What local people said to Fifth Capital

Last week (on 14 January) local people met with Fifth Capital to discuss their proposals to redevelop the Carriageworks site.  After Fifth Capital and their architects had given their presentation the 60 or so people attending were asked to get into groups and formulate questions about the proposals. These were written on post-its which are typed up below. The post-its formed the basis of the subsequent Q&A session with the developers grouped around the Vision themes. Not every issue could be covered and not every question got a clear answer but what they did tell us is covered on the accompanying page ‘What Fifth Capital told the community meeting‘. On the whole the people who came along were sceptical to the extent that at the end of the meeting John Assael, the architect, was almost pleading for some support!

 Community (and ground floor) Uses

  • Essential to have answers about the management of the site. Proposals for management e.g. shop units, hard and soft landscapes. We need confidence in the application.
  • The exhibition in Autumn 2014 said there would be consultants talking to the community in quarter 4 about arts and ground floor uses of the community space behind the Carriageworks.
  • Will it have anything to offer the local community – Picton St or multiculturalism in St Pauls?
  • Fear of supermarkets.
  • Why is there so little for the community?
  • Will commercial businesses be local independents or chains?
  • There should not be an “inside”! Unclear about uses about these especially commercial and ability to combine units to form unsociably large units.
  • We’re not happy about the loss of community / workshop spaces.

Through Route

  • Will it be open? Need public right-of-way.
  • Permeability shown is disingenuous.
  • Permeability – convoluted route. Could be gated later for exclusivity.
  • Disingenuous permeability – this is designed to fail. Will gates get added? New residents will complain.
  • Access is arranged so that it can be blocked off. How can we be sure this will not happen?
  • The through access is designed so it can be blocked off. How can this be retained?

Housing

  • SPD10 7.2 Affordable Housing 7.2.1 shows affordable housing as 30% – why has this been ignored? 7.2.2 Family Housing having gardens at ground floor level. Where is the provision on site for the block backing onto the rear of Hepburn Road?
  • Fear that flats will be bought off-plan or as investment opportunities.
  • Lack of affordable housing.
  • Buy to rent market? Will buyers buy flats and rent at high prices forcing lower paid workers out?
  • No provision of social housing – no homes available for rent.
  • Who are these apartments really for?
  • Where is the social rented property?
  • Will homes be sold on the open market?
  • How quickly will be for sale?
  • How many at a time?
  • Any priority for local people?
  • Will they be available under help to buy scheme?
  • Is it right that family homes are adjacent to a bail hostel?
  • What provision will there be for internal community space?
  • Need to know who will live there – need cohesion with wider community especially St Pauls.
  • There is no social housing – shared equity does not count.
  • Too many single flats, too few family homes.
  • SPD10 – local Plan to encourage family and affordable housing.
  • Lack of affordable homes – only 7%. SPD10 says 30%.
  • Poor mix of tenure with no homes for rent.
  • Concerns about buy-to-let opportunities.
  • Lacks any thought about need for social housing and community businesses.
  • Who will live there? If market decides how fit with locality? Social housing – need some. No more gated communities. What about access – public right of way?

Design

  • Does it have to be so dense to be viable?
  • Where will building materials be sourced from? Local? Are building materials locally sourced? Are the materials sourced locally?
  • Will the scheme be built in one phase? If it is to be built in two or more phases presume that the Carriageworks will be done in Phase 1.
  • What has happened to Future City?
  • Is this not further gentrification of St Pauls?
  • Concern re height of units on Hepburn Road and overlooking roof top gardens.
  • Demolition of Westmoreland House unanimously approved.
  • Concern about shadowing of immediate area.
  • Design is ‘inside’ and ‘out’ – there’s no flow – will lead to a feeling of exclusion
  • Hepburn Road gets a Berlin Wall as a view – very overpowering for St Pauls residents – how will this be addressed?
  • Tree – protection of.
  • Flood plain.
  • Conservation area.

Parking and access

  • Deliveries to the new businesses: where will they arrive? Traffic at the top of Ashley Road is often very heavy.
  • How will businesses do deliveries – very difficult.
  • Fire service access to the site. Moving into flats – access is very restricted.
  • How do people move in to the flats? Access is very restricted. How is this supposed to work?
  • How is fire service going to access the site to ensure safety of residents?
  • How to residents empty their refuse and recycling? How does it work? Any refuse trucks would block the disabled parking access.
  • Concern regarding expensive parking provision affecting the project viability and so the percentage provision of affordable housing.
  • Disabled parking will be blocked by refuse trucks.
  • On site car club – 10-12 spaces – will parking be adequate.
  • Concerns about car parking.
  • Junction – create an improved general space.

Delivery – finances

  • Is the scheme financially viable?
  • How much is being paid for the site?

Delivery – jobs

  • Given the number of jobs that have gone out of the local area, will there be a commitment to local employment?
  • Will any consideration be given to employing local people in the development?
  • Given that all jobs (and profits) so far are destined for London please can the architect and developer assure us that jobs and training opportunities and senior posts will be available to local people.
  • Local jobs – employment opportunity. Apprenticeships for project for after build.

Delivery – relationship with Comer

  • The relationship between Fifth Capital and the owners is murky.
  • Can the current owner still scupper your plans and, if so, what is their disincentive? How much would it cost them to prevent it and keep the site undeveloped again?
  • Can you set out in plain English what the on-going relationship is with / between Fifth Capital and Comer?

Delivery – involvement of the community

  • What community involvement will be there be from now on?

Delivery – long term management

  • Do Fifth Capital intend to retain the development or sell it on? If it is sold on, how will commitment on management be honoured?
  • What guarantees that whey they say now will go forward?

And finally…

  • What are the water run-off plans?
  • Given that the value of these buildings have given their owners assets on their balance sheets, isn’t it time for the local community to benefit?
  • Why should we accept profit making outsiders over the popular model developed by CAG and Knightstone, designed to meet local need?
  • Not by commercial non-local.
  • Anything to stop foreign investors bulk buying?
  • How can we trust a company whose representative so blatantly disrespects the Chair of this community meeting? (refers to architects refusal to keep to agreed time).
  • As the Chair of a Social Housing group why should I support this (at present I am urging Councillors to reject) as:
    • No social housing – shared equity is NOT social
    • Car parking is naive
    • Money not clear
    • Relationship Fifth Capital and (Comer)
    • No community element
  • Why are there no detailed plans on display tonight?
  • Comparison with the Knightstone scheme is unfair. Their proposals were really very early stage ideas. This should be made clear.
  • How to you feel about riding on the back of years of community work and wrecking it?
  • This is a real tooth and claw private development that offers little or nothing to the local community. It offers nothing in terms of self-determination. It is a luxury development visited upon a vibrant community that will change its nature irrevocably – all in pursuit of profit. How do you sleep at nights?
  • There is no element of community ownership in this development.
  • This is a purely commercial development. It is not clear how this benefits the local community.
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