Community Meeting: Wed 28 November

There will be a Carriageworks community meeting with PG Group on Wednesday 28 November from 6pm to 8pm at the Salvation Army on Ashley Road.

PG Group bought the Carriageworks site in 2017 with planning permission in place. It was inevitable that as they got to understand the site better and worked up the detailed plans that they would want to adjust the scheme.  The meeting will hear what changes are being proposed and will be your chance to give your initial response.

When we get the details we’ll also put them on this website.

At this point in time we understand that the changes will be not be so significant that they will require a new planning permission; PG will hopefully clarify the situation at the meeting.

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Westmorland House demolition starts Wednesday

The demolition of Westmorland House will start tomorrow, Wednesday 20 November.

Westmorland House, 1960s architect's plan

The six storey concrete monolith of Westmorland House was built in 1966 as headquarters for Regional Pools Promotions. But its heyday was short-lived and by 1982 Regional Pools had moved away leaving the building empty.

Westmorland House, BristolLater in the 1980s the site was bought by Opec Prime, a property development company owned by the London based Comer brothers. Various planning applications were submitted over the years but these were either rejected as over-intensive or the schemes never came to fruition. In the meantime the site became a canvas for street artists, home to a group of travellers and, more tragically, the site of a number of fatalities.

The City Council recognised the blighting effect the building was having on St Pauls and Stokes Croft and undertook to use compulsory purchase powers to buy the site but attempts in the mid 2000s were sabotaged by the financial crisis. Efforts restarted in 2011 when CAG was formed and a community vision agreed. Opec Prime then brought in Fifth Capital to secure a new planning permission and in 2017 the site was sold to the Bristol based PG Group.

Carriageworks ground floor proposals

The redevelopment of the site will see the conservation and reuse of the neighbouring listed Carriageworks building and the demolition of Westmorland House ready for  replacement by new flats with commercial space on the ground floor and a public square.

Stuart Gaiger, Development Director at the PG Group, said “There has been a considerable amount of preliminary ground work to be done since we acquired this site in November to provide 112 homes and twelve business units but now our contractors are poised to begin the actual demolition. We want to deliver an enterprising development that respects and reflects the community ethos and the independent spirit that flourishes around the area”.

The Chair of CAG, Lori Streich, said the group had been working since 2011 to ensure the inspirational regeneration of the site in line with the community vision. “We are delighted that PG are now starting the demolition of Westmorland House which is a huge step in the history of the site,” she said.

The redevelopment is due to be completed by the autumn of 2021.

Links: History of Westmorland House | PG Group | Community Vision | Redevelopment Plans

Site update from PG Group

The following has been sent out by the PG Group. Once preparatory works are complete, demolition should start in early October and be completed by mid November:

  • Carriageworks: Wring’s are waiting for traffic and pedestrian management proposals to be approved by BCC and plan to start façade retention to carriage works w/c 20th August, the retention system should take 4-6 weeks to complete. Following the retention system being installed, the rear of the Carriageworks can be demolished, this should take 2 – 3 weeks to complete.
  • Westmorland House: The protection scaffold to Westmoreland will start going up w/c 20th August – this retention and scaffolding system should take approx. 4-6 weeks to erect. The removal of asbestos to Westmoreland House started on 6th August and should also take approx. 4 – 6 weeks to complete, so worst case scenario, barring any unforeseen issues, both will be completed by the end of September. Once the scaffold protection to Westmoreland is erected and asbestos is removed, the building can be demolished, subject to finalising the Party Wall Agreements with neighbours at 108. The demolition will use a mix of hand and machine techniques and is anticipated to take approx. 8-weeks, so should be completed by w/c 19th November.
  • Traffic management Stokes Croft: It is the scaffold and façade works that will require the temporary pedestrian and traffic management arrangement that we have mentioned previously. On this, there are three important and positive points to share:
    1. There will still be two way traffic on Stokes Croft as both lanes will be retained, although both lanes will be marginally narrowed.
    2. The pavement on the Carriageworks side of the road will be closed temporarily and a controlled signal crossing will be installed near the Post Office to let pedestrians cross safely. This will be in place for up to 4-6 weeks to allow the façade retention system to Carriageworks and protection to Westmoreland House to be erected.
    3. Once the façade and scaffolding systems are in place, the pavement will be re-opened and a 1.5m pedestrian footpath, lined with appropriate heavy duty traffic barriers for safety, will be installed along the front of the Carriageworks/Westmorland House. The businesses on the corner of Stokes Croft/Ashley Road – Café Kino, The Arts Café and the Here Gallery – will be fully accessible during these works. Click to  take a look at the detailed traffic management plans (pdf).
  • Traffic management Ashley Road: No road closures or pavement closures on Ashley Road during the demolition works.

Cultural Plan – sharing the findings to date – drop-in event

The following has been sent out by Willis Newson who are preparing the Cultural Plan on behalf of PG Group:

PG Group and Willis Newson are inviting people living in St Pauls, Stokes Croft, Montpellier, Redland, Kingsdown, Broadmead and Cotham to find out about possible arts, heritage, cultural activities and enterprise opportunities there are for the ground floor of the redeveloped Carriageworks and Westmoreland House and to share your thoughts and ideas.

The buildings have been derelict since the 1980s and have been purchased for development by Bristol based developers PG Group. Work has started on the demolition already and will complete in Summer/Autumn 2020. Central to the exciting new development is the creation and implementation of a Cultural Plan and Public Art Strategy for the site that will support the new building to thrive and support the local social, cultural and economic ecologies of the area.

For the last 9 months, Willis Newson have been having discussions with Carriageworks Action Group and PG Group and running consultation sessions, community meetings and focus groups to develop a Cultural Plan and Public Arts Strategy for The Carriageworks and Westmoreland House on Bristol’s Stokes Croft.  They are keen to share the findings to date with the community in advance of the plan being finalised.

Ideas to date include a community-led process of co-commissioning and leading on a programme of activity, a market area for local artists and traders, heritage projects and a community hub space for cooking and events.

There will be a drop in at The Citadel (Salvation Arrmy), 6 Ashley Road from 2-6pm on Wednesday September 12th as well as a more facilitated presentation and discussion in the space from 6:30pm-8pm.  Everyone is welcome and hot drinks will be served.

Photos from a Site Visit

On 7 June members of Carriageworks Action Group were given access to the site. Safety issues meant we couldn’t enter the buildings (or even get up next to them) but Wrings, the demolition contractors, were brilliant in getting us as close as possible and explaining everything that was going on.

While work has not yet started on either Westmorland House or the Carriageworks, the rest of the site has been cleared and demolition has started to a smaller building backing onto Croft Dale (Hepburn Road).

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Cleared site. No.4 Ashley Road (the old Doctor’s surgery) has completely gone (we were told it virtually fell down by itself it was so weak). Once demolition is completed the archaeologists will dig an investigation trench – it’s possible that they will find fortifications from the civil war (Cromwells forces camped at Montpelier Farm in 1645 and then attacked the royalist held Priors Hill Fort, now Freemantle Sq at the top of Nine Tree Hill. Spurworks or redoubts below the fort may have been on the Carriageworks site).

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Rear view of Tucketts building. Negotiations about the party wall are ongoing with the owners.

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This building backs onto and is attached to Croft Dale (Hepburn Road). As a result it’s being demolished by hand. The steel cross beams visible at the top of the picture will be lifted out by crane next week (beginning 11 June).

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The scaffolding has been built to cantilever out over Croft Dale, giving safe access to the upper parts of the building being demolished.

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Vast amounts of rubble are being created. This pile is from the building backing Croft Dale. Much of it will be crushed and reused on site, but the total volume will exceed that which is needed, so the rest will be removed.

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This is the back wall of Kuumba. There’s a significant difference in levels between Kuumba (Hepburn Road) and the Carriageworks site. The building backing Croft Dale is in the background.

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The rear view of the Carriageworks. Fire went through the building many years ago so it still isn’t safe to access. There are bats inside which has caused delays in getting access. You can clearly see the roof line and northlights of the workshops that attached to the back of the building.

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The rear wall of the Carriageworks is older than the frontage but of less architectural significance. You can see some of the old stonework where the more modern render has detached. The whole building is listed, so the rear wall is also protected.

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Rear view of Westmorland House, completed in 1966 but only occupied for about 16 years, it has now been derelict for 26 years.

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Covered in streetart / graffitti and imposing itself on the local landscape and culture, Westmorland House has echos of and almost the same age as the Berlin Wall (1961-89).

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While scaffolding has been installed to give a degree of safety, the workers rarely enter. In the past however many people have been in, as evidenced by the graffitti. Tragically the inherent danger of the building resulted in a number of people losing their lives here.

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Over the years the interior of Westmorland House was heavily vandalised. Asbestos ceiling tiles were pulled down and dumped in the lift shaft, making for a more difficult removal job.

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The boardroom in Westmorland House was panelled with Nigerian Pear Wood and had a domed roof light just visible in this picture. You can read more about the building as it was on our stories page. All the valuables were plundered in the 1980s.

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There’s a basement below Westmorland House, totally filled with rubbish, needles etc. This will all have to be cleared out before demolition can begin.

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Wrings have got some very nice toys.

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Familiar sight of the Carriageworks frontage. Before works begin this will be shored up which will mean narrowing of the road. First of all though Wrings need to make the interior safe engough to go inside and assess the structural strength of the building.

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Frontage of Westmorland House. Beneath the building is a single storey basement that will have to be cleared and then dug out – necessitating shoring up of the road. The basement will then be backfilled in layers to help provide a foundation for the new building.

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Staff on the site have created a little gallery of items and artwork discovered.

Thank you very much to Wrings and PG Group for giving us this viewing of the site.

Community Meeting – Monday 18 June

The next Carriageworks Community Meeting will be on Monday 18th June, 6-8pm, at the Kings Centre.

The Most Important CAG Meeting Yet?

Where have we come from and where are we going?

CAG was set up in 2011 to support “something to happen” to secure the development of the Carriageworks/Westmorland House site.

We spent our first year carrying out an extensive consultation that led to the development of the Community Vision. This was agreed by a CAG Community Meeting in December 2011, and then adopted by BCC in May 2012.

Since 2012, CAG has had two roles:

  • To be a conduit of information about the development of the site
  • To work with any developer who would develop the site in line with the Community Vision.

It’s been a long and winding, and often bumpy, road since then. Developers have come and gone, planning applications have been deferred, altered and agreed. And we now have a Bristol based developer, the PG Group, who are committed to delivering the scheme that was granted Planning Permission in October 2015.

So, what role for CAG as the site is built out?

  • What is our information role now?
  • What issues are important to you as the scheme develops?
  • Willis Newson is developing a Cultural Plan for the site, with an emphasis on public art. How can we and they put forward a plan that is rooted in the area, and based on the widest views?
  • What issues are important to you about the uses of the commercial spaces and public realm on the ground floor?
  • And should we agree a new remit for CAG? And if so, what should this be?

Come along to the meeting on Monday 18 June and help form the next phase in CAG’s life.

Demolition update from PG Group

The following is the update sent out by PG Group today (25 January 2018)


Update on the demolition works for Westmorland House and Carriageworks

If you made the meeting on the 10th January, you’ll have heard the Wring Group outline their plans for  the demolition programme. If not, here is the latest news:

January has been spent undertaking design works and statutory notifications and they have now been able to confirm they will be on site from 5th February with the retention of the Carriageworks façade is planned for the last two weeks in February. If you have any questions please contact me. Here is the schedule for the next 3-months:

February – March

  • Site set up – including fencing and welfare facilities
  • Undertake environmental clean of site
  • Working with ecologist on vegetation and levelling the ground
  • Installation of facade retention to the Carriageworks. Scaffold protection to Westmoreland House
  • Closure of pedestrian pavement from Carriageworks (by Best Supermarket) to end of Westmorland House FOR APPROX 6 WEEKS ONLY
  • Installation of pedestrian access crossing point by Best Supermarket

Traffic Management: Wrings are currently working closely with Highways to finalise the carriage widths, BUT a two-way traffic flow on Stokes Croft will continue throughout these works and the life of the site.

April

  • Once the facade retention and protection system is in place, the pavement will be reopened with a tunnel to enable pedestrians to pass by the works in safety.
  • On-site demolition, including No 4 Ashley Road will start along with various other buildings on the site, Carriageworks structure – not the facade – and the Westmoreland House building.

Wrings Policy of recycle, reclaim and re-use.
Wring will follow the Demolition and WRAP Protocols in order to recycle, reclaim and re-use as much of the material arising as practical. They will be using the most up to date recycling equipment and most of the recycling operations will be recycled on site to reduce transportation. This recovering and recycling of all types of construction materials from wood to concrete, avoids all but the most essential use of landfill; concrete is crushed into different grades of aggregate, meeting construction needs, metal and timbers are processed, screened and segregated; bulky materials are removed mechanically.

If you have any specific question, please just get in touch with me.

Kind regards

Jenny

Jenny Gee jenny@jennygee.co.uk