Report to follow (please check below or at the top of the webpage to see if it has been published)
It was confirmed that this item would be split into two sections as follows:
1) Representatives from external organisations presentation on the ‘Proposals for Temple Island’
2) Bristol City Council (BCC) Officer Question and Answers
Presentation slides (are):
Representatives from Legal and General (L&G), Meeting Place
Communications (MPC) and Zara Hadid
Architects presented a slide deck which is attached to the
The following key points were noted from the presentation:
· I was suggested that the previous designs and images that had been provided should disregarded or forgotten because the designs were still at the development phase. Aspects such as the levels of density and height were still being considered and it needed to be exemplar.
· The space between the buildings was more important than the actual design of the buildings.
· Public transport connections were already in place and good.
· The near-by development at The Paintworks could be learnt from as a good example of this type of development.
· They recognised that Temple Island is a key gateway to and on the boundary of city centre.
· All car parking will be off-site.
· There is a seven metre gradient down from the Bath Road to the site
· Access for cycle paths and access to Temple Meads is being considered as part of the design.
· Roof terraces are likely to be a feature of the designs.
· The design would not be ridged but would reflect character and vibrancy of Bristol
· The Social Value Portal (SVP) is involved but couldn’t attend the meeting. A case study of SVP and L&G in London is available
The Commission Members made the following comments and asked the following questions:
· The earlier suggestion that the ‘space between things was more important than the design’ was worrying. One Member said it made them ‘nervous about the designs being potentially poor.
· Why was the risk being put on the Bristol tax payer? If this was to be a 250 year contract why was the tax payer underwriting it? Officers said they were currently working on the Cabinet report and this point would be addressed in that.
· Another Member said they agreed with the 250 year question but asked if Temple Island would inevitably be private or public land. For example, Temple Quay there are signs that say what used to be public land is now private land. Would this also happen on this site? The response was that a new thoroughfare would be created but whether it would be private or public land had not been decided yet. This was potentially something that the suggested Working Group could look into.
· The idea of a working group was welcomed by the Commission but it must be provided with accurate and timely information.
· It was asked when the external organisations first engaged in conversation with BCC about this site. The reply was ‘in 2015’.
· It was said the ‘vision’ hadn’t been made clear; was this is a residential or commercial development? This was a genuine mixed development was the response.
· How was it known that there is a demand for much more office space i.e. was this really viable? It was replied that there was a demonstrable need for more affordable housing (AH) and office space in that location. This wouldn’t however be just commercial office space some of it would also be used by the University of Bristol.
· Members asked about the affordable housing target of 40%. Was this ‘affordable housing’ in the true sense? Members were informed that yes this would be ‘genuine affordable housing’.
· A brief conversation was had about ‘social value’ and how it would be weighted. The Chair was keen to understand more about this point. It was suggested that the Social Value Portal could advise the Working Group about this.
The Commission thanked those who had attended the meeting from outside organisations.
2. Bristol City Council (BCC) Officer Question and Answers
At this point the Chair of the Commission read out a statement that she had prepared (this is attached to the minutes). One of the main points in the statement was the request for Scrutiny Members to be able to look at more information before this goes to Cabinet: the Chair put it to Members that the report should be postponed until the February Cabinet meeting or until has been fully scrutinised.
A discussion was had about what options the Members had and what the best way forward was on this.
It was suggested that it might be easier and more pragmatic to organise another scrutiny meeting prior to Cabinet. However, the Members were sceptical about their ability to influence anything once the reports had been published for Cabinet meetings. It was suggested that decisions had already been made before papers were published for Cabinet meetings. Other Members said that if scrutiny was really valued then it would be agreed to postpone the decision until either the February or the March Cabinet meeting.
It was underlined that Members had been waiting for the relevant meeting papers since the 20th December.
The Chair said that the Commission were told they would have access the ‘Heads of Terms’ and legal advice. Also it was being assumed that the legal advice must have changed since July.
One Member said they weren’t necessarily convinced the information had been held back on purpose but they agreed that the Cabinet decision should be delayed. They added that this was a ‘flag-ship development’ for the City. It was likely, given the nature of the information, that Members would need the Heads of Terms and legal information explained and they would want to be able to ask questions as well.
The Chair said she had been told the Commission could see this information but until now they haven’t been able to.
The Chair agreed with other Members that scrutinising Cabinet meeting papers once they had been published was too late to be able to have any influence on decisions. After a short discussion it was agreed to propose that the Cabinet decision was is postponed until March 2020.
The Growth and Regeneration Scrutiny Commission Members took a vote on whether they should call on the Mayor to postpone the January Temple Island Cabinet item so that it could be scrutinised in order to ascertain if it was a good deal for the City.
The vote was as follows:
The Scrutiny Commission Resolved: “The Growth and Regeneration Scrutiny Commission call on the Mayor to postpone the Temple Island paper going to Cabinet in January, as Scrutiny has been not been able to properly scrutinise the full Cabinet paper. Documents relating to the disposal have not been made available. Members want to scrutinise the legal and financial details before they are published. It is requested that all papers be made available to the Members who would call an extraordinary meeting to view the documents to understand if the disposal is a good deal for the City”