Carriageworks Action Group meeting on Wednesday 19th September

Dear Friends and Colleagues

The next Carriageworks Action Group meeting will be on Wednesday 19th September from 6 – 8 p.m. in the Hall, St Pauls Learning and Family Centre, 94 Grosvenor Rd, St Paul’s, BS2 8XJ

The purpose of the meeting is to let you know what’s been happening over the past few months, and what will be happening next.

ALL ARE WELCOME. No “conflict of interest” issues are on the agenda, and it would be great to see as many friends and supporters of the Carriageworks Vision as can make it.
So, what’s been going on?

Seeking a Development Partner: The Council has started the process of seeking a “Development Partner” for the site. As the name suggests, this is an organisation, or group or consortium of organisations, that will support the Council to buy the site, and then to develop it. We need a development partner because Bristol City Council alone does not have the money to do all this. The partner will be an organisation that can bring additional resources, money, time and experience that will make the Community Vision happen.

Members of the Liaison Group have been working closely with Jan and other Council officers, and Councillors, to ensure that
·    the Community Vision is at the heart of this procurement process
·    the development partner that is selected will work closely with us to deliver the Vision
·    there is as much community involvement as is legally possible in the procurement process.

The procurement process is long, complex and universally unpopular. We are only using it because it is required by law when a local authority “buys” any service costing more that £15,000. As the cost of buying and developing the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House site will clearly be an expensive business, and because it will need the active involvement of the Council, we have to use the procurement process.

We are ever mindful of the need to work with the Council because the site is privately owned. If attempts to buy the site by agreement fail it is likely that the Council will have to seek a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) to enable its development in line with the Community Vision.  Most CPOs are made under powers given to local authorities, and the Council must be able to demonstrate that the CPO is necessary and that there is a ‘compelling case in the public interest’. It also must be able to demonstrate that everything done leading to the CPO has been done within the law. The consequence is that we need to procure a development partner, but CAG, through the Liaison Group, is working to make this as inclusive a process as is possible within the law.

If you want to know more about this procurement malarkey, how it works and how long it takes, see http://www.bristol.gov.uk/page/tenders-and-contracts If you want a simpler more personal briefing then come along to the meeting on 19th September where a member of the council’s procurement team will make a short presentation.

The Prospectus for the development partner is available under the Docs tab. If you are interested in bidding or know an organisation that might want to bid then follow the instructions in the prospectus to register online.

Liaison Group and 2md: The Liaison Group represents the community interest within the procurement process – and all other stages working to the development of the site. Our main roles are to work with the Council to seek the development of the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House site, and to ensure that any actions to develop the site are in line with the Community Vision. We also aim to make the procurement process as open as it can legally be, and to stretch the level of community engagement as far as we can. See Who we are.

At our request, Bristol City Council, through Jan, has brought Julian Mellor and Hugh Nettelfield back to help us out. Some people will know Julian and Hugh as the facilitators and organisers of the consultation process that ran from September to December last year. Their role in this next period will be to represent the Liaison Group in the procurement process, and to ensure that the community vision is fully reflected in the developer selection.

I am aware that there is a high gobbledygook factor whenever anyone talks about procurement. If you want to know more, please do come to the CAG meeting on 19th September. We will try to explain it without jargon!

Finally, you may be aware that the planning application submitted by the current owner has been disposed of by Bristol City Council, so it is no longer being considered. This is because the Planning Department had not received any revisions to the scheme or additional information as requested in 2011. This issue is entirely separate to CAG’s role and any of our actions. I am just letting you know because of your interest in the Carriageworks / Westmoreland House site.

I hope to see you on the 19th September.

Best wishes,
Lori, Chair, CAG

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