Development fears in Arnos Vale

Published on: 06 Jul 2016

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Boating pond in the proposed Paintworks Phase 4 developmentRESIDENTS and businesses in Arnos Vale held a public meeting last month to voice fears about increasing pressures on parking and infrastructure from several developments in the area.

Neighbours fear disruption if Phase 4, the central part of Paintworks, is gven permission for  92 new homes in three new buildings of four to eight storeys.

Some businesses say they will not be able to function during construction of the new homes, 1,769 sq m of workspace and
188 sq m of shops, food outlets or other businesses.

There will be 142 parking spaces, mostly underground, said developer, Verve Properties.

But as Phase 3 of Paintworks with 210 homes is being completed by Crest Nicholson, neighbours are worried that congestion and parking problems will only increase.

Residents as far away as Wick Road in Brislington are already complaining on Facebook that parking is becoming impossible. Those living in Edward Road and Chatsworth Road, next to Paintworks, complain about contractors from the site parking there, although Crest Nicholson has a policy forbidding it.

New homes are also thought  possible near Arnos Manor hotel and the TV studios. An empty site behind Majestic Wines has outline permission for 47 flats.

In addition the car wash next to Totterdown bridge is thought ripe for development, while the land between the bridge and Three Lamps is also earmarked for housing. 

Resident Debbie Laming said on Facebook: “We wanted to make it clear that nobody is opposed to developments but feel that the current infrastructure and facilities cannot cope with such growth so quickly.”

Richard Jones, owner of publisher Tangent Books, based at Paintworks, called the Phase 4 proposals “a high-density, high-rise nightmare”.

“We suspect a lot of the flats will be bought by Airbnb speculators [for rental as holiday homes] – there are three or four here already”, he said. Tangent will not be able to continue if the work goes ahead yet firms have not been consulted by Verve about compensation, he claimed. They include easily-disrupted firms working in film, making vinyl records and artwork.

Brislington West Labour councillor Harriet Bradley said she shares many of the concerns.

“Some of the businesses feel the work will make them unviable,” she said.

“I’m worried about the volume of traffic. I’m not sure that access has been given enough attention, especially as it affects traffic flow on Bath Road.

“In my view Bath Road and roads off it are the worst part of Bristol for traffic, and it’s increasingly difficult for residents to find anywhere to park.”

Ashley Nicholson, director of Verve and the driving force behind Paintworks, said the firm tries hard to be a good neighbour.

It is providing as many parking spaces as the council will allow, he said.

He said Verve has offered one of the affected Paintworks companies alternative premises for nothing during the construction, and would try to help others in the same situation. 

The Voice understands that the firm concerned does not feel it can function in the alternative site offered.

Mr Nicholson added: “Most people have agreed that Phase 3 work has been surprisingly undisruptive, and Phase 4 is nothing like the same size and it’s a much simpler scheme to develop.”

Verve is offering 16 affordable homes even though the council has indicated it would accept only 12, he said.

He did not want to see any of the new homes sold for rental on Airbnb. Verve’s policy is not to sell homes to investors, only to people who want to live in them, he said. But this is hard to enforce when the homes are sold on.

A planning committee is expected to debate the proposals either in July or September.

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