The Carriageworks site in Stokes Croft has been derelict for over 30 years and had blighted the residential areas that surround it. We have been supporting the Carriageworks Action Group (CAG), which has been working for 4 years to get something done about it. Along with CAG we want a resolution to the dereliction of the site, but it must be the right resolution: one that will benefit people living and working in the centre of the city. So we are concerned about Fifth Capital London’s Planning Application for the Carriageworks site.
Fifth Capital, a private developer, is proposing to build 118 flats and houses on the site, and 5 retail units. They offer no social housing, despite the great need for housing for local people particularly in the St Pauls area. The plans do not offer the mixed uses or the flexible and accessible spaces that CAG proposes in its Community Vision for the site. The proposals are for 94% of the site to be developed for residential use. This will not bring employment and community opportunities so needed in the area.
The scheme will be car free, so there’s no resident parking apart from 6 spaces for drivers with disabilities. But the only parking space for delivery drivers is right in front of those spaces. So if there’s a van parked there’s no way in or out for disabled drivers. When challenged about this, Fifth Capital replied that disabled drivers should “shout” to ask drivers to move their vans! It doesn’t give us much confidence in plans for the management of the site as a whole, or that Fifth Capital have thought through the realities for people living within its walls – let alone those outside it.
CAG argued for a site with good through access, joining St Pauls and Stokes Croft to Kingsdown and the city centre. The proposals are likely to end up becoming a gated community. That’s not what Fifth Capital are saying now, but the design lends itself to that outcome, and the weak proposals for the management of the site give no confidence that, in time, the site will not just be locked so that people living in the areas around it will be kept out. CAG describes it as an inward looking development that does not invite interest in any active involvement from or with people in the local area.
We want to end the blight caused by the dereliction of the Carriageworks site. But we do not want to see a development that will increase inequality in Bristol West, and that’s what the Fifth Capital proposals will achieve. Already over 800 people have lodged objections to this planning application, which will be decided by a Planning Committee meeting on 8th April. We support the strength of community opposition to this Planning Application, and urge people to send their own responses to the Council’s Planning Department. Ashley Labour party branch has also submitted a response, as has our council candidate Mary Southcott.
CAG has produced information about how to object to the Planning Application. Do let the council know how you feel about this development – we need proper homes which local people can afford.