Main image: Artist’s impression of the site at Broadbury Road. Picture courtesy of Curo.
Over 90 objections have been made by residents to plans for the development of 47 homes next to Broad Plain House Social Club on Broadbury Road.
Curo – a Bath-based housing association and developer – has proposals for 22 flats and 25 houses, available to rent at social and affordable rates and to buy through Shared Ownership, which were submitted to the council in February this year.
The plans also include the partial demolition of Broad Plain House but Curo has said it will “make good the remaining building and landscape and install new fencing to bring the social club back into use as soon as possible.”
Curo revised the original plans for over a year – following feedback from residents at a meeting in July 2019 when they were first revealed.
Local people had until 19 May this year to give their views on the amended plans – but many still don’t think they go far enough to address their concerns.
These include loss of the play area and replacement of the existing playground not being sufficient as well as the amount of housing and height of some of the buildings.
They are also worried about the loss of green space and the destruction of a wildlife habitat and fear the use of a pesticides to get rid of Japanese knotweed on the site could further harm the nature there.
People living in the street are also concerned about extra traffic on Broadbury Road and the danger of cars coming out of the new development as well as parking issues. They say there will be increased strain on local facilities which are already overstretched – and the use of historic drainage in the plans could cause flooding.
Objections also include the lack of engagement with the community – which local people claim was insufficient.
Karen Hanks lives next to the proposed development and says she was never told about the meeting about the plans in July 2019 but found out afterwards from her neighbours and she never received information that was delivered after the plans had been amended.
She says: “I don’t want to be looking at flats – they will be three storeys high. They said the kitchen and bathroom windows would be frosted, but it’s still there. People will be able to look into our patio doors.
“I also think the road coming out will be dangerous, this is a really busy road. They said they are going to put yellow lines, I struggle to get in and out of my drive anyway with people parking in front – so parking is going to be a big problem.
“It’s just building everywhere and housing all over the green space, they say kids are obese but they have nowhere to play…
“You also can’t get an appointment now for the doctor’s surgery, so they have that to consider and the schools because there will be more children coming into the area…”
Karen said she was also really worried about the wildlife – and where it would go when the field was developed.
Christine Reed also from Broadbury Road agrees about the traffic situation on the street – which is also used for parking by officers from the nearby police station.
She said: “This road is bad now without having the extra traffic, you can’t park on this street as it is.
“Instead of making it into housing why don’t they do something for the kiddies round here. It would be good to have something for the younger age group for five or six upwards to run off energy. Where do they expect them to play?…”
Paul Green from St Whytes Road and his partner Tanya objected to the plans because of all the wildlife in the field behind their house.
Paul said: “We’re concerned for the wildlife because there is a lot on there, there are slowworms and bats which I see every night as well as foxes and I’ve also seen a badger.”
The couple have lived in the road for 24 years and feel the site, which also has a wealth of bird life, should be left as it is.
Families ‘waiting for an affordable place to live’
A Curo spokesperson said: “The site at Broadbury Road is allocated for housing within Bristol City Council’s adopted Local Plan and is identified in the Knowle West Regeneration Framework for new homes and green spaces.
“The residential development we’re proposing could see the addition of 47 much-needed new homes for families waiting for an affordable place to live.
“The homes would be made available to rent at social and affordable rates and to buy through Shared Ownership – a scheme which is helping many people to become homeowners, including young first-time buyers and those priced out of the private housing market.
“Our development plans also include areas of green space for biodiversity, a children’s play trail and food growing facilities for future residents. We developed and refined the design of the scheme over two years, ensuring it responds well to the site’s constraints, surrounding character and neighbouring properties…”
She said the team had “extensive pre-application discussions with Bristol City Council” and conducted public consultation in July 2019. This was promoted through social media, local and regional publications and 500 invitations which were “hand delivered by Curo colleagues” to residents living in the vicinity of the site.
“The programme of public consultation was arranged in advance of the Knowle West Pre-Planning Protocol taking effect. However, we continued to engage with members of Knowle West Alliance leading up to the submission of the application, with an update newsletter posted to local residents in November 2020 summarising the design changes implemented as a result of feedback from community and stakeholders.
“We continue to work proactively with Bristol City Council on our planning application and comments received.”
A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “The Broad Plan House site was allocated for housing in the Local Plan and the current development proposal for the site has been brought forward by the Curo Housing Association.
“As with all housing proposals the developer is responsible for community engagement before submitting a planning application (known as the pre-planning stage)…
“Comments received from the community and other consultees as part of the planning process will inform the local planning authority’s decision on the application.”
To view the plans, details of the consultations carried out and objections visit http://pa.bristol.gov.uk/ and search application reference 21/00816/F.