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