The Carriageworks Action Group receives a lot of enquiries from students, especially those studying architecture, planning and media at both under- and post-graduate levels.
Before contacting us please use this website to find as much as you can of the information you require.
If you require further information please send succinct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org; we will endeavour to respond within two weeks.
Generally we are not able to provide interviews unless your research will be of benefit to CAG.
ANSWERS TO COMMON QUESTIONS
When is development going to start and complete?
After planning permission was granted to Fifth Capital in 2015 it was expected that construction would start mid 2016 and be completed by mid 2018. However, the site was sold to new owners, the PG Group, in 2017. Demolition began in 2018 and was completed in 2019. As of May 2020 construction of the new buildings has still to begin.
How much is the budget?
The viability study (Sept 2015) has a development cost of £23.3m.
Do you have any plans of the original buildings?
CAG does not have any plans of the buildings. You are best referring to past planning applications on the City Council’s website some of which may have existing floor plans.
Do you have any CAD plans of the site or buildings?
CAG does not have any CAD plans of the site or the buildings past or proposed. We can only suggest you try the architects.
Can I go inside the site to have a look, take photos, make a film or any other purpose?
CAG has no rights of access. Any requests for access should be made to the current owners, PG Group.
Is EC Harris the cost consultant in this project?
The 2015 Design and Access Statement shows EC Harris as the cost consultant.
Overall how encouraging has the consultation process been with the developers in terms of community engagement?
The original consultation process was standardised, off-the-shelf and poor. There was no real engagement – instead it was a process designed to deliver a planning permission. After the April 2015 planning committee things got much better. We started working direct with the developer which was much more productive. Since 2017 we have had a generally good working relationship with PG Group.
With regard to constructive dialogue with the developers and/or councillors, in comparison to the Community Vision how satisfied are you with the current plans?
The current plans were put forward by the developer, Fifth Capital, not the Councillors. We felt the were good enough to receive our support when they went to the Planning Committee. They don’t do everything we wanted and we have a number of reservations, but given the alternative of opposing the scheme, having planning permission refused but the likelihood of them winning at appeal we thought we could gain more by supporting and working with the developer.
What are your thoughts on the limited number of affordable housing for this development?
This was one of areas of concern – we didn’t feel there was enough affordable housing and the complete lack of any social housing was a further concern. However, if you look at other schemes in Bristol 10% affordable now stands out as one of the better ones.
Can I interview someone for my student project / dissertation / thesis?
We receive many requests like this from students all over the UK and further afield. As we are all volunteers with limited time we cannot say yes to everyone. Our answer will depend upon what you are researching, your past involvement with CAG and whether your research will benefit CAG’s work.
Can I arrange an informal meeting to discuss what it is your organisation does within the community?
Please read this website to find out what we do. If you then have very specific questions remaining please write to us.
I would like to interview you about what the community wants to happen to the building and what the plans for the future of the building are.
You need to do your own research. Start by looking at this website which contains all the available information. We don’t have the capacity to do interviews on general issues like this.
Gentrification is a process that has affected many areas as a result of regeneration. Do you think there is any danger of gentrification occurring in Stokes Croft?
Gentrification is a difficult and sometimes misused word. It has been going on in the area since the 70s. At that time the general trend was to demolish older Victorian and Georgian properties and build something new. However, younger people, often new to the city, saw the value and character of the older houses and started buying them to restore in areas such as Montpelier and Cotham. Stokes Croft itself is not an area as such – it’s just a street that runs between Kingsdown and St Pauls. Much of its current character is defined by people who live in Montpelier and further afield. Even in the late 80s and early 90s it was still very run down with little to recommend it. Things started picking up in the mid to late 90s with a revived youth culture (the Lacota was a key stimulus) and this was followed by a surge of activity that started in the mid 00s. This was the time when the area became the self-styled creative quarter of Bristol. So if gentrification is about a group of older residents being pushed out by newer richer ones, then you need to be clear about who is replacing who and where. Is St Pauls being gentrified, or Montpelier, or Kingsdown, or Cotham? That would be a more interesting question. On the whole the likelihood is that we are seeing one group replacing another group who themselves replaced their predecessors. It’s an ongoing process of evolution. Is that dangerous? And what do you control to prevent that danger? And at which point in time do you stop the clocks?
I would like to interview someone about residents’ responses to urban change such as gentrification, resistance and resilience.
CAG has campaigned for, not against, redevelopment of the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House site. The site has been derelict for over 25 years so CAG was formed by residents and local businesses wanting to see it redeveloped and brought back into beneficial use as set out in the Community Vision. We did oppose a bad planning application but have since worked with the developer to get the best deal for local people. We wouldn’t have much to contribute to a discourse on resistance to development.
Can I interview you about community resistance against luxury flats?
No! CAG’s (and the community’s) primary aim has always been to get the site redeveloped. ‘Luxury flats’ has never been on our agenda but we’ve always recognised that the development has to be financially viable. Furthermore, we’ve sought to engage with developers, not oppose them although this has meant at times in the past we’ve been extremely critical of their (esp Fifth Capital’s) proposals. We’re now actively working with the developer to get as much community benefit as we can out of the scheme.
[Last updated 21 May 2020]