New 7-storey block of flats planned for Fishponds Road garage site
A NEW seven-storey block of flats could be built at a landmark site at one of Fishponds' busiest junctions.
A total of 46 flats would be built at the site currently occupied by the Newton Motors garage at the corner of Fishponds Road and Lodge Causeway, if the scheme is given permission.
The plans also include space for a ground-floor shop in what architects describe as a "modern and sustainable residential and commercial environment".
Neighbours were invited to a consultation meeting on July 29 to find out more about the plans, and details have also been posted online so people who were unable to attend can view and comment.
But concerns have been expressed about pressure on parking in the surrounding area, and homes in neighbouring Ernestville Road being overlooked by the new flats, which have just 16 parking spaces between them on the plans.
The Voice understands that the plans are being drawn up on behalf of car dealer Newton Motors, which currently trades at the site and has been established in the city for more than 70 years. Owner Gary Newton has been approached for a comment.
People living near the site of the proposed development were sent letters in July informing them of a "community consultation event" on July 29, along with a link to details of the scheme, including plans and images, like the one below, of how it could look.
An image of how the proposed scheme could look, produced by Bristol-based OXF Architects
Neighbours were told the building would be seven storeys tall and contain 28 one-bedroom and 18 two-bedroom flats. It would "wrap around" the front of the site, which is currently surrounded by a large metal fence protecting the car sales yard.
The existing access from Fishponds Road would be used to enter and exit the site, which, in the images produced by Clifton-based OXF Architects, has a two-storey structure standing above it.
In their design and access statement published online, the architects said the building would be of "3-8 storeys".
The said: "The proposed scheme was developed to create a modern and sustainable residential and commercial environment on this site, using a combination of quality durable materials in a blend that will create a distinctive style, and provide a cycle and car parking density that is appropriate for the overall development."
The architects say a "suitable residential scheme" was considered to be possible on the site after meetings with the city council in 2016-7, subject to considerations including a design which would have "no overlooking issues with the rear houses on Earnestville Road".
They said the building would have a "modern appearance", with exterior walls a combination of "rustic brickwork and lightweight metal cladding".
The side facing Lodge Causeway would 'step away' from the road boundary, "to avoid issues of overbearing, overshadowing and overlooking".
The architects say the scheme includes a "private courtyard" with trees, shrubs and seating areas, which would be "shared with car parking".
Secure cycle parking would be provided for all tenants.
The Voice asked agents LPC Trull for clarification on how many parking spaces the scheme would include, how many of the flats would be affordable housing and whether they were aimed at a specific market, as well as what measures could be taken to ensure neighbouring homes were not overlooked.
However the agents refused to comment, saying they "don't want to engage with newspapers at this time".
The architects' statement says the level of cycle and car parking "is appropriate for the overall development and for this sustainable location".
They said the scheme would "help to transform an area...which is currently under utilised despite its proximity to the central Bristol area" and would "deliver high quality and much-needed flats, currently in short supply in the local area and in line with Bristol’s Residential Growth Strategy and economic priorities".
One Ernestville Road resident who contacted the Voice expressed a series of concerns, including that the new flats would overlook the road's two-storey homes, which border the site.
The resident, who asked not to be named, said: "No-one objects to the fact that people need somewhere to live. It's not like we weren't expecting some development, but up to eight storeys is a bit much.
"We're all a bit concerned about whether enough parking will be provided for all of the people who will move in, because it's at a premium already. There's not enough parking for the residents of this street as it is."
The development site falls within the city council's Eastville ward.
Ward councillor Sultan Khan was planning to attend the consultation.
He said the city needed 12,000 homes of all types and was in a housing crisis.
Mr Khan said: "For decades we’ve not been able to meet the ever-growing demand.
"The city needs single, double, family – small and large – and disability-friendly homes."
He said he was in favour of "appropriate" applications and called for more community-led development.
Residents are being asked to send comments on the plans to the planning consultants by email at email@example.com by July 31.