Notes of 16 May 2019 Community Meeting

Twenty people came to the Carriageworks community meeting at Hamilton House on 16 May.

It was the first meeting since November but Lori Streich, chair of CAG, said that things had been continuing behind the scenes. Key points are:

  • The site has been cleared. Took longer and more complicated than PG were expecting.
  • There has been a delay identifying the contractor but we understand that one is now being appointed. Once we find out who it is we will put on our website.
  • Construction is due to start in the autumn.
  • Archaeologists are currently on site digging trenches.

Planning Applications

PG have submitted three relatively non-controversial minor amendments to the planning permission and affecting blocks B, C and D (full details on our website).

Dominic Taylor (owner of neighbouring Tucketts Building and architect) said he felt that PG were pushing the non-material amendments to breaking point. Removing a roof terrace (from Block D) is not non-material and should be dealt with through the normal planning process. PG’s piecemeal approach meant that the overall picture is obscured and everything we have secured could be slowly chipped away. CAG should keep a watchful eye on all changes. Cllr Mike Davies said if the planning officer decides that a proposal is not a non-material amendment they will advise the applicant to put in a different type of amendment.

Block A (the largest block) has been the subject of discussions and will likely see changes to the current planning permission. The proposals were first revealed in November 2018 but but not met with great love. PG had provided 3D renderings of the proposals for the meeting and these were circulated. Lori clarified that, while the email from Jenny Gee said that ‘the preferred option was Option B’, this was only on the basis of a choice between the two disappointing options. CAG is eager to hear what everyone else thinks. Discussion followed about the designs. Points included:

  • The existing planning permission has two buildings named A1 and A2. Block A1 (which fronts Ashley Rd) is four stories high while Block A2 (which is in the middle of the site) is six stories high. Each block has its own stair and lift shaft although the main spinal corridor links the two together. The proposed changes create a single block (Block A) with a shared stair and lift shaft and increase the height of Block A1 to six stories.
  • No way that adding two storeys on a block is a non-material amendment.
  • We have been provided with 3D renderings of the scheme but the absence of proper floor plans and elevations make it impossible to fully understand what is proposed.
  • In particular it is very unclear how the corner to the lane accessing the market square will work. The existing planning permission had a lot of attention put into this. Now it is very vague. It does not look like a commercial entrance, instead it looks like a back alley to more flats.
  • The shop fronts do not look like shop fronts. A risk that the plan is to convert them to residential after being unlet for a year.
  • The façade needs more depth so that the existing shops roll round onto Ashley Road.
  • The white lines are meant to be bathstone. This is not a design reference – it’s just chucking in some different materials. This is inappropriate.
  • The current facade is quite articulated and honest. The proposed change is not.
  • The proposed building is higher than Tucketts. This goes against the Planning Inspector’s report.
  • There should be a step down from Tucketts to the new building to the Salvation Army. The amendments lose this.
  • The proposed changes increase shadowing in the area and reduce natural light to neighbouring buildings. The existing planning permission had a setback of the top floors to reduce the impact on light – that setback is now being removed.
  • What evidence is there that the additional space actually help viability?
  • Feels like they’re trying to strip out the character, driven by finances and nothing else.
  • The pavement levels appear to be inaccurate.
  • Colouring of the sky and materials in the graphics is adjusted to try to make the upper floors less intrusive.
  • Very bland for a gateway site.
  • Too modern in an old space.
  • A pastiche of modern architecture.
  • The archway has been removed. (Comment that this was at the request of the emergency services who might need to access the site, but apparently in the permissioned scheme the arch was designed to swing out of the way).

Lori sought an overall opinion of people in the room. The consensus was that that changes should not go ahead as proposed.

It was agreed that there should be another meeting once the application has been submitted to the planners. This will need full drawings on display. It was suggested that we should have neutral architects on hand who can help articulate and explain people’s instinctive objections.  UPDATE: The application has now been registered – see https://planningonline.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/centralDistribution.do?caseType=Application&keyVal=PRLISBDNHHU00

Finding the right time to meet will be difficult but CAG will start arranging as soon as the application has been registered by the planners.

Lori made the point that when considering these changes we need to remember the bigger picture. Our aim, from the vision, is to get the site redeveloped and to work with any developer that shares our vision.

Stokes Croft Community Association

Leighton de Burca from the new Stokes Croft Neighbourhood Association introduced emerging ideas.

Businesses and non-residents with a stake on an area etc are excluded from having a say in how a neighbourhood is planned. Other areas of the city have Neighbourhood Development Plans (NDP). This is a binding document on planners that can include shopfront design as, for example, at Old Market.

At the Stokes Croft Community Assoc meeting it was agreed there should be a Neighbourhood Plan for the area. The Draft Local Plan identifies sites for housing in the area. There will be a lot of change.

Leighton is employed with funding from Portman Brown and others who have an interest in the area e.g. nightclubs. Concern is residential uses arriving next to nightlife users. His job is to bring people together. Needs 21 people who live, work and socialise in the area and represent a diverse mix to work on a board together – has 10 so far.

Cultural Plan

Lori explained that a Cultural Plan for the Carriageworks site is a planning condition along with public art and management plan. The intention is to address any concerns that commercial units will not be let or that the ground floor will just not work for any number of reasons.

In early 2018 PG appointed Willis Newson, art consultants, who have been working on the cultural plan and public art plan. From what we have seen however, they are producing an arts plan and not a cultural plan.

Cultural plans, in the context of developments like Carriageworks, are not defined. But we know that the site has a natural connection from Picton St, an exit onto Stokes Croft, double frontage shop units, a market, a load of small secondary frontage units at the back that lends themselves to other sorts of stuff. The Willis Newson proposals make no mention of the type of function that will go into the units, or of how people will walk through, of the entrance, of how the market might work etc. We believe that the cultural plan needs to take a wider view than just the arts and that ultimately it will add value to the development. PG however have not been willing to enter into discussions about this wider view.

CAG has drafted an outline of what it believes the cultural plan should be – this was circulated. Discussion points included:

  • Units need to contribute to daytime and twilight business community rather than night-time community
  • We need services that enable residents of all ages and types to live in the area without having to resort to cars (although without ending up with another Tesco)
  • Workshop units that keep the rents down so you get interesting uses
  • Need to consider business rates (which are high in Stokes Croft) – make sure units are below the threshold to get rates relief
  • There is a conflict between turning the market area into a destination for people from all over the city and making it something of use to local residents. Being a destination has consequences for residents. The cultural plan should recognise two strands that need to be reconciled
  • The site should be something that people from St Pauls community will go into. The scheme cannot turn its back on St Pauls. Can’t ignore poverty. If you are building in an area with a rich cultural history you don’t just throw in expensive juice bars – it just services division. You have to make it as inclusive as possible
  • If it works properly it becomes a very cool place to live
  • There needs to be a sound assessment by the Council – the entrance way could turn the market place into a bass amplifier!
  • Will the Council charge for the market – and how much?
  • Management and design issues need to be part of the design and the cultural plan
  • When people hear cultural plan they think art. They don’t think placemaking
  • Need to consider CCTV – there are only two working cameras on Stokes Croft
  • Gates are not an option, but security does need to be considered and is a critical management issues that has to be part of the plan. In Old Market there are gates that are not locked but are so heavy the dealers etc don’t bother to open them
  • Need to look after the residents
  • Need good lighting
  • Design in the solutions to anticipated problems and design out the little anti-social behaviour corners.

CAG needs a mandate to go to the planners and say that the emerging cultural plan falls short. To comply with the planning conditions PG should properly engage about longer term issues.

Etceteras

Blue Mountain planning application has been submitted – large 250 bed student scheme. Please promote the consultation link https://planningonline.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=PPUSGUDNH3S00

Request: If you are commenting on planning applications or other issues please copy them to the carriageworks.org.uk website as well so that we can see the whole picture.

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What should be in the Cultural Plan?

Planning Condition #15 attached to the Carriageworks development states: “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.”

In January 2018 local consultants Willis Newson were appointed to prepare both the cultural plan and a public art plan.  They ran various events through the year to find out what local organisations thought and in September presented their ideas at a public meeting. Since then progress has slowed as the developer, PG Group, has focused on other not insignificant matters e.g. demolition.

The CAG Liaison Group has kept asking about progress and recently had a meeting with PG and Willis Newson but there’s still nothing to share that gives a sense of direction or costs.

CAG believes that the Cultural Plan should address the long term use of the site as a whole. To this end we have produced a discussion document which you can download (pdf) which will be discussed at the community meeting on 16 May.

Carriageworks Cultural Plan - managing space, uniting people

Site update from PG Group

PG Group have today sent an update about the Carriageworks redevelopment:

“Since we last shared the revisions to the Ashley Road façade in January CAG and PG have continued talking and this has influenced some further design developments that we will be sharing with you over the next few week including:

  • Design B is the design being submitted for the application, the one with the 6-commercial ground floor units as this was the preferred option
  • PG has also committed the architects to then turn their attention to the development of the facade design, following the ongoing discussions with CAG, and will share these revised designs during the application process
  • Shortly a revised CGI will also be created and shared to show this design development

“We can also confirm that the light stone used on the façade is Bath stone – this doesn’t really come across on the elevation attached.

“By way of explanation, PG’s focus has been pulling all the strands together to enable submission of the application into the planning process. I am pleased to say this will happen this week.

“The other good news is that PG is also finalising the lengthy search for a suitable contractor to build the Carriageworks. This appointment is now being finalised with an Autumn start date, exact dates to be confirmed, but we will share this with you as soon as we can.”

The designs referred to are below – click for a larger version.  The update is not clear as to whether the application to the planning process will be a full planning application or another non-material amendment in common with the other changes submitted this year.

Proposed revisions to Ashley Road frontage

Click to see images from the design that currently has planning permission. The key change is to the fifth and sixth stories which were previously setback but are now brought closer to Ashley Road in order to increase the number of flats inside. The facade also sees a redesign.

CAG is holding a community meeting on Thursday to discuss the latest proposals and other things. Click for further details.

Community Meeting – 16 May 2019

We will be holding a Carriageworks Community Meeting on Thurs 16 May from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Hamilton House (Mild West room).

Site demolition is now complete and PG have been submitting a number of non-material amendment proposals to the City Council.  As yet, however, a start date for development is still elusive, due in no small part to uncertainties in the construction and property markets arising from Brexit.

At the meeting we will discuss:

  • The emerging changes proposed by PG to the planning permission
  • The cultural plan, what it includes and what it doesn’t (but maybe should) include
  • How the Carriageworks site fits into Stokes Croft Neighbourhood Association’s emerging plans

We look forward to seeing you on the 16th.

Lori and the Liaison Group

New Non-Material Amendment Application

PG have submitted a non material amendment application for Block D (the social housing block).

This is the summary they provide in the covering letter:

• Reducing the number of stair cores in the block from 2 to 1. This allows for a slight increase in the size of certain units and an improved layout;

• Reduction in the number of doors to the non-residential units at GF level;

• Introduction of new WC and storage room at the end of the bike store to serve market traders. This will result in a reduction in the number of cycle spaces in the store from 114 to 100, though this will be compensated for by a matching increase in cycle spaces in Block A (to come forward under a separate application);

• Some of the drawings approved under NMA ref 19/00408/NMA included a set of external steps adjacent to the cycle store. These were included in error and have now been removed;

• Removal of most doors to the south elevation. The small rear ‘yard’ area, which was previously subdivided and allocated to the commercial units and one of the apartments, will now only be accessible via the communal entrance lobby for maintenance purposes. This will reduce the potential for noise and disturbance to the apartments above and the adjacent buildings;

• Change to fenestration at ground, first and second floor level on the front and rear elevations;

• Termination of the stair core at 2nd floor level to remove roof access. It is anticipated that any Registered Provider would identify the roof terrace as difficult to maintain and manage. Removing the stair access to the roof also presents a more uniform roof profile and reduced the overall height of the building.

All documentation is at https://planningonline.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=PPBUAIDN06900