The Head of Development Management and his representative gave a presentation and summarised the report for this item.
• Amendments and additional conditions can be found in the amendment sheet. This is a hybrid application for 180 dwellings, 320 cycle parks and commercial space.
• There are 100 responses from public consultation, with a fairly even split between 43 supporting and 59 objecting. Objections are related to the height of the project and lack of affordability. Supports are related to local businesses, shops and regeneration of the local area.
• There are 7 phases of plots. The biggest development is 121 units in block 3. 815m2 of commercial space is included. There have been changes to increase separation distance of buildings, changes on external aspects and improved public realm. The buildings are more set back with additional street trees, a pocket park and amenity space of 20x30m. Positioning and building footprint is reduced. Now the building protects the courtyard from external noise. The housing mix is mostly 1 and 2 bed flats. The Council is pushing high density dwelling in this area and consider this an acceptable mix.
• This is the 4th time that we have received an application for this site. It is a hard scheme to develop with high costs. Bedminster has not benefited from this kind of development before. The Paintworks only got affordable housing in the 3 and 4 phase once phase 1 and 2 had raised the property value. The development is feasible in planning terms. Officers recommend approval with no affordable housing currently, but with 2 reviews during the scheme to see if this is possible in future.
• Issues on height and massing the block near East Street have been improved. Block 3 has much less mass than previously, allowing better light and relationship with St Catherine’s House. Improvements in public realm and private amenity. 43 additional trees. Height of building is below the previous grant. Much reduced bulk compared to previous applications. Slight improvement in access to sunlight. 10% of windows have poor access to light.
• There are objections on transport or ecology. Officers recommend granting subject to planning agreement.
Questions for clarification:
• Appreciate the viability work that has been done here. Is it feasible that a new viability on affordable homes could be done after each phase? Phase 1 is only 2 small units, so would not be worth doing at that stage. Phase 2 is the commercial space. Phase 3 is the big block so would be the appropriate time to review. We have conditioned if phase 3 has not started in 18 months, they will have to review. 6 months after phase 3 they will have to review.
• Block 3 is compliant with the Bedminster Green framework, it is in the tall building opportunity for 10+ floors. It also improves on previous applications.
• Is viability through phase 3, based on the success of the development locally or the housing market generally? It is about the reality of building costs of materials and labour. Values are affected by housing sales in the area.
• The new scheme has dropped the proposal for a cinema. There is potential for a commercial cinema in phases 5 6 7 but this is no longer explicit.
• There should be something in the conditions that ensures an independent review happens in phase 3. The developers pay for BCC feasibility, who use independent consultants.
• This is a big improvement on the previous scheme, but it would have been good to retain the cinema.
• East Street is badly in need of regeneration and this development should support local businesses.
Cllr Steve Smith proposed, seconded by Cllr Fabian Breckles to vote on the officers’ recommendation to grant the application.
RESOLVED: (7 For / 0 Against / 1 Abstain) that the application be granted as set out in the Officer recommendations.