Members of CAG liaison group (Lori, Prue and Julian) today met with Marc Pennick of Fifth Capital and Assael Architecture to discuss the proposals for the Carriageworks.
The meeting was setup following the resolution of the Planning Committee on 8 April to defer a decision on the planning application pending discussions on a number of key issues. The Committee specified that CAG should be involved in discussions on these issues. The Community Vision is clear in stating that CAG will work with anyone who will deliver the Vision so we wanted to hear if Marc was now able to make sufficient changes to achieve this position prior to the more formal discussions with the planners.
At the beginning of the meeting we asked that we follow Chatham House rules i.e. we wouldn’t report exactly what any party said, just the overall outcome. This was so that we could all speak freely without fear of (mis)quotation.
The meeting seems to have been productive. Since the Planning Committee, Marc seems to understand the reasons behind local opposition. He is still determined to get planning permission but in order to do so is willing to look at a number of changes which he hopes will earn local support by addressing these concerns.
We explained the main concerns with his proposals and the sort of changes that we thought would be needed to bring the scheme much more in line with the Community Vision.
Quite whether Marc will be able to make sufficient changes remains to be seen, but he was willing to listen, suggest ideas and try to find common ground. At the same time he is clear that the economics of the site must stack up if anything is to happen and that he won’t be able to give everything that we might want.
The formal process of three way discussions between the planners, Fifth Capital and CAG will take place probably after the elections. For the moment Marc is considering the changes that he could make. Depending upon the advice and requirements of the planners the changes may have to be the subject of another round of public consulation and comment before they go back to Committee. We will also ensure that we hold a CAG Community Forum to examine and comment on the proposals.
We look forward to seeing Marc’s amended proposals.