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The Bristol Cable

Developer withdraws planning proposals for ‘grim’ and ‘Stalinist’ St Pauls flats


Controversial plans for a four-storey block of flats in St Pauls have been withdrawn.

The boss of developers Clayewater Homes says they spent “a lot of time, money and wasted energy” on the proposals for 28 homes, including 40% classed as affordable, at Lower Ashley Road and that if Bristol did not want them, they would take them elsewhere.

City councillors had said they were minded to refuse planning permission against officers’ advice and branded the proposed building “grim” and “Stalinist” at a development control committee meeting last month.

Members said the air quality at the site was so bad families should not live there and the plans would make it even worse.

The proposals were due to come back to committee on Wednesday, July 22, with officers’ suggestions of reasons for refusal but head of development Gary Collins said they had been pulled.

He told the remote meeting: “Because they have been withdrawn by the applicant, the application no longer exists and there is no right of appeal.

“So the matter has been dealt with in terms of that application and we will await any follow-up application which would come to committee as well.”

But speaking after the meeting, Devon-based Clayewater Homes managing director Brian Webber said they were abandoning the plans.

He said: “We spent a lot of time and money and a complete waste of energy to provide social housing for Bristol, and if they don’t want them, we will move on to the next one.

“We will cut our losses and get out of it because it will just keep dragging.

“We could have pushed hard because technically they could not refuse on grounds of air quality but you can’t win every fight and it has got to the point where it’s not worth the hassle.

“We are a social housing developer and this scheme was ideal for that.

“We have done four schemes in a row in Bristol and provided more than 80 units for affordable housing.”

Councillors were told at the June committee meeting 375 objections were received, mostly from campaigners trying to save three protected maple trees.

But members heard they were doomed anyway because of existing planning permission from 2019 for student houses and mixed use that would have seen them felled.

“The next developer needs to work with the local community and find a way of retaining these important trees”

Bristol City Council’s air quality team also objected to the proposals, along with Montpelier Conservation Group, Bristol Civic Society and Bristol Tree Forum.

Ashley ward Cllr Mike Davies spoke in support because of the affordable housing, but the committee agreed unanimously to ask officers to come back with a report outlining reasons for refusal.

The site at 31-45 Lower Ashley Road has a partially demolished office building and was used most recently as a hand car wash.

Speaking after the plans were withdrawn, Vassili Papastavrou, of Bristol Tree Forum, said: “The next developer needs to work with the local community and find a way of retaining these important trees.

“The trees are an asset. Keeping them would result in much better quality housing.”


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