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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Report from Nov ’18 Community Meeting

Meeting on 28 November 2018 attended by c.35 people including 7 from PG Group.

Note: We will publish copies of the floorplans, elevations and CGIs as soon as they are received – hopefully by 3rd or 4th December.

Site Update

  • Asbestos has all been cleared and Wrings now have heavy equipment on site to demolish Westmorland House. This will be the most visible part of site preparation. Anticipate completion by Christmas.
  • Trenches will be dug for the archaeological investigation after Christmas.
  • Target is to start building in the Spring 2019. It will be a two year build programme.

Scheme Changes

PG have been working on the designs since the site was purchased. Clear that the scheme that was given planning permission was not worked up with construction in mind; more an exercise in securing planning permission. So changes are needed. There are three broad categories of changes:
1. Changes made arising from feedback received over the last year

  1. Changes to make more efficient and better use of the space
  2. Changes which push the envelope in order to get more floor space and help the scheme’s viability.

Sequence of Changes to Planning Permission

PG want to avoid submitting a new planning application in which everything would have to be reconsidered. Instead they want to seek permission for smaller changes, one at a time. They will tackle the smallest changes first and then those that will require a new planning permission.

1. Westmorland House

Changes to window details and to bring forward recessed balconies on the left hand (north) side.

2. Carriageworks

Changes to the roof to allow stair and lift core to reach the top floor. Previously the top floor comprised duplex units with internal stairs. These have now been replaced with regular flats. This will need new listed building consent (s19 Notice) which will be dealt with at officer level so a shorter process than applying for listed building consent from scratch.

3. Block D

This is the affordable housing block. All the affordable units have to be under one roof; RPs (aka Housing Associations) will not accept otherwise.

  • The two ground floor residential units will be changed to commercial use.
  • There will be an additional storey with four residential units, so a net gain of two units (i.e. a total of 12 affordable units).
  • A lift will be added so that all flats are accessible.
  • Overall height of the building will be no different to the height of the stair housing previously leading to the roof garden. Shadowing of neighbouring properties will need to be carefully examined via a BRE209 report. (The Council’s new Urban Living planning policy seeks to protect the daylighting and sunlighting of existing buildings). It was pointed out that existing shadow diagrams do not show garden walls on Hepburn Road which gives the impression that there is more existing direct sunlight than there actually is.

These changes will need a full planning application. Don’t yet know if this will be dealt with at officer level or if will have to go to committee (a committee decision will usually be required if: councillors so require, or officers think the matter is significant, or there are more than 20 public objections). A committee decision will add about one month to the decision process. Adding the additional storey is essential for overall viability of the development.

4. Block A

Proposed changes:

  • The building will have one stair and lift core instead of the previous two. Previous design anticipated a taller building so two cores were required. This is not necessary for a six storey building. A sprinkler system and mechanical ventilation will ensure fire safety.
  • Rationalisation of service rooms including bin and bike stores to improve layout and make better use of space, but with no overall loss of facilities.
  • Plans show two empty residential units coloured blue – should be shown as yellow (commercial).
  • The Ashley Road frontage will be increased by a single storey and a fifth floor will be setback. From eye level it will look like a taller building. CGI (which will be prepared) will help show the change. Comments were made that this will introduce much more commercial type building to Ashley Road which has previously been residential in scale. Previous scheme had Block A stepping down from Tuckets building but elevations now show it stepping up.
  • Windows facing south towards Hepburn Road previously protected privacy of neighbours by their triangular form. This has now been replaced by bolt-on louvre screens. There was concern that this is an inferior solution and it was suggested that there should be a specific meeting with Hepburn Road residents to address this issue in more detail. PG agreed to the meeting.

Block A will need a full planning permission for a) change of use of all of ground floor b) additional storey.

Timescale

PG hope to have planning issues for Westmorland House (Block B) and Carriageworks (Block C) sorted out by mid February 2019.

Block D will be dealt with after mid February. Will need 13 weeks minimum but with S.106 could need 4 months to complete.

Overall process could be concertinaed by submitting all at the same time, but that potentially creates problems with overlapping applications.

Other Changes and Issues

Market Square

Whole of ground floor surrounding the square will be made commercial. Small planted area and wall in southern corner also removed. Helps give the square a better feel and will allow for more market stalls. Converting four residential units to commercial has no overall impact on viability.

Rooftop Gardens / Amenity Spaces

Feedback from Registered Providers (aka Housing Associations) is that roof gardens and amenity spaces are too expensive to maintain. They are therefore being taken out.

Commercial / Retail Units

Q re frontage of the commercial units in Block A which do not have large retail type windows. PG said their intention is to keep unit design as flexible as possible. They can then be adapted to occupiers / purchasers needs so if different frontages are required PG can do that. At this stage however PG do not intend to change the proposals any more than is absolutely necessary (to avoid having to make a new full planning application).

Total Number of Residential Units

2 additional affordable units. 12 additional private sale.

Some of three bed flats are being changed into one bed flats as no market for the larger ones. There is more market for one bed flats.

Four bed houses are unchanged.

Social Housing

PG have been in touch with Registered Providers (Housing Associations) who are interested in buying units. Also held discussions with Bristol City Council. However, PG have to make sure that the scheme is viable before they can discuss terms for residential units.

Block D will be affordable housing. Ten will be on shared ownership basis, the additional two may also be shared ownership. RPs might buy additional units but they will want complete flexibility on how they use those i.e. private rented, affordable or social.

Cultural Plan

Continuing in the background.

Timescale for Feedback

Comments from CAG to PG by Christmas. PG will then make applications after Christmas.  If you have any comments please send them to ideas@carriageworks.org.uk and we will forward them to PG.

Notes of Community Meeting 18 June 2018

Notes from the 18thJune Community Meeting

Attended by members of CAG Liaison group, local residents and local business people.

Lori (Chair) gave an update on things as they stand:

  • Site is being cleared (as seen on site visit earlier in June). Wrings, the demo contractor, have done a lot of work but it’s been harder and slower they anticipated (they had expected to demolish in March). Asbestos and other contaminants have been found and must be properly dealt with.
  • Problems with ecology licences especially bats – licence granted did not allow sufficient time to carry out works required.
  • 4 Ashley Road has gone. Materials have not been repurposed. Some discussion about how bad the condition of the building was and what could have been saved.
  • New target is to complete demolition by September.
  • PG still holding to target completion date (to the original planning permission) of summer 2020.
  • Quite a lot of difficulty in communications with PG – not responsive or actively engaging in discussions.

Cultural Plan

Willis Newson have been appointed by PG Group to progress this work. Challenge is that there are no, or few, precedents from elsewhere as to what a Cultural Plan for a development like this should be. The planning permission requires that CAG and the community be involved.

Planning Condition 15 (7 July 2016). 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.

Willis Newson are holding 1:1 meetings and focus groups over the summer. These will inform the contents of a widely distributed questionnaire in September. Comment that they seem to be harvesting information but not presenting any of their own thoughts or processing / sharing the information received.

Concern that Willis Newson’s approach has adopted an emphasis on public art and that they’re talking mostly to arts organisations and not to a broad cross-section of organisations that inform the social, economic and environmental culture of the area around the site. Residents also seem to have been left out of the consultation.

Message to WN is that the local community want a meeting with them. Need date asap so that it can be publicised.

Question of who defines the area? Recently there has been gentrification by people who have moved in and have different perceptions of the area. We’re trying to define our heritage – that’s why No.4 was important but now it’s gone.

The development needs to be a place where everyone feels as comfortable as possible – somewhere that is welcoming.

CAG’s view of the Cultural Plan is that it should include and set out uses of the ground floor and how they will complement the area.

Ownership of the ground floor of the finished development is more important than sculpture, in part because who owns will define what happens in the space.

Community Ownership

PRSC asking why there’s nothing coming back to the community? Conversation moved towards whether there should be an element of community ownership. There should be a partnership element to get the cultural plan going.

Graffiti is a red herring. There needs to be an element of community ownership under a land trust. Response from WN is that they are open to this. PG have been a brick wall. This should be a business pitch to PG.

The space needs to be controlled by local groups forever so that it can be something different in years to come if needed.

2 or 3 units need to be connected to the functions in the market space.

You want to control who the units are rented to – it shouldn’t be random. The level of control and who’s involved (should include residents and unit occupiers) needs to be carefully worked out. Keeping rents low is also key. The Cultural plan and management plan overlap. If we can’t stop WN going down the community arts route with the cultural plan then the management structure will finish up outside of our remit and beyond our influence.

Planning Condition 29 (7 July 2016): Prior to the occupation of each of the commercial unit(s) facing Stokes Croft and Ashley Road by any A1, A3, A4, A5, D1 and D2 use (or combination thereof) hereby permitted a management strategy should be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The scheme should to include the following unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority:

(a) Confirmation of the tenant mix

(b) The way in which the floorspace (layout) will be used

(c) How the tenants will manage their servicing requirements (including confirmation of refuse and recycling storage within the units and how this will be accessed, the number and type of vehicles arriving at the site each day to deliver and collect goods and what refuse and recycling items are to be collected from where and when

(d) Location and operation of staff cycle storage

The floorspace shall be occupied in accordance with the approved details and strategies in perpetuity. Any subsequent occupiers of the commercial unit(s) (in perpetuity) shall submit a new management strategy to the Local Planning Authority for approval prior to occupation

Reason: To ensure responsibility for the management of these facilities and to safeguard the appearance of the development, highway safety and the amenities of future and existing residents and businesses.

Recognition by everyone present that you can’t separate management plan and culture plan – they are integrated. Each is the other. Unanimous agreement on this statement.

Comment that PG are taking an old-fashioned approach. The community’s approach should be we want the whole of the ground floor. It’s in PG’s best interests. If it worked well it would really uplift the whole development. Selling them a business case is the way to go about it. Showing them how to deliver a different business model. We can hand something to PG to do something different.

The Identity of the Development

Montpelier Con Group wrote to WN and said they wanted to see the work of Godwin celebrated. This raises an issue of what the development should be called. Discussion about the name and identity of the scheme and the area.

Not Godwin Yard as shown in the planning application although the term ‘yard’ is Jamaican for garden so has local resonance.

Comment that it’s not Godwin in the way that Montpelier CG think of him, it’s the idea of Godwin – a free thinker and polymath who opposed mean spiritedness of developers and businesses.

Are we agreed that Godwin is important? Answer: yes

Housing

A lot happening in the background, although not as far forward as wanted. Scheme with planning permission has 10 affordable units.

HCA gave BCC funding of just under £1m with assumption it would be used for CPO. When PG group came along and took ownership the Council decided some of it could be offered to PG to up the number of affordable units. Has taken a long time to get that discussion underway.

There are people locally who want to downsize. Carriageworks could offer them great options and ensure that local residents move in. Need somewhere for local people to put their name down as interested purchasers.

Materials

Planning Condition13. Notwithstanding any materials noted on any approved plans, sample panels of all the external materials and finishes to all buildings, associated plant areas, walls, hard landscape features including paved surfaces, demonstrating coursing, jointing and pointing to the masonry, are to be erected on site and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority before the relevant parts of the work are commenced, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. The development shall be completed in accordance with the approved details, unless otherwise agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

Reason: To ensure that the external appearance of the building is satisfactory and that the character, appearance and setting of surrounding Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings would not be harmed.

Don’t know what the timescale on this will be (but has to before development starts).

They should be thinking about using local suppliers, crafts etc.

Materials could be included in WN consultation in Sept.

 

Notes of Community Meeting on 10 January 2018

The meeting with CAG and local residents was attended by representatives of PG Group, Bray and Slaughter and Wring Group.

Timetable

There has been a 4-6 week delay from the previously anticipated January start. Exact timetable is dependent upon many ongoing investigations. Current timetable is roughly:

  • February: Erect site scaffolding to make it secure, protect adjoining properties and prepare for the next steps.  3 – 4 weeks total.
  • March: Demolition of Westmoreland House begins. Demolition is likely to take 16 – 20 weeks. Timescale hard to predict but will be informed by ongoing surveys and investigations.

Surveys

  • During demolition of Westmorland House there will be ongoing investigations into the condition  of the Carriageworks building.
  • Cellars and curtilage extent is being investigated for both buildings
  • Party wall matters are being discussed and drawn up with neighbours
  • Asbestos and other surveys such as contaminated soils will be completed prior to demolition and mitigated.

Site Security, Fencing and Pedestrians

  • Both frontages of the site will be fenced off to 2.5m from the building line but still within the curtilage
  • Pavements will be closed while the scaffolding is being erected
  • When the Carriageworks and Westmorland House façades are stabilised a pedestrian ‘protected tunnel’ will be installed on Stokes Croft under the support system
  • The Ashley Road pavement outside the site will be closed. Pedestrians will use a temporary crossing to the Picton St side of the road then back across at the Cheltenham Road junction
  • Site hoardings are expected to be managed and decorated by local artist community.

Demolition

Contractor: Wring Group Ltd

  • Working Hours are expected to 8am – 5pm winter and 8am – 6pm summer (this applies to both the demolition and construction phases)
  • Plan for services disconnections and reconnections are being drawn up
  • Demolition process will include a ‘Man in the Cage’ approach where Westmorland House is semi-tented and a water shrouded ‘nibbler & cutting’ process used for dismantling the structure
  • The water shroud will minimise the dust and noise footprint to ‘about’ ambient for the area
  • There will be ‘debris shelters’ to protect ‘Tuckets Building’ and other adjacent properties
  • With the exception of any steelwork the majority of demolition spoil will be retained on site for reuse as processed hard core and other uses
  • Due to the recycling of materials only one large truck load a day is expected to leave the site
  • Site clearance of earth to dig down to building levels is subject to separate removal.

Archaeology and Recording

  • If cellars are found they will be left exposed for Party Wall discussion and redesign of the Carriageworks lower floors
  • Archaelogy Surveys will run in parallel with the demolition process. Work will stop when necessary for identification, recording and possible removal
  • Grade 2* listing also applies to other Carriageworks features such as steel columns and cellars.
  • The demolition and building process will be recorded:
    • Salvation Army have granted provision to have a fixed camera mounted on their retaining wall to record progress
    • A Dove Street flats resident is to be asked to have a fixed camera on their balcony rail to record progress.

Traffic Management

  • The greatest period of disruption will be while the scaffolding is going up. During this time, the pavements outside both buildings on Stokes Croft will be closed, and traffic might be controlled by temporary traffic lights
  • Traffic Management during demolition phase is not likely to be a major issue
  • The published Draft Traffic Scheme for Stoke Croft will be subject to revision once  cellar and curtilage investigations are complete
  • Once the scaffolding is erected two-way traffic will be maintained on Stokes Croft during construction and demolition
  • There is an expected loss of two parking bays on the Ashley Road frontage
  • We will aim to keep you updated about all this, as it’s a changing picture.

Architecture

  • Finishes and brickworks selection subject to approval by BCC
  • Peter Westbury (for BCC) will sign off finishes following public consultation
  • A photographic record is complete and on show in The Elemental Café (bakery on corner of Nine Tree Hill and Cheltenham Rd)

Construction

Contractor: Bray and Slaughter

  • Considering a separate specialist historic building sub-contractor for the Carriageworks
  • One large 45m reach Luffing Crane will be located near the centre of the Market Square. It will not over-swing adjacent properties or weathercock with the wind when not in use. Consequently no wayleave to overfly adjoining properites will be required
  • Other Cranes will be a mix of mobile units for the houses and lower elements
  • No information is yet available on concrete mixing and whether this will be on- or off-site
  • Local job creation including new apprenticeships will be managed by Bray & Slaughter and Wrings

Affordable Housing

  • As yet there is no change to the number of units marked as ‘Affordable’ although PG Group have now arranged to meet Council officers to discuss opportunities to use available funds to create additional affordable units
  • It is expected that the ‘Affordable Units’ will be for shared ownership and will be located in a single block
  • Generally all sales will be on an ‘open market’ basis

Cultural Plan

  • By the end of January a Public Art and Cultural Plan must be lodged with Bristol City Council to comply with planning conditions
  • Willis Newsom has been appointed to manage the Cultural Plan
  • When completed (Apr-May 2018) the Community Framework will be presented to the public for consultation
  • The Cultural Plan may inform the Public Art issues
  • The wider area and not just current use of the street of Stokes Croft will inform the Cultural Plan and will be made available for the site sales material
  • A degree of control over the use and business types for the ground floor commercial units and market area will be exercised to reflect the wider cultural influences not just the current use of Stokes Croft

Next Meeting

To be confirmed but expected to be quarterly.

Notes of Community Meeting – 27 November 2017

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.

Questions

(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.

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Notes of Community Meeting, 4 September 2017

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.

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Report from 14 June 2017 Community Meeting

The meeting was attended by c.50 people including members of the CAG Liaison Group (Lori Streich, Simon Lewis, Pete Bullard, Jeff Butterfield, Janine McCretton, Prue Hardwick, Julian Mellor), PG Group (Stuart Gaiger, Sam Woollcott and Jenny Gee), residents, councillors, reps of local and interested organisations, and media. Lori Streich, Chair of CAG, chaired the meeting.

Stuart Gaiger introduced the PG Group and their proposals for the Carriageworks.

  • PG Group has been developing property in Bristol since 2002. They tend to focus on residential schemes including new build, conversions and listed buildings. They work either in or within about 2 hours of Bristol, but Bristol is their focus. In the past they have taken on tricky and challenging sites (e.g. Bedminster Parade) but the Carriageworks will be the most challenging to date.
  • PG Group are buying the Carriageworks site. Stuart Gaiger stressed that Opecprime (the current owners) cannot pull out of the sale.
  • PG Group will deliver the scheme that went to Planning Committee in October 2015 so they will not be seeking to change the height, scale, mix or number of units. Appointment of the design team (architects, engineers, contractors etc) will be complete within the next month or so.
  • Construction will start in early 2018. The build programme will last 18-24 months, so aiming at completion in Autumn 2019.
  • Jenny Gee will provide community engagement on behalf of PG Group. She praised CAG for its work to date and is keen we work together. She will setup a website that will provide updates on progress with the proposals and enable people to leave comments.

Lori Streich stressed that CAG is committed to work with any developer that delivers the Community Vision. The details of how CAG and PG Group work together will evolve in time but at the very least we have a role defined by the planning permission.

There was then discussion between people attending and PG Group the main points of which were:

Site Acquisition

  • Can we be clear that Comer are not imposing any staged conditions along the way, that it is an outright sale?
    • SG: That is correct.
  • Can PG Group walk away?
    • SG: No. We’re committed.
  • Does PG Group own other properties in Stokes Croft?
    • SG: No

Vision

  • CAG has worked to change the scheme to get more vibrancy and connections with the neighbourhood. The site will direct the future direction of Stokes Croft, it is talismanic. How visionary will you be? Could there be parts of the scheme in community ownership? Need to make it really great – a benchmark for here and the rest of the country. Will you do something that is genuinely extraordinary and truly amazing?
    • SG: Yes! We want this to be an exemplar scheme. We don’t want to build bland schemes. Currently working through the mundane stuff but happy to have dialogue. The more input, especially regarding the ground floor, the more life we give to those areas. The units are more suited to small traders – we can do something different. We are under no illusion how important those buildings are. We support the Community Vision.
  • Commitment to community:
    • SG and SW: We are very vested in Bristol. All the money we have made on other schemes will be spent on this one. Our reputation in the city is important. A poor scheme will not do us any favours.
  • Are the opportunities for investment of social capital that might deliver different aims?
    • SG: The scheme is fully funded. It’s worth having the conversation about social capital and where it might apply, but have to make sure we know what we’re getting into and that we can deliver.

Site Proposals

  • Development partners:
    • PG Group do not employ their own builders so will contract with a construction company. They are working through tenders but likely that it will be a Bristol firm.
  • Will you revisit 9% affordable housing? Involvement of RSL could benefit everyone.
    • SG: We have arranged to meet the Homes and Communities Agency (and willing to meet BCC as well) to see what potential there might be for change. Don’t want to make changes if it means that a new planning application is required (considerable time and cost implications), but open to dialogue if it can be done without needing a new permission. SG stressed that they want to deliver the best scheme for the area and that they are looking to do what they can.
    • Lori committed CAG’s help if it means the scheme gets closer to the Community Vision (which states “We want to see a true mix of housing types for sale and for rent including private and social housing, both low and high cost”)
  • Any scope for underground parking?
    • SG: Don’t intend to provide more than the 6 spaces in the permission. Would require new planning permission. Proximity to city centre means a car isn’t necessary. Anticipate there is very heavy stone not far below the surface which would rule out underground parking. There will be provision for commercial deliveries.
  • Is there a Registered Social Landlord involved?
    • SG: No – whole development will be delivered by PG Group.
  • Can Carriageworks restoration be delivered within constraints of the existing planning permission?
    • SG: Engineers will have to assess the building. We know some parts are lost (e.g. fire damaged floors). The fact that the building still stands c.10 years after fire damage is a good sign. We’ll know more in the next few months.
  • Rear wall of Carriageworks building is damaged and has little merit but its retention constrains use of the building.
    • Quentin Alder (Chair of BCC Conservation Advisory Panel): Listing is of the whole building. There is always a balance – if there is little historic fabric remaining there could be an argument to start again. Planners will have to assess this.
    • Chris Chalkley: Godwin would have questioned everything and say look at it again with fresh eyes. When built, the Carriageworks was all about the facade – the world’s first showroom.

Building Works

  • Phasing:
    • The scheme will be built as one phase although it is likely that some parts will be completed before others.
  • Presence on site:
    • Contractors will have site office. Likely that SG will be mostly based there.
  • What is happening with the Travellers on the site?
    • Prue: At both parties’ request CAG facilitated a meeting between the travellers and PG Group. They are now in direct contact and working with each other. CAG is still there if needed but otherwise we’ll let them get on with things.
  • Will there be road closures?
    • SG: Not yet at the stage of knowing. Contractor will put together a site access and delivery plan. Likely to be pavement closure outside the Carriageworks building. Will find ways of dealing with this closer to the time.
    • Lori: Likely to be tricky given site constraints. CAG has suggestions for Highways. Lets talk when we get there.

After Completion of Works

  • Post development management company:
    • Likely to be one company to maintain the residential areas and another to manage the ground floor.
  • Does PG Group intend to retain ownership of commercial units?
    • SG: Would like to retain, but key thing is to get the right occupiers, flavour and mix. Some may want to buy, others to rent. Nothing set in stone but definitely don’t want boarded up units or the wrong occupiers. Flexibility is key.

What would Godwin do?

People liked the idea that this would be a good question to ask as proposals develop.

What Happens Next?

  • PG Group will appoint design team and contractor
  • PG Group will carry out site surveys through the summer (access by arrangement with the site residents)
  • Next meeting with CAG in early September by when the site challenges etc will be better understood. Contractors will attend.

 

The Bristol Post also reported on the meeting: http://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/landmark-bristol-building-derelict-30-112724