Inspiring great place-making
The scheme has been revised to incorporate some of the suggestions made by local people, in order to try to secure planning permission, which will pave the way to millions of pounds of profit for the developer. It should still be refused because:
1 At a time of high housing need among low income residents of Bristol it has no social rented accommodation, and a pitiful token ten shared ownership flats.
2 In particular there are homeless people in and around the area who would benefit from appropriate accommodation.
3 The planning system includes guidance on requiring developers to provide affordable housing and councils can ask for 25 to 40% (eg in London) - why is BCC refusing to do this?
4 The open space provided is not large, as comparisons in the recent presentation have shown - not very different from the staircase corner at Cabot Circus, and it will be heavily overshadowed for much of the time.
5 The land take is very high, building on much more of the site than the present blocks, and the design cuts the site in two, creating further overshadowing problems and preventing for ever the possibility of a more generous public space in this congested and busy area of Bristol
The scheme will demolish Westmoreland House, a distinctive and robust modern building with an important social history and artistic contribution to the cityscape in its own right
6 Demolition of Westmoreland House is also completely unjustifiable on environmental grounds - the massive amount of primary energy embodied in its perfectly reusable concrete frame will be wasted, and vast amounts of resources and CO2 will be used to build a new structure in its place, purely in order to squeeze more profitable accommodation onto the site
7 The quality of the housing being offered is not high. Individual houses will be overshadowed or have gardens with little sunlight, and half of the main block's flats also will never get direct sunlight as they face north east
Living rooms cited in the presentation at 15m2 are NOT generous, this is barely enough to put living room furniture in, let alone anything like a desk or dining table if required
8 Architecturally the replacement for Westmoreland House is bland and - by trying to fit in so smoothly - works completely against the grain of Stokes Croft, where each building on the main stretch is different and distictive.
9 The building on Ashley Road is even worse, if anything its reduced height emphasises its lack of architectural presence, becoming just an additional lump of red brick porridge alongside the new Sally Army building - certainly not a building justifying the demolition of a listed house and adjacent trees
In summary this is high density, greedy, unaffordable antisocial housing, presented with some skill to look as though it is nodding towards community objections but will still if permitted become a concrete memorial to missed opportunities and lack of political will to stick up for the needy.
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