Risk for coun­cils re­fus­ing to al­low de­vel­op­ers to build seems too great

Bristol Post - - COMMENT / LETTERS & OPINION -

BEAR­ING in mind the tragic tale of en­trap­ment over Christ­mas in a coun­cil-run ten­e­ment block due to a mal­func­tion­ing lift printed in the a re­cent edi­tion of the Bris­tol Week­end Post, I hope mayor Marvin Rees, and cab­i­net mem­bers Ni­cola Beech and Paul Smith will re­ally re­flect on what hav­ing 22-storey sky­scrapers mas­querad­ing as homes in South Bris­tol would be like.

Many res­i­dents in the Wind­mill Hill area of Bris­tol have ex­pressed grave con­cerns at the prospect of pri­vate de­vel­op­ers build­ing on land around the river and dis­used Bed­min­ster rail­way sta­tion which one lo­cal de­scribed, with con­cern, as ripe for de­vel­op­ment, in a city that is burst­ing at the seams.

Dif­fer­ent pri­vate de­vel­op­ers have each bought dif­fer­ent plots of land which means that the prospect of one ar­chi­tec­tural vi­sion for the area is as likely as the many pie in the sky projects promised to us by lo­cal politi­cians over the years which have never ma­te­ri­alised; let’s not even men­tion the five-let­ter ‘A’ word!

Some res­i­dents of Wind­mill Hill are con­cerned that dif­fer­ent de­vel­op­ers will go ahead and build 22storey build­ings with lit­tle re­sis­tance from Bris­tol City Coun­cil’s plan­ning com­mit­tee.

At a cab­i­net meet­ing back in the au­tumn, Lib-Dem coun­cil­lor An­thony Ne­gus was told by cab­i­net mem­ber re­spon­si­ble for plan­ning, Ni­cola Beech, that his in­stinct to de­fend Bris­tol’s beau­ti­ful sky line and her­itage was old fash­ioned, which was cringe-wor­thy to wit­ness from the pub­lic gallery.

Even if the coun­cil were to refuse per­mis­sion for pri­vate de­vel­op­ers to build 22-storey build­ings in South Bris­tol, the de­vel­op­ers could still ap­peal their de­ci­sion by go­ing di­rectly to cen­tral gov­ern­ment.

The sad re­al­ity is that many lo­cal coun­cils de­cide against re­fus­ing per­mis­sion be­cause coun­cils are li­able for all the le­gal costs in the event of a suc­cess­ful ap­peal by pri­vate de­vel­op­ers.

In this era of fi­nan­cial chaos im­posed upon lo­cal coun­cils by cen­tral gov­ern­ment it is far too great a risk for coun­cils to take to refuse de­vel­op­ers plan­ning per- mis­sion; un­less they are con­fi­dent that any at­tempts by de­vel­op­ers to ap­peal the coun­cil’s de­ci­sion would be un­suc­cess­ful.

Oliver For­tune

Mont­pe­lier

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