Give us a C! Give us an O! Give us an N! Give us a dodgy ginger minger planning boss!

Put it all together and what’ve we got?

CONsultation …

Oh look it’s Friday, must be time for another CONsultation about the stupid ‘Cycle Houses’ on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path nobody wants.

The new Lib Dem administration – having been successfully blackmailed once by the developers, Square Peg, and their cheerleader-in-chief, city council Head of Planning David Bishop – has already rubber-stamped Bishop’s unconsitutional sale of one plot of our protected park land on the path to these developers for housing. And now, despite an expensive public CONsultation conducted by fancy CONsultants that overwhelmingly rejected the sale plan, they’re about to be again

Because we learn the council is CONsulting all over again about the second plot of land. They say:

This latest consultation presents the original option alongside a new option of cycle homes sharing access to the path. In response to concerns raised in previous consultations, we would also like your views on ways the safety of the path could be maintained or enhanced if these cycle homes go ahead

In other words – despite us already having told told the council not to sell or lease their own protected park land that they’re not allowed to sell – they are still proposing ten new access points to the path be created to effectively create mini-gardens down the path.

And as usual the proposal comes with yet more blackmail from the scumbag developers:

“The developer Square Peg believe that only a scheme with direct individual access onto the path from the cycle homes would be supported by their funders owing to its innovative and unique nature.”

For fuck’s sake, if the developer’s funders and their snooty architect don’t like what’s on offer from Bristolians, why don’t the council just tell ’em to fuck off? Grow some bollocks you arseholes.

Starting with the exec member responsible, Jon Rogers, who was inanely Twittering this afternoon:

I am only consulting on things that potentially lie in my power to alter. No point asking people if option non-deliverable

So we’re now in a situation where not selling or leasing land that’s not for sale and is protected by the council’s Parks and Open Spaces Strategy is a non-deliverable?

How did we get here?

This entry was posted in Bristol, Bristol and Bath Railway Path, Bristol East, CONsultants, Developments, Easton, Environment, Housing, Lib Dems, Local government, Merchant Venturers, Planning, Politics, Twitter and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to Give us a C! Give us an O! Give us an N! Give us a dodgy ginger minger planning boss!

  1. Jon Rogers says:

    The Lib Dems made an election promise to consult on the access arrangements to the cycle houses.

    This we are honouring.

    The developers don’t like it, the planners don’t like, and now you don’t like it. Tough. A promise is a promise.

    If people have a view on the access arrangements, then do take a few minutes to respond.

    The responses so far seem considered and fair.

  2. chris hutt says:

    JR “The responses so far seem considered and fair.”

    Is that something we can judge for ourselves or do we have to take your word for it? I’m assuming you have privileged access to the responses lodged so far.

    Anyway you’re only consulting on the options which you consider acceptable to the developer and ignoring the preferred options arising from the earlier round of consultations.

  3. The Bristol Blogger says:

    Can you provide a link to this election promise Jon?

  4. Mike Taylor says:

    Surely “cyclehouse” is a euphemism for “very-small cheap-house-with-no-parking-that-when-multiplied-and-packed-into-a-small-area-will-prove-to-be-profitable-for-developer-and-if-given-a-poncy-name-might-sell-better”.

    I don’t see why they need shared access – there’s a bloody road on the other side of the path – perhaps they can just pop round the corner.

    Maybe the path can be left more as it is then.

    But as far as the real issue of the principle of “our parkland” – I think that battle has been fought and lost. Probably not a big deal on this occasion, but hopefully not a precedent – e.g. Castle Park?

  5. Martyn says:

    “I don’t see why they need shared access – there’s a bloody road on the other side of the path” – excellent point and one which I have often wondered about. If the development is designed for so-called greener minded then surely THEY would also want the land to be retained as it is, for all kinds of reasons. Besides, who will want to purchase any property knowing their development has utilised public land?

    Any loss of green space adjoining the Railway Path must be treated with the same distain as Labour’s attempt to run BRT along it. Surely, the majority of people who use the path can’t allow this to happen. Their needs are greater than the handful of outsiders these houses will be marketed to. It’s about time the developers and the council recognised this!

  6. Mike Taylor says:

    Not sure what’s wrong with an outsider. I’m from Leicester. Should I still be there? I hope not.

    But we digress.

  7. Jon Rogers says:

    Morning BB

    You ask for a link to the election promise. We haven’t published all our election literature on line – there was rather a lot, but we did say two things specifically about the Railway Path in leaflets and in our canvassing.

    (1) We would do all in our powers to protect the route from BRT.

    (2) We would “consult with local people over access to the cycle track from the cycle houses”.

    Both of these issues were in our power as we could negotiate on the lease for access across the land at the edge of the Railway Path.

    We have already delivered on (1) We have rejected any item in the lease “to enable the Council to remove or alter the assess ways if the Council land is required for a rapid transport use in the future.” That phrase came from the officers recommendations to the Planning Committee documentation from 1st April 2009.

    We would be wrong to consult on that aspect as it is already sorted.

    On (2) we are consulting as promised. I hope people will make their views felt on the access arrangements.

    Finally we also said, “Unlike Labour who dealt with this matter in secret we want all discussion about this to be in public and want to hear your views.” – we are trying to honour these commitments.


  8. woodsy says:

    Good morning JR

    One of the major outcomes of the first consultation on the chocolate factory site states:

    That the regeneration of the former Elizabeth Shaw factory site should take place within the existing boundary and that the Bristol and Bath Railway Path should stay in the public domain.

    The new consultation contains plans showing that the sale has been agreed of Plot 1 (marked in blue). Why have the views of the local community been ignored once again – as they were with Packer’s Field?

    Are Bristol City Council, its elected councillors and officers deliberately trying to lose/destroy what little credibility they have with the folks of BS5? Or aren’t we important/rich enough to count?

    I think we should be told.

  9. thebristolblogger says:

    Interesting. Just followed your link to the CONultation Jon.

    And there’s Square Peg’s Chocolate Factory logo plastered in the middle of the page with this link:

    Visit the developer’s website to learn more about their plans for the site

    Meanwhile on your ‘Consultation and community engagement‘ web pages we find this:

    Read the developer’s (Square Peg) views on the cycle homes

    That’s two pieces of blatantly biased Square Peg propaganda being promoted to the public as objective information on the matter. Strangley the council finds no room for this link:

    Why is one allowed and not the other? Especially as the council links directly to Square Peg’s statement:

    Squarepeg is keen to clarify some of the comments that are currently being aired across the e-waves.

    You seem to be promoting certain views on this issue and preventing access to other views.

    It’s more like a advertising campaign than a CONsultation.

  10. Anon says:

    BB, what do you want the factory to become?

  11. SteveL says:

    It’s not about what the factory becomes, it’s does it have to include the greenery of the path?

    When the cycle house proposal first came out, they wanted to buy the greenery, make it into gardens. then it was reduced to access paths , but it would still take over the green. The organisation still views the tarmac as the path, missing the point it is the green on either side too.

    This new consultation is another attempt to take over that greenery, and deal with the danger aspect by offering to fund traffic calming.

    The daftest thing is these paths will have steps on them. Steps! what commuter bike lane has steps on it, especially for family use? All those houses with garages round the back will be using the garage to get the bikes in and out, as its flatter and if you have a remote control door, works really well for bikes in the wet.

    this access thing is about enclosure, and selling a myth “walk your bike up steps to your house” rather than a more useful reality “nice flat route from the path to where your bike lives”. Which they will be, and which is very handy. There is no need to take over the greenery on the path just to produce good cycle housing.

  12. thebristolblogger says:


    Read the link:

    In conclusion, although there is general support for the regeneration of the former Elizabeth
    Shaw factory site the majority of those participating in the consultation felt that the development
    should be contained within the original footprint of the factory site and the Bristol and Bath
    Railway Path should stay in the public domain.

  13. Get out says:

    “It’s not about what the factory becomes”

    It exactly is about what the factory becomes. It about whether or not a good plan to save a historic building goes ahead and links in with the concept of “cycle houses”. Fundamentalists may not be able to see past the access issue, and the result would be that the whole deal collapses.

    But still, at least the original volume house-builder who wanted to bulldoze the site would get what they want, and the hedges on the path would be safe. Win-win, eh?

    Ah, if only everyone in the world refused to compromise, then everyone would get on so much better together!

  14. Martyn says:

    According to the BCC website, “A key element is to provide innovative cycle homes for bike users…”

    Actually, there is already an abundance of cycle friendly homes – Victorian houses. The space beneath the staircase is very functional for bike storage.

    On the political front: I’m sure we can rely on the LibDems to protect our public green space as this was a key issue for many voting them in. However, the issue does seem to be turning somewhat grey, with talk of further consultations.

    Mike- many apologies. I was referring to those who simply buy into the city with capital acquired through unmeritocratic means. Of course, all people bring their own influences and add to the richness of Bristol but I think you know the clique I’m referring to.

  15. Jon Rogers says:

    Woodsy points out that “The new consultation contains plans showing that the sale has been agreed of Plot 1 (marked in blue).”

    The scheme on the Chocolate Factory site was given planning approval. The scheme was agreed by DC committee.

    LibDems promised two things about the Railway Path at the election, as I have outlined above.

    Both promises we are keeping. Lib Dems do try and stick to promises, despite what our opponents say.

    We did not promise to try and scrap the scheme as some seem to wish.

    On a related topic, it amuses me that Labour are trying to invent retrospective transport promises for me, so they can pretend to have a reason for attack!


  16. thebristolblogger says:

    The scheme on the Chocolate Factory site was given planning approval. The scheme was agreed by DC committee.

    Which is utterly immaterial as to whether the land should be sold or not.

    That is a matter governed by the Parks and Green Spaces Strategy and has nothing to do with Development Control Committees (as you well know).

    The P&GS Strategy clearly protects the path and neither a DC Committee nor David Bishop have any authority whatsoever to override that.

    The fact Bishop is still in post having invented delegated powers that allow him to override democratically agreed policy and sell protected park land over the phone to Merchant Venturers is quite extraordinary.

    What other delegated powers has he invented for himself Jon?

  17. Martyn says:

    Jon- the issue is that whilst many support the site’s redevelopment this should not involve the loss of Bristol’s parkland. Furthermore, we all know this is no ordinary chunk of open space. This does not mean people want the scheme scrapped – they simply want the Council to uphold its own policy and to observe the result of the consultation.

  18. badnewswade says:

    It would be better if the factory was left as it is to become a controlled ruin for urban explorers to mess around in, surrounded by the appropriate “enter at your own risk” signs of course.

    Maybe in the old Bristol of land-banking, but the New Bristol is taking that money out of the bank and covering the landscape with crud. We desperately need an independant city council which isn’t in the pockets of big business.

    Come back Bristolian Party!

  19. inks says:

    “This new consultation is another attempt to take over that greenery, and deal with the danger aspect by offering to fund traffic calming.”

    Can anyone clarify if the “traffic calming” mentioned is on the cycle path itself?

    Previous attempts at “traffic calming” on the cycle path have been dangerous failures.

  20. Gentlegreen says:

    It’s difficult to see how any “traffic calming” could be anywhere else but on the path itself.

    Can you imagine the area behind the houses with kiddies’ toys overflowing from the backs of the houses all over the path on a Monday Morning ?

    The “team jersey morning time-triallers” do indeed need teaching the concept of “shared use”, but up to now the real problem is 100 yards further on where the path was diverted around a dangerous bend to accomodate the Clay Bottom developers in the late 80s.

    Thankfully as I anticipated, the two new over-engineered access paths that went in with the existing terrace of houses a few years back are hardly ever used.

    Since these “cycle houses” have garages, maybe there won’t actually be masses of cycles being launched into the “rush hour” in any case … and I wonder what the planners would consider an appropriate speed for the path users ?

    So what do we have ?

    “Accept multiple access points and a radically messed up path, or the threat that the LRT will resurface at some future date ?”

    A pity we can’t force the planners and developers to actually ride a bike on a daily basis – come rain or shine – before they make decisions on our behalf.

  21. Martyn says:

    traffic calming, hey… or just more job creation. Will there be a consultation on this?… if only to add further beaurocracy. Isn’t it amazing how we complicate our lives. Are we really a civilised society?

  22. chris hutt says:

    A few points about the “Cycle Houses”.

    1. The concept of housing that backs onto access roads and fronts onto green corridors with traffic free paths is nothing new. It was first developed as part of the Radburn estate in New Jersey in 1929 (which in turn derived from English Garden City principles) and ‘Radburn housing’ is commonplace in south Bristol (e.g. Mile Walk near Bamfield) and Yate (around Rodford Way). So nothing “groundbreaking” about it at all.

    2. The ‘Cycle Houses’ will for the most part have easier access from the access road side than the Railway Path side, where in most cases a flight of steps is required to access the cycle storage area. Most ‘Cycle houses’ will have level access to a garage on the access road side which will surely be the preferred means of bicycle access.

    3. Squarepeg originally proposed to develop only the former Chocolate Factory site but were subsequently persuaded to attempt to incorporate first the embankment slopes of the Railway Path (including plot 1) and now even the green margin to the side of the tarmac path (plot 2). They insist on individual accesses from the Path since this divides the green margin up into parcels that correspond to each property and so resemble front gardens. The ‘Cycle Houses’ will clearly have a greater value if they appear to have front gardens.

  23. Gary Hopkins says:

    I am not suprised that some wish to protest about the chocolate factory development. It would clearly be more politically convenient for us to have gone quiet on this issue but as Jon said “a promise is a promise”.As I said in this post from this site in May(before the local elections) if we had been in a position to influence the development earlier it might have been different. We were not though and the choices were effectively limited. We stated quite clearly that we were overall in favour of the scheme ,as was the planning committee, but we would review the entrances onto the path and crucially remove the reservation rights for future BRT from the lease. The second we have already done and the review is looking for constructive engagement on the access.

    Gary Hopkins // May 25, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    I think most people know where the parties have stood on the path but no lie is to gross for this lot.A bit like Bushrat Ali in Lawrence hill.
    To use Pete in the photo though plumbs new depths even fot this lot. He did a huge amount of work on “don’t choke Bristol ”
    The threat to the railway path remains real. A reservation (for future BRT) condition was put into the planning permission approved recently.
    Jon Rogers and I have informed officers that –
    the decision on the lease of land will be taken by the cabinet in public-
    the access to the site from the path will be examined in an online consultation-
    we intend to change the proposed condition on the lease that would have made the land available for BRT in future with one that requires conservation.
    The way that this was previously handled when under the control of Labour was a disgrace.
    Let us also be clear that ,although if we had been designing the development it would have been different we do not seek to stop the develpoment as overall it is much better than a derelict factory.
    We belive that it is possible to have the factory site built on and preserve the integrity of the path both as a cycle route and a “linear park” and make it impossible for a future Labour or Tory administration to take the BRT plans down from the shelf.

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