Objections to development at Stanley Hill

Crossman homes have submitted another application for developing land at the corner of Stanley Hill, Bathwell Road, and Goolden Street.  The application can be viewed here: http://planningonline.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=OEO3L4DNKHU00

Here is TRESA’s response produced by director Linn Waite who lives locally to the site.

We strongly object to the application submitted by Crossman Homes. For a block of flats
on Bathwell Road, Totterdown. Ref 16/05428/F

We would also like to object to the developers handling of this whole application process covering 3
previous inadequate applications since 2015.  The applications have been sub-standard, full of mistakes and lacking in detail and clarity. This latest iteration fails to address the main points made by the many residents who commented and the comments and recommendations of the design committee. Their behaviour has shown little regards for the neighbourhood they are planning to develop within and disrespect for local residents and the planning process. As such they are wasting time and resources for both the planning department and local residents.
We strongly advise that this application is refused and that any future application by this company is
viewed in the light of their track record.

Our objections to this application still apply for much of the proposal as the small changes that
can be perceived from a sub-standard application fail to address those objections.  The application fails to address many points made by the City Design Group especially their comment on the height of the development.

As such it is recommended the application be withdrawn to allow further design work, including a
reduction in height, or failing that be refused on design grounds as it is contrary to BCS21, DM26,
DM27, DM28 and DM29.

There are no height details provided on the plans and using the scale it appears there has been no reduction made regarding height and so the bulk and mass remains completely out of character
with the prevailing buildings in the neighbourhood especially given the prominent corner position.

Scale and mass of development

  • The height and mass of the building is not a sympathetic response to the vernacular of the area, the steep slope of the landscape, the narrow streets and the prominent position of the site in neighbourhood and long-distance views.
  • The development will be 60% taller than all homes on the opposite side of the narrow street. As demonstrated on the SW elevation.
  • The building is still positioned with inadequate set back from the pavement line and will not be inkeeping with the height, scale, massing, shape, form and proportion of existing buildings and building lines.
  • The height of the building will be effectively magnified for those living on the North side of Bathwell Road, on Goolden Street, Summer Hill and Stanley Hill due to the topography of the area. These streets are on a downhill side meaning the excessive scale of the building will disproportionately dominate the area.
  • The scale of the proposed block of flats compared to the surrounding individual houses will be incongruous in the Totterdown townscape/landscape from close to and visible from other areas of the city.
  • The previous urban design comment urged the developers to consider the character and pattern of the street this development is on and not the heights of the proposed adjacent development this application has failed to make any changes to address this point.

Other points
The change in roof design now leaves the prominent corner elevation with a flat roof which is out
of keeping with the grain and pattern of surrounding houses and the wider streetscape of
Totterdown. This will be visible in the approaches up Summer Hill and Stanley Hill as well as
prominent in longer distance views into the area from the rest of Bristol, the developments position
in front of the Holy Nativity Church will draw the eye to this development highlighting the
incongruent nature of the roof line.

There is no detail as to the brick that will be used, the nature of the brick colour and texture can
vary and care needs to be taken to use materials that are sympathetic to the surrounding streets.
The corner of the design still houses the bin storage area and double with door access which jars
in the pattern of windows and doors on the block.

The stairwell is also located on the corner and presents a blank brick wall on the corner at ground
level. On the upper storeys there are double size windows apparently wrapping around the corner.
This feature on the prominent corner along with its flat roof and the use of brick will be highly
visible and present a jarring feature incongruous with surrounding houses and again this applies in
both short and long views.  With such an expanse of glass what is the proposed lighting regime? As continuous light from such an oddly oversized window will draw the eye looking into the area.

The lay out for all flats proposes bathrooms and bedrooms on the street facing elevation. In
assuming the bathroom windows will be of frosted glass this will create a lack of relationship and
active frontage through these windows with the street at all levels.  Even with frosted glass the privacy for users of the bathrooms on the ground floor especially will be compromised.
The other front facing windows are now those of the bedrooms, again an issue with a lack of
relationship with the street. The road this development sits on is a busy thoroughfare with much
noise from cars and trucks negotiating the steep bend outside the property the quiet for the
bedrooms especially on the ground floor will be compromised. Even pedestrians will cause some
noise disturbance given the small set back from the pavement.

Though some element of set back from the road has been included this appears to be under 1m in
depth, this is well under the precedent set by surrounding houses (as indicated by the awkward
step forward from the line of the proposed adjoining development around the doorway to flat 1)
and will therefore do little to mitigate the bulk of the building or allow for any exterior landscaping
and planting that could help mitigate the bulk.

The exterior courtyards at approx. only 2m depth, sunk below the rest of the rear site and with a
boundary fence will create and dark and enclosed sense for residents and in the winter when the
church block all sun for many months this will be a dank and damp ‘well’ and poor outlook for the
living areas.

Because of the points above the proposed design fails to comply with planning guidelines and we
urge the officer to refuse permission