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Community gives backing to Carriageworks plan

By louis emanuel, Wednesday Sep 23, 2015

Redevelopment plans for the long-derelict Carriageworks on Stokes Croft look likely to be approved after they finally got the nod from the local community.

Fifth Capital London’s initial plan for a conversion of the Grade II* listed Carriageworks and the adjacent Westmoreland House into shops and apartments were turned down by councillors in April amid public protests.

But now the Carriageworks Action Group (CAG), who have forced a rethink of the space and a reduction of the number of new apartments, say new designs are “worthy of their support”.

The new plans, which also include an improved entrance to a public square behind the buildings via Ashley Road, signal a major victory for the local community.

The new un-gated entrance on Ashley Road was a major win for the community

Lori Streich, chairwoman of CAG, said: “This has been a long process. Communities are rarely given the opportunity to be this closely involved in planning a major redevelopment.

“The council’s committee took a bold step in insisting that Fifth Capital work with us. Equally Marc Pennick, managing director of Fifth Capital, deserves credit for changing his approach and engaging in a constructive and collaborative way.

“We haven’t got everything we wanted, especially social housing, but on many other issues he has listened and adapted the scheme.”

She added that the group was happy with the way the space now worked and was pleased developers had listened to concerns of neighbours.”

The view from inside Godwin Yard, behind the Carriageworks

Doubts still remain about affordable housing, with just 10 per cent of the 113 homes falling under the criteria. The council’s own policy suggests a rate of 30 per cent.

A full draft response to the new plans has now been uploaded to CAG’s website where people can support, object or suggest changes to the document.

Following the last public meeting held by CAG, Marc Pennick, Fifth Capital’s managing director, told the Bristol Post: “When I acquired the site over a year ago, I was excited and enthusiastic about the project, a feeling that I still hold.

“However, I admit that I had little prior knowledge of the area and the people, which was perhaps naive. The past year has been a learning curve and I hope that I have shown my commitment and enthusiasm as well as listening to the community.”

The plans are likely to go in front of councillors once more on October 14.

How the final plans look

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