There is growing concern about the lack of visible action towards development on the Carriageworks site. This has rekindled some of the dialogue within the community about the current plans for development. If these seem too difficult to deliver, what about thinking about alternative approaches and about the actions we can take to move the development forward.
The community want to see the site developed in line with the CAG Community Vision, through whatever means/whichever developer. There is concern that even though the Section 106 agreement was signed in June, the site is still owned by the Comers through their company Opecprime.
ACTION: CAG, through the Liaison Group, was delegated to seek a meeting with the Comers to discuss unsticking the process.
There was a discussion about the price of the site. If the site has to be Compulsorily Purchased (CPO), then the price would be market value. If, however, a different arrangement not involving the Council was reached with the current owners, then there could be more latitude in the agreement of the price.
Given the seeming stalemate, the meeting would like to see the CPO process started up again. This has to be led by Bristol City Council. It is complicated by the fact that Fifth Capital have Planning Permission but ownership is still with Opecprime.
The meeting talked about setting up a development consortium to deliver community led plans for the site. If this is the case and a consortium developed viable plans for the site, then it could become the “preferred developer”. We have been advised that this would avoid the need for a full procurement process. It would be up to the consortium to approach the Council to seek assistance to progress this idea.
ACTION: BCC was asked to look into restarting the CPO process.
For a CPO to be successful, there needs to be a viable scheme. Community members expressed considerable enthusiasm for the idea of a consortium to work up a scheme that would meet the Community Vision for the site, and be viable in terms of a CPO. It was suggested a masterplan could form the basis for development being brought forward in phases and developed or sold to different developers. Some people at the meeting wanted to be involved. There was a discussion about what this means. If we want this to move forward, consortium members have to be able to contribute real resources towards the design, finance and delivery of each part of the site. Prue collected the names of people who are interested in setting up a development consortium.
The meeting agreed that we don’t need a “development brief” because this is captured by the Community Vision and the subsequent consultations about scheme design – carried out by Knightstone and Fifth Capital. There has been a lot of discussion about what people want on the site. What people want now is action!
ACTION: CAG will convene a meeting in January for people who can contribute to a development consortium.
ACTION: Can/will BCC Planning waive the fees for a planning application from a community led consortium? This will be explored.
Carriageworks building: There is a lot of concern about the continuing deterioration of the Carriageworks building. Can notices be served on the owners for urgent works? The problem with this is that if the owner does not carry ouit the repair notice works Bristol City Council would have to do the works and pay the upfront costs, and then try to reclaim them. While there is a pot of money for the Carriageworks, this is being held in case of the need for a site acquisition.
ACTION: CAG Liaison Group to explore with BCC how this money might be used (in the most creative ways!) so that we get the outcome we want – development of the site in line with the Community Vision – and protect the fabric of the Carriageworks building through this process.
ACTION: If a development consortium is set up, this should explore grant funding for the historic building
ACTION: BCC to establish the “curtilage” of the Listed Building. This is the area around the listed building (Carriageworks) that is covered by the Listing. It’s a technical issue but an important one that could help to bring in more resource for the development of the site.
Risks of the site: Developing the site is complicated and there are many risks, including unknown ones. For example… Is the land contaminated? Are there issues about the water table? How unstable, or downright dangerous, are the buildings? And what does all this mean for the costs of redevelopment? There’s not an action arising from this point, but it’s worth bearing in mind. Not knowing the risks makes it very difficult to establish the costs of redevelopment. This is something that has to be addressed in drawing up alternative plans.
Ideas and moving forward: At the end of the meeting, Lori (Chair) asked everyone to send their thoughts, ideas, intentions etc. to CAG via the comments section below (or click the speech bubble top right) or email firstname.lastname@example.org or Facebook
We look forward to hearing from you.
Lori Streich, Chair, Carriageworks Action Group