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Westmoreland House: Inquiry Finishes. Decision in Six Weeks Time.

March 11, 2010

Above: View of the landmark skull and croc on Westmoreland House.

After five days of cut and thrust between Opecprime Development Ltd., the owners and potential developers of the Westmoreland House site, and Bristol City Council, Stokes Croft must wait six weeks for the decision of Government Inspector, Elizabeth Fieldhouse. If successful, Opecprime will gain permission to demolish Westmoreland House and to construct another tower of similar dimensions. They will gain permission to demolish 4 Ashley Road, and will convert the Carriageworks into retail shops on the ground floor,with apartments above and to the rear. The proposed development will be a gated community of 150+ predominantly 1 bedroom luxuryapartments.

Given that the proposed development was opposed by all community groups, appears to flaunt the principles of a Conservation Area and does not contain any affordable housing, the decision will be much closer than one would think. Opecprime’s team were very powerful, and were able to highlight the inconsistencies in Bristol City Council’s past planning decisions. In particular, the “Essence” development on Cheltenham Road which was allowed by BCC despite massive local opposition was often cited by the appellant. What became apparent throughout this inquiry was that there has been an ongoing battle over decades between the parties, Stokes Croft assuming the role of the  injured bystander. This reporter hopes that permission will be denied for this flawed scheme, allowing for the possibility of a better, more community-oriented scheme in the near future.

All will be revealed in six weeks.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. John Rippon permalink
    March 11, 2010 1:47 am

    About a year or so ago I attended a meeting of the planning committee in Room 15 in the Council House, which was well attended by the public.

    A presentation was made to the planning committee for the construction of an eyesore of a block of flats in this site which was practically laughed out of court and the committee unanimously refused Planning Permission.

    Rightly so.

    Is this the SAME scheme??

    John Rippon.

    • stokescroft permalink*
      March 11, 2010 2:17 am

      Yes it is, John, with slight modification/improvement…
      Interestingly enough, the fact that it was laughed out of court did not play well at the Inquiry, as due process was scarcely adhered to… I attended every day, and much was made of the Council’s lack of consistency, and what seems, when considered in the round, to amount to self-serving behaviour, which is why this Inquiry will be a much closer call than it should be…

      Chris Chalkley

  2. Felix permalink
    July 15, 2010 1:42 pm

    So.. what was the decision?

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