Notes of 10th Sept 2015 Community Meeting

Carriageworks Community Meeting

10 September 2015, 6:30pm, Hamilton House

c.30 people attended including: from CAG Liaison Group; Lori Streich, Pete Bullard, Geoff Butterfield, Janine McCretton, Prue Hardwick, Julian Mellor and from Fifth Capital; Marc Pennick, Karen Jones, Pete Ladhams. Also Cllr Rob Telford and Cllr Ani Stafford-Townsend.

Key: Q = question or comment from member of public. A = answer by member of the Fifth Capital team.

Note: to aid readability the questions and answers have been arranged under headings so are not necessarily shown in chronological order.

Download the slides used in the presentation (23Mb PDF)

Welcome

By Lori. Aim is to hear about the changes to the scheme as now lodged with the planners. Date for Committee not yet confirmed. Chance for you to ask questions. For CAG this is us taking the temperature. The Liaison Group does not have a collective position on the changes but we have had many discussions with FC. There have been a lot of changes since April and since June meeting. Too late for more changes to the proposals so it is about is seeing how everyone feels about the scheme and to find out what happens next.

Presentation by Fifth Capital

MP: want to spend more time on questions and discussion and less on us talking.

KJ: we’ll go through main changes. Plan to go to committee on 14th Oct but planners’ decision on that only on 28th of Sept.

PL: Main design issues were cycle parking, relationship with 108, scale on Ashley Road, gates, engagement with community. Also: contribution to road junction, on site renewables, planning conditions re ground floor, timescale for development, affordable housing. Slide shows list of meetings with community held since April. Explanation of changes:

  • Through route. New permeable route with community and commercial activities in active ground floor spaces, larger central space. Wider width (4.2 to 4.5m) between Ashley Road building and 108 (allows vehicle access into the square e.g. for market). Bins are now inside (as opposed to in alleyway).
  • Taken floor off Ashley Road building and pushed it back from pavement edge (up to 6m from pavement front edge).
  • Smaller more affordable flats and some studios. Overall a loss of 6 apartments.
  • Reduced scale of building facing Hepburn Rd, removed balconies, moved main reception rooms to other façade (to avoid overlooking of neighbours), angled windows away from Hepburn Rd to avoid overlooking. Also looked at greening elevations to prevent grafitti. Pushed back roof terraces.
  • Increased number of solar panels, in part increased by removing one floor from Ashley Rd block.
  • Removed gates, improved servicing and parking arragenments, reduced building size at rear, more visitor cycle parking, play area moved to front square, removed the building that used to bridge over adj to 108.
  • Slide with summary of changes
  • 32 visitor cycle spaces. Remainder of 216 are for residents.

Slides showing access route from Ashley Road, Godwin Yard, Ashley Road building. Bin storage strategy – localised bin stores for residents, market, commercial units. Secure Bike storage for residential units and 32 visitor spaces in the main square, Stokes Croft, Hepburn Road, rear square etc.

We’ll put presentation on the website.

KJ: Have agreed to start on site within 2 years.

Delivery Management Plan: Shows how it can become an effective tool for making a difference locally. There is opportunity to mould it. Core principles identify potential occupiers. Emphasis on independent, art spaces, performance, Godwin display space etc. Use of space for market with infrastructure. c.25 market spaces. Stalls will be on site. Other guiding rules:

  • Target independents – 75% of gross retail to be independent
  • Target on split between retail, art and other uses
  • How to ensure that market is well utilised
  • Rules on management of space by the managmeent company and how that may be set up.
  • Key principles for fit out e.g. regarding noise spill out that may affect residents
  • Promotes constant liaison with the Council to make sure it is an active management plan – anticipate it will form part of a legally agreed S.106 with the Council.

Discussion

PH: Want comments, but try to make them real. This place will only work if the people make it work. It’s past the point of just being about the buildings.

LS: We need a process for comments that contribute to a dialogue. Planning website only allows for comment, not debate. So email them to CAG or post on our website and the discussion can continue there.

Management Plan

Q: Is management plan part of a condition? A: Yes. It will be a legal agreement – harder to change than a condition. So part of the S.106.

Q: Going forward to when the management plan is being implemented, will those legal obligations be added as covenants or as something else? A: The management plan will be in a legal agreement with the Council. There will be a commercial leaseholder and below that a committee that oversees site management. The Committee will include people living and working there.

RT: 75% independent shops. Strong feelings about large companies. Why not 100%? MP: My position is clear. I like pop-ups, good for ideas. I don’t believe long leases work – they attract big companies, short leases give people the chance to come in without tying themselves up for 15 years. So keep short 6mth to 3 year leases. Equally the leases have to be viable for people running the businesses – so need long enough to get established and make it work.

Q: Don’t want so rigid that you start kicking out successful businesses.

A: 75% came as a starting point for discussion – so can change. MP: It’s about trust. This isn’t multinationals, this is independents that will make it work.

Q: There is a case for provision of community space that is accessible, safe, open for a lot of time. There is no community centre for city centre residents.

Q: What space is available for the community? A: Going for a wide range of uses in the units.

Q: Concern re community uses. Still commercial. Rented to highest bidder. Doesn’t equate as community use. Hamilton House uses happen because rent is cheap, PRSC provides cheap rents. Fundamental issue over ownership. If it’s private with absentee landlords – community won’t have control over the space. Any way of moving towards what community owned buildings are trying to do. Have property owned by a Land Trust rather than absentee landlords who will let units to multiples. MP: Been speaking to Dominic about the Land Trust. I have offered discussions to find a formula for the site that works. I’m trying to do pop-ups, short leases, flexible terms. Don’t know how many of the units can be used in that way. Rents – comes back to managmeent of the whole block. Will go at the lower end of estimates. But scheme has to be viable to fund the management of the site and the buildings. Like what happens in Hamilton House – want to do similar on the site.

PH: The site provides the market which is accessible to everyone. There is a chance for people to sell things without having to rent an entire shop. Community use isn’t always about toddler groups etc. The chances to get your products in front of the public is not always easy in this area. The market has great possibilities with low barriers to entry.

JM: importance of the management plan in nailing down the future. The management plan will give a lot of the detail and that will be negotiated.

Housing

Q: Size of living space. A: 15sqm living rooms – a good size.

Q: Is there affordable housing? A: % has gone up but not as much as we hoped. Moved profit down from 20% to 17% and working with A2 Dominion Group which is making a big invesmtent in Bristol with mixture of housing types. Opened first office in Bristol on Monday. Will handle sales, market rented and affordable housing. The affordable housing is all of the block adj to back of Carriageworks & Croft Dale.

Q: Who will own the site freehold? A: A2

Q: What is the change in affordable housing? A: Now 10 affordable units, so 9% overall.

Q: Is A2 a not-for-profit housing association? A: Yes. Q: So while we haven’t got what we wanted in terms of affordable, at least A2 will have a fair private rented and better than buy-to-let money grabbers. A: Big insurance companies are buying rented on basis rents will increase. A2 don’t speculate on increasing rents other than with inflation. They’re one of biggest landlords. They take a 20-30 year view.

Q: Have BCC accepted A2 as an RSL? A: Not known, but not thought to be a problem. JM: informal discussions with housing officers – they’re fine with A2.

Q: Any family affordable? A: No.

Q: Are the houses for rent or sale? A: Private market for sale.

Q: Cost of 3 bed house? A: Viability Appraisal should be completed next week. MP will release it as soon as officers approve it.

Parking

Q: Are all six parking spaces disabled? A: Yes

Q: All those houses and no cars? RT: It’s a central site with good transport and lots of bike parking, potential to hire cars etc. Residents need to come in with the mindset of not having a car.

Development process

JM: What happens after planning committee assuming permission? A: Depends on the committee but:

  • Will ask the travellers to move on. Will give them enough time 3-4 months. Need Council included in this dialogue. Traveller: Understood it to be 6 months. MP: OK – whatever is sensible. I’ll stick to what I said before.
  • If I get planning in October, still have to sign S.106, working drawings, management plan. 6 months will go quickly. Traveller: so long as we can keep the communication. MP: just need the point of contact.
  • Start on site after 6 months. Build period will be 18-24 months. Construction company will be to come up with site management plan.
  • Ongoing engagement with the community from the point of planning permission.

Q: Assume everything is viable. Is there a risk that the whole thing will be given to someone else – e.g. by Comer. MP: No chance of it being taken on by someone else, have legal agreement. Have gone as far as I can in terms of design changes and meeting the concerns of neighbours etc.

Q: Is there a risk of someone turning round and saying it’s not viable and therefore has to be changed? A: We are working with others to get ourselves ready on the hope of getting planning. Even if we don’t we won’t walk away.

Names

Q: What will the place be called? Put something on the CAG website for names?

Public Art

Q: What space for expression of the local community e.g. artistically. Q: Other parts of the community are sick of the grafitti.

Q: How to stop tagging? Protective surfaces? A: Management plan will deal with this. Q: Brick will absorb – you can seal.

LS: Green walls at the back are to stop the tagging, and also make it less of a Berlin wall.

Q: Any public art provision? A: Haven’t been asked to do this but anticipate it being a condition. LS: We will want to continue the dialogue on this and many other issues.

MP: Management plan is a joint approach with A2 and Leadbitter the construction company. PH: Looking for feedback from local people.

Toilets

Q: If there is public space there should be public toilet. What provision? A: We have toilets for market operators and expect toilets in café space, but until we know what the use will be we wouldn’t expect to provide public toilets. Could go in, but likely to be in a café.

CAG’s response to the revised planning application

Q: What will CAG do now? BCC decision will be influenced by what CAG says. LS and others: We are a conduit for opinion. The Liaison Group has not decided on a response. Could be that there is no single response. We could do a single response and publish a draft for comment before we submit it. Each individual comment will carry more weight because there is likely to be fewer of them.

Q: We could say how each point has been responded to. And leave it for the committee.

Straw-poll

We took a straw-poll at the end of the meeting and while we didn’t actually count the hands, it was something like 40% (maybe a bit more) in favour of it getting planning permission with the rest evenly split between against and abstain.

Meeting ended c.8:20pm

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2 thoughts on “Notes of 10th Sept 2015 Community Meeting

  1. Thank you so much for getting on with it. I am a bit under the weather at the moment. And about the public toilets- had to wash out 4 pairs of trousers because of close hit accidents in my home. I am loughing about it at the moment. Best greetings. Danuta Lidia Frasolowicz- Kellett

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  2. From Benoit Bennett, sent via email.

    Whilst it is evident that 5th Capital have been trying to meet the various objections of those vocal in opposing their plans, I think they have entirely sidestepped issues of housing density, quality and affordability.
    The main reasoning behind the lack of movement of these issues (and their inadequate consideration in the original design) is justified by the feasibility study, taking the price of the site, and working from there. I’d assert however that if the feasibility study says that these issues could not be improved upon because of the initial cost of the site then maybe the site has been overvalued. As the price used as the basis for the study is one worked out between 5th Capital and the Comer brothers, and is significantly higher than the Council’s own valuation (made in relation to the compulsory purchase order), it seems to me that this fundamental aspect of the whole process has been spun to the advantages of the Comers, and the detriment of everybody else.

    The proposed price being offered on the site is too high, as it prevents any potential development from meeting the council’s guidelines on affordable and social housing.

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