Parking worries lead to plans being refused

DEVELOPERS have been refused permission to build 17 homes on Gloucester Road after locals raised concerns about the impact on parking. 

Residents and councillors warned that if the new apartments were built, some drivers would find it harder to park their cars nearby.

The 17 apartments were planned for the corner of Gloucester Road and Berkeley Road. Developers wanted to convert a derelict Methodist chapel, which was formerly occupied by an electrical shop, into three storeys of flats with some retail space kept on the ground floor.

But because of road safety concerns along Berkeley Road, Bristol City Council’s development control B committee refused permission for the plans. 

Developers originally applied for planning permissions, successfully, to build nine apartments on the site. They then applied again for 14 flats, and later 17 apartments. The plans for 17 apartments included just four parking spaces, three of which would be reserved for the ground-floor.

Speaking to the committee, Gerard Duffy, a local resident, said: “I live on Berkeley Road and I don’t object in principle to the development for housing, and I think the original proposal for nine flats was perfectly acceptable. However, the increase from nine to 17 flats and the lack of parking creates a lot of problems for us further up the road.

“Parking is the main issue. Berkeley Road is just outside an existing residents’ parking zone, and is already heavily used by commuters and Gloucester Road shoppers. It’s already difficult for residents to park and those who drive often find themselves blocked in. This development will make matters worse.

“Regardless of available public transport links, it is inevitable that many of the residents will have cars. These will add to the parking problems which will in turn add to the congestion on this already very busy rat run. Congested parking on Berkeley Road already poses safety risks, for example obstructing visibility when driving onto the road from a driveway.”

Conservative Cllr Chris Windows added: “It’s a very busy road and there’s an awful lot of parking there. Quite often one vehicle will have to give way for another vehicle coming down. This isn’t the place for overdevelopment. It seems to me it’s a case of ‘let’s shove in as much as we possibly can’. I don’t like this. The road is not conducive to further development because it’s so busy.”

Other concerns include a lack of daylight and fresh air coming into many of the apartments, and overlooking into the recently built flats above Bishopston Library. Thirteen of the 17 apartments would have been ‘single aspect’, meaning they only have windows on one side of the building. 

A suggestion from Green Councillor Guy Poultney that the committee should visit the site before voting was rejected by fellow Green Cllr Ani Stafford-Townsend, chair of the committee.

Councillors voted three to two against approving the plans. Voting in favour of the development were Green Cllrs Poultney and Stafford-Townsend. Voting against the plans were Conservative Cllrs Windows and Lesley Alexander and Labour Cllr Katja Hornchen.

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service