More news drifts in regarding
the slow but inexorable OUTSOURCING of the whole of the city’s planning system
and its oversight to private firm Arup.
We already know that Arup have been, for some time, supplying agency
staff to the council’s planning department to specialise in ‘MAJOR PROJECTS’. Then came the news
that Arup were involved in developing the Reverend’s options for his ‘Western
Harbour’ plans at the Cumberland Basin.
So it should come as little surprise to learn that Arup were also
involved in drawing up BRISTOL’S LOCAL
PLAN. Specifically, the private firm were responsible for SITE ALLOCATIONS and POLICY DEVELOPMENT for this detailed
development blueprint for the city that WILL
MAKE LOTS OF PRIVATE INTERESTS LOTS OF MONEY.
When will we get the chance to
vote on a manifesto promising to hand our city’s planning system over to
multi-national companies looking to make a profit?
As it emerges that they’re going to miss their affordable housing target of 800 homes by 2020, the Reverend and his housing sidekick, Paul “Wolfie” Smith are now resorting to DESPERATE MEASURES and cheerleading some pretty shabby development proposals through the planning system.
In June a Bristol City Council planning committee waved through permission for a 15 storey tower block on the Bath Road at Totterdown. THE HUGE AMOUNT OF CONCERN in the local community over a development that doesn’t meet the requirements for tall buildings outlined in the Local Plan – a policy revised just months before by the Reverend’s administration – was overlooked by a Labour majority Planning Committee, apparently IN A HURRY TO JUST GET SHIT BUILT.
The Reverend’s Housing Czar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith took to social media before the planning meeting to give the development a PR BOOST, announcing, “Great to see Hadley group commit to at least 30% affordable housing and up to 50% for their proposed development on the old garage site on the Bath Road”.
Although developers, Hadley, had actually committed to just 20 per cent affordable housing and the council had agreed to SUBSIDISE a further 10 per cent (with possibly a bigger bung to come) with public money. This is despite the development being unsuitable for families and children, not least because it’s on one of Bristol’s busiest roads and has NO OUTDOOR PLAY AREA.
Meanwhile over at Hengrove Park – where the council’s vision of 1,500 homes on a public park was thrown out by planners just a few months ago because it didn’t comply with the Neighbourhood Plan – A NEW PLAN has appeared proposing just 50 houses less, which still doesn’t comply with the Neighbourhood Plan.
Residents in Hengrove and Whitchurch are UP IN ARMS at the poorly revised plans, which look set to be forced through by another Labour majority planning committee seeking affordable housing numbers rather than decent development. However, if the committee passes the plans, the community are promising a messy Judicial Review. And we all know Bristol City Council’s record at Judicial Review is ABYSMAL.