Updates from Bristol Planning Committee

Click refresh for the latest from the Planning Committee.  We’ll update at the top of the page.

18:58  The room empties!

18:57 A vote. All for except for Ani S-T who votes against.

18:49 Cllr Martin Fodor. We’ve seen community objection, a developer pull rug out of CPO. There was a lot of pressure on us in April to refuse permission. Felt ambivelent that we were going to send it back for improvements as refusing would have resulted in appeal. It’s an important lesson. Our ambition needs to be as high as it can be. With strong messages we have achieved more. We might not have everything that all would like, but we have an agreement that is a partnership with the community. Agree on wording to “work with community” not just “consult with”. That will strengthen it and show what we really wanted.  Chair wants to deal with this issue. Sees consultation as something that we have a formula for (MF says he’s not sure we do). Would be worried about nebulous word like “work” – not sure we understand that in the Council (laughter). Would be dangerous to include words that could be misinterpreted. Don’t believe it worthy of change. MF: Some people in public look sceptical. Consultation can be done badly or well. Working in partnership requires a certain standard. Also wants to raise local employment – needs to be monitored. There is still disquiet that we’re not getting a % of affordable or social housing that is our aspiration – the viability test can be abused. We should thank officers, community and developer. To wrap up: wants to see “working in partnership” used as the wording. Cllr Helen Holland: we have the SCI – refer to that in the Condition? Cllr Ani S-T: The importance is that it is remarkable how well FC have worked with CAG, but we need to ensure that this is iron clad in the future – whichever way it is worded has to be iron clad. Chair: would be happy with ref to SCI – it gives us something to refer to. Agreed on that change.

18:45  Cllr Peter Abraham. Have been involved in planning for 50 years. Have seen dark times regarding this building. Was threatened by the owner.  Never believed we’d get to where we are – it seemed impossible. Today this is better than I hoped for. Only a short time ago the scheme was not acceptable to me and many others. It’s right that it’s as good as we’re going to get. We shouldn’t sell ourselves short. But it needs action. So I’d like to thank Officers for the work to get it right and interpret our views, and the developer who has picked up and listened, and the community who has really changed things and changed their own views. This is partnership to get the best we can and pull it off. But, but, we have to be vigilent. We still have to watch what happens. I hope the Conditions are strong enough to hold firm. Accept that some things are beyond planning control, but they’re not beyond us as a Council. So we need to step in if people are going to become homeless. Move that we grant planning permission with conditions in the report. Seconded. Martin Fodor wants to speak.

18:43  Cllr (can’t see his name, sitting next to Helen Holland): Congratulates community groups and officers in ensuring the scheme is as good as possible, and the developer for changing the scheme. No doubt that the scheme needs redeveloping. Our committee wants the best project, not just any old one. The street art on Carriageworks is ever changing. I will miss that aspect, but not the rest of the state of the building. Interested in public art Condition 14. As much as I am a fan of grafitti art I am aware it can lead to tagging. Would be nice if some balance could be made so that street art is confined and concerns of neighbours are taken on board. Pleased to see even delivery hours and bin collections conditions are in place.

18:41 Cllr Helen Holland. Wasn’t here in April. Really delighted that there has been such a level of engagement and that community feels they have had real influence. Want to pick up on Rob Telford’s point re wishing this had been done first time. Council has a prize winning Statement of Community Invovlmeent. This scheme should be used as best practice in how SCI works. This has been far beyond, and has turned a mountain of objection into support. Will be voting in favour.

18:36 Cllr Ani Stafford Townsend. Crucial that CAG stay involved. Would like proposed amendment but change from simply consult with to “work with”.  Also a few other issues.  A2 Dominion have been mentioned a few times, but no mention in the Conditions. The mention of them has sweetened the plan to the community. Would like to see A2 or another RSL included in the conditions. Chair asks for answer to this point. Planning Officer says we can’t specify which companies to work with. But can say a registered provider has to provide the affordable housing. (Misses the point that Ani is talking about more than just the 8 affordable units). The delivery management plan will establish a relationship of the nature with A2 but can’t nail it down beyond affordable housing. Ani: re the travellers – wants a condition that they have 6 months to vacate the site. Planner: We can’t condition this through planning conditions but we can contact housing colleagues and alert them to the need for their services.

18:33  Cllr Mark Wright. I spoke against the scheme in April. The previous plans were difficient in a number of ways, pleased they were sent back for more work. Genuinely surprised when I saw what came back. Normally the developer comes back with only notional change. That’s not happened here. My gasp was well and truly flabbered. Fifth Capital have addressed the issues in a serious way. The plans we see now are very much improved. Not brilliant – affordable housing could be better. But they have done enough and a bit more to conform with the Vision. Feel that these plans are good enough and workable. Will lead to a positive improvement of the local community. Agree need ongoing community involvment in case Marc goes under a bus. Developers don’t normally behave like this. I support the plans.

18:29  Peter Westbury is going through the changes to the proposals comparing before and after. Cycle parking, relationship with Tucketts and the new walkway through, absence of any gates, Ashley Road frontage (lowered in scale and gap to Tucketts), affordable housing now in block backing on Croft Dale at southern side of site, alterations to building heights to reduce overlooking on Hepburn Road. Any questions? Officer opinion is that the scheme can be supported.

18:26  End of statements. Peter Westbury, Planning Officer now speaking. Two points to highlight. Refer to the amendment sheet esp. P.25. Suggesting to put on the decision notice Conditions 12,13,14, 15 & 19 that CAG and other stakeholders are involved in discussions.  Other Conditions are technical matters that wouldn’t attract debate –  things that either are or aren’t.  Also mentions Condition 19 re delivery management plan – it has a number of elements that have come out in the public comments received. Condition 19 already includes establishing a resident liaison group.

18:21  Next five – no one to speak. Following five – no one to speak. Following five – Chris Chalkley from PRSC to speak. For last two days I’ve been at Bristol New Economy Summit where some of the city’s brightest minds are trying to work out ways to build a future that can work bearing in mind climate change and the financial system – looking for new thinking. The fundamental thing with the proposed development is that it is old thinking. The market mechanisms do not deliver what is required for community so we end up with a scheme that does not fulfil the spirit of the Vision – although Marc has worked hard to get a flavour of it. Can’t blame him – he’s a capitalist! But you end up with 10% affordable housing. There are people who think differently. Stokes Croft is at the forefront. CAG and the community have fought for a long time over this empty property. In the face of extraordinary difficulty they have done pretty well.  Nationally Labour councillor have a new leader that focuses on equality. For the Greens – what does a resilient city look like?

18:17 Marc Pennick speaking. 6 months ago the decision was deferred so that differences could be worked through. 1400 people had objected.  Now it’s only 2. Fifth Capital has listened to the community and worked with CAG. Have met with residents of Hepburn Road and addressed their concerns. Changed the Ashley Road building.  Worked with Tucketts building who now support the scheme. There is space for independent businesses and a market, and the amount of business space is increased. You asked me to listen to the community, we have and the community has spoken. Please consider the proposal before you.

18:16 Rob Telford. Won’t repeat what’s already been said – but this is about community involvement. There are lessons for the city to learn. There is still the outstanding issue of affordable housing – we’re not meeting the 30% target. Need to keep this in mind in the city otherwise it’s a worthless policy.

18:14  Prue Hardwick.  Wants to reiterate that Marc Pennick has broken all the stereotypes. No longer the ‘don’t give a toss’ ‘big bad wolf’ from London. But we need to build in community engagement in case he goes under a bus. Bear in mind that you the Councillors want this to be as good as possible.  Without CAG there none of us have the power to influence – we are the watch dogs to nip at the heals and help the Council out. Hold your heads up and say “we did the best we could”.

18:10 The next five statements, but none of them are here / want to speak. The next five: Lori Streich to speak for CAG. Thank you to everyone who supports our position. Five years of hard work to get to where we are and to bring the community behind a vision for the site and to work with the developer. Hard work but we’re nearly there.  But many details still to address.  Key questions for CAG: 1. Maintain close involvement with CAG. A precedent from Trafford Council. Fifth Capital are keen for involvemenet. But we’d like it written into the Committee’s decision. So far the Committee has been bold to get collaboration with the community.  Need it in writing to continue in case a different developer gets involved. 2. Still some concerns, mainly affordable housing. We’ve had constructive discussions with Fifth Capital and A2 Dominion. Would like to ensure that committee gets Officers to work with us to get amount of affordable housing increased and even get social housing included. Finally, thank you to the committee and to Fifth Capital for working with us and producing a much more acceptable scheme.

18:09 The first five statements. Hugh Nettelfield speaking: a sense of gratitude that Fifth Capital have engaged with the community and changed their scheme. But a sense that we need to maintain community involvement at every stage. 1. Need to ensure a reasonable local employment strategy that is properly monitored. 2. Need an effective management plan with community involvement at its heart.

18:08  They’re dealing with other procedural matters before getting to Carriageworks

18:05  Cllrs Ani Stafford-Townsend and Mark Wright say that although they previously objected to Carriageworks application they are now open minded.

18:03  The Chair (Cllr Peter Abraham) says there are 40 statements but only 30 mins so he’s going to ask for people to speak in groups of five!

18:01  Under starters order, and they’re off (with a sound check)

17:54   Everyone is gathering.  The room is full of UWE first year planning students. What will they make of this?!

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