Neighbours object to car park flats plans

March 05 2019

PLANS to turn a car park in Fishponds into 34 flats have angered residents and businesses.

United Communities Housing Association wants to build a 34-bed 'LaunchPad' for young people on the car park at the bottom of Alexandra Park.
The association says the development would be a “creative solution” to the housing crisis, offering young people the chance to break out of student rentals, supported housing and overpriced accommodation. The scheme does not feature a car park as it would be a condition of tenancy that residents would not be allowed to have a car.
But people living in Alexandra Court have objected to the proposals, saying it's too close and would result in loss of light and privacy and an increase in noise. They have also criticised the lack of parking, saying it would be impossible to enforce the “no car” rule, which would lead to parking on roads nearby.
Traders have also lodged objections with Bristol City Council, saying their customers need to use the car park.
Alexandra Court resident Catherine Fahmi said the council was not sticking to its own guidelines: “[They] say that if windows of habitable rooms are facing each other they should be at 21 metres apart. The plans show they will be six metres apart, resulting in a lack of privacy for me. So I am unsure why this has been considered acceptable.”
Resident Richard Norman said: “The reason we purchased our flat was due to the natural light and view of a field providing a very relaxing, private, light and quiet space. This development would destroy this.”
Diane Jeans said: “Even if a "no car policy" was envisaged, this would be impossible to enforce, causing even more congestion on Alexandra Park, where schools and businesses already have issues with parking.
“With 34 young adults as residents, the noise level would increase considerably, especially with an outside communal area.”
Bedwyr Evans, who lives nearby, said the scheme “represents nothing more than another cynical attempt to overdevelop on a small unsuitable site, thus maximising the developers profits at the expense of the neighbourhood's quality of life.”
Gary Hillard from Doug Hillard Sports said the council has made it increasingly difficult for customers to park along Fishponds Road so they rely on the public car park instead.
“You have put in a bus lane restricting parking access times along this road. Where are the traders supposed to park from 8am until 6pm during the working day? The car park at the bottom of Alexandra Road is the only place left to park.”
Kathryn Plaster, who runs Dance Station in Alexandra Park, said although there is a car park attached to her business, customers use the public car park at peak times and during events.
“The loss of the public car park will greatly affect the ability of some of our customers to attend their classes and there is more likelihood of congestion in the road, making it difficult for residents to park near their homes.”
Bristol Civic Society has lodged its support for the plans, calling the project “laudable”, although it, too, expressed concern about how close it was to other properties.
“Potential overlooking issues will need to be carefully addressed,” the society said.
The development would be constructed in a factory and delivered to the site, which means it can be relocated.
It includes accommodation for students and key workers such as nurses and teachers and would stay on the site for a maximum of 10 years. The land is owned by Bristol City Council but has been declared surplus to requirements.
The proposed scheme includes shared communal space as well as a laundry, bin store and secure cycle parking.
The LaunchPad project is a partnership between United Communities, 1625 Independent People, the University of Bristol Students Union and Bristol City Council with the support of the property industry charity LandAid.
A United Communities spokeswoman said: “We are re-designing the scheme  following some concerns from neighbours to take out three of the homes and are hoping the scheme will go to planning in mid March.”