Notes of 16 May 2019 Community Meeting

Twenty people came to the Carriageworks community meeting at Hamilton House on 16 May.

It was the first meeting since November but Lori Streich, chair of CAG, said that things had been continuing behind the scenes. Key points are:

  • The site has been cleared. Took longer and more complicated than PG were expecting.
  • There has been a delay identifying the contractor but we understand that one is now being appointed. Once we find out who it is we will put on our website.
  • Construction is due to start in the autumn.
  • Archaeologists are currently on site digging trenches.

Planning Applications

PG have submitted three relatively non-controversial minor amendments to the planning permission and affecting blocks B, C and D (full details on our website).

Dominic Taylor (owner of neighbouring Tucketts Building and architect) said he felt that PG were pushing the non-material amendments to breaking point. Removing a roof terrace (from Block D) is not non-material and should be dealt with through the normal planning process. PG’s piecemeal approach meant that the overall picture is obscured and everything we have secured could be slowly chipped away. CAG should keep a watchful eye on all changes. Cllr Mike Davies said if the planning officer decides that a proposal is not a non-material amendment they will advise the applicant to put in a different type of amendment.

Block A (the largest block) has been the subject of discussions and will likely see changes to the current planning permission. The proposals were first revealed in November 2018 but but not met with great love. PG had provided 3D renderings of the proposals for the meeting and these were circulated. Lori clarified that, while the email from Jenny Gee said that ‘the preferred option was Option B’, this was only on the basis of a choice between the two disappointing options. CAG is eager to hear what everyone else thinks. Discussion followed about the designs. Points included:

  • The existing planning permission has two buildings named A1 and A2. Block A1 (which fronts Ashley Rd) is four stories high while Block A2 (which is in the middle of the site) is six stories high. Each block has its own stair and lift shaft although the main spinal corridor links the two together. The proposed changes create a single block (Block A) with a shared stair and lift shaft and increase the height of Block A1 to six stories.
  • No way that adding two storeys on a block is a non-material amendment.
  • We have been provided with 3D renderings of the scheme but the absence of proper floor plans and elevations make it impossible to fully understand what is proposed.
  • In particular it is very unclear how the corner to the lane accessing the market square will work. The existing planning permission had a lot of attention put into this. Now it is very vague. It does not look like a commercial entrance, instead it looks like a back alley to more flats.
  • The shop fronts do not look like shop fronts. A risk that the plan is to convert them to residential after being unlet for a year.
  • The façade needs more depth so that the existing shops roll round onto Ashley Road.
  • The white lines are meant to be bathstone. This is not a design reference – it’s just chucking in some different materials. This is inappropriate.
  • The current facade is quite articulated and honest. The proposed change is not.
  • The proposed building is higher than Tucketts. This goes against the Planning Inspector’s report.
  • There should be a step down from Tucketts to the new building to the Salvation Army. The amendments lose this.
  • The proposed changes increase shadowing in the area and reduce natural light to neighbouring buildings. The existing planning permission had a setback of the top floors to reduce the impact on light – that setback is now being removed.
  • What evidence is there that the additional space actually help viability?
  • Feels like they’re trying to strip out the character, driven by finances and nothing else.
  • The pavement levels appear to be inaccurate.
  • Colouring of the sky and materials in the graphics is adjusted to try to make the upper floors less intrusive.
  • Very bland for a gateway site.
  • Too modern in an old space.
  • A pastiche of modern architecture.
  • The archway has been removed. (Comment that this was at the request of the emergency services who might need to access the site, but apparently in the permissioned scheme the arch was designed to swing out of the way).

Lori sought an overall opinion of people in the room. The consensus was that that changes should not go ahead as proposed.

It was agreed that there should be another meeting once the application has been submitted to the planners. This will need full drawings on display. It was suggested that we should have neutral architects on hand who can help articulate and explain people’s instinctive objections.  UPDATE: The application has now been registered – see https://planningonline.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/centralDistribution.do?caseType=Application&keyVal=PRLISBDNHHU00

Finding the right time to meet will be difficult but CAG will start arranging as soon as the application has been registered by the planners.

Lori made the point that when considering these changes we need to remember the bigger picture. Our aim, from the vision, is to get the site redeveloped and to work with any developer that shares our vision.

Stokes Croft Community Association

Leighton de Burca from the new Stokes Croft Neighbourhood Association introduced emerging ideas.

Businesses and non-residents with a stake on an area etc are excluded from having a say in how a neighbourhood is planned. Other areas of the city have Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP). This is a binding document on planners that can include shopfront design as, for example, at Old Market.

At the Stokes Croft Community Assoc meeting it was agreed there should be a Neighbourhood Plan for the area. The Draft Local Plan identifies sites for housing in the area. There will be a lot of change.

Leighton is employed with funding from Portman Brown and others who have an interest in the area e.g. nightclubs. Concern is residential uses arriving next to nightlife users. His job is to bring people together. Needs 21 people who live, work and socialise in the area and represent a diverse mix to work on a board together – has 10 so far.

Cultural Plan

Lori explained that a Cultural Plan for the Carriageworks site is a planning condition along with public art and management plan. The intention is to address any concerns that commercial units will not be let or that the ground floor will just not work for any number of reasons.

In early 2018 PG appointed Willis Newson, art consultants, who have been working on the cultural plan and public art plan. From what we have seen however, they are producing an arts plan and not a cultural plan.

Cultural plans, in the context of developments like Carriageworks, are not defined. But we know that the site has a natural connection from Picton St, an exit onto Stokes Croft, double frontage shop units, a market, a load of small secondary frontage units at the back that lends themselves to other sorts of stuff. The Willis Newson proposals make no mention of the type of function that will go into the units, or of how people will walk through, of the entrance, of how the market might work etc. We believe that the cultural plan needs to take a wider view than just the arts and that ultimately it will add value to the development. PG however have not been willing to enter into discussions about this wider view.

CAG has drafted an outline of what it believes the cultural plan should be – this was circulated. Discussion points included:

  • Units need to contribute to daytime and twilight business community rather than night-time community
  • We need services that enable residents of all ages and types to live in the area without having to resort to cars (although without ending up with another Tesco)
  • Workshop units that keep the rents down so you get interesting uses
  • Need to consider business rates (which are high in Stokes Croft) – make sure units are below the threshold to get rates relief
  • There is a conflict between turning the market area into a destination for people from all over the city and making it something of use to local residents. Being a destination has consequences for residents. The cultural plan should recognise two strands that need to be reconciled
  • The site should be something that people from St Pauls community will go into. The scheme cannot turn its back on St Pauls. Can’t ignore poverty. If you are building in an area with a rich cultural history you don’t just throw in expensive juice bars – it just services division. You have to make it as inclusive as possible
  • If it works properly it becomes a very cool place to live
  • There needs to be a sound assessment by the Council – the entrance way could turn the market place into a bass amplifier!
  • Will the Council charge for the market – and how much?
  • Management and design issues need to be part of the design and the cultural plan
  • When people hear cultural plan they think art. They don’t think placemaking
  • Need to consider CCTV – there are only two working cameras on Stokes Croft
  • Gates are not an option, but security does need to be considered and is a critical management issues that has to be part of the plan. In Old Market there are gates that are not locked but are so heavy the dealers etc don’t bother to open them
  • Need to look after the residents
  • Need good lighting
  • Design in the solutions to anticipated problems and design out the little anti-social behaviour corners.

CAG needs a mandate to go to the planners and say that the emerging cultural plan falls short. To comply with the planning conditions PG should properly engage about longer term issues.

Etceteras

Blue Mountain planning application has been submitted – large 250 bed student scheme. Please promote the consultation link https://planningonline.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=PPUSGUDNH3S00

Request: If you are commenting on planning applications or other issues please copy them to the carriageworks.org.uk website as well so that we can see the whole picture.

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Site update from PG Group

PG Group have today sent an update about the Carriageworks redevelopment:

“Since we last shared the revisions to the Ashley Road façade in January CAG and PG have continued talking and this has influenced some further design developments that we will be sharing with you over the next few week including:

  • Design B is the design being submitted for the application, the one with the 6-commercial ground floor units as this was the preferred option
  • PG has also committed the architects to then turn their attention to the development of the facade design, following the ongoing discussions with CAG, and will share these revised designs during the application process
  • Shortly a revised CGI will also be created and shared to show this design development

“We can also confirm that the light stone used on the façade is Bath stone – this doesn’t really come across on the elevation attached.

“By way of explanation, PG’s focus has been pulling all the strands together to enable submission of the application into the planning process. I am pleased to say this will happen this week.

“The other good news is that PG is also finalising the lengthy search for a suitable contractor to build the Carriageworks. This appointment is now being finalised with an Autumn start date, exact dates to be confirmed, but we will share this with you as soon as we can.”

The designs referred to are below – click for a larger version.  The update is not clear as to whether the application to the planning process will be a full planning application or another non-material amendment in common with the other changes submitted this year.

Proposed revisions to Ashley Road frontage

Click to see images from the design that currently has planning permission. The key change is to the fifth and sixth stories which were previously setback but are now brought closer to Ashley Road in order to increase the number of flats inside. The facade also sees a redesign.

CAG is holding a community meeting on Thursday to discuss the latest proposals and other things. Click for further details.

Community Meeting – 16 May 2019

We will be holding a Carriageworks Community Meeting on Thurs 16 May from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Hamilton House (Mild West room).

Site demolition is now complete and PG have been submitting a number of non-material amendment proposals to the City Council.  As yet, however, a start date for development is still elusive, due in no small part to uncertainties in the construction and property markets arising from Brexit.

At the meeting we will discuss:

  • The emerging changes proposed by PG to the planning permission
  • The cultural plan, what it includes and what it doesn’t (but maybe should) include
  • How the Carriageworks site fits into Stokes Croft Neighbourhood Association’s emerging plans

We look forward to seeing you on the 16th.

Lori and the Liaison Group

PG submit listed building application for change of Carriageworks roof

On 29 January PG submitted another application to the city planners ref 19/00436/X (links to full details on Council website).

Note that this application matches a non-material amendment (ref 19/00409/NMA) to the main planning permission, submitted on 25 January and already consented on 15 February (click for our summary of this application).

PG want to change the roof design of the listed Carriageworks building (Block C) to allow for an internal lift to reach the top floor. This will change the elevation of the building when seen from the rear by replacing two dormer windows with an enlarged mansard roof and one (non dormer?) window.  As a result of the proposed change the roof design will not be uniform (see drawing comparison below).

Extracts from architect’s drawings showing existing scheme and proposed change to roof of Block C

PG have not submitted any elevations to show what if any change will be visible from Stokes Croft or any cross-section of the revised roof.  However, the covering letter states that the changes will only impact the rear elevation.

In terms of formalities, the application seeks to vary the listed building consent they received in 2017 (ref 17/04561/X) which itself varied the original listed building consent granted in 2016 (ref 14/05982/LA).

Any comments on the application have to be made to the planning department by 28 Feb.

Ashley Rd Design Revisions

PG Group have released proposed changes to the design of the Ashley Rd frontage.

February amended proposals (two options)

As yet PG have not provided any description or explanation of the suggested changes.  Neither have they provided amended elevations or floor plans. This makes it hard, if not impossible, to really assess the new proposals.

From the drawing provided, however, there are two options.  Both options appear to be setting the fourth floor back very slightly and also giving it a grey colour.  This is presumably intended to reduce the slablike appearance of the previous design (see below).

December proposals

Option A sees the grey surface treatment extend down one side of the building.  Option B retains the brick frontage across the whole width of the building.

PG have also responded to the comments received by CAG over the last few weeks via email, comments on the CAG Facebook page and comments on the Montpelier Facebook pages.  The comments and PG responses are all in this PDF document.

Height of the proposed building

In their comments submitted in December, Montpelier Conservation Group said: “The revised plans increase the façade of the building by one storey and add a further storey set back by 2 metres or so. The parapet would be at the height of the ridge of Tucketts Buildings and the additional storey higher still. The Inspector’s Report on the 2007 refused application indicated that for this part of the site: “… providing the overall height of the proposed development on the Ashley Road frontage would not be higher than the ridge of Tucketts Buildings in the west and steps down towards the Salvation Army Citadel, I find no harm from the proposal to the conservation area” (paragraph 33)”.

Someone else wrote “Having a six story flat elevation looming over the street rather than the lower building with recessed balconies that was proposed is a major change. It will be one of the tallest buildings in the area and a lot uglier than the previous proposal.” See below for the 2016 scheme that has planning permission.

2016 Planning permission

In response, PG have said “The fourth floor is being extended to align with the front of the building however…. the parapet of the 4th floor will be 200mm below the ridge of Tucketts Building. The 5th floor is set back by 2.5m.”

Whether a 20cm drop, four storeys up,  constitutes a ‘step down’ is debatable.

Commercial scale in a residential area

A local resident said “Over many years there has been slow encroachment into the residential area adjacent to this part of Stokes Croft and there is reason to believe that approval of these changes will make further encroachment more rather than less likely”.

The PG Group responded by saying “The Carriageworks development does bring much needed housing to the area and these changes actually increase the residential aspect of the site. (We are) very committed to developing the site in line with the original community vision and the commercial units on the ground floor are very much a part of this vision.”

Surfaces and materials

A local resident said “The historic parts of Stokes Croft architecture are a lot more appealing than the Salvation Army citadel. The 2018 plans seem to have a lot more low level brickwork an inviting platform for tasteless tagging & vandalism”.

PG Group responded: “The Architects have followed the line of the Tucketts ground floor with the projecting reveals around the ground / first floor window bays, which will be fully glazed at ground floor, again aligning with the character of Tucketts albeit in a contemporary style”.

Compared to Tuckets however, there is still a lot of street level brickwork.

The need for more flats

Some people questioned the need for more flats and the extra storeys facing Ashley Road.   PG Group responded “As demolition has progressed (we have) been able to more accurately assess the costs of development, which exceed original expectations. To balance this, (we have) sought to increase the number of units on site in a way that has the least impact on the surrounding area”.

Stairwells and lifts

The revisions to Block A propose that the two stairwells in the existing scheme are replaced by one.  Comments included concern about fire safety of only having one escape route and another concerned access for people with disabilities if one lift should be unavailable.

PG state their architects have “reviewed the revised design with consulting Fire Engineers FRaMS and their advice was that the single stair solution proposed would be compliant with the building regulations when used with a mechanical smoke extract system and sprinklers”.

PG don’t respond to the issue of disability acccess, although looking at earlier plans the we can see that the single stairwell has twin lifts.

What happens next?

We have asked PG Group for more details and for their proposed process and timescales for submitting the proposed changes to the planners.  We’ll update as soon as we hear back.  In the meantime, write your views below.

Comment on proposed changes to Carriageworks scheme

As reported on 5 December, PG Group are proposing a series of amendments to the 2016 Carriageworks planning permission.

The proposals are still being finalised but we wanted to release what we know as of now.

The most significant changes, which will require a new planning permission, relate to Block A on Ashley Road. If you have any comments please write them at the bottom of this page or email to ideas@carriageworks.org.uk. We will then collate all the responses and send them to PG Group. There will be a short deadline for comments, as yet to be confirmed, so please send as soon as possible.

1  Minor changes to the facade on Stokes Croft

Changes to the window details of Block B (the site of Westmorland House) and to bring forward recessed balconies on the left hand side. This is a minor amendment so can be dealt with by the planning officer and will not need a planning application. Click for drawing comparing existing permission with the new proposal.

2  Changes to the building on Ashley Road (Block A)

As these are significant changes a new planning application will have to be submitted.

The footprint of the building (known as Block A) stays the same as does the setback from the pavement.

In the existing permission the part of Block A (click to open image showing Block locations) that is away from Ashley Road (previously referred to as A2) is six stories high while the part next to Ashley Rd (previously known as A1) is four stories. This is changing so that Block A1 is the same height as A2 i.e. six stories high, albeit with the top floor set back from the frontage (see our cross-section diagram below).  PG have told us that the increase in floor space is essential to ensure that the scheme is viable.

While the height of A1 increases the height of A2 (and Block A as a whole) stays the same. It also stays a lot lower than the old seven storey Westmorland House although this was set back from the Ashley Road frontage.

There is no change to the footway entrance from Ashley Road.

The facade is changed (see CGI drawings below).  Note: Following a meeting between CAG and PG Group on 18 January PG agreed to revise the facade treatment.  We expect to have the revisions by 28 January.

There are also internal changes e.g. one internal stair and lift core instead of two. To retain fire safety a sprinkler system will be used throughout the common areas of the residential blocks.

1.5 residential units and some servicing space on the ground floor will be changed to commercial use.

Section through Block A showing extension of top floors over Block A1. Diagram by CAG, not PG!

Comparison of existing planning permission (2016) with proposal (2018)

View looking up Ashley Road towards Cheltenham Road traffic lights

View from Cheltenham Road traffic lights looking down Ashley Road

View from Picton Street

3  Changes to Block D

Previously there were proposals to change Block D (the affordable housing block) by converting the two ground floor residential units to retail, adding a new storey and using that to add four residential units (so a net gain of two units).  The additional storey would have significantly impacted on residents in Hepburn Road and has now been dropped.

We will provide updates as we receive them from PG Group.

 

Drawings and Plans of Proposed Changes

Set out below are the changes that PG Group, the developer, propose to make to the redevelopment of the Carriageworks and Westmorland House site.

We have endeavoured to make these as accessible as possible by showing both the existing permission along with the proposed change.  Click the images to open a larger version in a new window. Click this link for a plan showing the block names / numbers.

At the bottom of the page are links to PDFs of the proposed changes only.

Note that the proposed changes shown in the graphics below are dated from late November and that proposals may change in the coming weeks and months.

Ground Floor

ground floor comparison.jpg

Key changes:

  • Reconfiguration of service areas in Block A
  • Ground floor residential units changed to commercial use
  • Market square enlarged by removing small green space in south east corner

First Floor

first floor comparison.jpg

Key changes:

  • One stair and lift core in Blocks A and D (previously there were two)
  • Lift added to Block D
  • Reconfigured residential space in Carriageworks (Block C)

Fourth Floor

fourth floor comparison.jpg

Key changes:

  • Additional storey on Block A1 facing Ashley Road
  • Changes to roofs of houses (Blocks E and F)
  • Changes to windows facing South East on Blocks A and E

Fifth Floor

fifth floor comparison.jpg

Key changes:

  • Additional storey, set back from frontage, on Block A1 facing Ashley Road

Roof

roof comparison.jpg

Key changes:

  • Carriageworks (Block C) roof reconfigured to accommodate stairs and lift
  • Loss of roof gardens

Stokes Croft Elevation

AA stokes croft comparison.jpg

stokescroft-frontage-proposed

Key changes:

  • Changes to inset balconies on left hand side of Block B (Westmorland House)

Ashley Road Elevation

BB ashley rd comparison.jpg

Key changes:

  • Additional fourth storey on Ashley Road frontage
  • Additional fifth storey set back from Ashley Road frontage
  • Changes to design of frontage to remove balconies

Hepburn Road Elevations

MM Blocks CD south elevation comparison.jpg

Key changes:

  • New fourth storey to Block D

LL Block AEF south elevation comparison.jpg

Key changes

  • Triangular windows replaced with louvre screens
  • Flat garden roofs on Block E replaced with pitched roofs

Brigstock Road Elevation

KK Block F east elevation comparison.jpg

Key changes

  • Roofs of houses in Block F reorientated

Market Square – Rear of Carriageworks

GG east internal comparison.jpg

Key changes:

  • Additional storey in Block D on left

Market Square – Looking East

II:JJ Block A west internal elevation.jpg

Block D – East Elevation

HH Block D east elevation.jpg

Key changes:

  • Additional storey in Block D

PDFs of Proposed Changes

CAR_STL_11_00_DR_A_XX_01001_PL01_Proposed Ground Floor Plan

CAR_STL_11_01_DR_A_XX_01002_PL01_Proposed First Floor Plan

CAR_STL_11_04_DR_A_XX_01005_PL02_Proposed Fourth Floor Plan

CAR_STL_11_05_DR_A_XX_01006_PL01_Proposed Fifth Floor Plan

CAR_STL_11_06_DR_A_XX_01007_PL01_Proposed Roof Plan

CAR_STL_11_ZZ_DR_A_XX_02001_PL01_Proposed Sectional Elevations AA and BB

CAR_STL_11_ZZ_DR_A_XX_02002_PL01_Proposed Sectional Elevations CC and DD

CAR_STL_11_ZZ_DR_A_XX_02004_PL01_Proposed Sectional Elevations GG and HH

CAR_STL_11_ZZ_DR_A_XX_02005_PL01_Proposed Sectional Elevations II_JJ and KK

CAR_STL_11_ZZ_DR_A_XX_02006_PL01_Proposed Sectional Elevations LL and MM