July 2012

posted Nov 2, 2012, 9:27 AM by juliet johns
Informing members about the current work of the RCAS Committee and alerts them to current and upcoming matters.

If you have any issues you wish to raise with RCAS, please email: info@rcas.org.uk
your email will be passed to the relevant Committee member

Meeting summary

Click on headings on list of contents or scroll down the page

The RCAS Committee will next meet in mid September.
The following report notes the major items discussed at the July Meeting.

Planning

   Former Maskreys site

The proposed development of the former Maskreys site on Whiteladies Road
continues to preoccupy our planning representatives. RCAS has objected to the current proposal, which involves: the demolition of an existing rear extension; the erection of a new four-storey building and the conversion of the upper floors of the former store to flats for overseas foreign language students; a management suite (Use Class B1); the retention of ground floor and part of the basement of the former store for (Class A1) retail unit.

Unfortunately there were no proper pre-application consultations by the developer before the scheme was submitted. The intention appears to be to accommodate 66 students in 33 units of varying sizes - many in clusters with shared facilities, many with unacceptable outlooks. The cramped student bedrooms can best be described as “cell like” and shared rooms minimal, with no communal inside or outside amenity space. The refuse facilities are poorly located with difficult and contentious access from Whatley Road. Cycle storage is via a staircase into the basement. Adjoining gardens and houses in Whatley Road will be overlooked. RCAS Takes the view that although the proposed uses are acceptable in principle the actual proposal involves an over-intensive development of the site, with too many students in accommodation of meagre space standards


Licensing

   NISA / Bargain Booze

The RCAS committee, as well as many RCAS members and other local residents, is objecting to two current applications for 24-hour trading: NISA in Chandos Road has applied for permission to remain open all night selling alcohol, and hot food till 5 a.m. and Bargain Booze in Zetland Road has applied for a license to permit a 24-hour telephone delivery service for alcohol. Both of these applications, if granted would generate considerable additional noise and disturbance


Student Matters

  Appreciation / disappointment

While committee members appreciate the effort that both universities are making to encourage their students to show greater respect for the neighbourhoods in which they make their term-time homes, they were rather disappointed to note that the amount of waste and unwanted items left outside HMOs by departing students seemed to be greater this year than last.

Enquiries will be made about whether the universities had sponsored an extra waste collection as they had last year.


Parks

The Friends of Cotham Gardens have organised a painting day on 13 July, when they will remove graffiti from and repaint play equipment (weather permitting).

Following a meeting with Richard Fletcher of Bristol City Council, priority issues from the Area Green Space Plan document are being addressed, including rosebeds, wild-flower meadow area, bird boxes and bench(es) for the top end. RCAS is currently investigating the cost of providing and (with BCC financial assistance) installing a curved oak bench which would complement the contours of the land in this location.

The repainting of the railings is also being considered as a project for a funding application, given that it is too big a project for volunteers to tackle.

Councillor Townsend has successfully bid for £110k of the £3.5 million pot recently announced by BCC for improvements to Parks across Bristol. The allocation for Redland Green will be used to replace equipment in the play area.


Trees

Bristol City Council has become the first local authority to approve a code of practice for good urban tree governance based on ‘Trees in the Townscape, A Guide for Decision Makers’ produced by the Trees and Design Action Group.

The Bishopston, Cotham and Redland Neighbourhood Partnership has been given the green light to collect match funding from private sources to support an application for NP funding for a project to plant some more street trees. The application is likely to be submitted in October.

The committee also discussed a pre-application consultation on proposed repair work by Cotham School of a wall on Hartfield Avenue which may involve felling 2 or 3 trees. It was noted that if the fellings were approved they would be subject to the Bristol Tree Replacement Standard which may require planting up to 8 new trees.

The Committee agreed that in general there was much good news on the tree front. However, it was also noted that some hedges and trees have become so luxuriant this summer that they are overhanging pavements and impeding pedestrians as well as looking rather untidy. It was suggested that we might include a short item in the next Newsletter reminding residents of the need to keep hedges and trees in good order so as not to detract from the visual amenity of the neighbourhood.


Transport and Street Services

Anthony Wilks continues to work with local residents to remove unsightly graffiti. His recent work has been in the Cotham area, but he would welcome alerts (via info@rcas) about graffiti in other parts of the RCAS area.

In response to a letter suggesting that RCAS should have done more to alert members to the latest consultation on the Cotham Residents’ Parking Scheme, it was noted that RCAS had alerted its members to the original full consultation on the principle of the scheme and that the most recent consultation was the statutory traffic regulation consultation on the detail of the implementation of the scheme which had already been approved.
Neighbourhood Partnership

At the meeting of the BCR Neighbourhood Partnership on 18 June RCAS Committee member Clive Stevens was re-elected as Chair.

The main agenda included a review of the issues raised at the three recent Forums and progress on the Local Priorities which had emerged from a range of open meetings and some surveys in recent years. These priorities are to improve: Parks and Green Spaces, Traffic and Sustainable Transport, Equalities, Street Scene including trees, Links with Local Business, Community facilities, Sustainability and Local Arts.

There was much discussion of trees: winter tree planting events were agreed for St Andrews Park (2012) and Horfield Common (2013). The NP also agreed to support Vassili Papastavrou’s application for Tree Preservation Orders to protect the ancient ash trees in Redland Green.

The NP intends to establish a BCR-wide street scene group to communicate with BCC in keeping streets clean and tidy, free from bins and graffiti and leaves, and to identify any pavement hazards. The NP is calling for volunteers to help in their own particular locality.

The next meeting of the BCR NP is 22nd October – venue to be confirmed.


Gold and Green Star Nominations

The Committee discussed an email objecting to one of the current nomination (on the grounds that the building in question had not complied with all of the details of its planning permission). It also resolved to continue to seek further nominations from members before the August deadline.


Future projects

  • It was suggested that RCAS should use some of its funds to improve the appearance of the site of the Farmers’ market and Cotham Hill, by sponsoring hanging baskets and flower tubs. The committee will approach local Traders’ Associations to seek to progress this.
  • The committee also considered whether it should take the initiative in seeking to involve Redland and Cotham in the Streets for Playing Out project.
  • There was also discussion of the need to find news ways of engaging the next generation of potential committee members and of getting more local residents involved in the work of RCAS.