Planning Chief slams Carriageworks scheme

A senior Planner has slammed the Fifth Capital proposals for the Carriageworks. He says it should be refused planning permission as it is contrary to Government and City Council policies and against the principles of sustainable development.

Costas Georghiou is Visiting Professor of Architecture & Urban Design at the University of Wolverhampton and was previously the Chief Planning & Highways Officer for the City of Wolverhampton and Head of Urban Design at Bristol City Council.

In an objection lodged with the City Council Professor Georghiou maintains that the proposals for 118 flats and houses on the site represent over-development and will be detrimental to the living conditions, amenity, health and well-being of future residents. Fifth Capital have claimed that the economics of developing the site mean that the proposed density of development is essential. But Professor Georghiou says this should not be an excuse for poor and sub-standard development especially where it creates poor living conditions and is both damaging to the wider community and contrary to policy.

In particular Professor Georghiou highlights the lack of natural light and ventilation that will afflict over half the flats as a result of only having one external wall. In many cases this wall faces North East and thus away from the path of the sun. The resulting lack of sunlight will have not only health implications for residents but will also mean higher heating bills due to the lack of solar gain.

The lack of sunlight also impacts upon the open spaces in the scheme.  While artist’s impressions show courtyards bathed in direct sunlight, the reality is that the tall buildings will cast long shadows thus meaning that the spaces will be far from attractive areas for residents to sit in and relax. It also means that the proposed vegetable garden will be in shade throughout the afternoon.

Professor Georghiou has also criticised the way in which some of the blocks are too close to the southern boundary thus impacting upon any future potential to redevelop neighbouring sites.  Residents in Hepburn Rd have voiced similar concerns and are alarmed at the proximity of the buildings to their gardens and back rooms. The cramped development also means that the gardens for so-called family houses are much too small and will not provide the space for children to play.

Finally Professor Georghiou points out that the huge 86 space refuse store is much too close to residential units which will suffer from smells and contamination.

Professor Georghiou sets out the steps that would have to be taken to make the proporsals acceptable including reducing the height of residential blocks from six to four stories, giving apartments double aspects in order to increase natural daylight, moving residential units away from refuse stores, moving one of the blocks away from the boundary with neighbouring properties and increasing the size of gardens.  In the absence of these steps he firmly believes that the City Council must refuse planning permission.

Download and read Costas’ full submission to the City Council (pdf)

To write your own submission, read our handy guide and then follow the instructions here…

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