We have studied the information submitted as a detailed planning application and have come up with the following points:

1.    There is no doubt that the current proposals are a significant improvement over the previous permission for the site. However, we do have concerns about certain aspects of the scheme including the effect of the proposed works on Filton Avenue and the impact of almost constant traffic and deliveries to the site on both the new residents and the immediate neighbourhood.
2.    The bulk of the supermarket has tended to squeeze the new housing and Homezone to the very edge of the site, softened by only a narrow strip of shared space (used by residential cars to circulate) and limited planting. This begs the question of how satisfactory a living environment the new single aspect houses and flats will provide.
3.    However, our main concern as a society is the poor quality of the architectural design and the lack of any convincing character and link with the surrounding area. The design seems to have lost a lot since the initial bird’s eye sketches were prepared. These sketches implied that the supermarket entrance was something unusual and dynamic, whereas it now looks very standard. Furthermore, they showed the housing around the supermarket as being fairly gamey with gabled off-shots in coloured render which would relate the houses to their surroundings, whereas the housing now can at best be described as severe/featureless in red brick and with absolutely no sympathy with its surroundings. The artists view looking from Alton Road looks as if it has been designed without knowledge of the character and materials of Alton Road, with its painted colour render and its rhythm of bay windows, whilst the Homezone view PO 63 looks for all the world like 1980’s council housing, with its severe treatment and lack of any rhythm or obvious dialogue with its surroundings. The supermarket itself when exposed on the car park elevation is a dull portal frame affair, which again is not what was implied at the sketch design stage. The commercial block, whilst handsome in its own right, serves as a very bland backdrop to the Memorial Square, which itself seems a very neutral space with no obvious strong character.

Our overall view is that the design has not been developed to a point where it will be successful from all aspects. As it stands, we would recommend refusal.

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