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.

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Proposed changes to development proposals

These are the changes that PG are proposing to the redevelopment of the Carriageworks.The changes will be discussed at the community meeting on Wed 28 November from 6pm to 8pm at the Salvation Army, Ashley Road.

The textual descriptions below are PG’s, not CAG’s.  We haven’t as yet seen any drawings of the proposed changes but for reference we have included extracts from the most recent drawings, submitted for planning permission in 2015, below.

  • Small non material changes to the front of Westmoreland House including infilling recessed balconies and amending windows (see diag 1 below for current design)
  • Some small alterations to the Carriageworks roof scape (Block C) to allow the core to extend to the top storey (see diag 2 below for current design)
  • Reconfiguration of internal accommodation for Block A, the new build residential block to improve efficiency, allowing an increase in the number of units in the building without changing the footprint of the block. This will include an increase in the height of the step back facing Ashley Road on floors 4&5 (see diags 3 & 4 below for current design)
  • Reconfiguration to increase the number of commercial units on the ground floor of Block A following removal of ground floor residential onto the main courtyard (see Plan 1 below for current design)
  • In early 2019, PG Group will look a new application for Block D to increase the affordable housing content with a single additional storey of four residential units for affordable housing. The two ground floor apartments will change to 2 additional commercial units. (see plan 1 below for location and ground floor units and diag 5 below for current design)
site plan with block names

Plan 1: Ground floor site plan showing names of each block

westmorlandhousefrontage2015.jpg

Diag 1: Frontage of Westmorland House (from 2015 planning permission)

  • carriageworks-roofscape.jpg

    Diag 2: Roofscape of Carriageworks (from 2015 planning permission)

    BlockA1-AshleyRoadElevation.jpg

    Diag 3: Block A1, showing north elevation to Ashley Road (from 2015 planning permission)

    Diag 4: Site cross section showing west elevation of Blocks A1 and A2 (from 2015 planning permission)

    BlockD-CrossSection

    Diag 5: Cross section of Block D (next to red line in centre) (from 2015 planning permission)

Planned Road and Pavement Closures + Other Site Management Issues

On 1 December the City Council approved PG’s proposals for road and pavement closures around the site during demolition and construction.

The proposals form part of the ‘Construction Environment Management Plan‘ (pdf) and were submitted in September. This can also be found on the Council’s planning website.

The Plan addresses the following:

Communications

PG’s communications consultant, Jenny Gee, will be “working closely…to establish a working relationship that builds trust” with CAG, neighbours and businesses. Communications will include “sharing both the overall build plan and daily on-site activity” with a commitment to responding to questions by the end of the next working day.  Local residents will receive quarterly update letters.  Daily updates will be available from the site communications website  – https://consultingyou.co.uk/carriageworks.

Complaint Management

Any complaints should be submitted via PG’s communications website or in writing to Jenny Gee Communications, 2 Fernbank Road, Redland, Bristol, BS6 6PZ.  Responses will be provided by the end of the next working day.

Hours of Operation

Works will take place Monday to Friday 8am to 6pm and Saturday 8am to 1pm.

If any work is required on Sundays or Bank Holidays advance consent will be sought from Bristol Planners.

Deliveries

There will be no major vehicle movements into or out of the site during the school run. Actual times still to be agreed with the City Council.

There will be a full-time ‘gateman’ at the Ashley Road entrance.  Vehicles will normally turn around on the site but, if the need arises, the gateman will control traffic on Ashley Road to enable vehicles to reverse in.

Control of Dust

(The dirty sort not Rusakov Particles, which are altogether harder to contain).

Dust will be created during demolition. Dust suppression will include damping down with sprayed water during demolition, crushing and storage; sheeting and screening; enclosure of skips; watering of haul routes; sheeting of vehicles removing demolition materials and siting of the crusher as far as possible from neighbouring properties.  Burning of materials on site will be strictly prohibited.

Lighting

To avoid light spillage onto residential properties, temporary lighting will only be used when absolutely necessary; directional lighting will be used instead of floor lighting; low level and sensor controlled lighting will be used only during hours of operation; physical screening will be provided.

Parking

Site workers will not be able to park on site and will therefore park in the surrounding areas.  (No mention is made that these areas are RPZs)

Temporary Traffic Measures

The following drawings set out the proposed measures.  The dates are CAG estimates. PG will confirm final arranagements once they are approved by Bristol City Council Highways.

Phase 1 (¿January 2018?)

Erecting (and later dismantling) the temporary façade support system to the frontage of the  Carriageworks.

Phase 2 (¿January – March 2018?)

Demolition of Westmorland House

Phase 3 (¿April 2018 – sometime in 2019?)

Construction works until the new internal structure of the Carriageworks has been completed. The façade support system is then removed.

Phase 4 (¿2019-2020?)

Construction works following removal of the temporary façade support structure to the Carriageworks.

Phase 5 (¿2019?)

Construction of a new manhole over the existing Wessex Water combined sewer in Ashley Road, very close to the traffic light controlled junction with Stokes Croft. This will, in all likelihood, be a deep excavation which will necessitate a temporary road closure (see SK5). This has been discussed in principle with BCHDH and would be timed to take place during a school holiday period.

Other Road Closures (¿2018-2019?)

It may also be necessary to close Ashley Road for 1 day for the erection (and 1 day later for dismantling) of a tower crane.

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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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.

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

 

New Developer Confirmed

[To comment on this post click on the title and then go to the bottom of the page]

The Carriageworks has a new developer!  Following much recent speculation the Carriageworks Action Group can now confirm that the new developer is the Bristol based PG Group. They have exchanged contracts with Opecprime (aka Comer Homes) to purchase the freehold of the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House site and aim to start building in January.

The PG Group have given us this statement to publish:

PG Group logo“The PG Group has acquired the site from Opecprime Properties Ltd with the benefit of the planning consent granted in July last year, and will now start work on a wide range of preliminary assessments,” said Stuart Gaiger, PG Group Development Director.

Mr Gaiger said purchase of Westmoreland House would allow the creation of a development that could contribute positively to an already vibrant community and that the company had already made contact with the Carriageworks Action Group with a view to keeping the community involved in the development of the projected scheme.

“We want to deliver an enterprising development that respects and reflects the community ethos and, given the independent spirit that flourishes around the area, we look forward to some lively and interesting discussions.”

Lori Streich, Chair of Carriageworks Action Group, said: “We welcome this news that PG Group are buying the Carriageworks and Westmoreland House site. For over 25 years the communities adjoining Stokes Croft have lived with the neglect and dereliction. As a local developer we hope that PG Group will have the skill and commitment to deliver a development of which the community can be proud”.

Stuart Gaiger and his colleagues from the PG Group will be attending the Community Meeting on Wednesday 14 June, 6pm at the Kings Centre, King Square where they will say more about their plans and proposals to get the development going.  Please come along to find out more and to pose any questions you may have.

Who are PG Group?

What are PG Group’s plans and timescale?

What’s happened to Fifth Capital?