PG Submit Application to Vary Planning Conditions

On 8 August PG Group submitted an application to vary the conditions attached to the planning permission gained by Fifth Capital in October 2015. The application has to be determined by Tuesday 07 Nov 2017.

The application and supporting documents can be found on the Council’s planning portal. Public comments can be submitted via the portal.

Planning Statement

Bristol based planning consultants CSJ provide the supporting planning statement. To summarise:

  • There are many pre-commencement conditions that have to be dealt with prior to demolition. This impacts on feasibility and deliverarbility of the project.
  • Planning permission expires in July 2018 so there is limited time.
  • Delaying some of the conditions until after demolition will allow for site constraints to be properly assessed, investigative works and preparation of a suitable construction contract.
  • The Carriageworks is unsafe and therefore needs demolition of the rear wall and internal structure (see justification below).

PG are proposing changes to 11 conditions attached to the planning permission (one more than we were told about in July) and 2 conditions attached to the listed building consent. These are summarised in the table below.  PG’s stated aim is to avoid delays and “provide precision to the wording of the conditions” but that “the proposed variations will not prejudice the reasons for imposing the relevant conditions”.

Justification For Early Demolition

Bristol construction company Bray and Slaughter provide a justification for early demolition of Westmorland House and parts of the Carriageworks.  This mostly refers to the structural weakness of the Carriageworks due to fire and weather damage plus asbestos which all result in health and safety risks. While these are not new the danger posed prevents further investigations which are needed for structural design to proceed e.g. to establish: the foundation lines of neighbouring buildings, site contamination, ground conditions etc.

The report also refers to the intention to crush Westmorland House’s concrete frame on site for reuse as “a working platform / possible piling mat”.

CAG’s Response

The PG Group told us about the proposed changes in July which we summarised in our post on 21 July on this website. CAG’s position is that we will work with any developer who embraces our Vision. We understand the difficulties that some of the conditions pose for PG, especially given the complexity of carrying out demolition on the site. There is however a long history of this community having the proverbial done to it so, while we don’t want to delay or frustrate the development process, there is an inclination to take a cautious approach to the detail and everything that lies within.

We sent an initial response agreeing with some of the changes and questioning others.  PG sent clarification of some points some of which we still questioned, but to avoid holding everything up we agreed, for the moment, to disagree on some of the wording (mainly relating to contamination). This will be discussed at the Community Meeting on 4 September and the following weeks.

PG’s proposed changes and our initial response are summarised below.

Condition Number Subject Change sought CAG’s initial comment
2 No demolition before construction contract signed Amend wording so that the build contract can be prepared and signed after demolition. No objection
3 No development before materials and finishes approved Allow for demolition before approval No objection
4 Remediate any contaminiation before development Allow for approved demolition before remediation Conditions 4, 19, and 20 are inter-related. No objection to the principel but we want certainty that contamination discovered during demolition is properly dealt with.
11 Before development begins, speficiation of built-in bird nests and bat roosts to be agreed Allow for demolition before agreeing the spec No objection
18 No development before those parts of historic buildings that will be disturbed have been recorded Prior to each stage of demolition historic parts will be recorded The initial proposed change sought a blanket exemption for demolition phase. The actual proposal responds to our concerns that recording should be during, not after, demolition.
19 No development before contamination remediation scheme is approved Allow for demolition before scheme is approved As for Condition 4 above
20 No development until extent of any contamination has been assessed Allow for demolition before assessing contamination  As for Conditions 4 and 19 above
22 No development before sustainable drainage strategy is approved Allow for demolition before submitting strategy  No objection
23 No development before scheme is registered with Code for Sustainable Homes registration beody CSH now replaced by Building Regs. Allow for demolition first. No objection
24 No development until registered with BREEAM Allow demolition before registration  No objection
43  Approved plans Amendments to allow for demolition of Carriageworks rear wall and internal structure This was not included in our earlier discussions.

Changes sought in relation to the listed building consent are summarised as follows:

Condition Number Subject Change sought CAG’s initial comment
 4 No development before those parts of historic buildings that will be disturbed have been recorded Prior to each stage of demolition, survey and record historic parts  As for 18 above
 5  Approved plans Amendments to allow for demolition of Carriageworks rear wall and internal structure This was not included in our earlier discussions.

The application includes some drawings by Assael from the original planning application and some prepared more recently by Stride Tregowan, PG’s architects.  The main change is the proposed demolition of the rear wall and internal structure of the Carriageworks. The front facade will be retained and temporarily propped.

Other points that have arisen during the dialogue are:

  • Sight of the contamination plan and remediation strategy
  • The target level of sustainable design for the residential units now that the Code for Sustainable Homes has been abolished
  • Clarification on the BREEAM standard sought

Site Ownership

For information: The application form shows that the site is still owned by Opec Prime.  We understand that ownership will transfer to PG Group in early October.

Community Meeting

The application will be discussed at the Community Meeting on 4 September, 6pm at a venue to be confirmed. PG Group will be attending the meeting.

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