A Say In How We Live
healthy place to live and socialise in, as well as being a beautiful, sustainable space with respect for wildlife.
This would mean building low/medium-rise rather than high-rise buildings with at least 30% affordable housing. It would include green spaces and extra infrastructure such as doctors, schools, transport and parking to meet community needs.
Cynthia told me: “What is lacking and badly needed is an overall cohesive plan that takes into account the needs of the existing communities.”
Over the last 12 months WHaM have been consulting and voicing their concerns to the council, leafleting and holding stalls and putting on public events to involve local people in drawing up their own ideas for developing the area. In February 2016, they held a public consultation meeting to talk about a community vision for the area and drew up a vision document. They have now produced a community site brief, which is being revised ready for submission to Bristol City Council.
“This could be a great opportunity for cutting edge development,” said Cynthia. “It could be something that makes people say ‘Wow!’ Look at Wapping Wharf for example and how well that works.”
As WHaM point out in their site brief there are examples of creative, intelligent, community- based development in this city, and Bedminster could be one of them. Those living in the community have developed a clear idea of what their area needs. WHaM hope that the council is prepared to take their proposals seriously and show that the opinion of those who live in the community does actually matter to them.
If you would like to have a voice on the development for the area, you can join WHaM Facebook group (WHaM –Windmill Hill and Malago Community Planning Group). Visit whambristol.org.uk, or if you’d like information on events and progress, please email email@example.com.
WHaM (Windmill Hill and Malago Community Planning Group) was formed around 12 months ago because residents were concerned about development plans for their area and wanted to draw up their own proposals.
I talked to Dianne James and Cynthia Goldstein about the proposed plans and how WHaM are responding. They told me that a lot of people from the local community attended a meeting in September 2015 where the developer Urbis revealed their £135 million regeneration masterplan for the area of land that includes Malago Green (sometimes known as Bedminster Green) and Pring St Hill, land to the south of Hereford Street. Dianne James told me that the density of the proposed development had shocked her.
Urbis is the developer who eventually won permission to redevelop the run-down shopping centre St Catherine’s Place and build a 16-storey block of 188 flats last year after initially being turned down by the council. Their plan for Bedminster Green is to build over 800 homes housed in 8-12 storey high-rise blocks.
This year, local developer Paul O’Brien outbid Urbis to buy part of the proposed development area, the site of the former Pring & St. Hill steel plant. He proposes to build over 200 high-rise apartments and an energy centre on this part of the site.
Dianne and Cynthia told me that the group is not opposed to the area being developed. Their concern is that building high-rise, one or two bed apartments without any additional facilities or infrastructure would be a separate enclave between Bedminster and Windmill Hill without enhancing the communities in any way. Dense high-rise flats and an energy centre could certainly increase pollution and parking problems.
What WHaM would like to see is building that enhances the area. They believe it would be possible to create a welcoming and connected development, which would be an enjoyable and
March 16 - North Street's jewel in the crown
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