This article presents TBS policies on planning, primarily as they affect individual planning applications at present, in terms of: type of use propsoed; development proposals; street scene; trees, gardens and landscaping; design; and sustainability.
Type of use proposed
We seek balanced, sustainable communities in our streets. This requires a mix of dwelling sizes, types (houses and flats) and tenure (owner occupation and renting) and encourages a community of mixed age and household type.
At present Bishopston is largely a family residential area with a predominance of houses, fewer flats and only a small proportion of ‘houses in multiple occupancy’ (HMO) whose residents are always transient and tend to have little interest in the local community and environment. We therefore oppose further HMO and welcome homes suitable for longer term residents, particularly families.
We oppose schemes with sub-standard room sizes (or which do not comply with 'Technical housing standards - nationally described space standard'), inadequate outdoor amenity space, and those where neighbours’ privacy, outlook or daylight are compromised.
We oppose uses that will cause nuisance to the community. For example, shops selling alcohol out of hours and bars where noise will affect residential property, particularly late at night. We look to limit opening hours and servicing hours in residential areas.
We oppose developments that will lead to loss of useful facilities and local employment opportunities. For example, local shops and services.
Many development sites have existing buildings. Retention and reuse, with repair and adaptation as required, should be fully explored ahead of demolition and new build. This will almost always be more sustainable and often better visually, helping to maintain the character of the area.Many applications are simply too big for the site and constitute over-development. In addition to being out of scale and damaging the character of the area, they often do not offer good amenity for future occupants and damage the amenity of neighbours. We regularly press for reduction in size of development.We look for retention of existing, or provision of new parking spaces within development sites and we resist developments that are likely to generate excessive traffic.We oppose the loss of any green open space for development or associated highway works.
We seek the retention and creation of front boundary walls, railings and gates to maintain or restore the street enclosure that is characteristic of our area. We encourage retention and recreation of natural stone or brick garden walls and discourage the recent trend for high boarded timber fences on the street frontage.We expect developers to provide well located, fully accessible and realistic space for Bristol's multiple refuse/recycling containers, with well designed and robust screening from public view. We discourage new parking in front gardens. Where this is proposed we support Council guidance on limits to size and visual impact. See BCC Policy Advice Note 6 : Off-Street Residential Parking in Conservation Areas
Trees, gardens and landscaping
We recognise the contribution of these 'green' elements to modifying the impact of climate change on our local environment and beyond, as well as the visual benefits.We resist developments that involve felling of trees or excessive surgery, or which are likely to lead to this in the future. We encourage planting of new trees of appropriate species in gardens, streets and parks.We encourage retention and creation of gardens and other soft planted areas, including 'green roofs', for visual and sustainability reasons. We encourage the use of porous surfaces for paths, drives and parking spaces to reduce the rainwater run-off which increases the risk of flooding.
We consider each proposal individually and on its merits. We look for design solutions that relate well to the surroundings, with appropriate footprint, mass and form, which will make a positive contribution to the street. We expect alterations and extensions to respect the character of existing buildings. For most of our area this involves the use of timber sliding sash windows, natural stone or render and slate or clay tile roofs. We resist ugly alterations to roofs caused by overlarge dormers etc particularly on the front elevation. We encourage efforts to maintain and restore buildings of local distinctiveness, recognising that this may involve change of use.
For new buildings we are open minded about style, finding some modern design treatments preferable to pastiche. In all cases we look for materials that will weather well and which pick up the prevailing colours of our area. Also for the same attention to detail that distinguishes many of our older buildings. We do not accept that inappropriate uses and/or over-development can ever be made acceptable by good architecture per se.
The Bishopston area by its nature is inherently highly sustainable. The Society’s aim ‘to protect and enhance our area for the benefit of present and future residents’ is part of sustainability. We consider this is helped by the approach to planning described above. Climate change calls for new approaches to development. We therefore encourage genuinely sustainable design and construction, including integration of renewable energy systems. We also support the Council’s aims to increase ‘tree canopy cover’ to mitigate effect of climate change.
The Bishopston Society Planning Group. Members of the Planning Group do not operate in any professional capacity in any comments or advice given to Bishopston Society members, residents, or in Pre Application Consultations.
See also: TBS concerns on 'Permitted Development'