PG Submit Application to Vary Planning Conditions

On 8 August PG Group submitted an application to vary the conditions attached to the planning permission gained by Fifth Capital in October 2015. The application has to be determined by Tuesday 07 Nov 2017.

The application and supporting documents can be found on the Council’s planning portal. Public comments can be submitted via the portal.

Planning Statement

Bristol based planning consultants CSJ provide the supporting planning statement. To summarise:

  • There are many pre-commencement conditions that have to be dealt with prior to demolition. This impacts on feasibility and deliverarbility of the project.
  • Planning permission expires in July 2018 so there is limited time.
  • Delaying some of the conditions until after demolition will allow for site constraints to be properly assessed, investigative works and preparation of a suitable construction contract.
  • The Carriageworks is unsafe and therefore needs demolition of the rear wall and internal structure (see justification below).

PG are proposing changes to 11 conditions attached to the planning permission (one more than we were told about in July) and 2 conditions attached to the listed building consent. These are summarised in the table below.  PG’s stated aim is to avoid delays and “provide precision to the wording of the conditions” but that “the proposed variations will not prejudice the reasons for imposing the relevant conditions”.

Justification For Early Demolition

Bristol construction company Bray and Slaughter provide a justification for early demolition of Westmorland House and parts of the Carriageworks.  This mostly refers to the structural weakness of the Carriageworks due to fire and weather damage plus asbestos which all result in health and safety risks. While these are not new the danger posed prevents further investigations which are needed for structural design to proceed e.g. to establish: the foundation lines of neighbouring buildings, site contamination, ground conditions etc.

The report also refers to the intention to crush Westmorland House’s concrete frame on site for reuse as “a working platform / possible piling mat”.

CAG’s Response

The PG Group told us about the proposed changes in July which we summarised in our post on 21 July on this website. CAG’s position is that we will work with any developer who embraces our Vision. We understand the difficulties that some of the conditions pose for PG, especially given the complexity of carrying out demolition on the site. There is however a long history of this community having the proverbial done to it so, while we don’t want to delay or frustrate the development process, there is an inclination to take a cautious approach to the detail and everything that lies within.

We sent an initial response agreeing with some of the changes and questioning others.  PG sent clarification of some points some of which we still questioned, but to avoid holding everything up we agreed, for the moment, to disagree on some of the wording (mainly relating to contamination). This will be discussed at the Community Meeting on 4 September and the following weeks.

PG’s proposed changes and our initial response are summarised below.

Condition Number Subject Change sought CAG’s initial comment
2 No demolition before construction contract signed Amend wording so that the build contract can be prepared and signed after demolition. No objection
3 No development before materials and finishes approved Allow for demolition before approval No objection
4 Remediate any contaminiation before development Allow for approved demolition before remediation Conditions 4, 19, and 20 are inter-related. No objection to the principel but we want certainty that contamination discovered during demolition is properly dealt with.
11 Before development begins, speficiation of built-in bird nests and bat roosts to be agreed Allow for demolition before agreeing the spec No objection
18 No development before those parts of historic buildings that will be disturbed have been recorded Prior to each stage of demolition historic parts will be recorded The initial proposed change sought a blanket exemption for demolition phase. The actual proposal responds to our concerns that recording should be during, not after, demolition.
19 No development before contamination remediation scheme is approved Allow for demolition before scheme is approved As for Condition 4 above
20 No development until extent of any contamination has been assessed Allow for demolition before assessing contamination  As for Conditions 4 and 19 above
22 No development before sustainable drainage strategy is approved Allow for demolition before submitting strategy  No objection
23 No development before scheme is registered with Code for Sustainable Homes registration beody CSH now replaced by Building Regs. Allow for demolition first. No objection
24 No development until registered with BREEAM Allow demolition before registration  No objection
43  Approved plans Amendments to allow for demolition of Carriageworks rear wall and internal structure This was not included in our earlier discussions.

Changes sought in relation to the listed building consent are summarised as follows:

Condition Number Subject Change sought CAG’s initial comment
 4 No development before those parts of historic buildings that will be disturbed have been recorded Prior to each stage of demolition, survey and record historic parts  As for 18 above
 5  Approved plans Amendments to allow for demolition of Carriageworks rear wall and internal structure This was not included in our earlier discussions.

The application includes some drawings by Assael from the original planning application and some prepared more recently by Stride Tregowan, PG’s architects.  The main change is the proposed demolition of the rear wall and internal structure of the Carriageworks. The front facade will be retained and temporarily propped.

Other points that have arisen during the dialogue are:

  • Sight of the contamination plan and remediation strategy
  • The target level of sustainable design for the residential units now that the Code for Sustainable Homes has been abolished
  • Clarification on the BREEAM standard sought

Site Ownership

For information: The application form shows that the site is still owned by Opec Prime.  We understand that ownership will transfer to PG Group in early October.

Community Meeting

The application will be discussed at the Community Meeting on 4 September, 6pm at a venue to be confirmed. PG Group will be attending the meeting.

PG Seek Changes to Planning Conditions

The CAG Liaison Group met with the new Carriageworks developers, PG Group, last week to discuss their plans for moving the development forwards.

Timescale

PG Group are planning to start demolition of Westmoreland House (not the Carriageworks) in October.  Before they begin demolition, however, they have to ‘discharge’ all the relevant planning conditions. They will seek to amend some conditions so that they can carry out demolition first (see below).

Assuming everything goes to plan, construction will begin in January 2018.

Changes to Planning Conditions sought

There are 24 planning conditions (click this link for the Notice of Decision that sets out all the conditions) that have to be complied with before development can begin.  In planning terms, development is defined as any works on a site including demolition.  However, PG tell us that some of the design work required to discharge certain conditions can only be completed once demolition has taken place and they have access to the cleared site for further surveys etc.  To get around this problem they will be seeking an amendment to some of the conditions to allow demolition to take place beforehand.  It takes the Council 13 weeks to consider an application to amend a condition, so the timing is very very tight if they are to start demolition in October.

Click this link for PG’s full schedule of conditions that they want to amend. In summary they are:

Condition Number Subject Change sought
1 Start development wihtin 2 years None
2 No demolition before construction contract signed Allow demolition before construction contract signed (they will be separate contracts)
3 No development before materials and finishes approved Allow for demolition before approval
4 Remediate any contaminiation before development Allow for demolition before remediation
5 No development before construction management plan approved None
6 No development before bat roost protection agreed None
7 All development work to comply with ecological appriasal None
8 Protection of slow-worms during site clearance None
9 Landscaping scheme to be agreed before occupation None
10 No clearance of vegetation suitable for bird nesting during season (1 March to 30 Sept) None
11 Before development begins, speficiation of built-in bird nests and bat roosts to be agreed Allow for demolition before agreeing the spec
12 No development before local labour strategy agreed None
13 Sample panels of materials and finishes to be approved before construction of that element None
14 Public Art plan to be approved before construciton begins None
15 Cultural programme to be approved before construction work begins None
16 Roof dormers and replacement windows in Carriageworks to be approved before that part of the work begins None
17 No development until archaeological work is implemented  None
18 No development before those parts of historic buildings that will be disturbed have been recorded Allow for demolition before recording
19 No development before contamination remediation scheme is approved Allow for demolition before scheme is approved
20 No development until extent of any contamination has been assessed Allow for demolition before assessing contamination
21 Detailed drawings of roof elements and shop fronts to be approved before construciton of that element None
22 No development before sustainable drainage strategy is approved Allow for demolition before submitting strategy
23 No development before scheme is registered with Code for Sustainable Homes registration beody CSH now replaced by Building Regs. Allow for demolition first.
24 No development until registered with BREEAM Go for BREEAM “Very Good” on ground floor commercial units only. Allow demolition before registration

Note: this table is a summary so may miss some of the nuances.  To get the full picture, read both the Notice of Decision and PG’s proposed changes.

These changes will form the basis of a S.73 application to the City Council planners (and a S.19 application for the listed building consent). There will be notices put on the site to say that the application has been submitted.  The application wouldn’t normally go to the Planning Committee, although given the profile of the Carriageworks scheme it might have to. The City Council is meant to give its decision within 13 weeks.

While most of these changes appear logical, the Liaison Group has not yet given PG it’s formal response to the proposed changes. If you have any views do leave comments at the bottom of this page as soon as possible.

Workers on Site

Some site investigations (e.g. ecology, archaeology) have already started so you may see people in hard hats on the site. CAG has facilitated direct communication between the developers and the site residents re site access, safety etc.

Cultural Programme, Public Art, Local Employment and Management Plan

You may recall that the Planning Committee required the developer to work with CAG on Conditions 12, 13, 14, 15 and 29.  We are drafting outline proposals for how we think PG should develop these plans and how the local communities should be involved. PG will be wanting to submit the finished plans in October so again the timing is tight.

Community Meeting

The next community meeting will be on Monday 4th September at 6pm, venue to be confirmed.