We have written to object to the planning application submitted by 'Costa' which we think will do very little to enhance either the appeal or business activity of this important section of the Gloucester Road i.e. The Promenade.Application No 11/02673/F (Costa) 14 Gloucester Road. Change of use from A2 to A1/A3.
Whilst the current use as an employment agency (now vacant) is hardly ideal, we feel there is not a case for yet another café. The proposed café (A3) is likely to be the predominate use in this proposal , with A1, the retail element, being ancillary. There is a strong case for having a genuine retail use instead so the Promenade does not become an unbroken series of cafes and bars. There is little chance of holding on to the few remaining shops if this application is granted. The main attraction of the Gloucester Road surely is its diversity of uses and range of independent shops. This diversity has helped to make the Gloucester Road a vibrant and interesting local high street with a national reputation attracting visitors from other parts of Bristol and well beyond.
The value of the shops and diversity of the Gloucester Road is recognised in local planning policies which seek to protect the existing balance (which in recent years has been undermined). This change of use application appears to be contrary to policies of the City Council as detailed in the Local Plan and Supplementary Planning Guidance. In particular paragraph 6.14 of the SPG Assessment of Food and Drink uses Gloucester Road (Sept 2001) states that further A3 uses on primary frontages are unlikely to be acceptable. It also talks about maintaining diversity and strong retail character. It also appears that S2 and S5 of the Bristol Local Plan should not apply to this application as the proposal here would largely function as a café and not as a retail outlet.
The proposed operating hours (7.00am until 10.00pm) are far longer than most other cafes and would be another reason why this proposal would be unwelcome, particularly to those living nearby and above the Promenade.
This leads to the more general point that we are concerned about the increasing number of cafes which are taking the place of shops along the Gloucester Road, some of which might not have planning permission for the A3 café activity. This might apply both to the Promenade and other premises further up the Gloucester Road, which seems to indicate that a low level of enforcement is taking place. Apart from the loss of retail activity and shop frontages, cafes can end up becoming licensed (sometimes through change of owners) and effectively operating as bars and restaurants over time. This can increase disturbance, noise late into the night and add to the nuisance for nearby residents and families.
Application Number 11/02609/F: NEW CRICKET CLUB APPLICATION
The Bishopston Society are extremely concerned by the latest planning application at the cricket ground. We note that the proposals are for 150 one, two and three bedroom flats rather than the previous 350 student rooms. We are concerned about the height and bulk of the building and the fact that it has no relationship to the Muller Homes buildings and the Conservation Area in general.
The building is overbearing and will dominate and partly shadow the Brunel Primary School field directly alongside. In fact it would be no exaggeration to say that the latest design for the flats represents the sort of bland and characterless development which is currently happening all over the country, having no relationship with or respect for its surroundings.
The current proposals are significantly larger than was granted outline permission last year and the massing and elevational treatment of the building leaves a lot to be desired.
Furthermore the development has only 112 car spaces which leaves 39 flats without any allocated parking at all. In addition to the increased pressure of parking which the development will generate, it will also create substantially increased traffic levels, most particularly on Ashley Down Road. There will also be increased pressure placed on local community facilities including schools and public open space.
We recommend refusal.