Officers introduced this report and made the following points:
· This is an application for a 3-year permission for the installation of 50 shipping containers (class) E with a cycle and pedestrian pathway.
· Items 9a and 9b are both situated on former railway land and involve the installation of a cycle path over a potential mass transit corridor.
· We have received 2 further objections about the disruption to mass transit and officers recommend refusal on transport basis.
· The officer displayed and explained the site plan for members. The path is under Sandy Park bridge. The site is very overgrown, and it is considered a wildlife corridor. The proposal is for a 3m wide cycle path on the western boundary. This cycle path is not wide enough and should be 5m for proper segregation.
· Elevation drawings show a lack of overlooking the containers being at 15m distance from other houses. There is no impact on amenity.
· The proposed path is on a safeguarded transit route, reserved to release congestion on the A4. Transport officers very strongly object to the application.
· Because of the temporary nature of the application, it is not possible to secure on site renewable energy, however the applicant will contribute to offsite renewables.
Officers then responded to Councillors’ questions as follows:
· The South Bristol link road took some 70 years to complete. There are doubts about whether a road would be onsite in the next 3 years. The strategy for this area has been established for a long time and funding is committed to this location over the next 5 years up to 2027. This is out to consultation now.
· Could we condition that the path be curtailed if needed? This is a temporary application, but we would have to make sure it is acceptable to the applicant to have a path that could be removed within 3 years if necessary. It may make the project unviable.
· There is a conflict between the administration announcing no plans for the land vs officer opinion that things are happening. The process is moving to a business case where the administration will assess options. Proposals for the transport link have been around for a while. The final scheme will have cycle path as part of it.
· Officers want to work with the applicant to get a temporary solution while the permanent solution is being developed. However, this application may restrict options for the bigger development.
· The transport link has received Department for Transport secured regional funding. It will go through a business case and would require cabinet approval. It is estimated the business case will take 2 to 3 years to complete. It will involve site investigation.
· Permission can be for a 3-year period, but the applicant can apply for an extension in future. The decision today cannot predetermine another one in 3 years’ time. The strategic project is big, expensive and hard to deliver so officers want to minimise any risk.
· If a temporary cycle path is built, it is possible for it to become a right of way due to public use.
· The 3 year time limit will begin from the date of the decision, after officers have developed appropriate conditions. This is estimated for August / September 2022.
During debate, Councillors made the following comments:
· Members are aware that Bristol needs to emphasise sustainable transport. Refusing this kind of application would be detrimental to that objective. Better negotiations between the officers and applicant may have made the committee redundant. Transport is the only objection on this application, but it seems unlikely a road will be placed here within 5 years.
· Objections hang on a potential road that may happen in future. Some areas of Bristol have a similar designation but have not been used for over 70 years.
· We should be mindful of the economic benefits of this project, especially post lockdown.
· The proposal does not meet the new cycle standards; however, they may be beyond the ability of the owner to provide or too disruptive to future road plans. This is a temporary and private funded venture so we should back it.
· Bristol is known for small creative businesses, which need their operation space. We should consider the reduction in office space currently going on in the city centre.
Councillor Richard Eddy moved, seconded by Councillor John Geater and upon being put to the vote, it was
RESOLVED (0 for, 7 against, 0 abstentions) – that the application be refused as per officer recommendations in the report. [Motion FALLS]
Councillor Richard Eddy moved, seconded by Councillor Fi Hance and upon being put to the vote, it was
RESOLVED (7 for, 0 against, 0 abstentions) – that the application be approved and delegated to officers to develop appropriate conditions.
Cllr Eddy noted that the any issues related to conditions on the application could be referred to the Development Control leads to resolve.