You may be aware of a second developer emerging with an interest in developing the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House site. Marc Pennick, through his company Fifth Capital London, has drawn together a team of London consultants to work up competing plans for the future of the site.
Don’t worry though; this isn’t derailing Knightstone who are still the Council’s preferred developer for the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House. The local housing association emerged from an intensive selection process in 2013 run by the City. It had the Community Vision at its heart and the possible use of compulsory purchase powers to make sure that something actually happens. Knightstone’s plans are on our website and were the result of wide consultation last summer.
Nevertheless, Marc Pennick says that he has now acquired a controlling interest in the form of an option to buy the site, presumably with the help of the current owners, Comer Homes (who still list the site as one of their “future” developments). We don’t yet know the terms of the option, how long it lasts or whether Pennick intends to build himself or sell on to a third developer.
Pennick and his PR consultant Ralph Scott of Four Communications have been writing to local organisations and councillors asking to meet them to explain the plans. The letter says that he is “seeking to bring forward a mixed use scheme that addresses the aspirations of both the City and the local community, with due consideration given to the listed buildings.” Sounds good, although with no apparent track record, at least not on the internet, we can only take him at his word.
In the spirit of openess and because we’re jolly good sorts, members of the CAG Liaison Group will next week be meeting Marc Pennick, Ralph Scott, Assael Architects and his planning consultants to find our more. We’ll let you know what they say!
In the meantime we’re also staying on the ball with Knightstone and will be talking to them about their progress and the timescale for submitting a planning application. We’ll let you know what they say as well.