Bedminster to learn soon where it fits in to city's grand plan as mayor listens to concerns
Published on: 02 Feb 2018
Pictured: The latest version of the Rollo plan, as filed by the developer with the council. Comments can be made to the council until February 7, although comments received after that may be considered
MAYOR Marvin Rees listened to concerns that tower blocks in Bedminster Green will damage the quality of life both for their neighbours and the people who live in them.
But he gave no indication that he will call a halt to the councils’ encouragement of high-density, high-rise residential buildings as a way out of the city’s housing crisis.
The mayor heard complaints about future tower blocks from several residents when he held a question and answer session at Victoria Park Baptist church in Windmill Hill on January 19.
“A lot of people on the hill are really concerned about their quality of life. We don’t want to see that totally ruined because of developers’ greed,” one woman told him.
Several developers have told the Voice that the council is encouraging them to put forward plans for tall buildings. On Bedminster Green, Rollo Homes has reduced its plan from 10 to nine storeys, but other developers are proposing towers of 18 storeys and more.
Mr Rees told residents that it is essential that Bristol comes up with a city plan it can defend, otherwise “the free market will run riot in Bristol, and we will end up with what we are given.”
The council is working on a map, to be released in the spring, which will show the areas of the city which will be zoned for high-density development.
Bedminster Green can expect to be on the list, along with Bath Road.
Mr Rees insisted he wants developers to provide workable communities, not just places to live: “We don’t just want to provide bricks and mortar for people to live in but cities that are sustainable,” he said.
ROLLO Homes, which is so far the only developer to have made a planning application at Bedminster Green, is seeing new objections to its revised, smaller plan.
The Bedminster firm reduced its Malago Road plan from 10 storeys to nine and from 206 to 183 flats. It has also withdrawn plans for a district energy centre, saying it will replace it with 30 “affordable” homes.
Among 18 objectors to the new plan was a resident of Malago Road who said the flats, though lower, would still overshadow his home. Comments can be made on the plan until February 7.
The Environment Agency has also objected, saying the plan doesn’t give it enough access to the River Malago.
Bristol city council said: “We are in discussions with the landowners of the different sites in the Bedminster Green area in order to encourage them to work together on a masterplan for the wider area which would help to coordinate the proposals, provide the overall infrastructure that the area needs, and to maximise the amount of affordable housing.”
The area will also be included in a review of the city’s Local Plan.
Rollo has hinted it may take more part in discussions with the other four developers on the Green.