: That has been addressed. A lot has changed since April. CAG has been very actively engaged in a really good quite often difficult dialogue with the developer. To their credit FC have responded positively and creatively and made a lot of changes. Most significantly there’s a lot more commercial and open space. It is no longer gated; it’s been designed so that it would be pretty much impossible to turn it into a gated community.

LR: Lets bring in Rob. Are you happy with the plans?

RT: Yes we are largely. What’s been amazing with this process is that for the last year at least it started in a not consultative way. A lot of developers come to Bristol saying what they want to do and don’t start with a consultative frame of mind. But in this case the developer has gone away and thought he really wants this to happen and has actually worked with the community. That’s good to see. Would have saved a lot of time if they’d come with the right mindset from the start. It’s positive news that it’s happened eventually.

LR: You say it’s the developer who came with the right mindset. People are saying this morning, ‘why has it taken the Council 30 years to do something?’

RT: What happened is we had a compulsory purchase process to work with a registered social landlord but that fell through partly because Fifth Capital came in the frame. It’s been an eyesore for so long. It’s desperate for development.

LR: Is there anything we can learn?
RT: We have to learn the lessons of consultation from this. CAG has done amazing exemplary work to bring the Community Vision to fruition. It really has been amazingly exemplary work – the kind of stuff we should be looking at for all major developments in Bristol.

Laura Rawlings interview with Marc Pennick

2015-10-15 08:40

LR: Marc Pennick owns Fifth Capital London – the company that will own the site. It’s all changed sine we spoke to you last (in April). It’s all good news. What will people see?

MP: Last night was very enjoyable with the consent going through. It’s come a long way since April. With almost 1500 objections, last night we had 2 objections. We’ve turned it around over the last 6-7 months. The scheme that we’ll start in the next 6-7 months is a vibrant new square, apartments, independent businesses, pop-up shops, exactly what Stokes Croft needs.

LR: People were concerned that it would be exclusive, that it wouldn’t fit in the area, that it would be gated. Segregated yuppie flats was some of the concern and that there wouldn’t be enough affordable properties. But all of that has been ironed out?

MP: Through good work with CAG and good dialogue with wider community the gates have gone, the scheme’s been changed, we’ve got more commercial, more independent businesses going in there, affordable housing has gone up, and we’re looking forward to starting on the site. It’s been 27 years of pain for the area and we’re just looking forward to getting on.

LR: How do think it will it change the whole area?
MP: Stokes Croft has never really had much investment on the site itself and also in the wider area. We need to create a hub area that people not just in the area use but people in the wider city see it as a centre point. By creating this new market square that will be open at weekends with new independent businesses, it’s going to be a destination point.

LR: When will work start?

MP: We still have to sign S.106 agreement with the Council but that won’t take too long; there’s a lot of goodwill from Council members and the Carriageworks Action Group. One of the big points is that we’ve got some people who are on the site at the moment, some of them have been there for quite a while 5-6 years, and I’ve given my word that they’ve got 6 months until they have to vacate then we can get on

LR: How confident that you can deliver exactly what’s in the plans?

MP: These plans that we’ve proposed are not just going to be the plans but they will get better, we’re going to refine them, we’re going to work with CAG and the local community, we’re going to keep working on these plans and we’re going to keep making them better.

LR: If everything goes to plan when could it be finished?

MP: As soon as we start on site we should be done in 18-20 months.

LR: Wow – what a transformation that area’s going to see. Thank you.

Updates from Bristol Planning Committee

Click refresh for the latest from the Planning Committee.  We’ll update at the top of the page.

18:58  The room empties!

18:57 A vote. All for except for Ani S-T who votes against.

18:49 Cllr Martin Fodor. We’ve seen community objection, a developer pull rug out of CPO. There was a lot of pressure on us in April to refuse permission. Felt ambivelent that we were going to send it back for improvements as refusing would have resulted in appeal. It’s an important lesson. Our ambition needs to be as high as it can be. With strong messages we have achieved more. We might not have everything that all would like, but we have an agreement that is a partnership with the community. Agree on wording to “work with community” not just “consult with”. That will strengthen it and show what we really wanted.  Chair wants to deal with this issue. Sees consultation as something that we have a formula for (MF says he’s not sure we do). Would be worried about nebulous word like “work” – not sure we understand that in the Council (laughter). Would be dangerous to include words that could be misinterpreted. Don’t believe it worthy of change. MF: Some people in public look sceptical. Consultation can be done badly or well. Working in partnership requires a certain standard. Also wants to raise local employment – needs to be monitored. There is still disquiet that we’re not getting a % of affordable or social housing that is our aspiration – the viability test can be abused. We should thank officers, community and developer. To wrap up: wants to see “working in partnership” used as the wording. Cllr Helen Holland: we have the SCI – refer to that in the Condition? Cllr Ani S-T: The importance is that it is remarkable how well FC have worked with CAG, but we need to ensure that this is iron clad in the future – whichever way it is worded has to be iron clad. Chair: would be happy with ref to SCI – it gives us something to refer to. Agreed on that change.

18:45  Cllr Peter Abraham. Have been involved in planning for 50 years. Have seen dark times regarding this building. Was threatened by the owner.  Never believed we’d get to where we are – it seemed impossible. Today this is better than I hoped for. Only a short time ago the scheme was not acceptable to me and many others. It’s right that it’s as good as we’re going to get. We shouldn’t sell ourselves short. But it needs action. So I’d like to thank Officers for the work to get it right and interpret our views, and the developer who has picked up and listened, and the community who has really changed things and changed their own views. This is partnership to get the best we can and pull it off. But, but, we have to be vigilent. We still have to watch what happens. I hope the Conditions are strong enough to hold firm. Accept that some things are beyond planning control, but they’re not beyond us as a Council. So we need to step in if people are going to become homeless. Move that we grant planning permission with conditions in the report. Seconded. Martin Fodor wants to speak.

18:43  Cllr (can’t see his name, sitting next to Helen Holland): Congratulates community groups and officers in ensuring the scheme is as good as possible, and the developer for changing the scheme. No doubt that the scheme needs redeveloping. Our committee wants the best project, not just any old one. The street art on Carriageworks is ever changing. I will miss that aspect, but not the rest of the state of the building. Interested in public art Condition 14. As much as I am a fan of grafitti art I am aware it can lead to tagging. Would be nice if some balance could be made so that street art is confined and concerns of neighbours are taken on board. Pleased to see even delivery hours and bin collections conditions are in place.

18:41 Cllr Helen Holland. Wasn’t here in April. Really delighted that there has been such a level of engagement and that community feels they have had real influence. Want to pick up on Rob Telford’s point re wishing this had been done first time. Council has a prize winning Statement of Community Invovlmeent. This scheme should be used as best practice in how SCI works. This has been far beyond, and has turned a mountain of objection into support. Will be voting in favour.

18:36 Cllr Ani Stafford Townsend. Crucial that CAG stay involved. Would like proposed amendment but change from simply consult with to “work with”.  Also a few other issues.  A2 Dominion have been mentioned a few times, but no mention in the Conditions. The mention of them has sweetened the plan to the community. Would like to see A2 or another RSL included in the conditions. Chair asks for answer to this point. Planning Officer says we can’t specify which companies to work with. But can say a registered provider has to provide the affordable housing. (Misses the point that Ani is talking about more than just the 8 affordable units). The delivery management plan will establish a relationship of the nature with A2 but can’t nail it down beyond affordable housing. Ani: re the travellers – wants a condition that they have 6 months to vacate the site. Planner: We can’t condition this through planning conditions but we can contact housing colleagues and alert them to the need for their services.

18:33  Cllr Mark Wright. I spoke against the scheme in April. The previous plans were difficient in a number of ways, pleased they were sent back for more work. Genuinely surprised when I saw what came back. Normally the developer comes back with only notional change. That’s not happened here. My gasp was well and truly flabbered. Fifth Capital have addressed the issues in a serious way. The plans we see now are very much improved. Not brilliant – affordable housing could be better. But they have done enough and a bit more to conform with the Vision. Feel that these plans are good enough and workable. Will lead to a positive improvement of the local community. Agree need ongoing community involvment in case Marc goes under a bus. Developers don’t normally behave like this. I support the plans.

18:29  Peter Westbury is going through the changes to the proposals comparing before and after. Cycle parking, relationship with Tucketts and the new walkway through, absence of any gates, Ashley Road frontage (lowered in scale and gap to Tucketts), affordable housing now in block backing on Croft Dale at southern side of site, alterations to building heights to reduce overlooking on Hepburn Road. Any questions? Officer opinion is that the scheme can be supported.

18:26  End of statements. Peter Westbury, Planning Officer now speaking. Two points to highlight. Refer to the amendment sheet esp. P.25. Suggesting to put on the decision notice Conditions 12,13,14, 15 & 19 that CAG and other stakeholders are involved in discussions.  Other Conditions are technical matters that wouldn’t attract debate –  things that either are or aren’t.  Also mentions Condition 19 re delivery management plan – it has a number of elements that have come out in the public comments received. Condition 19 already includes establishing a resident liaison group.

18:21  Next five – no one to speak. Following five – no one to speak. Following five – Chris Chalkley from PRSC to speak. For last two days I’ve been at Bristol New Economy Summit where some of the city’s brightest minds are trying to work out ways to build a future that can work bearing in mind climate change and the financial system – looking for new thinking. The fundamental thing with the proposed development is that it is old thinking. The market mechanisms do not deliver what is required for community so we end up with a scheme that does not fulfil the spirit of the Vision – although Marc has worked hard to get a flavour of it. Can’t blame him – he’s a capitalist! But you end up with 10% affordable housing. There are people who think differently. Stokes Croft is at the forefront. CAG and the community have fought for a long time over this empty property. In the face of extraordinary difficulty they have done pretty well.  Nationally Labour councillor have a new leader that focuses on equality. For the Greens – what does a resilient city look like?

18:17 Marc Pennick speaking. 6 months ago the decision was deferred so that differences could be worked through. 1400 people had objected.  Now it’s only 2. Fifth Capital has listened to the community and worked with CAG. Have met with residents of Hepburn Road and addressed their concerns. Changed the Ashley Road building.  Worked with Tucketts building who now support the scheme. There is space for independent businesses and a market, and the amount of business space is increased. You asked me to listen to the community, we have and the community has spoken. Please consider the proposal before you.

18:16 Rob Telford. Won’t repeat what’s already been said – but this is about community involvement. There are lessons for the city to learn. There is still the outstanding issue of affordable housing – we’re not meeting the 30% target. Need to keep this in mind in the city otherwise it’s a worthless policy.

18:14  Prue Hardwick.  Wants to reiterate that Marc Pennick has broken all the stereotypes. No longer the ‘don’t give a toss’ ‘big bad wolf’ from London. But we need to build in community engagement in case he goes under a bus. Bear in mind that you the Councillors want this to be as good as possible.  Without CAG there none of us have the power to influence – we are the watch dogs to nip at the heals and help the Council out. Hold your heads up and say “we did the best we could”.

18:10 The next five statements, but none of them are here / want to speak. The next five: Lori Streich to speak for CAG. Thank you to everyone who supports our position. Five years of hard work to get to where we are and to bring the community behind a vision for the site and to work with the developer. Hard work but we’re nearly there.  But many details still to address.  Key questions for CAG: 1. Maintain close involvement with CAG. A precedent from Trafford Council. Fifth Capital are keen for involvemenet. But we’d like it written into the Committee’s decision. So far the Committee has been bold to get collaboration with the community.  Need it in writing to continue in case a different developer gets involved. 2. Still some concerns, mainly affordable housing. We’ve had constructive discussions with Fifth Capital and A2 Dominion. Would like to ensure that committee gets Officers to work with us to get amount of affordable housing increased and even get social housing included. Finally, thank you to the committee and to Fifth Capital for working with us and producing a much more acceptable scheme.

18:09 The first five statements. Hugh Nettelfield speaking: a sense of gratitude that Fifth Capital have engaged with the community and changed their scheme. But a sense that we need to maintain community involvement at every stage. 1. Need to ensure a reasonable local employment strategy that is properly monitored. 2. Need an effective management plan with community involvement at its heart.

18:08  They’re dealing with other procedural matters before getting to Carriageworks

18:05  Cllrs Ani Stafford-Townsend and Mark Wright say that although they previously objected to Carriageworks application they are now open minded.

18:03  The Chair (Cllr Peter Abraham) says there are 40 statements but only 30 mins so he’s going to ask for people to speak in groups of five!

18:01  Under starters order, and they’re off (with a sound check)

17:54   Everyone is gathering.  The room is full of UWE first year planning students. What will they make of this?!

Reporting from the Planning Committee tomorrow

CAG will be at the Planning Committee tomorrow, Wednesday 14 October from 6pm.

We’ll keep a blog going through the discussions so you can stay updated even if you can’t get there in person.

We’ll also tweet from @Carriageworks2 and use hashtag