The Councillors on the Committee voted by a majority of 6 to 4 to refuse the application! The Officers recommended granting permission (although if you read most of the report you would think they were going to recommend refusal).The main reasons for refusal (which Bristol will have to argue if the Cricket Ground choose to take it to appeal) were:
* the scale and mass of the enabling development flats (much of it 7 storeys)
* the lack of financial contributions towards schools and recreational facilities (Section 106 contributions) - this is extraordinary given that the proposed development will have a significant impact in the area
* and non compliance with the Council's policies on sustainable development
It is possible that the application may go to appeal so the fight is not yet over!
The Bishopston Society has all along argued for refusal of the application as, of course, has the Howzat? campaign. The Bishopston Society's most recent response giving reasons for refusal was as follows:
Further to our earlier objections to this application, The Bishopston Society would like to submit the additional considerations which are relevant to this application:
Firstly, whilst it is right to promote appropriate development in order to make best and most sustainable use of available land, it is completely wrong to grant permission for any development which is considered to be excessive simply because it is subsidising community facilities. In this case, the application for 150 flats in three blocks up to 6 storeys high is clearly excessive and detrimental to the Conservation Area and would not be given planning in the normal course of events were it not that it was enabling development for the upgrading of the cricket ground.
To compound our concerns, it now appears that the club is unable to make the normal S106 contributions (independently assessed at £4.4m) and claims to still be £2m short of the funds required to make the planned improvements to the stadium. How could this considerable subsidy from Bristol City Council be justified at a time of such financial constraint? What guarantees can be given that the improvements to the stadium will actually be made before permission is given to build the flats? The worst possible outcome for the community would be to have the area disfigured by the proposed development, hugely subsidised by the local ratepayer, only for the enhancements to the club not to materialise.
We firmly recommend REFUSAL.
Some of the possible repercussions for the GCC are looked at in this BBC 'Sport' news item here: