Community Meeting 27 Nov, and roundup of recent events

Things have really started happening at the Carriageworks.  And there’s a community meeting on 27 November to find out more (details at the bottom of this page).

Vacant Possession

On 8th October the site residents packed up and ended their long guardianship of the site. Thank you from CAG to everyone who lived on the site over the years, thank you for being part of the community and thank you for keeping it safe.  And good luck with wherever life takes you. You can read more about the last night and the handover on our website.

On 9th October Comer’s security company arrived to take possession of the site. This cleared the way for PG Group to set a date to complete their purchase (they had exchanged contracts earlier in the year with completion being conditional upon vacant possession).

Planning

In late September the PG Group’s planning consultants applied to discharge various planning conditions.  They are also in the process of appointing consultants to prepare the cultural plan for the development (as discussed at last meeting).

Change of Ownership

On 6th November we heard from Marc Pennick that PG Group had completed their purchase and became the legal owners of the Carriageworks.  After 30 years of ownership Comer is gone. This in itself is a major step forward and makes redevelopment of the site infinitely more likely to proceed. Read more on our website.

From 6 November PG Group started distributing a letter to all local residents telling them what will be happening on the site.  Read a summary and download the letter from our website.

Activities on Site

Since the site residents left PG Group have had surveyors and engineers on the site working out the details of the next steps. They now plan to start demolition of Westmorland House (not the old Carriageworks building) in January and start redevelopment in March / April.

CAG are maintaining close contact with PG Group.

Community Meeting

We’ll be holding our next Community Meeting on Monday 27 November at Kings Centre, King Square from 6-8pm.  This will be a chance not only to celebrate the change of ownership but also to understand what will be happening in the coming months and discuss CAG’s input.  PG Group won’t be at this meeting but will be coming to the following meeting in the new year.

We look forward to seeing you next Monday.

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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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What is the Carriageworks Cultural Plan?

When Fifth Capital were granted planning permission back in October 2015 one of the conditions stated:

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.

It was also a requirement of the permission that the developers consult and work with local stakeholders, including the Carriageworks Action Group (CAG), on certain planning conditions including the cultural plan, public art, local employment, long term management and external finishes.

From the outset, when we submitted a Cultural Strategy Position Paper (pdf) to PG, CAG has believed that the Cultural Plan should encompass all the cultural aspects of the scheme i.e. economic, environmental and social. As such it can address local employment, long term managment, public art etc. We fully accept that it cannot redefine or change the development, but there are still opportunities to consider and influence how the scheme will be impacted by and impact upon the local area and its culture in the short and long term.

When the Liaison Group met with PG on 12 July it was agreed that we should draft a specification for the Cultural Plan and suggest organisations that might be able to prepare it. Click to read our draft specification (pdf).  When we met again on 30 August there was a lively debate about the Plan, its purpose and who should write it with PG’s consultants taking a different view of its function and its commissioning.  There will likely be further discussion at the Community Meeting on 4 September.

The Archaeology of Westmorland House

One of the planning conditions attached to the redevelopment of the Carriageworks states that no development shall take place until the developer has secured the implementation of a programme of archaeological work. This is to ensure that archaeological remains and features are recorded prior to their destruction.

Commonly ‘archaeology’ is synonymous with ‘old’. So on the Carriageworks site it might include traces of the Civil War, foundations of buildings previously on the site, remains from previous uses of the Carriageworks building etc.  But what about evidence of more recent activity?

Back in 2010 archaeologists John Schofield and Rachael Kiddey worked with a group of rough sleepers to excavate Turbo Island on Stokes Croft and explore the history of one of Bristol’s small but infamous plots of land. It culminated in A History of Stokes Croft in 100 Objects that encompassed everything from the traditional fragments of buildings, pottery and pipes through to modern syringes, all of which contribute to the history of the site. John Schofield, now Professor at the University of York, went on to describe, somewhat notoriously, the importance of the Sex Pistol’s graffiti at 6 Denmark St in London as comparable to 30,000 year old cave painting in Lascaux. Historic England have now listed the building. So archaeology can be modern as well as old – and it both aids our current understanding and documents our recent lives for the benefit of generations to come.

Skull on Westmorland House. Credit: PRSC

So what does this mean for the Carriageworks and its neighbour Westmorland House which is due for demolition? The derelict office block has provided a canvas for many street artists since the 1990s some of whom have gone on to greater things while others simply commented on the local environment at the time; “choking on your fumes”.

We hope that the archaeological recording, to be undertaken by Bristol and West Archaeological Services, will pay attention to the modern as well as the old.

Community Meeting – 4th September ’17

There will be a Community Meeting on Monday 4 September, 6pm at the Kings Centre, King Sq.

PG Group will be attending the meeting.

We will be discussing their proposed changes to the pre-commencement conditions, their programme of work and the commissioning of the Cultural Plan for the site.

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).

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PG appoint architects and planning consultants

PG Group have been appointing their team.

Bristol architects Stride Treglown will be working up the detailed designs for the building.

Bristol planning consultants CSJ will be in charge of discharging all the planning conditions.

Further appointments:

(added 31 August 2017)

Bristol and West Archaeological Services will be recording the historic features.

Clarke Willmott are the solicitors acting for PG.

Bray and Slaughter are advising on the demolition and construction process and designs.