The recent period has been relatively quiet on the planning front with few significant applications. We remain concerned about the poor quality of many of the applications and the ongoing assault on the public realm, with front gardens and roofspaces in particular being under increasing attack.  Front gardens are disappearing as they become steadily converted into parking spaces and there is a current trend to build unsightly high fences and sheds which serve only to make the streets very ugly and cut the houses off from the street. Roofspaces are being insensitively converted into oversized and boxy dormer extensions which in one move can disfigure not only the house itself but the street as a whole. Bishopston has a special character which should be respected in order to maintain the integrity and attractiveness of the area.

We have recently objected to applications for roof extensions/dormers which are oversized and out of keeping with the existing property for 22 Kings Drive, 27 Logan Road and 129 Bishop Road.  Repeated applications have been submitted and finally granted permission for unattractive and oversized development at both 233 Gloucester Road and 2 Clare Avenue.  Retrospective permission has been refused for 12 Pinegrove Place for a poor conversion of an existing 4 storey house into 4 undersized and badly designed flats, which has already been carried out without planning permission.  A small but welcome light at the end of the tunnel is the well considered application for a small independent 2 bed house at the end of the large rear garden of 1 Tyne Road.  This design represents very reasonable infilling to create an unusual new dwelling and has high environmental credentials.

Despite the ongoing effect of the recession on building activity there are some encouraging signs of work in progress within the area.  The joint project for Bristol North Baths and the new library got underway in the summer and work on the Baths is progressing well with completion due in August of next year (see the detailed report on  the front page of this website).  

Whilst having attracted considerable opposition and strong objections from the Society at the application stage, work is now virtually complete on the 5 new townhouses on the site of the former Georgian farmhouse at 25 Seymour Road.  However, the loss of the farmhouse is much to be regretted and the new development does little to enhance the character of Seymour Road.  Work has begun on the County Ground to demolish the Jessop Stand in readiness for the construction of the large block of flats to subsidise the upgrading of the club facilities.  Despite our repeated objections, permission has finally been granted under appeal for the 4 family houses on the tiny garage site in Arundel Road and the garages have already been demolished.  We are very concerned that this scheme represents considerable overdevelopment of the site and will be overbearing and overshadow the gardens of adjacent properties. On a brighter note, the two handsome new houses have almost been completed at the junction of Claremont Avenue and Elton Road.  The Society did object to them at the time on the grounds of overdevelopment and lack of external amenity space and parking on a dangerous bend, but the building design and detailing has been well considered and the end result is very attractive.

Neil Embleton
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