Category Archives: Yuppification & All That Jazz

Broadmead expansion, ‘Bristol Alliance’, Cabot Circus, loft living, serviced apartments etc

Bye bye Lakota, hello yuppies

Just got back from the council committee meeting. They voted for demolition of Lakota and the Coroner’s Court. One committee member voted against, another seemed to have absented himself under instruction from the chair. A further three said they did not think the development proposals were very strong, or expressed reservations about going against conservation findings made by the council itself, but still voted to demolish.

There were passionate contributions from the floor, both in favour and against. Roughly speaking those against demolition focused more on conservation and historical interest, which may with the benefit of an hour or two of hindsight seem a tactical error, whilst those in favour presented it as a benefit to the local community in terms of housing and employment. It was precisely this area that I feel the proposals were weakest – go figure. There were also a handful of paid consultants and silent suits lurking around, and the council officers presented pretty strongly for demolition, despite admitting that the development did not meet various criteria.

Oh well, lengthier post mortems to follow, which seems appropriate for a mortuary. PRSC put up a strong presence in the room, as well as there being various concerned local residents and civilians such as myself, so I imagine the fight is not yet over.

PRSC Says: Stop the yuppie developments! Save Lakota!

Right, so I been a lazy little blogger, been away, yadda yadda yadda, but anyhow, that busy bee Chris at the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft has done my work for me by putting out another call to arms to the people of the Croft and the STP…

As you may know, Lakota – one of Bristol’s most significant nightclub venues, and a progenitor of local underground dance culture – is under serious threat of being knocked down to make way for (yes, you’ve guessed it) more yuppie flats. I wrote about the earlier stages of all this back in 2006, and sadly Clockwork has now fallen to the speculators; but we do still have the chance to execute a blocking manoeuvre on the profiteers wanting to socially cleanse our neighbourhood by sticking together and routing them on the Lakota issue. How can we do that? Well, over to Mr Chalkley:

IMPORTANT NOTICE: FINAL COUNCIL PLANNING MEETING TO DECIDE WHETHER THE LAKOTA NIGHT CLUB WILL BE DEMOLISHED

TIME AND VENUE: WEDNESDAY, 11th JUNE 2PM, at the Council House.

The Lakota building is up for demolition. A development of The Lakota and the Coroner’s Court is proposed (See attached images), which will mean the demolition of the former malthouse, now the Lakota, and the construction of 57 residential units, ground floor commercial units, to include a restaurant/cafe and an element of affordable business space.

The Lakota is a former malthouse which has its origins in the 18th Century… and falls within the Stokes Croft Conservation area, and is identified as “an unlisted building of merit.” 197 letters and e-mails have been received by the Council, of which 21 were in favour of demolition, the rest being against… most people citing the loss of the club… Be warned: this is not a valid reason as far as the planning is concerned…

We invite you to peruse the relevant documents, and there are many (See the two links at the bottom of the email)… and would ask you to attend the meeting…

Everybody has a right to speak at this meeting for up to three minutes, to put one’s point of view. In order to do this, you must contact Steve Gregory at the Council by 12 o’clock the previous day [midday, Tuesday 10th June], with details of what you are going to say… Tel. 01179224357 or email steve.gregory@bristol.gov.uk

The proposed development has some merit, but we feel that, even though the Lakota building is in poor repair, and is a simple utilitarian warehouse building, there is no valid reason for its demolition. The reason that Stokes Croft is “Known as much for its individuality, culture and diversity, as for its perceived decay” is precisely because it has managed to retain an eclectic mix of historic buildings that have managed to escape the blandification of commercial re-development. It is arguable that the reason that the Lakota night club came into existence, is that the building was not locked into one specific use… Essentially it is a large box.

With developments taking place all over the City currently, we believe that it is increasingly important to retain whatever historic fabric that remains within the City Centre, and to retain buildings that offer the possibility of many different uses. By creating more accommodation, we remove these buildings and potential space from the possibility of public/creative/commercial use. In fact, we believe that to demolish the Lakota would do the City an enormous disservice, and risk setting a precedent for further re-development throughout Stokes Croft that neither ‘preserves’ nor ‘enhances’ its status as a Conservation area.

Jamaica Street Arts Studios in the centre of Stokes Croft is an old industrial building which was similarly under threat in the early 1990’s. By working with English Heritage, the owners managed to keep the building alive, and it is now a flourishing Arts studio complex, and houses over 40 working artists in a refurbished historic building.

One thing is certain: If we demolish the Lakota, we cannot un-demolish it a few years later… So, if there is the slightest element of doubt, we must work to preserve it…

If you wish to speak, then please get in contact Steve Gregory Tel. 01179224357 email steve.gregory@bristol.gov.uk
Or… contact us [PRSC], with a view to co-ordinating our response.

————————————————————————–
Lakota planning app on BCC website
Description: DEMOLITION OF LAKOTA CLUB BUILDINGS.
Address: Lakota 6 Upper York Street Bristol BS2 8QN
Council reference: 08/00155/LC
Online Reference: Not Available
Date opened: 25/Jan/2008
Status: Current

Coroner’s Court planning app on BCC website
Address: Former Coroners Court Backfields And The Lakota Club Upper York Street Stokes Croft Bristol BS2 8JW
Council reference: 07/04779/F
Online Reference: Not Available
Date opened: 01/Nov/2007
Status: Current

REFURBISHMENT AND CONVERSION OF THE FORMER CORONER’S COURT TO RESIDENTIAL USE (19 UNITS) INCLUDING DEMOLITION OF LATER ADDITIONS AND EXTERNAL ALTERATIONS. DEMOLITION OF ADJOINING LAKOTA CLUB BUILDINGS AND REPLACEMENT WITH A MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT INCLUDING Drawings can be large files. We recommend that you click on the “thumbnail” links. The quality of the image depends on the quality of the original submission.

People’s Republic of Stokes Croft

Turbo Island Studio,
37, Jamaica Street,
Stokes Croft,
Bristol,
BS2 8JP

Mobile: 07866627052
Email: chris@prsc.org.uk
Web: http://www.prsc.org.uk

Oh, and the pic directly above? That’s the coroner’s court standing in for Peckham Town Hall in the 1996 Only Fools And Horses Christmas special, ‘Heroes And Villains‘. Guess it’s time for our councillors to decide which they are themselves…

PRSC says: People of Stokes Croft, assert yourselves! (Urgent action required)

Summary

  • The Attic Bar on North Street (right at the St. James’ Barton end of Stokes Croft, formerly the Eclipse) is subject to a planning application which could see it demolished and turned into ‘serviced apartments’.
  • The last day for getting comments and objections to Bristol City Council is this Friday (23rd May).
  • You can see the application online on the BCC website, where you can also have your say.
  • The Attic might not be a great boozer, and it may have been built over the (metaphorical) ashes of rock/goth/pool pub the Eclipse, but it is at least a social space, unlike ‘serviced appartments’, which are creeping up all over the shop, almost as much as yuppie flats and Unite student blocks.


This is the text of an email from Chris Chalkley of the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, which he is asking people to forward to others with an interest in the changes being made to our local area.

The Planning Process… How we can influence what happens in the Croft…

As you’re probably more than aware Stokes Croft is under massive threat from corporate developers who propose to demolish perfectly repairable and in some cases listed buildings and replace them with unaffordable, unattractive new flats, Currently, PRSC know of 7 separate planning applications of this nature that are being considered along Stokes Croft by Bristol City Council. Proposals vary but all threaten the existence of the great variety of exciting underground / cultural assets we have in Stokes Croft and were they to go through, Stokes Croft would look much like the waterfront does now – bland and monotone, sanitised and gated. The exciting mix of creativity that has attracted people from all over the world to the area for decades would be lost to the mists of time…

All planning applications are published online, and anybody can examine the proposed plans and comment on them… The Council are obliged to take account of these comments.

We will from now on make a point of alerting as many people as possible to all proposed developments within the area. We will endeavour to inform you as best we can as to what’s being proposed and how we can all – from our various individual but connected pressure groups / crews – make our feelings about such developments known.

There are a couple of crucially important things to make clear about how we can make use of the planning process:

1) If enough members of the public ‘comment’ on an application once it’s online, the Council are obliged to call an open committee meeting where people can turn up to make their objections known in person.

2) It is our understanding that anybody may speak at the subsequent committee meeting, for up to 3 minutes, to voice their concerns, challenge the legality etc. of the application in question so long as they apply to speak at least 24 hours before the meeting. This is a legitimate method by which residents, concerned parties, activists can directly address the decision makers and show the strength of feeling and raise legitimate objections. It is the first line of resistance, and organisation between concerned groups will make our voice stronger. It is essential to realise that, just because an application has been submitted, the result is not a foregone conclusion…

By using our legitimate rights judiciously, we can bring force to bear… The planners are not used to masses of people demanding to speak…
In essence, engaging with the process by peaceful means, and working together, will buy us all time in which we can form stronger bonds among our various groups and research our objections more thoroughly, making our case for preserving Stokes Croft as the cultural hub it is, a lot stronger.

ACTION REQUIRED NOW PLEASE…

The Attic Bar.. Part of the Full Moon

There is currently a planning application for the demolition and rebuild of the Attic Bar, next to the Full Moon, on North St. at the bottom of Stokes croft.

The deadline for comments and objections has been extended to Friday 23rd May – THIS FRIDAY

Whilst it falls in the curtilage of the Grade 2 listed Full Moon, the Attic itself is not listed, but is subject to Listed Consent, which means the impact of any changes to the Attic has to be considered with reference to the historic nature of The Full Moon. However, The Full Moon will stay as it is. The Planning Application is to fully demolish the Attic bar – originally built in 1715 as the bar for The Full Moon Hotel and coach house. It was probably partially bombed, then altered in 1955 and was fully renovated in 2006/7. While the Attic building has fluctuated in height over the years, and been almost entirely rebuilt, it is said to have retained its ‘character of age,’ in perfect keeping with the Full Moon, the second oldest known pub in Bristol.

The proposed plans show a complete rebuild, with extra height, and space for “16 serviced apartments” above. The design for the new Attic development is modern, with a curved roof and some of the design attempts to follow the style of the original building. The view from the Full Moon’s courtyard in between the two buildings would be arguably less attractive and the general way the open space there can be experienced now will change. The design statement says that this is to extend the backpackers hostel, which would not be a bad thing necessarily. The current owners have a reputable small company with eco-friendly philosophies.

We would like to know why the entrance to the new building faces directly onto North Street? If the building is intended to be part of the Full Moon backpacker hostel, as the plans suggest, then you’d have thought the entrance would be within the curtilage of The Full Moon and facing into the courtyard. The one-bed apartments are being proposed as short term accommodation for visitors, and could not be sold individually unless the owners applied to the council for ‘change of use’ (from commercial to residential). With the entrance facing directly onto North Street, the division of the new Attic from The Full Moon becomes eminently possible and and is a point, in our view, worth considering.

The Full Moon and Attic is advertised for sale subject to planning permission, and is being marketed as a ‘development opportunity’.

Importantly, this case (should the Attic be demolished?) goes to a closed committee (i.e. the council will discuss this case alone, without the public) on 30th May. They have verbally agreed to extend the time in which people can make comments until FRIDAY 23RD MAY (this Friday). Therefore, if you have an opinion concerning this proposal that you would like the council to consider at their meeting, you must add your comment, by Friday 23rd May at the latest. You can read the full planning application for yourselves, view proposed plans and make your comment here [on the Bristol City Council website].

If there are sufficient objections, then there will be a meeting which will be open to the public, to discuss this proposal…

Apologies for the lengthiness – it’s a confusing business!

Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft,
Turbo Island Studio,
37, Jamaica Street,
Stokes Croft,
Bristol,
BS2 8JP

Mobile: 07866 627 052
Email: chris@prsc.org.uk

I’ll add more links tomorrow, interweb’s playing up tonight :(

PS I learned a new word from that – ‘curtilage’ :D

Related links

Lakota planning app: this Wednesday

Cheers to Chris at PRSC for the email forwarding this info:

the planning decision for demolition of the Lakota conversion into residential is going to committee on Wednesday 6pm. The delegated report is for approval but it is an opportunity for people to attend and possibly express their opinions. It will take place at the Council house at 6pm on Weds… The lakota is apparently the first thing on the agenda… This is an opportunity for those of us who oppose the demolition of this property to make our presence felt .

In Stokes Croft, in line with the Conservation Area Policy, we believe there should be an overwhelming presumption against demolition of any of the buildings already present. It is our belief that the nature of the current building stock is integral to the special nature of th area. The Lakota is a valid building that is capable of many uses, and to demolish it would be a crime…

This is an opportunity for us to show that the people of Stokes Croft care about its culture, and are not prepared to bow to the pressures which threaten to engulf us.

WEDNESDAY 6PM… THE COUNCIL HOUSE!!!

See also…

It’s called gentrification…

Y’all Amos and Andy?!

Just a reminder:

On Saturday 12th April there will be street protests against the gentrification of Central Bristol. There will be two meeting points:

11.00am Albany Green, St. Pauls: Join the ‘Bristol Space Invasion’ Carnival Parade as part of a europe wide weekend of action against the privatisation of public space

Joining with…

2.00pm Broadmead (Centre): ‘Save Stokes Croft from Gentrification’ party parade going to College Green

Stokes Croft – striking back!

From Bristol Radical History Group:

Bristol is undergoing massive attacks on our free spaces and culture by property developers and their friends in the City Council. Across the city green spaces, pubs, clubs and amenities are being closed and sold off with little consultation with the communities affected.

So if you oppose the…

  • Threat of closure of the clubs and pubs on Stokes Croft (Clockwork, Lakota, Blue Mountain, Junction)
  • The threatened sell off of Castle Park to the developers
  • The loss of playing fields and green spaces city-wide
  • The ‘private streets’ of Cabot Circus
  • The dispersion orders on College Green
  • The removal of the Bristol-Bath cycle path
  • The loss of pubs and meeting spaces in our communities

On Saturday 12th April there will be street protests against the gentrification of Central Bristol. There will be two meeting points:

11.00am Albany Green, St. Pauls: Join the ‘Bristol Space Invasion’ Carnival Parade as part of a europe wide weekend of action against the privatisation of public space

Joining with…

2.00pm Broadmead (Centre): ‘Save Stokes Croft from Gentrification’ party parade going to College Green

After the parades come along to Bristol Space Invasion Autonomous Zone featuring Art, performance, cinema, open-mic and live music – ALL FOR FREE! – Call 07528 953 230 or 07591 631 230 on the day for details of precise location.

Please show your opposition to the destruction of our places, spaces and culture, before its too late.

See you there….

Save Stokes Croft and Bristol Space Invasion

See also the earlier BRHG cri de coeur:

Save Stokes Croft

The clubs, pubs, cafés, squatted centres and artists’ studios of Stokes Croft have been the core of Bristol’s underground music and art scene for decades. This is the area that brought us Banksy, Roni Size, The Wild Bunch, Massive Attack, the famous Bristol club, free party and punk scene and all the other things that have made Bristol an exciting place to live since the 1960s.

Now all this is under threat as Bristol City Council and property developers such as ‘Urban Creation’ are joining together to culturally cleanse the area in the pursuit of profit. They say we really need housing. They say they want to improve the area with offices and shops. Bollocks. They’re not doing it for our benefit, they’re not even doing it for the stupid bastards who are going to buy their over priced yuppie boxes. They are doing it because the property prices are high and they can make a load of money out of it.

More shops? They’ve just built the biggest and ugliest shopping centre in Bristol’s history. More shops? We are sick of more shops, yuppie flats and offices. Stokes Croft is our place, it’s where we party, where we make music, where we produce art and where we want to be. They don’t want us doing this anymore. They want us buying music from their shops, they want rich trendies wandering around art galleries on Stokes Croft buying the latest Banksy print and posh types discussing the latest share prices whilst eating sun dried tomatoes on chiabatta drizzled in fresh virgin olive oil flown in from Tuscany, in a fake twee café. They want us out of the centre of Bristol and back in our areas where we won’t cause their wealthy customers any trouble.

Lakota, Clockwork, The Blue Mountain and The Junction are all under threat from the developers and their sickening puppets in the council. There are numerous planning applications on other properties in the Stokes Croft area, as every two-bit landlord and developer (who’d slit their grannies throat for a fiver) tries to get their hands on a bit of the action. Make no mistake, they want to sanitise Stoke Croft, to take our culture away and replace it with an empty plastic consumerism.

We made this city great. All round the world we made Bristol famous. Drum and Bass, Trip-hop, Techno, Reggae and even Crusty have all radiated out from Stokes Croft and the surrounding neighbourhoods of St. Pauls and Montpelier to make the ‘Bristol Sound’ famous the world over. This is what makes a place, its underground culture, the real living breathing heart beat of a city, not the banality of endless chain stores and yuppie rabbit-hutches filled with bored consumers.

Time is of the essence. This is how councillors and developers work, letting us know the truth five minutes before they smash our communities to the ground. Over six thousand people have joined a blog on Facebook in a couple of weeks. We have to get this energy on to the streets, it’s meaningless on the internet alone.

What you can do….

  1. Get onto the streets.
  2. Object to the planning applications.
  3. Let everyone know what is happening.
  4. Write to your local newspaper or Venue and let ‘em have it.
  5. Let your local councillor know what they have to do to get your vote in the May elections. And if they don’t agree tell them you will see them in the streets.

If we do not act now we will wake up in a few years living in Milton Keynes. Think about it….

Who are we?

We are not a political party or any such nonsense. We are just bunch of people who have lived and partied on the Croft for years and are angry about the future that is being decided for us by lying politicians and greedy businessmen.

Contact us at: savestokescroft@gmail.com

(Tip o’ the titfer: El Bonio)

The Bristol Blogger is dead, long live the Bristol Blogger

On that note The Blogger is calling it a day for the time being. We’ve done a year solid reporting on these useless twats and that’s enough for anyone. If you haven’t realised you’re being done over yet, then you’re never going to.

We’re now off to pursue some “new projects”, although they’ll be some occasional postings on this site as we use our time to follow up some of those bigger stories we’ve missed due to the workload.

Look out for stuff on local Labour funding, SWRDA IT budgets and ISiS/Southwest One over the coming months along with the odd ramble here and there. But the day-to-day stuff, alas, is gone until we return this time next year for the local elections…


The Bristol Blogger

NYC gives the finger to hip hop-hating, rackrenting, profiteering property speculators!

Looks like 1520 Sedgwick over in the Bronx – putative home of hip hop – has won itself a stay after local authorities in New York blocked a speculative sale of the building:)

1520 is not just a significant historical location, it’s also home to many working class Noo Yoikers under the Mitchell-Lama affordable housing programme, so it’s also something of a spanner in the works for the profiteers and gentrifiers.

As Kool Herc himself says:

It’s not just about 1520, it’s about all affordable housing. Every family needs a piece of the American dream.

Q: When is an alliance in Bristol not a Bristol alliance?

A: When it’s ‘Bristol Alliance‘…

Yesterday I spotted a little story on the Bristol pages of BBC News about improvements to the pedestrianised bits of Broadmead. The usual puff story, really. But one bit caught my eye – the bit calling Bristol Alliance

a local partnership set up to revive the city centre.

Of course, ‘Bristol Alliance’ is nothing of the sort. It’s just the flag of convenience under which the London-based real estate behemoths Hammerson Plc and Land Securities Group Plc operate under in their Broadmead expansion project. Pretending to be part of a local initiative working to a local consensus was, of course, one of the big bugbears when this whole Cabot Circus (né Merchant’s Quarter) shebang kicked off. Even mild-mannered community body St. Paul’s Unlimited had a few choice words to use about Hammerson/LSG’s failure to engage with local concerns.

It’s not the first time huge, out-of-town landgrabbers have tried to cloak their operations beneath disingenuous labels; the big Bull Ring development was carried out by ‘Birmingham Alliance‘, a non-Midlands consortium led by, erm… Hammerson Plc and Land Securities Group Plc!

So fired up with righteous anger and with green ink filling my veins, I knocked out a swift rebuttal and asked the Beeb to correct their story.

And blow me if they haven’t gone and done it… The contentious bit now reads:

The scheme is funded by the Bristol Alliance, a development partnership working on the city centre’s revival.

Hmmm… An improvement, no doubt; but do you think we ought to pick holes in the “revival” claim?

;)

1520 Sedgwick updates

Entrance of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, with bannersSome more on the campaign to save 1520 Sedgwick Avenue from property speculators:

Says president of the 1520 tenants’ group, Gloria Robinson:

We never want to fear our houses being bought again.

Says Senator Chuck Schumer:

No one is saying the landlord should not make a profit. All we’re saying is that he doesn’t have to maximize on that profit and throw people out.

Says Kool Herc:

We’re asking all those guys you see in Forbes magazine that are living hip hop to recognize this building.

Help save the home of hip hop!

Kool Herc’s 11/8/73 1520 Sedgwick House rec room party flyer

On August 11, 1973, in the first floor recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, hip hop was born. It was on that day that DJ Kool Herc, known as the founder of hip hop, and his sister threw the first hip hop house party. Scholars, musicians, and the media widely recognize 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, aka General Sedgwick House, in the Bronx borough of New York City, as the birthplace of hip hop, a uniquely American musical genre and culture that has taken over the world.

In recognition of its important place in American history, in July of 2007, 1520 Sedgwick was declared eligible to be listed as a state and federal landmark. Congressman Serrano of the Bronx honored Sedgwick and Kool Herc in the Congressional record.

General Sedgwick House is currently part of the Mitchell-Lama scheme, under which, in the words of the New York Times, “private landlords receive tax breaks and subsidized mortgages and, in turn, agree to limit their return on equity and rent to people who meet modest income limits. The landlords are allowed to leave their contracts after 20 years, and the rate of those choosing to do so has accelerated since 2001.” And it seems that 1520’s owners, BSR Management, want out of the scheme. Cue property bandit Mark Karasick, who’s brokered deals for ‘skyline trophy’ buildings like the Bank Of America Center in San Francisco, and Chicago’s 311 South Wacker Drive, and who has been showing an interest in the home of hip hop – but not for musicological reasons. Karasick, it seems, has a record of buying up social housing in the Bronx and then opting out of affordability programmes and selling on at market prices, at a tasty profit for his good self, naturally.

Kool Herc tells it like it isNow, after negotiations between the tenants, the owners and Karasick, it appears that BSR Management are prepared to drop the Karasick deal and sell to the tenants… For $14 million, or more than $8 million over the value of the building through controlled rents, according to the tenants!

Ahhh, the sweet smell of rackrenting, gentrification and good old American corporate greed!

But the tenants aren’t giving up without a fight – they’re working with organisations like the Urban Homesteading Assistance Board and Tenants & Neighbors to strike a deal with the owners that will “convert 1520 Sedgwick into a permanently affordable, limited-equity cooperative [and] save 1520 Sedgwick as affordable for the next generations of New Yorkers”. And this morning, to signal their willingness to fight for their building, they held a press conference with Kool Herc in their historic rec room to publicise details of their buy-back plan.

You can find out more about the campaign – and donate to it – at the Save 1520 website. And check the Save 1520 MySpace for updates :)

More coverage:

Whudat, AllHipHop, Soundslam, more NY Times (2007 background story),

Another year, another Post exclusive…

Dove Lane development option C

Well, hello all and welcome to 2008 – fingers crossed it isn’t as unutterably shit as 07 was. However, looking over the Evening Post website, it seems local news journalism is as good as it’s ever been, judging by the paper’s story on the proposed Dove Lane development here in sunny St. Paul’s:

A futuristic four-storey primary school with a rooftop play area could be built in St Paul’s.

The city council would like to see a £10.5 million facility, including a children’s centre and a new family doctors’ surgery, open in less than three years.

It would help meet the demands on facilities being caused by the rapid increase in population in that part of Bristol’s inner city.

The new school would form part of the £300 million development of homes, shops and employment opportunities planned for the end of the M32 – which is known as onedovelane.

It’s not till the fifth paragraph that you get to anything approaching an actual current affairs angle, when the story mentions that there’s an upcoming council cabinet meeting to discuss the proposals. Well, actually the way it’s put is:

The city council’s cabinet will next week be urged to back the idea and authorise council officers to work with the consortium behind the Dove Lane scheme and with the Bristol Local Education Partnership to develop designs and firm up costs.

Oh yes, it’s that wonder of no-news news journalism, the vague passive! Who exactly will be urging the council to ‘back the idea’? Well, certainly ‘the consortium’ – the capitally-challenged onedovelane, which consists of Bristol-based developers PG Enterprises/PG Group and ‘regeneration group’ Places For People – is likely to be represented. But what about local people? Even the rather mild local community quango St. Paul’s Unlimited has expressed pretty scathing criticism of the way initial ‘public consultation’ was undertaken on behalf of the consortium, especially the loading of the options (reminsiscent of the Castle Park farrago):

St. Paul’s Unlimited sent a detailed reply to the consultation – in a nutshell we were unhappy with the consultation process. We felt the ‘options’ presented to us led people to option 3. For example, only option three offered us a market area, park and play area. Whereas option 1 only offered a combined park and play area.

We felt unhappy that the presentation of the options automatically led to option 3. We are already going to get as newly refurbished St. Paul’s Park anyway without the developers. This is about to happen and will include a new play area for the children. (The National Lottery money awarded to St. Paul’s will mean there is also a new play area in St. Agnes Park). There has been a plan for a long time to have an arts market in Portland Square – this is in the Neighbourhood Plan. So we would have the things the developers are offering anyway without the Dove Lane development happening. Similarly, there will be a new Children’s Centre in St. Paul’s with or without the developer.


SPUnC Partnership
chair Maryanne Kampf in the December/January edition of the St. Paul’s Newsletter (pdf of Dove Lane article, 1.3mb)

Maryanne also gets stuck into the imprecision with which onedovelane attempts to sell itself:

The real questions that need to be answered are not about play parks or green space – they are about:

How many flats, how much & what kind of employment? What kind of employment does the area need, the kind that a hotel would offer? Do we want workshops can develop or both? If you choose more green space this means the only way is up? Do you like the idea of a very high rise building and more green space?

Sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. Basically, onedovelane claims that it expects to provide about a thousand jobs, 700 homes, twenty shops, a one hundred room hotel, public spaces and community facilities across all three options. The first option would leave 3% public space, with the tallest building at ten storeys; the second option gives 10% public space and a 14 storey building; and the favoured third option would give 30% public space, but at the cost of a building which would tower up to 40 storeys over St. Paul’s.

The initial proposals do not address exactly what sustainable employment would be developed (as opposed to, say, construction and allied jobs connected with the actual development of the site itself), nor do they address what the effect of 700 new homes in the already rather densely populated area might have on the existing job market. And the issue of what proportion of housing will be affordable is not covered at all either.

So, back to the point of the Post story – the new school. Well, again, this is an issue covered in the St. Paul’s Newsletter last year, and again it is an issue over which the SPUnC Partnership expressed polite scepticism:

It’s not often you get the chance to have a new school and we have that chance which is great. However, at the moment it seems we either have a multi-storey, multi-functional building with roof terraces on the Dove Lane site or we have nothing.

Indeed – shit sprinkled with sugar tastes sweeter, but it’s still shit.

As the Post has it, the “proposed new school would have a maximum 420 places, making it twice the size of the current Cabot primary.” So, these 700 new homes, what effect are they likely to have on the 200-odd ‘new’ primary places being made available? And how will this extra provision – plus the proposed extension to Sefton Park school, with its own extra 210 primary places – be paid for, not just in capital costs, but in running costs?

I’m sure the good burghers of the city shall deliberate most earnestly over these and other important questions, and not permit themselves to be blinded by big numbers and glossy PR fluff and empty rhetoric, but it is a little worrisome that even at this early stage such important questions are so blithely being ignored. Especially when the council’s Simon Caplan can be heard expounding such meaningless nonsense as this in the Post story (no doubt a BCC press release reprinted near-verbatim): “Current thinking is that the complex could be a four-storey building utilising the latest architectural solutions being successfully delivered in London and other leading European cities where multi-use complexes have been created on relatively small building sites.” So many words, oh so little substance… Extras marks for combining the use of the hyperoptimistic gerund (‘current thinking’) with the vague passive (‘could be’), the bovine crapive (‘London and other leading European cities’) and multiple pointless expansives (‘the latest architectural solutions’, ‘multi-use complexes’) though – well done, Si!

Bloody hell, I’m one to talk, proper rambling all the way through this, must apologise, been half-watching Robin Of Sherwood whilst typing.

Aaaanyway – an interesting topic and one to follow, I reckon.

Some earlier Dove Lane development-related articles from the Beeb:
Plan ‘could see £300m worth of investment’ (14 February 2007)
Tower could spearhead development (16 May 2007)
Inner city revamp plan launched (13 July 2007)

Welcome to Bristol: City of Culture 2008 ;)

Evening Post closes news gap with bloggers to a mere 47 weeks

Just under a year ago, I blogged about the current cycle of yuppification in St. Paul’s, mentioning amongst other things the planning permission applied for to turn Lakota and the coroner’s court into pricey apartments.

I notice that on Friday estimable local dead tree racket the Evening Post had finally noticed something was afoot:

A Nightclub and former courthouse in Stokes Croft could be turned into 56 flats.Lakota, in Upper York Street, would be replaced with a five-story block including 38 flats, offices and a cafe, if developers are given planning permission.

The former coroner’s court next door in Moon Street would be kept because it is grade- II listed, but the inside would be gutted to make way for 18 flats and a three-bedroom house.

Perhaps the breathless and uncritical enthusiasm Der Pest displays in the puff piece has something to do with the now declared involvement of Urban Splash, the hip young gunslingers of inner city renewal (as they’d have you see it) behind, amongst other things, the Imperial Tobacco factory development in Hartcliffe (see Bristol Blogger passim)? Der Pest certainly seems impressed by marketing hyperbole and over-Adobed glossy brochures, even if it is incapable of reaching around behind the hype.

Not that one really expects Northcliffe courtesans to question the sincerity of statements such as:

…the scheme is the next stage in the regeneration of St Paul’s…

…we have been consulting widely…

…There has been a shortage of new housing stock in that area over the last few years and we have responded to that…

…Some of the flats may be handed over to housing associations for use as affordable housing…

…Urban Creation is looking into whether the 264m sq office space could be “affordable”…

Add to Blinkslist :: add to del.icio.us :: Digg it :: :: add to furl :: add to ma.gnolia :: seed the vine :: :: add to simpy :: Stumble It! :: TailRank

The damaging conversion of St. Paul’s?

SPUNC plan

Inner city revamp plan launched

A plan to regenerate an inner city area of Bristol is being launched on Friday.

The St Pauls Neighbourhood Plan has been developed over the last four years through the St Pauls Unlimited Community Partnership.

Proposals include boosting businesses on Stokes Croft, new traffic routes and enhancing the local streets.

The development of sites such as Dove Lane and Westmoreland House will also be guided by the plan, which aims to create new employment in the area.

Other objectives include improving access to skills and housing, providing out of school study support, creating a youth centre and tackling the impact of drug dealing and drug use.

A programme of public art in key locations throughout the area is also proposed.

Maryanne Kempf, chair of the St Pauls Unlimited Community Partnership, said: “The plan is a major achievement for us all.

“The recommendations set out clear priorities and are well-researched. It is a serious attempt to create a better future for our children and their children.”

St Pauls is one of Bristol’s most economically deprived communities, she added.

BBC News report

:-|

Or, the shorter version:

“Local quango SPUnC Partnership bigs itself up for coming up with a plan, none of which will be binding on enclosers, profiteers, yuppifiers or idiot politicocrats”?

At first glance there’s some interesting ideas in there, but also some thoroughly regressive ones. I shall give it a proper read before I get too cranky though ;)

Oh, for more of a taste of SPUnC, check out the promo video:

SPUnC Partnership Neighbourhood Plan

I’m still having trouble believing my local rep really is conspiracy theorist, Shayler-sucker, and all-round mentalist Tony Gosling!

The super, soaraway, “family friendly”, thoroughly unenclosed Ashton Court Festival…

The Bristol Community Festival Orange Ashton Court Festival Ashton Court Festival is tomorrow and Sunday.

This formerly free/donations-only event shall set you back >£12/adults, >£6/young’uns, or free for under-10s, per day. And no, that doesn’t include your bus fare there (the Spenshun Bridge being closed), or car parking. And no, you can’t bring your own cans in. And the Avin It Somewhere Constantly filth shall be in attendance demanding the right to search everyone entering the site (now ‘protected’ with an 11′ high fence) for drugs, booze and anything else they take a dislike to.

But, remember: “You have no right to complain because it’s still like sooo cool and other places don’t have stuff like this/It’s still like rilly rilly cheap/It’s sooo typical of Bristol people to moan/It’s to, y’know, ensure the future of the festival, and like, there’s too many of them, y’know, uncouth rowdy youths around/It’s to revive the ‘family friendliness’/Et fucking cetera”.

However, on the grounds that (i) I really can’t be arsed with all the shit, (ii) I can’t afford it, and (iii) I think all the justifications for the prices/new rules/you-owe-us begging bowl mentalist/you-should-be-grateful-isms have been a bunch of lying, dissembling, horsetrading bullshit & sham, I shall most likely be downing my own beer and other whatnots in the company of friends, for free, on the Downs.

Festival website
BBC News story about ‘that’ licensing agreement