Consultation on new PG planning application – submit your comments

PG have submitted a planning application to change Block A, the building that fronts Ashley Road. 

The application is a Section 73 application to make material amendments to the existing permission. So it is not a brand new application, but it is much more significant that the non-material applications that PG were submitting earlier this year.

You can see all the online files on the City Council’s website where you can also formally submit your comments. The application number is 19/02364/X.

At our community meeting on 16 May there were great concerns about the emerging proposals. Specifically: the height and mass in proportion to nearby buildings, the design of the shop fronts, the facade design and the materials.

Material amendments to a planning pemission are sometimes referred to the Planning Committee if requested by the committee members or if the planning officers consider it is justified e.g. if there are significant objections and or changes to the design of the building. Submitting your views to the proposals is therefore important.

The public consultation formally ends on 19th June (although this may be extended in practice) so please send your comments to the Council today and also copy them to us so that we can represent your views effectively and so that others can see what you’ve said.

Given the importance of the proposed changes and also the concerns about the Cultural Plan we are having another Community Meeting on Wed 10 July, 6:30pm at a venue to be decided. Put it in your diary and we’ll let you know the venue closer to the time. At the meeting we will have copies of the proposed changes.

CAG has always been committed to working with any developer who will help deliver the community vision and end the very long dereliction of this site. But we will not support a developer who does not deliver the vision.

The revised plan can be seen below along with the plan for which permission was granted. You can see the difference in scale on Ashley Road, and a different design for the entrance into the commercial and market space. (Note that the architects for the permissioned scheme deliberately left the more distant Block A2 uncoloured in order to reduce its visual impact).

May 2019 planning application

2019 Proposed Design

2015 Scheme with Planning Permission

2019 Proposed Design

Diag 4: Site cross section showing east elevation of Blocks A1 and A2 (from 2015 planning permission)

2019 Proposed ground floor plan

2015 Ground floor plan with permission

The Carriageworks is not an easy site to develop. The PG Group has been very open in saying that the cost of clearing it was higher than anticipated and that the build cost is also likely to be higher than expected. Given the current political climate it is also very difficult for them to be clear on potential selling prices for the flats.

But we also need to be aware of the architectural context and the fit of these designs. Above all it is a very important gateway site, with the Carriageworks, one of Bristol’s most architecturally important and impressive historic buildings, at its heart. So these designs must be given careful thought and a considered response. We urgently need your responses if we are to represent your views effectively. Every view received by the council will help and every one is important.

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8 thoughts on “Consultation on new PG planning application – submit your comments

  1. It think the revised plan looks fine. There is a danger that the work will not go ahead if we keep finding endless faults. As PG said ‘you cannot please everybody’. PS I live within 300 metres of the carriage works so it affects me.

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    • Our Building (Tucketts- 108 Stokes croft) is surrounded by this building. Better no development than a bad development that will be there forever. The revised plan is awful – in contravenes all the guidance policies on privacy to 108 and it creates a bunch of flats accessed off corridors with little or no natural natural light.

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    • Here here Sean.

      I’ve been watching with interest the comments and approach being taken by CAG et al and am mystified by the line that’s being taken. The building is an eye sore and a blot on Stokes Croft. If only the community could stump up the c£30m quid they could have whatever they want, but they can’t. Like the infamous bear pit which is a failed experiment, it’s time to move on. I love Stokes Croft for its vibe and independent restaurants & shops – but it’s also squalid and in need of regeneration which this development will facilitate the start if. I don’t think this will mean the closure of said shops as similar establishments thrive throughout the city including in the more salubrious locales. Losing a roof garden is hardly ground breaking and nor is having community meetings which are just an echo chamber for people (20 people at the last one – hardly representative) with the same views.. Its time to move on. Bristol is changing – for the better, and that includes smartening up Stokes Croft.

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  2. Summary of changes:
    1. Addition of two storeys to Block A – So that it now contravenes guidance policies on Natural light, Overshadowing and Overbearing.
    2. Reconfiguration of Block A plan/layout so that it now into 108 Stokes Croft – So that it now contravenes guidance policies on privacy.
    3. Changes to Ashley Road Frontage and removal of a key commercial unit. – This commercial unit is a visual signifier that this a commercial arcade and entrance to a public space.
    4. Changes to Ashley Road Frontage – Including reduction/removal of the ‘Commercial architectural language’ to the ground floor. (as though the intention is to remove this commercial element from the development.)
    5. Removal of Roof Gardens. – reduction of amenity space.
    6. Redesign and reduction of Bin Storage – Including returning 108 Stokes Croft’s bins to the entrance arcade (significantly compromising its viability) and reconfiguring occupiers bins to make them less convenient to users.
    7. Reconfiguring stairwells – resulting in a reduction of natural light in internal corridor spaces and an increase in internal travel distances. Reducing quality of environment.
    8. Redesign of internal elevations to remove evidence of commercial element. – The ground floor frontage of Block A is now drawn as identical to the first floor flats frontage. (as though the ultimate intention is to remove this element from the development.)

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  3. Hi there – you asked for copies of submissions to the current planning application. So here’s mine – submitted today. Kind regards, Ian

    The Carriageworks site is a key landmark site within the Stokes Croft conservation area and City Centre. After a long history of controversy, the acceptance of the 2015 development proposals were a positive compromise in getting this important derelict site redeveloped. The developer’s revised proposals have received universally negative feedback from the local community.

    It is immensely disappointing that the developers PG Group have chosen to produce such a radical overhaul of the development, in particular, the height and mass of ‘Building A’ fronting Ashley Road (in proportion to nearby buildings), the design of the shop fronts, the facade design and the materials. Local residents understand that a developer needs to make a profit on a site, but problems experienced in clearing a site were to be expected. Given the previous use of the building, contamination by heavy metals, PAHs and Asbestos Containing Materials (ACM), were precisely what was expected. It would have been utterly apparent to the developers from the start that there would be issues in developing the site, and will no doubt have been factored into any financial model of development. It feels like local residents and the Council were softened up with a reasonably sensible (if rather unimaginative) development to gain initial approval in 2015, only to come back with some rather monstrous changes in 2019 to increase the overall floorspace, citing increased costs. This sadly follows a pattern of developer behaviour that goes on up and down the country.

    The addition of two extra floors to Block A contravenes planning guidance policies with regards to overshadowing – removing natural light from surrounding properties, and is overbearing – exceeding the heights of surrounding buildings. The proposed building is higher than the next door Tucketts building which goes against the Planning Inspector’s report. There should be a step down from Tucketts to the new building to the Salvation Army building – this is no longer the case. The extra height and loss of balconies makes it ’cliff-like’ – the Ashley Road frontage is now over-imposing, confronting the entrance to Picton Street – one of Bristol’s most iconic streets. This sensitive site is at the conjunction of three conservation areas and the proposed changes to the frontage on Ashley Road have tipped it over the line of acceptability. It now clearly contravenes a primary issue raised with regard to the Montpelier conservation area opposite – unsympathetic and over intensive development.

    The changes to the Ashley Road frontage are of concern in a number of ways. The overall impression is overbearing. The original recessed balconies in the 2015 application broke up the impact of the building and the proposed height was at least proportionate with surrounding buildings (even if the design was a little unimaginative). Proposing two extra floors to the Ashley Road facade is utterly unacceptable. The overall height may still be slightly lower than the old Westmoreland House, but that building was inappropriately high for the area, and it was well set back from Ashley Road (which is where the main problem with these proposals lies).

    The design changes to the ground floor make it look as if there is no longer an intention to have retail / commercial units along the Ashley Road frontage. There was a common design language that related it to the existing cafe / retail units in the existing building on the corner. The removal of a key commercial unit on the corner of the new development – a visual signifier that this a commercial arcade and entrance to a public space – suggests that the intention is to remove the commercial element from the development along Ashley Road. If this is the case, then it should be stated clearly in the new proposals – which currently make no design sense. Simply stated, the revised Ashley Road frontage is incredibly unattractive, an overbearing cliff-like mess.

    The loss of amenity space is another area of profound concern. The roof gardens have been removed, the area of ground level green space has been reduced, and there is no longer any reference on the plans to a children’s play space.

    Further to this the original 2015 planning permission included a requirement for a ‘cultural plan’ to be built in to the development – money put aside to allow a part of the project to enhance the local culture – and throughout 2018 a big public consultation was carried out to determine what the cultural plan should be. This application adds no further clarity to this, and indeed there is no longer any visual reference to the potential for a market in the new public space.

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  4. From Gail Reed:
    I am a long term resident of Cotham, regular user of Stokes Croft shops and cafes, and have watched with interest and enthusiasm what I understood to be a sympathetic development emerging for the old carriageworks. I understand that developers have to make money, and accommodation is desperately needed in Bristol. I was very happy to hear that the development was to support and enhance the vibrant independent high street/bohemian community feel of stokes croft, facilitating more small businesses with fronts onto Stokes Croft and around a courtyard. Also the provision for a rooftop garden would provide residents with the opportunity to hang out away from traffic, and valuable green space. Having personal experience of the diligent planning department during our own domestic renovation, and being aware of public consultation and local resident pressure groups, I felt relieved that this underlying vision would materialise. I object to any changes that compromise the quality, quantity, accessibility and viability of the commercial unit elements, either by material reduction, or by unsympathetic changes to bin storage etc. I object to any reduction in rooftop garden space, both for the resident families, and for environmental reasons (an elevated green space would be a great boost for insects & pollination). The nearby development above Boston Tea Party appears to be extremely “dense” accommodation, without having done anything positive for that section of Gloucester Road except preserve the historic frontage. Stokes Croft is a huge asset to Bristol, bringing together a broad range of income and age brackets – my objections are with this in mind.

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  5. From local resident:
    I strongly object to the above Section 73 application to make material amendments to the existing permission. The change in design to Block A is completely unacceptable to local people & Bristol as a whole, as it would mean the destruction of an iconic, historical building & a complete change to the look of the front of the building. Retention of the original front of the Carriageworks was the top priority of local people, supported by Bristol Council.

    The height & mass of the proposed adjacent buildings are also not in keeping with the surrounding architecture & would dominate in an overbearing fashion. The proposed front with its small windows mean the loss of the elegant proportions of the original design.

    It would be a travesty to allow the loss of this part of Bristol’s cultural heritage.

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  6. Dear Mr Westfield,
    Please accept this letter as a formal objection to the application above.
    I live at 108b Stokes Croft, and have run a co-working office and design studio at 108c Stokes Croft since 2010. Both my home and workplace look towards the site. The co-working studio has a much-used roof terrace to the rear, accessible via french doors, next to the site. I write on my own behalf and on the behalf of my commercial tenants, and the wider commmunity who will be affected by the proposed changes.
    I am deeply concerned at the proposed changes to the planning application for the following reasons:
    1. The two storeys added to the Ashley Rd Block A constitute overshadowing and overbearing and will significantly impact on the quality of light and space for my home and workplace. They will also affect Picton St.
    2. The changes to Block A will also significantly impact on the privacy of my home, and the office, allowing people to gaze in from a distance of about 13 metres, in direct contravention of planning guidelines.
    3. The changes to the Ashley Road frontage and specifically the entrance from Ashley Road that runs behind the building I live and work in go directly against the positive outcomes of the public consultation that intended to make sure the development is accessible to the public and encouraging of local commercial and creative activity in the neighbourhood. Specifically, the previously included visual signifiers that the Ashley Road frontage includes shops, and that there is an entrance to the public square from Ashley Road, have been removed.
    4. The roof gardens have been removed, impacting not only on the quality of accommodation and visual aesthetic (one was within 10 metres from my home and office) but on the amenity space that would encourage mixed occupancy in the development by famillies with children and older people — both of whom would value such private amenity space in a high density development. In effect this change will have a direct impact on the demographic make-up of the development and therefore on the long-term richness and sustainability of the community created within and around it.
    5. The redesign and reduction of bin storage will also affect my home and business, but also make the entrance to the public square from the top of Picton St (noted as the most complete Georgian shopping street in the country) even more unattractive when seen in the context of the other proposed frontage changes.
    6. It appears that balconies (albeit without a door on the supposed plans!) are now placed within 13 metres of Tuckett’s building, seriously compromising their useful viability, and my home and my coworkers’ privacy.
    7. The cultural plan is incomplete even though many months have passed.
    It is clear from any reasonable and thorough evaluation of the proposed changes that the developer is diverting the development away from the conhesive mixed-use plan agreed in the public consultation. The developer is removing the opportunity for smaller commercial units on the ground floor. The frontage changes decrease the commercial language of the design lending it to an easy conversion to ground floor residential use. The proposed changes significantly increase the residential density, yet the amenity space has been removed altogether. Non of the changes support the concept of a vibrant mixed-use development that understands what it is to foster sustainable, multi-demographic communities, support local start-up businesses and workshops, or enhance the creative capital that has made the area such a success.
    I also note that the developer has not provided fair and reasonable elevation drawings for us to evaluate, leading me to the obvious conclusion that such obfuscation is deliberate and seeks to confound rather than consult.
    Therefore, for all of the reasons above I object in the strongest possible terms to the changes to the application as proposed.
    Yours sincerely,
    Jonathan Tan

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