Tag Archives: Planning

KING PRAWN RISING

king-prawn

UKS Group are at it again. The company built a block of flats in Bishopsworth in 2017 – Litfield Court – that was LARGER than they had planning permission for (see  ‘PLANNNING NEWS’, BRISTOLIAN 36), pissing off many locals in the process. After the REFUSAL of a retrospective planning application by the council, the company finally got permission for the enlarged block on appeal.

Now one of UKS’s directors Sam Litt, is trying to REPEAT THE TRICK at 32 – 38 St John’s Lane, Bedminster, where a blatant OVERDEVELOPMENT of ugly housing has sprung up with a glaring problem. Some of the properties are listed on the planning application as 3-BEDROOM, with a much smaller floor space than actually constructed. In reality they are 4-BEDROOM PROPERTIES.

Now Mr Litt, to overcome this little problem, is applying to the city council’s planning department for a ‘variation of conditions’ to make “MINOR AMENDMENTS” to his original planning application. And the planning officer dealing with this? Step forward our dear old friend ANGELO “KING PRAWN” CALABRESE, who had to be hastily shifted out of Avonmouth after a series of UNLAWFUL officer-delegated planning decisions favourable to the Port of Bristol Company and various corporate waste firms came to light.

Has King Prawn learned any lessons? Or is he overseeing dodgy planning decisions in South Bristol instead?

AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS CRISIS

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.

Watch this space.

ARUP’S PLANNING CONFLICT

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Another example of the Reverend Rees’s WEIRDO corporate free market Christian evangelical ideology appears with news that the CORPORATE PRIVATE SECTOR are moving into the city council’s planning department to deal with planning applications.

Corporate consultancy firm Arup, who specialise in picking up OUTSOURCED PUBLIC SECTOR work, will soon be, “processing a range of planning applications and associated work within reasonable timescales and will contribute towards housing delivery amongst other objectives.”

Will this contribution towards housing delivery include Arup overseeing the Reverend’s major development plans for the CUMBERLAND BASIN? The one where the company delivering the masterplan is, er, Arup!

The contract has been awarded with no political oversight or input from councillors.

THIRD TIME UNLUCKY FOR ALIEN OTHERNESS BOSS?

Our dear old friend, Richard “The Builder” Fear, city council property boss and congenital idiot, continues to impress. Fear The Builder, you may recall, extended his period property in leafy Knowle with an “upscale dormer window” or, as a planning inspector later described it, a “strident and bulky structure creating an awkward sense of ALIEN OTHERNESS”.

The Planning Inspector became involved in an appeal early last year after this senior city council property expert FORGOT to get planning permission for his new structure. He then, unfortunately, FAILED, in 2016, to get retrospective permission for his hideous mess that broke all known planning regulations for a dormer window and had to appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.

Decisively losing the appeal, Fear then attempted to try and get retrospective planning permission all over again last summer by claiming a PAINT JOB and a bit of FAKE ROOF added to his unlawful carbuncle would solve all the problems.

Alas, not according to a planning committee of councillors who sent Fear packing a second time. Councillor Olly “Mediocre” Mead telling him, “You can put me in a TUTU and I’d no more resemble a BALLERINA than that resembles something that is appropriate for the area”!

Now, nine months later, and Fear has developed a new two-pronged strategy to save his expensive extension from demolition. We learn that, for the THIRD TIME, he is applying for retrospective planning permission while also appealing to the Planning Inspectorate for the refusal of his second effort to obtain retrospective planning permission.

Neighbours and locals assure us that Fear’s latest efforts are ludicrous. “The new plans look EXACTLY THE SAME as the ones refused planning permission last year,” they say, “what’s changed”?

Meanwhile, will an appeal to the Planning Inspectorate be any more help to Fear than last time around? Informed opinion suggests not.

HENGROVE PARK LATEST

Labour housing czar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith’s efforts to “build communities not just houses” on Hengrove Park continue to go badly awry as his planning team persist in their attempt to dump 1,400 homes in a field in south Bristol and call it “planning”.

Some progress was made when Wolfie’s planners caught up with the rest of the sentient universe and agreed that a public road access to their development was REQUIRED from Hengrove Way, the only major arterial route to the site.

However, planners then decided that this route must STOP one third of the way into the development to prevent “rat-running” between Hengrove Way and Whitchurch Lane. However, this will also PREVENT vehicle access to two thirds of the proposed homes from the road with the best capacity to handle the traffic. Planners, when asked where they think they are preventing rat-runners going, deliver the BLANK LOOK of someone who’s spent about as much time in south Bristol as the average Japanese Puffer Fish.

Concern for rat running then DISPELS less than a mile away where an existing residential road and ‘rat-run’, Bamfield, will provide vehicle access for two thirds of the development. Is the plan to prioritise the quality of life in the NEW DEVELOPMENT by reducing traffic there at the expense of an EXISTING residential area already handling supermarket traffic for Asda, school run traffic for Perry Court Primary School and existing “rat-runners” going home to Hengrove and Whitchurch?

How Bamfield, a residential road, is supposed to cope with even more traffic is NOT EXPLAINED. While enquiries regarding how many vehicle movements the new development might generate go UNANSWERED by planners who are, apparently, near the end of their “masterplanning” with NO CLUE how much traffic their development might generate.

Throughout this process, planners have remained DEAF to concerns regarding traffic issues in the area. Instead, the council’s mantra is that the new housing is a major benefit that residents have been calling for. A view CONTRADICTED by the council’s own Quality of Life Survey, where concern over traffic and transport dwarfs housing issues by about four to one.

So far, planners’ only real response to impending TRAFFIC HELL, reduced air quality and increased pollution is to enthusiastically draw little blue lines all over their plans indicating where their cycle lanes will go. This is for an area where their own data shows ZERO PER CENT of people cycle to work and any new roads will be cycle-friendly 20mph anyway.

Another “benefit” planners are keen to highlight is the £10MILLION proposed spend on park facilities and landscaping for the open space they haven’t concreted over. Although the reality is that residents are losing huge amounts of open space to housing and roads while any benefit from more park facilities is QUESTIONABLE while the council is proposing to close the existing Hengrove Play Park on Mondays and Tuesdays.

It also appears that there will actually be £10million worth of landscaped PSEUDO PUBLIC SPACE as the land will be turned over to a dodgy Carillion-style private management firm, procured by a skint council, to run. The level of maintenance and upkeep of this space is therefore likely to be LOW with ZERO community or democratic oversight once the council signs our land away to the private sector to manage.

The latest highlight of this public-private pseudo public space LANDSCAPING BONANZA is an optimistically named “village green”, planned to be built over the popular Family Cycling Centre. However, any traditional sound of leather on willow may be a little subdued by the main road into the development running DIRECTLY THROUGH this village green.

It’s obvious that this development is being pursued at a RAMPANT PACE by Wolfie in order to chase numbers for a manifesto pledge on housing numbers. While it might – if we’re lucky – support the housing needs of the rest of the city, it provides little that’s much use to locals who’ll have to live with the predictably DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES of it all.

Wolfie needs to get back to the drawing board or accept responsibility as the architect of a new Hartcliffe (another public housing development full of bold promises where there was never any money for the services and facilities to fulfil them).

DEVELOPMENT NEWS

Another month and more greedy bastard builders are taking the piss out of our city by refusing to provide social and affordable homes on land owned by us and handed over to PRIVATE DEVELOPERS for housing by Bristol City Council who then grant them planning permission.

First, over to Speedwell where Crossman Homes, a chiselling shower of shit from Bath, are will be DEMOLISHING our amazing art deco swimming pool building and replace it with a HIDEOUS cell block of flats.

Out of the 31 flats being built on our land, Crossman Homes are providing only FOUR “affordable” – whatever that means – homes. Just 14 per cent of the total. Way below the council’s target of 40 per cent or around 12 of these homes.

Not surprisingly the Speedwell community is up in arms about this. Not only are they losing a popular and locally listed community building, they won’t even get any housing anyone in their community will be able to AFFORD. Another win for Bristol City Council?

Locally listed baths: will be demolished for flats

Meanwhile, over at REDCLIFF WHARF, council-owned and the last undeveloped site on the docks, another affordable homes FIASCO unfolds on this prime development land.

A special purpose vehicle – Complex Development Projects Ltd – quickly set up last December by businessmen from HERTFORDSHIRE in search of a fast, unaccountable buck are applying for planning permission to build a wanky mixed use development there. There’s lots of waffle (and cost) with this one about the need for a “HIGH QUALITY PUBLIC REALM” to appease Redcliff’s posh folk who want a poncy development that befits their status.

This means that, while over a MILLION QUID is poured into “public realm” improvements, granite suppliers and the provision of one tree, there’s sod all money left for affordable housing. In fact the dodgy developers are proposing NONE whatsoever!

Our brave council planners have rejected this LUDICROUS PROPOSAL out of hand, however, and told the developers that they must provide THREE one bed flats as affordable housing. Or about ONE FIFTH of the affordable housing requirement for the site.
Sod that. The council must take our land back from these dodgy developers and snooty wankers  immediately and use the site for 100 PER CENT SOCIAL HOUSING.

And, if the posh fuckers of Redcliff don’t like more council housing on their doorstep they can always fuck off to the Cotswolds.

PLANNING NEWS

A retrospective planning application for 14 homes on Bridgwater Road, Bedminster Down may have hit the jackpot for STUPID DEVELOPMENT in the city. Originally granted permission in 2014, with no affordable housing, developers UKS Group Ltd, a heating firm, have set about about breaking the original planning conditions with considerable panache.

Chief among these is their RANDOM CHANGES in the design of the development; a FAILURE to properly decontaminate the land creating a potential health hazard and an INCREASE in parking spaces above legal levels.

Meanwhile a closer look by planning officers at the viability assessment for the development than they managed the first time around suggests it’s riddled with MISLEADING errors, which mean the company could still turn a generous profit and provide affordable housing.

Errors discovered in the viability assessment included: the use of LOWER property values than those provided by independent valuars with no explanation; a CLAIM the scheme contained 1,649 square metres of floor space when it was actually 1,761 square metres, meaning that the build costs were overly inflated, and a CLAIM of costs of £110,000 for parking spaces when the tender document put the costs at £21,700.38.

A council planning committee has now REJECTED the retrospective application citing the lack of affordable housing. Will the developer appeal?

Watch this space.

NO AFFORDABLE HOUSING PLEASE, WE’RE CHRISTIANS

Another day, another development before a planning committee of councillors in Bristol with absolutely NO affordable housing.

We’ve learned our dear old friends, the PG Group, the local multi-million property empire of dubious priest, Friar Gregory “Satan” Grant, have acquired a listed building, the EMPIRE SPORTS CLUB and its unlisted car park on Newfoundland Road, St Pauls. And, in a neat sleight of hand, they’ve put in two planning applications.

One for TEN HOUSES on the car park and another for 22 APARTMENTS in the listed building. All very convenient because the development on the car park falls below the minimum requirement for affordable housing while the listed Empire Sports building apparently qualifies for Vacant Building Credit (VBC) and is exempt from any affordable housing requirement.

So that’s a requirement for thirteen affordable units reduced to ZERO by the millionaire man of God. The only question now is whether councillors will let Friar Satan get away with this bullshit.

Watch this space.

PROPERTY BOSS’S NEW DORMER STRATEGY

Congenital idiot on the rates

Congenital idiot Richard “The Builder” Fear, the city council property boss who didn’t bother getting planning permission for an “eye-catching” CARBUNCLE on the roof of his home in genteel Knowle, is now getting some useful idiot councillors to help him out after losing his planning appeal.

To save him demolishing his unlawful loft extension, the surveyor and RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors) member – paid TOP-WHACK by us for his supposed property expertise – has now put in a planning application for a ‘new’ extension. This basically consists of a LICK OF PAINT and an extension to the eaves of his house to make his unlawful extension – that should be pulled down – appear like it complies with planning regulations when it doesn’t.

Fear’s latest plan goes before councillors TOMORROW with locals pointing out that, “a PAINT JOB and the addition of tiles to the eaves will not alter the building overall from being what the Inspector described as a “STRIDENT and BULKY structure… in awkward and discordant contrast with the rear roof pitches of the adjacent terraced dwellings”.

Another says, “from the scant visuals provided, it is impossible for us to judge whether the proposed covering of the cedar cladding with white paint will reduce what the Inspector calls a ‘sense of alien otherness’. However, our feeling is that replacing one ‘challenging contrast with the more subtle palette’ of the surroundings properties with a different at-odds colour (white) will simply result in an equally out-of-character and eye-catching interruption to the broader roof-scape’.

Naturally Fear’s planning colleagues at the council are ignoring any locals and their own planning regulations and recommending councillors approve Fear’s new money-saving plans, which a planning inspector confirmed as unlawful at an appeal.

Will councillors agree with this blatant piece of mutual backscratching from their officers as usual or will they stand up for the communities they’re supposed to represent?

PROPERTY BOSS IN UNFORTUNATE ALIEN OTHERNESS SLIP-UP

‘An awkward sense of ALIEN OTHERNESS’!

Unfortunate news just in. Seems idiot senior Bristol City Council property boss, Richard “The Builder” Fear, is going to have to pull down a HIDEOUS and PRICEY high spec loft extension he stuck on top of his well-appointed period gaffe in Haverstock Road in upmarket Knowle!

Tragically, it seems, this member of Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and leading council property “expert” FORGOT to obtain planning permission from his own council for what he laughably describes as an “upscale dormer window”. Does Fear, brought in by the city council three years ago for his alleged private sector expertise, think the rules don’t apply to him?

Alas, they do and he’s now lost an APPEAL to the Planning Inspectorate for retrospective planning permission for his outsize pretentious carbuncle, which not only fails to meet any traditional definition of ‘dormer window’ we’ve ever encountered but fails to comply with a host of planning regulations too.

What a terrible shame. Just imagine what it’s going to cost the OVERPAID council management twerp – who thinks rules are for the little people – to remove his unsightly mess from Knowle’s heritage skyline? There will also be little to cheer Fear in a HIGHLY CRITICAL report from the Planning Inspectorate.

The inspector, David Morgan, doesn’t mince his words over Fear’s abysmal extension that taste forgot. “The maximised proportions,” summarises the inspector of this “strident and bulky structure create an awkward sense of ALIEN OTHERNESS“. Ho! Ho! The Inspector then helpfully lists all the planning rules and regulations Fear has ignored before roundly rejecting Fear’s absurd claim that it’s a “Permitted Development”. Oh dear!

Perhaps once Fear’s dismantled this ANTI-SOCIAL MESS that’s fucking up the view in Knowle, he could take a similar approach to his day job?  Why not start dismantling the endemic culture of CORRUPTION and INCOMPETENCE in the council’s Property Service Department?

A clear-out at a department that currently has an inexplicable £9 MILLION DEFICIT while being involved in a variety of scandals such as with property Guardians Camelot would be most welcome.

But we won’t be holding our breath.