We welcome the upgrading of what has for years been a chaotic, untidy and more importantly uncontrolled backland area, which includes a proposal for a communal refuse collection arrangement shared by the local traders.
Looking at each element of the scheme :
We welcome the upgrading of the front elevation and would not be unduly concerned if this involved totally rebuilding it, due to its poor condition and the obvious benefit of slightly adjusting the window positions to suit the position of internal partitions between student rooms. This rebuilding should be strictly on condition that the original stone elements are re-used and that the detailing of the upper levels and the shopfront/s are an honest reflection of the original design. This is a wonderful opportunity to upgrade a significant building within the street frontage of The Gloucester Road Conservation Area which should not be lost.
We accept the proposal to add one existing floor within the roofspace in principle. However, we would ask that design of the dormer windows are appropriate to the style of the building and that the shape of the side flank wall at roof level retains its double-gabled form and chimneys. It is important that the Peacocks Building reads as an authentic period restoration which will enhance the local area.
2. BRICK WAREHOUSE
We are very pleased that the old brick warehouse is being restored and brought back into use as the focal point of the rear courtyard. One small point on the internal arrangement of the Ground Floor....we understand the desire to take advantage of the high ceiling by the introduction of sleeping mezzanines, but we are not convinced that this leaves sufficient space within the lower level of most of the studio flats to have a usable living area. As an alternative, it would be possible to repeat the upper floor plan arrangement on the ground floor, with an independent access from the courtyard and the bathroom repositioned where the access from the staircase is currently shown. The bedrooms could still have a mezzanine level.
3. NEW CENTRAL BLOCK
We like the creative way that the bulk of the existing building has been eroded away in order to reduce the height/impact on the boundaries and the risk of overlooking adjacent properties. The new block has exactly the right character….robust and contemporary…..to mediate between the Peacock’s Building and the old warehouse. There are two windows on upper levels overlooking neighbours’ gardens. These could be dealt with by means of angled bays and/or a ‘green metal trellis’ on the line of the boundary.
Overall, we consider that this is an excellent scheme which will enhance the Bishopston area. We look forward to seeing it move forward in detail.