Some photos from February 2021
PG Group have submitted a new planning application for Blocks E and F – the two blocks of houses at the rear of the site. Full details of the planning application can be found on the Council’s website. There will be a community meeting to discuss the proposals – see end of this post for details.
The proposal is to replace the 3 x 4 bed and 5 x 3 bed family sized houses (given planning permission in 2015), for which there is probably limited demand in this location, with a single block of 28 affordable flats.
The proposed flats will comprise 20 x 1 bed two person flats and 8 x 2 bed three person flats.
More affordable units will help meet local housing needs and is something that CAG and the community have been pushing for for a long time.
The final development will now comprise:
- 95 x 1 bed flats
- 35 x 2 bed flats
- 8 x 3 bed flats
- Total 138 flats
- Of which 38 (28%) will be affordable. There will be 25 x 1 bed affordable flats and 13 x 2 bed affordable flats.
The affordable flats will be managed by Sovereign Housing Association, along with the shared ownership units in Block D.
The CAG Liaison Group was shown early plans just before Christmas for a scheme comprising 19 social rent and 14 shared ownership flats. We submitted comments on these proposals at the time since when the scheme has been amended.
Details of the proposals are as follows:
Housing tenure: The existing 2015 planning permission was for 8 houses for market sale or rent. The proposed changes shown to us before Christmas comprised a mix of social rent and shared ownership flats. It is now for affordable shared ownership flats only. “Affordable” = 80% of market value.
Footprint: The two blocks are now merged into one ‘L’ shaped block. The footprint is slightly larger, mostly with the south west facade extending further towards the south west.
Height: At its highest point the building is now one storey higher than the 2015 permissioned scheme. There is also a new lower ground floor, although this does make use of the existing ground levels, which are 2.5m lower at this end of the site, whereas the permissioned scheme would require the ground level to be increased by the equivalent of one storey. Most of the building is therefore five stories in height, with the lower part four stories.
Massing: The merging of the two blocks with the loss of the gap in between, the greater height and the additional lower ground floor creates a larger mass than the permissioned scheme.
Daylight: No shadowing details have been provided, but the higher building will inevitably lead to increased shadowing, especially of the Brigstocke Road gardens. The lower ground floor flats will have limited natural daylight. The ground floor flats have rear windows looking directly at retaining walls.
Parking: As in the 2015 scheme, there are six spaces reserved for disabled drivers. The configuration has been changed which could result in them being blocked by other vehicles e.g. delivery vans. However, this situation was only marginally better in the 2015 scheme.
Security: While the pathway behind the building has restricted access there appears to be open access to the area around the lower ground floor which is largely hidden from observation. Also risk of tagging on the brick walls. Need comments from the Secure by Design team.
Materials and finishes: Buff and grey brick. This seems a rather austere choice.
Planting: The permissioned scheme included a pocket park in front of the houses and gardens to the rear. The pocket garden has been replaced by a sunken courtyard with planting and planting beds close to the parking. To the rear of some of the lower ground floor flats there are planted courtyards with crab apple and rowan trees. The lack of direct sunlight to the courtyard areas will limit the choice of plants. The sustainability statement states that the building will have a green roof, although this is not referred to elsewhere and is not shown in the roof plan.
Drainage: The application states that all surface water will be discharged through the main sewers. There is no provision for soak-aways. It is not immediately clear how surface run-off adjacent to Kuumba, which is the lowest point on the site, will be handled.
We will be holding a community Zoom meeting on Thursday 25 February 7-8pm. We’ve invited PG to present their proposals after which there will be a chance for questions. If you would like to take part in the meeting please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to request the Zoom link. If you have questions it will help us manage the meeting if you can submit them in advance using the same email address.
As anyone regularly passing or living close to Carriageworks will be aware, work above ground began late November and the steel work is quickly taking shape. PG Group, the developer, found some of the worst ground conditions they’ve ever encountered with large amounts of buried concrete, steel girders etc pointing to the site’s long industrial past.
COVID and Brexit have both been challenges for the development so far with impact on the supply of both labour and materials.
Block A (the largest of all the blocks but without a direct frontage to Stokes Croft) has now reached its finished height of six storeys, although roof finishes will add a bit to the final height.
The steelwork for Block D. behind Croft Dale, is also progressing.
Block C, the Carriageworks building itself, will be the last to be completed, probably by late 2022.
Pictures from mid December 2020
Dave Prowse, known for his roles as Darth Vade and the Green Cross Code Man, has died aged 85.
According to his memoirs, Straight from the Force’s Mouth, Prowse worked for Stokes Croft based Regional Pool Promotions Ltd (RPP) as a Pools Claims Clerk. The company, which in 1966 opened its headquarters at Westmorland House, employed 600 staff on Stokes Croft from where they managed the 4m subscribers, each eager to win a prize based on the success of their allotted football teams. Prowse wrote:
“RPP was a good firm to work for, I got on really well with all my colleagues and initially promotion through the ranks was rapid”. But when the promotions slowed down he challenged one of the company directors as to why. “He told me they were more than happy with my work but felt that I wouldn’t be with them for very long, expecting that sooner or later somebody within my sport would make me an offer I couldn’t refuse and I would leave”. The sport, body building, did indeed attract him away although his enduring fame is more for his role as Darth Vader and, the role he apparently felt most pride in, the Green Cross Man.
More about the Regional Pools Promotions on this site under Stories
When planning permission was granted in 2016 for the Carriageworks development it was agreed that approval of materials and finishes would have to be given by the Council before development began. PG have now submitted their application for approval of materials to be used at the Carriageworks. The application can be found on the Council’s website at this link.
The proposed materials are shown below. We have asked PG precisely where the materials will be used – the information provided refers to which block but not whereabouts on each block.
It is a condition of the 2016 planning permission that the developers “consult and work with local stakeholders, including Carriageworks Action Group” in discharging the condition relating to materials and finishes.
We have received the following update from Jenny Gee, the PR person for PG Group, about works on the Carriageworks site.
As you are aware, welfare units are all set up on site and as now the site is being run by PG Construction Management (Carriageworks) Ltd. This is now the main contractor for the development, rather using external contractors. I am confident that it will mean information will be more forthcoming. The current situation with COVID19 and bringing people back after furlough has added significantly to the already complex requirements of reports, legal and administrative paperwork required to finalise the funding.
We are now able to share a headline Programme of Works which I have attached. I should clarify that this is a draft programme and liable to change due to several factors, the main ones at the moment being Covid and Brexit which are having large knock-on effects on materials and suppliers. Supply issues are affecting elements of the programme as diverse as finalising fixed dates for steel and also straightforward supplies such as brick stocks – just as an example. We ask that you understand these dates are flexible, but PG will try to adhere to them as much as possible.
As you know only too well, it is the groundworks investigations on site that are causing the resulting noise and vibration. Whilst the contractor did measure this aspect of the work, PG is today installing their own measurement equipment which will be closely monitored. The trial pit work has moved across to the old Croftdale side of the site, where levels of concrete are being trialled.
Site working hours start at 8.00am and ending at 5.30pm Mon-Friday.
This was always going to be a difficult site to develop, and PG is doing what they can to keep disruption to a minimum. Going forward, we plan to share activity on site in the following ways:
- Monthly progress reports as well as regular updates whenever work on site might prove more intrusive.
- Site noticeboard at the entrance to be updated weekly
- Site viewing windows punched into the perimeter hoardings
- Security/Time lapse cameras which are now installed
Note that while contractors are not to start work before 8am they can arrive on site earlier than 8am.
PG have started their preliminary works on the Carriageworks site with a view to the main construction starting in the near future.
PG tell us that contractors can arrive on site after 7am and start work from 8am.
The owners of the site on Hepburn Road that includes 86-102 Stokes Croft have made proposals for the redevelopment of the backland and renovation of the street front properties. CAG have looked at these and has the following comments to make:
Development and improvement of the site is supported in principle
2. Construction Site Access
Concern about how this will be achieved.
- Access via Stokes Croft onto Hepburn Rd is impossible due to width of the lane
- Only alternative route is via City Road or Ashley Road, then Brigstock Road and finally the length of the narrow residential Hepburn Road. Very difficult to safely achieve this given its narrow width and parking both sides. Even if they seek to close the road to any parking (which would be very controversial) the 90deg turn from Brigstock Rd may be impossible for larger transporters
- Alternatively everything has to be craned off lorries parked on Stokes Croft – seems to be the only realistic option – but huge disruption on Stokes Croft (aka A38) itself and may not be permitted by Highways
- If Carriageworks development is underway there will already be a considerable amount of construction traffic in the vicinity
- Important that works on Hepburn Road site do not unduly impact Carriageworks construction works
- Combined impact of multiple construction sites on local residents, especially those on Hepburn Road, must be born in mind and appropriate controls and mitigation measures put in place
3. Proposed Use
The scheme design was completed in January, before COVID. We question the demand for student housing post-COVID. If there is a fall in student numbers and demand for student accommodation, what adaptation will there be to other residential uses? Is the scheme sufficiently resilient and flexible to enable it to change to alternative types of residential use? Conversion to HMOs would be detrimental to the area.
Numbers 92, 96 and 98 do not appear to have been granted change of use for residential use. Ground floor units fronting Stokes Croft should all be retail or business use – not residential. This should be a benefit of the scheme for the wider community, will avoid breaking the street frontage, and will better complement the Carriageworks scheme.
4. Impact on Carriageworks Block D
The pre-app states that their Block A “is single aspect with the rear back to back to the blank boundary wall of the carriage works proposals” i.e. Block D of Carriageworks. This needs correction. The rear wall of Block D is not blank – instead it contains six small windows, two of which provide light to kitchens and the remainder of which provide light to hallways. On the ground floor there is a doorway providing access to the narrow service area. The building previously on the site of Block D had windows looking over Croft Dale, so rights to light are established. Clearly Block A of the pre-app scheme could not be built without blocking the windows in Carriagework’s Block D.
The microclimate in the narrow service area between Carriageworks Block D and pre-app Block A, with three storey buildings surrounding it, will be awful. Furthermore, building to the boundary will mean there is no ability to service the rear wall of Block A. A larger space between the buildings would be beneficial.
Block D is a three storey building. Block A is four storeys. There is a difference in ground levels (Block D ground floor is 25.5m above datum), but is it enough for an entire extra storey to be built in Block A so that the roofs of the two buildings are flush, as indicated in the drawings? Assael drawings for Carriageworks suggest there is not enough difference. Proposals to increase Carriageworks Block D above three storey height were previously resisted due to the impact on the immediate neighbourhood. The ground level may have to be lowered to accommodate four storeys.
The residential units in Block D will be sold as 10 affordable housing units. The pre-app proposal is for a 27 unit student housing block immediately adjacent. Is this appropriate, especially if Block A has any rear windows?
5. Stokes Croft Frontage
Currently the parapet wall of 102 Stokes Croft adjoins the Carriageworks below second floor level, thereby creating a significant step-down from the listed building to 102 and the adjoining terrace (note that step-down from adjoining buildings was also a significant issue on the Ashley Road frontage between the unlisted Tucketts Building and neighbouring new-build). The proposal is to increase the height of 102 with a mansard roof, although the drawings are not sufficiently detailed to know how high this will be. Nevertheless. the impact of the step down will be reduced, to the possible detriment of the prominence of the Grade II* listed Carriageworks building.
Furthermore, the band of bluestone on the Carriageworks close to the top of 102’s front wall must not be obscured by any works to No. 102.
Being adjacent to an important listed building the materials used should be of a high quality and meet conservation standards. Windows should be timber, not PVCU.
6. Gated Developments
The pre-app scheme is for a gated development. CAG has been adamant that this is not suitable for the Carriageworks scheme or indeed for anywhere on Stokes Croft. We are concerned that if Hepburn Road scheme is gated it will set a precedent that might in time be used to gate other sites in the area.
CAG has long argued for major development in the area to contribute to the wider social, environmental and economic character and vitality of the area. The mix of space and uses at the Carriageworks helps achieve this and the emerging Cultural Plan will define in more detail how this it will happen. The Hepburn Road scheme, as one of the larger development sites on Stokes Croft, should be encouraged to do likewise and complement other existing uses and investment in the area.
Bristol City Council has granted planning permission to PG Group for two applications:
- Application 20/00894/F for seven apartments on 4th and 5th floor levels of Block A. Samples of materials and finishes have to be approved by the planners before work can begin. Permission was granted on 20 April 2020. Click to view the decision notice.
- Application 19/02364/X changes to internal layout and external appearance of Block A. Permission was granted on 17 April 2020. Click to view the decision notice.
This should clear the way for PG to sign funding and construction contracts for the scheme as a whole (COVID19 permitting).
Plans have been unveiled to redevelop part of Stokes Croft next to the Carriageworks and replace the existing buildings with 66 student flats and nine private lets.
The site is owned by Crescent Property Developments which is registered in Bath, controlled by 24 year old Gerlando Caci, and the owner of 86 to 102 (but possibly not 94 – Rita’s) Stokes Croft as well as the land to the rear (source: mortgage charge on the properties).The proposals, which have not yet been submitted as a planning application, retain the building frontages and retail uses on Stokes Croft. To the rear Croftdale (currently in use as a seven-bed student property), will be demolished along with a neighbouring warehouse.
The proposed Block A of the new development will consist of 27 student beds. Block B will provide eight student beds and nine residential flats. Block C will be a three storey building with two workshop units and ten student beds.
Pegasus Planning Group are acting for Crescent and do not believe that an environmental impact assessment of the development is necessary. In a planning statement they write “Given the low impact of the proposal, it is considered that whilst there will be some effects upon the historic environment as a consequence of the scheme, none of these are considered to constitute ‘significant effects’ upon the environment, as set out in the relevant guidance. Accordingly, it is considered that the screening proposal constitutes Non-EIA development.”