News / Housing

Community-led housing proposals for Lawrence Weston

By amanda cameron, Friday Aug 9, 2019

A 36-home development with a “heart space” could be built in north west Bristol under plans co-designed by the community.

Bristol City Council will decide whether to approve the proposals for the former council house site at Astry Close in Lawrence Weston.

Submitted by community-led charity Ambition Lawrence Weston (ALW) and housing association United Communities, the plans aim to “radically improve” housing choice in the area.

The site in Lawrence Weston, a post-war housing estate, has remained empty since the council knocked down 16 semi-detached houses which suffered from “concrete cancer”.

Expanded to include grass verges by community agreement, the site would be used to build 34 affordable homes and provide two self-build plots.

The proposals have been co-designed by the community. Source: Ambition Lawrence Weston / United Communities / Barefoot Architects

The homes, 26 affordable rent and eight shared-ownership, would all be “highly energy efficient” and built with “good quality materials,” according to the applicants.

A terraced area in the middle of the development called the “heart space” would have a slide and areas for playing, planting and people to socialise.

“There will also be a local lettings policy to ensure priority is given to people who live, work or have a connection to Lawrence Weston,” the applicants said.

Years in the making and designed in consultation with the community, the plans are part of ALW’s vision to make Lawrence Weston a better place to live.

The two self-build plots would allow for one two-bed and one three-bed home.

The other homes proposed would comprise 30 two-storey houses and four flats, and would likely be clad in brick and tile, planning documents show.

Each house would have two or three bedrooms and a private rear garden.

The council has received 21 comments in support of the proposals. Source: Ambition Lawrence Weston / United Communities / Barefoot Architects

The flats would occupy a two-storey building. Both ground-floor flats would be wheelchair accessible and have a dedicated disabled parking bay each. The two flats above would share an entrance and a garden.

The plans provide for 50 car parking spaces and a number of electric car parking points.

Each house would have an enclosed bicycle parking space and waste and recycling storage area.

The only current tree on the site, a mature oak, would be left standing, and 26 new trees would be planted.

Heating would be provided by individual heat pumps and wall mounted radiators where required, and roof solar panels would provide 20 per cent on-site renewable energy.

The council has received 21 comments in support of the application so far, including one from Jo Sergeant, a Labour councillor for Avonmouth and Lawrence Weston.

ALW was set up by a group of residents in 2012 after Lawrence Weston saw a decline in local services.

Planning documents show that ALW, which is buying the land from the council for a sum “to be agreed”, has plans to collect a ground rent.

It has secured the ownership of some of the homes “for the long-term benefit of local residents”, and the rest would be owned by United Communities.

“In the long term, this development will continue to be led by the community, giving residents a say over things such as how the neighbourhood is looked after, which maintenance contractors to appoint and any future policies that affect them directly,” the applicants said.

The community received grants and professional support from Bristol City Council, Power to Change, National Community Land Trust, Locality, and Homes England.

The plans for the scheme will be shared at an open day at Lawrence Weston Youth Centre on Saturday, August 10, between 11am and 3pm.

The site in Lawrence Weston where 36 new homes could be built. Source: Ambition Lawrence Weston / United Communities / Barefoot Architects

Mark Pepper, development manager for ALW, said: “It’s been a lot of hard work, and local people have really worked hard to develop this project, and we’re learning a lot as we go along, with support from our partners.

“We hope that this project will enable us to provide much needed, quality houses for local families who want to remain in the area as well as a long-term asset for future generations.”

The site as it stands now. Photo from Google images

Amanda Cameron is a local democracy reporter for Bristol

Read more: Solving Bristol’s housing crisis

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