Plans for 'amphibious' car lot don't hold water, say locals

August 03 2018
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MORE than 90 people have objected to plans to build a car sales centre on woodland next to the River Frome.

The application to build on land at Glenfrome Road next to the M32 flyover has been made on behalf of Naheed Khan, the owner of the Cabot Cars Centre in Whitehall Road.

In their application, Bristol-based 3bd architects say the scheme would provide a business premises with an office and toilet and space for 14 cars, “whilst maintaining the character and preserving the wildlife corridor”.

But residents and parents of children at nearby Glenfrome Primary School have called on the council to reject the plans, raising concerns over wildlife, flooding, traffic and road safety. The Environment Agency has also objected to the plans, saying the high flood risk would make the new development “unsafe”.

The site is opposite Bridge Farm, on the Lockleaze side of the flyover between Stapleton Road and Sir John’s Lane, and is in the Stapleton and Frome Valley conservation area.

Lockleaze ward Labour councillor Estella Tincknell is among the objectors who have written to the council.

She said: “The site is not only completely unsuitable, being in a flood risk zone, it is also in an area of important wildlife habitat adjoining the River Frome. There is widespread concern amongst the local community, with a substantial number of objections to the plans.”

One objector, Nicola Hategekimana, wrote: “This is a completely inappropriate business for the area. It is currently a natural spot, full of wildlife, opposite a school which has a strong forest school project and opposite a new project providing affordable eco housing to the community.

“The river is resource to be treasured rather than built on - definitely not with an ugly car sales office.”

Glenfrome Primary School parent Duncan George wrote: “I am deeply concerned about the disruption and potential dangers construction would cause the children walking to and from school.”

Cottrell Road resident Luke Champion said: “Many residents in Cottrell Road enjoy their riverbank space and will not accept their view to be obliterated by a building.”

In its statement, the Environment Agency said: “The site would be unsafe for occupants due to the considerable flood depths that could be experienced. This risk will increase over the lifetime of development when taking into consideration the predicted impacts of climate change.”

A report by arboricultural consultant Nick Baxter of Bosky Trees for the applicants says the plan involves planting 64 new trees in a “wildlife corridor” to make up for the six which would be removed under the plans. Nesting boxes and log piles for hedgehogs are also being recommended and a council nature conservation report says the corridor complies with council policy.

The applicants say the building will also have an “amphibious” design, enabling it to “float” during floods, and a “green roof” and walls, planted with vegetation.  However, objectors have questioned what would happen to cars parked on the site in the event of a flood.

A report by police crime prevention design adviser Clare Hawkins calls for the scheme to be given permission only on condition that no cars are parked outside the site on Glenfrome Road, as there is already “an issue in this location with inconsiderate and potentially unlawful parking when the school is open”.

Dan Flamsteed, of 3bd architects, said: “The applicant is aware of the sensitive nature of this site and commissioned reports from independent consultants on the matters identified by the planning authority during a pre-application enquiry, i.e. flood, wildlife, etc.

“It would appear at first glance that many of the public comments don't take into consideration the content of the specialist reports or the details of the proposal. In summary, whilst the proposal includes parking some cars on the site, it also includes a number of enhancements to wildlife habitats and does not impact the floodplain.”