Local developer Paul O’Brien outbid Urbis to buy part of the Bedminster Green masterplan area – the site of the former Pring & St Hill steel plant. In December 2016, Rollo Homes, owned by Paul O’Brien, submitted a planning application to build 217 one- and two-bed apartments in two blocks of 6-10 storeys high on the site. No affordable housing is currently included in the scheme.
The mocked-up image by a member of the Bristol Civic Society, above, shows the change to the view from St John’s Churchyard if this high-rise development goes ahead.
WHaM has expressed concern about a lack of affordable or social housing; the height and density of the proposed blocks; a lack of co-ordination between the stakeholders involved and a lack of associated infrastructure, such as school and health provision. WHaM were not included in the consultation process; similar objections raised by the BS3 Planning Group are labelled ‘subjective’ in the planning application and ignored.
We are urging everyone in the community to let us, and the Council, know what you think by posting your comments online.
- Check out our guide to posting an effective comment on a planning application
- Read and comment on the planning application
In March 2017 Rollo Homes submitted a separate planning application for an energy centre with a 31m high chimney on the same site. Urbis and the other developers of different sites within the Bedminster Green framework area are also proposing to submit an application for an energy centre to service the framework area.
Rollo Homes response to community concerns
Rollo Homes made the statement below to the South Bristol Voice in March 2017. Let us know what you think!
Rollo Homes – Plot 001a Malago Road
There have been a number of questions raised regarding the Rollo Homes Site on Malago Road. The developer is keen to set the record straight on a number of issues.
Consulting the community
A significant consultation exercise was undertaken as part of the Bedminster Green proposal, of which this site was a part. Planning permission has been granted for a residential scheme on this site on two previous occasions, both with no social housing. The previous owners were unable to commence work on site because their permission just wasn’t viable, which is why it has been vacant for 10 years.By contrast, Rollo Homes is able to commence work on site once planning permission is granted, providing much needed homes.
A wholly residential scheme
The previous scheme for this site also contained a commercial element which, in Rollo Homes opinion, is not economically viable and undermines the High Street, given that St Catherine’s Place already provides a mixed scheme use. The planning application the company has submitted reflects the precedence of the site opposite, St Catherine’s Place, which is 16 storeys and is envisaged as the landmark building which has been the catalyst for the high density redevelopment of the Bedminster Green area. Within the Bedminster Green framework, it states that homes closest to the transport hub will be highest density. These homes fall within this area.
The site will also include a future proofed Energy Centre designed to generate electricity and provide and hot water that will address the needs of the residents and responds to Council’s policy BCS14 which requires new development to minimise its energy requirements and then incorporate an element of renewable energy to reduce its CO2 emissions by a further 20%. BCS14 also supports the delivery of district heating networks in Bristol, with a presumption in favour of large scale renewable energy installations. Bristol’s goal is to become a carbon neutral city by 2050.
The Site Viability Study, which is publicly available, demonstrates that the scheme is showing a 17% return per annum over a 3-year period; this is well below industry standards. On top of this, the CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) for the site will be in the order of £400k, money that will be available for local projects. This is why the Rollo Homes application proposes more housing. The company knows it’s still tight, but they are confident they have the experience and backing to make it work.
Affordable Housing and Shared Ownership
Since acquiring the site, the Company has been negotiating the social element of the scheme., however confidentiality clauses have prevented any disclosure to date. An arrangement is close to being finalised which will see circa 20% of the apartments released under a shared ownership scheme. The Government, through the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) announced in April 2016 the Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme (SOAHP). This programme provides a commitment to extending affordable home ownership and it is likely that these dwellings will be delivered using this facility.
Whilst the planning application has been submitted for the Rollo Homes Site on Malago Road, given the timescales for a Super Major Application, the architect, planning consultant and developer anticipate ongoing discussions with the various professional agencies regarding specific aspects of the scheme. This includes the Environment Agency regarding the River and the proposed SUDS, the Police regarding security and surveillance. The planning team for Rollo Homes is aware that there may be further requirements the site will need to meet.
Another purpose of the early submission is to start a conversation with the Council’s Design Officer. This may lead to further changes being required and Rollo Homes sees this as an opportunity to present the revised scheme for consultation at this stage with some clarity as to the Council’s approach on this particular site.
Parking standards and transport
Whilst recognising that traffic and parking are pressing issues in BS3, the site is in an excellent sustainable location for other means of transport. It is walking distance of Temple Meads and Bedminster train stations, there are plentiful on and off road cycle routes and frequent buses all serving the area. In the future the Metro bus route will operate along Malago Road providing a 10-20 minute service frequency, adding to the public transport opportunities for residents. There will be 103 spaces for the 217 homes planned on site.
Whilst Rollo Homes accepts that some of the criticism, particularly relating to the lack of public engagement, may be justified, the directors are adamant that they have the communities’ interests at heart.
“Our roots are firmly embedded in the BS3 local economy and we’re local born and bred. Over the years we’ve seen the character of the area changing and the demand for residential homes, particularly the 99-one bed apartments we are proposing, is overwhelming”, said Paul O’Brien, “being a local developer, we’ll still be here long after the National developers have gone, and that means a lot. We also plan to contribute to the new infrastructure, which is a key concern for local residential groups and we will be sharing proposals and listening to the local residents in the not too distant future”.