34 people inc Bristol Post and c.12 UWE architecture students
Introduction by Lori
Today is a celebration of Comer no longer owning the Carriageworks. To reach this point has taken a collective effort. Over the last 20 years redevelopment schemes have come and gone but the dereliction has continued. CAG was formed in 2011 and since then we have been pushing and pushing. We haven’t stopped and we haven’t let the Council or even Comer stop. We kept going, kept having community meetings, kept up the pressure. Without us it is very likely that proposals would have been dropped maybe when Knightstone withdrew, maybe when compulsory purchase looked harder, maybe when Fifth Capital emerged, or at many other times. Success has come from a combination of many people working together and being stubborn along the way. Together, we did it.
PG Group were invited to this meeting but for many reasons why they couldn’t come. They will definitely be developing the site. This is an opportunity to remind us what they will be building. We will pass on any questions.
Copy of PG Group’s letter to residents available. Sent to households in the streets adjoining the site. A second batch will go to a wider area and to businesses on Stokes Croft. Comments: Kino and Post Office have not had a copy. People took more to distribute themselves.
Site plans were on display. PG will develop as approved so that they don’t have to seek a new permission.
They will start demolishing Westmorland House in January, but we don’t know when (PG may not have a date yet from demolition contractor). They will start building in March / April.
(CAG will seek answers to all the questions raised and post them on our website)
Q: Will we (Cafe Kino) be able to operate our business while they are demolishing? And when will they tackle the site behind us? Kino have had no feedback from discussions between PG and the landlord. A: This sort of question should be answered on PG’s own website although at the moment there’s very little information.
Things have really started happening at the Carriageworks. And there’s a community meeting on 27 November to find out more (details at the bottom of this page).
On 8th October the site residents packed up and ended their long guardianship of the site. Thank you from CAG to everyone who lived on the site over the years, thank you for being part of the community and thank you for keeping it safe. And good luck with wherever life takes you. You can read more about the last night and the handover on our website.
On 9th October Comer’s security company arrived to take possession of the site. This cleared the way for PG Group to set a date to complete their purchase (they had exchanged contracts earlier in the year with completion being conditional upon vacant possession).
In late September the PG Group’s planning consultants applied to discharge various planning conditions. They are also in the process of appointing consultants to prepare the cultural plan for the development (as discussed at last meeting).
Change of Ownership
On 6th November we heard from Marc Pennick that PG Group had completed their purchase and became the legal owners of the Carriageworks. After 30 years of ownership Comer is gone. This in itself is a major step forward and makes redevelopment of the site infinitely more likely to proceed. Read more on our website.
From 6 November PG Group started distributing a letter to all local residents telling them what will be happening on the site. Read a summary and download the letter from our website.
Activities on Site
Since the site residents left PG Group have had surveyors and engineers on the site working out the details of the next steps. They now plan to start demolition of Westmorland House (not the old Carriageworks building) in January and start redevelopment in March / April.
CAG are maintaining close contact with PG Group.
We’ll be holding our next Community Meeting on Monday 27 November at Kings Centre, King Square from 6-8pm. This will be a chance not only to celebrate the change of ownership but also to understand what will be happening in the coming months and discuss CAG’s input. PG Group won’t be at this meeting but will be coming to the following meeting in the new year.
We look forward to seeing you next Monday.
32 people attended including reps of PG Group and their consultants, CAG Liaison Group and residents, businesses and other interested parties. Thangam Debbonaire MP called in briefly before the start.
Order of summary below is rearranged for logic and convenience so may not reflect actual order of the discussions.
Changes to Planning Conditions
A summary of the proposed changes was circulated (click to download pdf). Main focus to date of discussions between CAG Liaison Group and PG Group has been variations to the pre-commencement conditions to the planning permission. Focus is on phasing a complicated set of conditions to allow things to happen in more rational and workable order e.g. allow for demolition of building before carrying out historical investigation below.
When Fifth Capital were granted planning permission back in October 2015 one of the conditions stated:
“Prior to the commencement of any construction works for the development a Cultural Programme Delivery Plan shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. This shall set out the details of the Cultural Programme Steering Group, co-ordinated by an appointed programme manager. This Delivery Plan shall set out clear principles for the delivery of cultural projects to be delivered within the site. Reason: In the interests of the proper management of the site.”
It was also a requirement of the permission that the developers consult and work with local stakeholders, including the Carriageworks Action Group (CAG), on certain planning conditions including the cultural plan, public art, local employment, long term management and external finishes.
From the outset, when we submitted a Cultural Strategy Position Paper (pdf) to PG, CAG has believed that the Cultural Plan should encompass all the cultural aspects of the scheme i.e. economic, environmental and social. As such it can address local employment, long term managment, public art etc. We fully accept that it cannot redefine or change the development, but there are still opportunities to consider and influence how the scheme will be impacted by and impact upon the local area and its culture in the short and long term.
When the Liaison Group met with PG on 12 July it was agreed that we should draft a specification for the Cultural Plan and suggest organisations that might be able to prepare it. Click to read our draft specification (pdf). When we met again on 30 August there was a lively debate about the Plan, its purpose and who should write it with PG’s consultants taking a different view of its function and its commissioning. There will likely be further discussion at the Community Meeting on 4 September.