by Andrew Brown on 2 October, 2014
During the election campaign, one issue that came up repeatedly on the doorsteps in Windmill Hill was the proposed development in St Catherine’s Place.
Understandably, many residents have concerns about the impact of a 16 storey building on their views across the city – and the impact studies showed that it would have a significant effect. When I looked into it, however, there were a number of other reasons for concern:
Housing policy is an area of frustration for me: every government (and party) talks about housebuilding at a national level, but very often oppose developments at local level. NIMBYism is rife – and not helpful in developing the infrastructure we need. I was therefore concerned that any opposition should be on stronger grounds than “build new houses… but somewhere else.”
The St Catherine’s Place area undoubtedly needs redevelopment. Some of the members of the committee felt that this development offered the best chance of that. It’s a view I have some sympathy with but ultimately, I couldn’t subscribe to “something is better than nothing” especially with some many deficiencies in the current scheme.
Council Officials were clear that refusal couldn’t be made on grounds of their being no Affordable Housing – but did make a strong case for refusal on the grounds of the scale and size of the project.
The Development Control Committee looking at this has, however, given the development the go ahead. I now hope it proves me wrong and provides a spark for re-generation of this area of Bedminster.
P.S. You can see more of my thoughts on this here. If it’s published on the Council’s website, I’ll also link to my statement at today’s meeting if it is made available. (un)Fotunately this wasn’t webcast, so you can’t see the short verbal statement I made!Leave a comment