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Carriageworks plans finally approved

By louis emanuel, Wednesday Oct 14, 2015


Stokes Croft is set for a face lift after plans to redevelop the long-derelict Carriageworks and Westmoreland House were finally approved.

The initial decision over the complex of flats, shops and cafes was deferred by councillors in April amid concerns about access, impact and affordable housing.

New plans, which now include 112 new homes, an entrance to an open courtyard from Ashley Road and an increase in affordable houses to 10 per cent were voted through by councillors on Wednesday night.

The decision followed months of toing and froing between the developer, architects and local groups, and ends some three decades of dereliction.

The buildings have been derelict for about 30 years

 

At a planning committee meeting on Wednesday, Lori Streich, chairwoman of the Carriagework Action Group, which helped force the initial rethink of the plans, said she was now happy with the designs, but asked that the community group be included in the building stages too.

Marc Pennick, director of Fifth Capital London, which put forward the redevelopment, said he and his architects had adapted the plans to suit the community, and objections to the designs had gone from 1,400 to two.

“You asked me to listen to the community and the community has spoken,” he said, before thanking the committee.

Rob Telford, Green councillor for Ashley ward, said the council ought to take note of the way the community had been eventually been involved with the project.

“It’s clear that the process is something we need to learn from in this city,” he said.

But he also raised doubts about the proportion of affordable housing, which misses the council’s target of 30 per cent.

However, the plans – described at one point as “as good as we are going to get” – were passed by councillors who voted 11 in favour to one against.

The newly adapted entrance on Ashley Road

 

The two buildings have been the subject of a number of failed planning applications in the past.

Committee chairman Peter Abraham said he had seen the torrid history of the building’s dereliction first-hand in his time as a councillor, adding: “I have even had an owner, from Ireland, threaten me on the committee before.”

Current owners Comer Homes are said to have a deal in place with Fifth Capital to sell the site as long as planning permission is granted.

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