Alternative developer? Key points from the Community Meeting

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 or Facebook

We look forward to hearing from you.

Lori Streich, Chair, Carriageworks Action Group


Notes from 2 June Community Meeting

Over 30 people came to the Carriageworks Community meeting on 2 June to hear the latest about proposals for redevelopment of the site.  Unfortunately, due to injuries recently incurred, we couldn’t be joined by Marc Pennick from developer Fifth Capital although he had provided updates to members of the CAG Liaison Group.

Planning permission

Last October the City Council’s Planning Committee resolved to give planning permission to Fifth Capital.  However, this isn’t formalised until the S.106 Agreement is completed (the agreement sets out undertakings by the developer to provide affordable housing and make payments towards various off-site works e.g. road improvements). Because it’s a binding agreement it has to be signed by the Council, the developer (Fifth Capital) and the landowner (Opec Prime / Comer Homes). The wording is all agreed but the landowner has yet to add his signature.


Fifth Capital have a legal option to buy the site from Comer Homes. The option is triggered by the grant of planning permission which itself is dependent upon the signing of the S.106 Agreement. We understand that Fifth Capital will actually buy part of the holding company (Opec Prime), rather than take a conveyance of the site.


Many people have said that progress on the scheme is very slow but this is often the case, especially with complex developments.  Members of the Liaison Group are keeping an eye on the situation and maintaining a dialogue with Marc about it.

Once planning permission is granted and Fifth Capital has taken ownership they will be able to progress with meeting all the pre-commencement conditions set out by the Council.  Once everything is submitted the Council has up to 8 weeks to give approval, but would hope to do it quicker. CAG will be consulted on some of the conditions but we hope that we will have been able to make constructive contributions well in advance of them being submitted to the Council.

Once the pre-commencement conditions are all met Marc will be able to start demolition.  He has told us that he hopes this to be in November this year.

Westmoreland House will be demolished and the Carriageworks stabilised so that further survey work can be undertaken. That will then enable detailed plans for the Carriageworks to be worked up which will then enable the main construction contract to be awarded.


Marc is holding discussions with a number of Housing Associations for them to buy the freehold of the completed development. One of them is considering using all but the 10 affordable units for private rented accommodation.  So every unit would be rented out by the Housing Association at market rents (not social rents and not affordable rents). This would mean that no units would be available for sale and that in turn would mean that there would be no buy-to-let landlords. This would be more in line with the European model where many people rent from institutional landlords with high quality terms and conditions. Elsewhere in Bristol there is much interest in developing an ethical private rented sector to replace sometimes expensive and poor quality buy-to-let landlords. Carriageworks could be trail blazer.

if the scheme does become private rented housing there are some questions about the 3 x 4 bed houses.  They would probably not let to families in the area given their level of rent.  Some proposals to reduce them to three bed (of which there are five currently proposed) or even to convert all the housing units to apartments.

Ground Floor

Back in December Spaceworks was being considered as the owner of the ground floor. However, their financial offer was a long way from what Marc could accept so that is no longer the proposal.  Instead Marc is thinking about taking a long lease-back of the ground floor from the Housing Association. He would then create a management company to take care of letting the commercial and community units while a specialist market operator would run the market. He is open to ways of the community being involved in how the ground floor is managed. Marc has visited the ground floor of Jamaica St studios and was very inspired by Jacknife and the PRSC pottery and would like to see similar businesses in the Carriageworks. There was much enthusiasm in the meeting to this approach – Marc seems to be speaking our language.

Discussion and Questions

How will the impact of the demolition be controlled? Answer: Via the construction management plan which has to be approved before any works begin. This will deal with site access, lorry movements, scaffolding, noise, dust etc etc.

What’s happening with the Travellers? Why the need to move out if there won’t be any work on site for some months. Travellers have provide good security for nine years. Communication with Marc has not been good. Note that children have been getting through a hole to play on the site. Travellers have prevented them and covered the hole but as future on the site is uncertain they can only do so much.

Discussion about what happens if Comer does not sign the S.106 Agreement.  Various options explored. Agreed that these need to be pushed via BCC if there is no progress by September.

Someone who was attending his first CAG meeting asked what CAG is trying to achieve. Answer was for the site to be developed in line with the Vision via the Fifth Capital proposals. Aside from a small number of abstentions everyone else agreed that this was the right approach.

Would right-to-buy apply to a Housing Association’s private rented units?  Answer: No.  As they are commercial the new law would not apply.

Comments: a) The Housing Act is still going through Parliament so there remains uncertainty about what Housing Associations will have to do or not do. b) Shared ownership does not always work for the Housing Association. Affordable and social housing are not synonymous. Affordable can be up to 80% of market value. c) If Bristol sets up its own Housing Company (as is proposed), it could buy the scheme (although noted that timescale for that may make it unrealistic).

Would private rented units be accessible to people on benefits? Answer: One of the Housing Associations that Marc is talking with has said that they would need evidence of income from employment for all tenants.  However, if a tenant is made redundant and then claims benefits they will have no problem with that so long as the rent continues to be paid.

Discussion about whether the scheme is addressing the real social need in Bristol. Suggestion that the 2011 consultation is out of date and that the Vision needs to be rethought with more social housing required. Other people pointed out that Carriageworks is doing better than many other developments in Bristol. Rethinking the plan would take years to resolve. If you keep rethinking it you never make progress.

Suggestion that losing the 4 bed houses should only be supported in return for more affordable units.

Suggestion that changing house sizes will require change to the planning permission. New housing focused agenda within BCC will be more likely to object.

Ground floor should create a magnet for the applied arts (reflecting Godwin’s work). This should be a feature of the cultural strategy that has to be written. Would be good to discuss with Marc at an early stage.

The groups that people signed up to in December have not yet had the chance to start – we really need Marc to complete the purchase of the site before any progress can be made.

Meeting ended at 8:40pm.  Agreed that the community now knows way more about planning and property development than we ever thought likely!

[Please note that these notes aim to give a logical account of discussions rather than an accurate chronological record]

Notes from 1 Dec Community Meeting

An amazing 40 people turned up for the community meeting on Tuesday 1 December.  Goes to show that the future of the Carriageworks site is still live in people’s minds.

Notes of the meeting are attached in this link (71kb PDF).

We asked people to sign up to any of the themes in which they are interested – thanks to all of you who did.  We’ll be in touch in the new year when we start to discuss the various issues.

Finally, thanks to Ian Mountford for hosting us at the newly refitted Salvation Army citadel – great space!

Notes of 10th Sept 2015 Community Meeting

Carriageworks Community Meeting

10 September 2015, 6:30pm, Hamilton House

c.30 people attended including: from CAG Liaison Group; Lori Streich, Pete Bullard, Geoff Butterfield, Janine McCretton, Prue Hardwick, Julian Mellor and from Fifth Capital; Marc Pennick, Karen Jones, Pete Ladhams. Also Cllr Rob Telford and Cllr Ani Stafford-Townsend.

Key: Q = question or comment from member of public. A = answer by member of the Fifth Capital team.

Note: to aid readability the questions and answers have been arranged under headings so are not necessarily shown in chronological order.

Download the slides used in the presentation (23Mb PDF)


By Lori. Aim is to hear about the changes to the scheme as now lodged with the planners. Date for Committee not yet confirmed. Chance for you to ask questions. For CAG this is us taking the temperature. The Liaison Group does not have a collective position on the changes but we have had many discussions with FC. There have been a lot of changes since April and since June meeting. Too late for more changes to the proposals so it is about is seeing how everyone feels about the scheme and to find out what happens next.

Presentation by Fifth Capital

MP: want to spend more time on questions and discussion and less on us talking.

KJ: we’ll go through main changes. Plan to go to committee on 14th Oct but planners’ decision on that only on 28th of Sept.

PL: Main design issues were cycle parking, relationship with 108, scale on Ashley Road, gates, engagement with community. Also: contribution to road junction, on site renewables, planning conditions re ground floor, timescale for development, affordable housing. Slide shows list of meetings with community held since April. Explanation of changes:

  • Through route. New permeable route with community and commercial activities in active ground floor spaces, larger central space. Wider width (4.2 to 4.5m) between Ashley Road building and 108 (allows vehicle access into the square e.g. for market). Bins are now inside (as opposed to in alleyway).
  • Taken floor off Ashley Road building and pushed it back from pavement edge (up to 6m from pavement front edge).
  • Smaller more affordable flats and some studios. Overall a loss of 6 apartments.
  • Reduced scale of building facing Hepburn Rd, removed balconies, moved main reception rooms to other façade (to avoid overlooking of neighbours), angled windows away from Hepburn Rd to avoid overlooking. Also looked at greening elevations to prevent grafitti. Pushed back roof terraces.
  • Increased number of solar panels, in part increased by removing one floor from Ashley Rd block.
  • Removed gates, improved servicing and parking arragenments, reduced building size at rear, more visitor cycle parking, play area moved to front square, removed the building that used to bridge over adj to 108.
  • Slide with summary of changes
  • 32 visitor cycle spaces. Remainder of 216 are for residents.

Slides showing access route from Ashley Road, Godwin Yard, Ashley Road building. Bin storage strategy – localised bin stores for residents, market, commercial units. Secure Bike storage for residential units and 32 visitor spaces in the main square, Stokes Croft, Hepburn Road, rear square etc.

We’ll put presentation on the website.

KJ: Have agreed to start on site within 2 years.

Delivery Management Plan: Shows how it can become an effective tool for making a difference locally. There is opportunity to mould it. Core principles identify potential occupiers. Emphasis on independent, art spaces, performance, Godwin display space etc. Use of space for market with infrastructure. c.25 market spaces. Stalls will be on site. Other guiding rules:

  • Target independents – 75% of gross retail to be independent
  • Target on split between retail, art and other uses
  • How to ensure that market is well utilised
  • Rules on management of space by the managmeent company and how that may be set up.
  • Key principles for fit out e.g. regarding noise spill out that may affect residents
  • Promotes constant liaison with the Council to make sure it is an active management plan – anticipate it will form part of a legally agreed S.106 with the Council.


PH: Want comments, but try to make them real. This place will only work if the people make it work. It’s past the point of just being about the buildings.

LS: We need a process for comments that contribute to a dialogue. Planning website only allows for comment, not debate. So email them to CAG or post on our website and the discussion can continue there.

Management Plan

Q: Is management plan part of a condition? A: Yes. It will be a legal agreement – harder to change than a condition. So part of the S.106.

Q: Going forward to when the management plan is being implemented, will those legal obligations be added as covenants or as something else? A: The management plan will be in a legal agreement with the Council. There will be a commercial leaseholder and below that a committee that oversees site management. The Committee will include people living and working there.

RT: 75% independent shops. Strong feelings about large companies. Why not 100%? MP: My position is clear. I like pop-ups, good for ideas. I don’t believe long leases work – they attract big companies, short leases give people the chance to come in without tying themselves up for 15 years. So keep short 6mth to 3 year leases. Equally the leases have to be viable for people running the businesses – so need long enough to get established and make it work.

Q: Don’t want so rigid that you start kicking out successful businesses.

A: 75% came as a starting point for discussion – so can change. MP: It’s about trust. This isn’t multinationals, this is independents that will make it work.

Q: There is a case for provision of community space that is accessible, safe, open for a lot of time. There is no community centre for city centre residents.

Q: What space is available for the community? A: Going for a wide range of uses in the units.

Q: Concern re community uses. Still commercial. Rented to highest bidder. Doesn’t equate as community use. Hamilton House uses happen because rent is cheap, PRSC provides cheap rents. Fundamental issue over ownership. If it’s private with absentee landlords – community won’t have control over the space. Any way of moving towards what community owned buildings are trying to do. Have property owned by a Land Trust rather than absentee landlords who will let units to multiples. MP: Been speaking to Dominic about the Land Trust. I have offered discussions to find a formula for the site that works. I’m trying to do pop-ups, short leases, flexible terms. Don’t know how many of the units can be used in that way. Rents – comes back to managmeent of the whole block. Will go at the lower end of estimates. But scheme has to be viable to fund the management of the site and the buildings. Like what happens in Hamilton House – want to do similar on the site.

PH: The site provides the market which is accessible to everyone. There is a chance for people to sell things without having to rent an entire shop. Community use isn’t always about toddler groups etc. The chances to get your products in front of the public is not always easy in this area. The market has great possibilities with low barriers to entry.

JM: importance of the management plan in nailing down the future. The management plan will give a lot of the detail and that will be negotiated.


Q: Size of living space. A: 15sqm living rooms – a good size.

Q: Is there affordable housing? A: % has gone up but not as much as we hoped. Moved profit down from 20% to 17% and working with A2 Dominion Group which is making a big invesmtent in Bristol with mixture of housing types. Opened first office in Bristol on Monday. Will handle sales, market rented and affordable housing. The affordable housing is all of the block adj to back of Carriageworks & Croft Dale.

Q: Who will own the site freehold? A: A2

Q: What is the change in affordable housing? A: Now 10 affordable units, so 9% overall.

Q: Is A2 a not-for-profit housing association? A: Yes. Q: So while we haven’t got what we wanted in terms of affordable, at least A2 will have a fair private rented and better than buy-to-let money grabbers. A: Big insurance companies are buying rented on basis rents will increase. A2 don’t speculate on increasing rents other than with inflation. They’re one of biggest landlords. They take a 20-30 year view.

Q: Have BCC accepted A2 as an RSL? A: Not known, but not thought to be a problem. JM: informal discussions with housing officers – they’re fine with A2.

Q: Any family affordable? A: No.

Q: Are the houses for rent or sale? A: Private market for sale.

Q: Cost of 3 bed house? A: Viability Appraisal should be completed next week. MP will release it as soon as officers approve it.


Q: Are all six parking spaces disabled? A: Yes

Q: All those houses and no cars? RT: It’s a central site with good transport and lots of bike parking, potential to hire cars etc. Residents need to come in with the mindset of not having a car.

Development process

JM: What happens after planning committee assuming permission? A: Depends on the committee but:

  • Will ask the travellers to move on. Will give them enough time 3-4 months. Need Council included in this dialogue. Traveller: Understood it to be 6 months. MP: OK – whatever is sensible. I’ll stick to what I said before.
  • If I get planning in October, still have to sign S.106, working drawings, management plan. 6 months will go quickly. Traveller: so long as we can keep the communication. MP: just need the point of contact.
  • Start on site after 6 months. Build period will be 18-24 months. Construction company will be to come up with site management plan.
  • Ongoing engagement with the community from the point of planning permission.

Q: Assume everything is viable. Is there a risk that the whole thing will be given to someone else – e.g. by Comer. MP: No chance of it being taken on by someone else, have legal agreement. Have gone as far as I can in terms of design changes and meeting the concerns of neighbours etc.

Q: Is there a risk of someone turning round and saying it’s not viable and therefore has to be changed? A: We are working with others to get ourselves ready on the hope of getting planning. Even if we don’t we won’t walk away.


Q: What will the place be called? Put something on the CAG website for names?

Public Art

Q: What space for expression of the local community e.g. artistically. Q: Other parts of the community are sick of the grafitti.

Q: How to stop tagging? Protective surfaces? A: Management plan will deal with this. Q: Brick will absorb – you can seal.

LS: Green walls at the back are to stop the tagging, and also make it less of a Berlin wall.

Q: Any public art provision? A: Haven’t been asked to do this but anticipate it being a condition. LS: We will want to continue the dialogue on this and many other issues.

MP: Management plan is a joint approach with A2 and Leadbitter the construction company. PH: Looking for feedback from local people.


Q: If there is public space there should be public toilet. What provision? A: We have toilets for market operators and expect toilets in café space, but until we know what the use will be we wouldn’t expect to provide public toilets. Could go in, but likely to be in a café.

CAG’s response to the revised planning application

Q: What will CAG do now? BCC decision will be influenced by what CAG says. LS and others: We are a conduit for opinion. The Liaison Group has not decided on a response. Could be that there is no single response. We could do a single response and publish a draft for comment before we submit it. Each individual comment will carry more weight because there is likely to be fewer of them.

Q: We could say how each point has been responded to. And leave it for the committee.


We took a straw-poll at the end of the meeting and while we didn’t actually count the hands, it was something like 40% (maybe a bit more) in favour of it getting planning permission with the rest evenly split between against and abstain.

Meeting ended c.8:20pm

Notes from 20th July 2015 Community Meeting


Although there are still serious concerns about the scheme proposed by Fifth Capital London, there was also a recognition that the developer has made changes to the scheme that constitute significant improvements.

There are many differing views in the local communities around the site, ranging from total opposition to this scheme, through to support for any scheme that will end the dereliction of the site.

There is a real desire, and need, to have an honest dialogue with the developer, and disappointment that he was not at this meeting to enable such a dialogue to continue.

The majority of people at the meeting discussed the need to be deeply pragmatic about the development of the Carriageworks site.  There was a focus on what we can realistically influence.


The meeting noted the positive changes:

·      Access form Ashley Road

·      Removal of gates

·      Potential market space

·      Less housing

·      More commercial units

·      Ashley Road set back

Key concerns and issues to resolve

Scheme Design:

Significant concerns about the design of the scheme were expressed:

·      The design is bland, boring, boxy and looks like a “London import”.  It is out of place in this heritage street-scape

·      The scheme is not in keeping with the spirit of the community vision, which calls for a mixed development “designed to a high quality with good environmental standards”.


·      There is real concern that the housing is not going to offer a good experience for people to live in.

·      Poor quality housing tends to be bought only by Buy-to-Let landlords.  The result is short term tenancies with constant throughput.  This is damaging to communities

·      Poor quality housing will not meet local need.

·      There is a real need for well-managed, affordable housing in this area.

·      The scheme needs to address sustainability:  renewables, heating, ventilation, insulation. We want to see the best renewable energy programme on the site.
There needs to be more information about the quality standards of the accommodation being developed.  It must, as a minimum, meet BCC’s quality standards.

·      There is strong support for having a housing association as a responsible owner.  And a strong view that CAG Liaison Group members should be in dialogue with the housing association partner as soon as possible.  This is necessary for people in the communities to have confidence in this critical element of the scheme.

Commercial units/space

·      People are pleased that the number of commercial units has increased, but concerned about their management.

·      The success of the scheme will rely on the use of the commercial spaces.  There are many positive, constructive and realistic ideas about this, based on local experience.  A number of successful local traders and entrepreneurs are keen to be involved in a discussion about how to make the space and units work in this area (and in the face of the various challenges, e.g. parking).

·      A management plan is essential.  Local input into this is essential: this area is unusual and there is local knowledge about how best to deliver co

·      The units and the central “square” must be accessible, or they will remain vacant/will not work.  This will undermine the whole scheme, and the community.  There needs to be active marketing and active ongoing management of the site as a whole, and especially of the commercial units.

·      The need for a robust and realistic management plan is essential, as is local dialogue and input to ensure that it is deliverable.

Going Forward:

·      The meeting wanted to have a dialogue with Fifth Capital London, and so the whole meeting agreed that we need to hold another community meeting, at which the developer is present.

·      Four issues were identified as of primary importance:

  1. Liveability of the units and the need for an excellent renewable energy programme
  2. Uses of, reaching and using the commercial spaces:  terms for local businesses; what kinds of businesses; what business opportunities; what businesses will make these units in this location (with their challenges, e.g. parking, vehicle access etc.) have the greatest chance of success; how will customers know they are there, etc.
  3. A robust management plan for the site as a whole, with local input
  4. A housing association as a responsible owner

·      The need for open dialogue is essential in order that the community can have confidence in the scheme, and in the developer’s commitment to deliver.

Notes of 11 June Community Meeting with Fifth Capital

Thanks to everyone who came to the Community Meeting on Thursday 11 June.

Fifth Capital were there to talk through their proposed revisions to their scheme.  There was lots of debate and rigorous questioning.

Click here for a PDF of the notes from the meeting.

Since the meeting Fifth Capital have suggested that instead of aiming at the August Planning Committee meeting they should instead go for the one in early October.  This will give them the chance to come back to the Community Meeting in July (week beginning 8 July, date to be confirmed) and again later on with their proposed responses to our questions and comments.

What Fifth Capital told the Community Meeting 14 Jan 2015

Last Wednesday Marc Pennick of Fifth Capital and his team of architects and planners came to tell the Carriageworks Action Group about their planning application to redevelop the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House site.

What Fifth Capital said:

You can find a summary of Fifth Capital’s proposals here on our website but this is some of the extra detail that they provided us with:

Comments from agencies and other groups

  • English Heritage are very supportive of the proposals. Simon Ramsden (Principal Inspector of Historic Buildings and Areas) was quoted as saying that they “warmly welcome the proposals” and that they “Will be a significant enhancement of the historic environment”.
  • The Civic Society are also supportive and were quoted as saying that they are “delighted to see Westmoreland House demolished”.

Commercial and community space

  • Property agents have advised Fifth Capital that commercial space inside the site would not be viable.
  • The five units shown in the planning application can be sub-divided but it will be difficult to merge them into a bigger unit – so they won’t be suitable for big retailers.
  • Fifth Capital have said that the commercial / community units will be for local businesses. In response to a question asking how this will be achieved we were told that it would be via the S.106 agreement (a legal agreement between the developer and the Council that sets out how the impact of the development is mitigated and managed).

Ongoing Management

  • Fifth Capital are in the process of identifying a suitable company to manage the site once it is redeveloped. Mark Pennick gave little comfort that its brief will be anything other than a conventional role of making sure the rents are paid and the bins are emptied. However, he did agree that the company should have a working relationship with the local community.

Through Route

  • There will be two open spaces (one primarily for residents and one open to the wider community) and a route through the site. These will be controlled by the management company. The police have concerns about the route being open after dark. Marc Pennick said he has no problems with the area being open 24/7 but he has to be guided by the police and the planners.


  • There will be 8 affordable units for sale, but no social housing for rent. The Council is assessing the viability appraisal which shows that they can’t afford to provide more than 8 units.
  • Marc Pennick refused to be drawn on how much the flats and houses will be sold for, instead saying that it would be for the market and local agents to decide. However, he did say that he thought they would be most suited to first time buyers. There will not be any preference for local people and equally they could be bought by investors. Marc Pennick hopes to find a way of prioritising local purchasers over overseas investors.


  • They don’t consider any over-shadowing to be significant. However in response to concerns about people looking down from the roof gardens into neighbouring properties Marc Pennick said they would go back and look again at the designs.
  • It is not feasible to put commercial or workshop uses upstairs in the Carriageworks. Marc Pennick stressed that it is his money that he’s spending on the building and he wants to put it back to how it should be.


  • They’re leaving it up to the City Council to say how much parking is required on the site. At the moment they have none.
  • They’re looking at improving the Stokes Croft Ashley Road junction.

Documents in the planning application

  • Renditions of the proposed scheme were requested by the planners. As the whole scheme has been digitally modelled they can be easily provided from any other viewpoint.
  • In response to a question about the cultural consultants we were told that their Cultural Strategy had been submitted with the planning application. It later transpired that the Council has not placed it online with the other planning documents but we have been sent a copy so the Cultural Strategy can be viewed with this link.

Timescales and delivery

  • If planning permission is given in March they will start building at the end of the year. All the funding is apparently in place but Marc Pennick will not reveal what he is paying for the site or how much it will cost to develop
  • The travellers living on the site will be given plenty of notice to move out, although this will be backed up with legal steps to make sure that the scheme is not delayed.
  • Fifth Capital will build the scheme (they’re talking to Leadbitters and Thomas Pane about being the builders) and then sell all the flats and houses.
  • Marc Pennick has a business relationship with Comer Homes (current owners of the site) and a 22 month option that started in November 2014. So long as Fifth Capital gets planning permission there is nothing Comer can do to step the sale of the site going through.

Press Coverage

Bristol 24/7 were at the meeting to record architect John Assael and CAG Chair Lori Streich.

Evening Post article the day after the meeting.

What local people said:

The views of the 60 or so people who came along varied but on the whole you / we were sceptical to the extent that John Assael, the architect, was almost pleading for some support! The main concerns are written up on the page ‘What local people said to Fifth Capital

So what happens next?

Marc Pennick wants to keep an open dialogue with CAG and the wider community whether this be face-to-face, by phone or by email. He will answer any questions and is happy for them to be put on the CAG website.

CAG will be working up its response to the planning application.  We’re holding weekly meetings every Thursday at Cafe Kino to help and advise people preparing their own responses.


Fifth Capital have sent their response to the questions raised.  Click this link to see what they said (opens pdf in new window)