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.

Advertisements

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

 

Marc Pennick wishes us ‘Good Luck’

Statement from Fifth Capital London

I’m aware that you had your meeting tonight (Wed 14 June) and hope the developer and community can work together and deliver this exciting opportunity.

When I picked PG Group I believed this was the best outcome for all concerned.

When I started this journey I generally had the interest of the community in mind but probably didn’t have a true understanding of the area, it’s complexities and all those involved. Over this journey I have grown to understand and highly respect the work that the Carriageworks Action Group does and I truly believe we would not have reached this outcome without such proactive involvement. I hope all concerned will agree that this has overall been a positive process, with the community interests at the heart whilst still trying to balance a sense of commerciality that will hopefully mean a successful delivery.

Wishing all concerned the very best of luck. I look forward to visiting the completed regeneration.

Kindest Regards

Marc Pennick

Press Release from PG Group

This is the press release issued today (14 June 2017) by the PG Group

NEW REGENERATION PROJECT FOR THE HEART OF BRISTOL

A major regeneration project creating new homes is to go ahead at Stokes Croft in the heart of Bristol following full community consultations.

City developers, the PG Group, have acquired the derelict Westmoreland House, a six storey1960s built concrete framed office block which has been empty for 35 years and condemned as an eyesore by residents.

The deal also includes purchase of the adjoining historic Grade Two listed Carriage Works building which dates back to 1862 and is one of the West Country’s top ten most at risk heritages sites.

Local residents have been campaigning over a considerable time for action on the site which includes a yesteryear showroom for Victorian carriages.

PG Development Director Stuart Gaiger said the demolition of Westmoreland House and the restoration of the Carriage Works would create 112 new homes, as well as a ten business units.

“We have acquired the site, which was granted planning consent in July last year, from Opecprime Properties Ltd, and will now start work on a wide range of preliminary assessments,” he said.

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 consultations with the Carriage Works action Group and other local community interests would begin shortly.

” 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.”

Mr Gaiger said PG hoped to start work on the two year project in the autumn but could reassure local people that the company was not looking to materially alter the existing permission.

PG Group, who have build up a fine reputation as regeneration specialists in and around the city, are currently completing conversion of the 1970s-built Lewins Place office complex into 148 new homes.

ENDS

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?

Community Meeting, Wed 14 June

You might recall that at the last community meeting in April we heard that there is a Bristol based developer who is likely to take over development of the Carriageworks site from Fifth Capital.  We are not yet able to confirm the identity of that developer. However, we can with an optimistic tap on the keyboard invite you to a Community Meeting on Wednesday 14th June, 6pm at the Kings Centre, King Square.  Further details about the meeting will be published earlier that week but you might want to put the date in your diary – it should be worth coming along!

Lori and the Liaison Group