We can’t judge Atlas Place plans bit by bit, says community group

A NEW group set up to give Fishponds residents a stronger voice in planning issues has raised concerns over the decision-making process for the Atlas Place project.

The Fishponds Community Planning Group says it is “impossible” to judge planning applications without an overall plan addressing issues like traffic, parking and increased demand for schools and health services.

Three different landowners are working on separate applications to build homes on neighbouring industrial sites between the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, Lodge Causeway and Forest Road.

In the first to be submitted, Graphic Packaging International has applied for permission to build 255 new homes – 160 houses and 95 flats, in buildings between two and four storeys high – between Filwood Road, Goodneston Road and Enfield Road.

Of those, 38 or 15% would be “affordable” – available for social rent or shared ownership – half the number set down in the council’s planning policy.

But the GPI plan could represent as little as 10% of the total number of homes on all three sites.

Central Fishponds Ltd said it wanted to build 900 homes on its Filwood House & Verona House site in March but has not made a planning application.

Castel Ltd has not revealed any details of plans for its site between Lodge Causeway, Goodneston Road and the path, other than to say there would be around “245 dwellings per hectare” – four times as many as on the smaller GPI site.

The developers’ joint website, Atlas Place Fishponds Future, was last updated in March.

‘Not realistic’ to comment on smallest of three developments

Responding to the GPI application on the council’s planning website, the Fishponds Community Planning Group said: “We were pleased to see that the application to develop the GPI site proposes low rise, mixed styles of housing, including family homes and low rise apartment blocks, and there has been consideration for car parking and outside spaces.”

But the group added: “This application covers only one part of the proposed Atlas Place scheme, and this is the smallest of three elements of the site.

“It is not realistic to comment on one element only, without seeing the impact of all three schemes on each other, and on the wider area.

“There are serious local concerns about the impact of this scheme, as well as the wider Atlas Place development, on the highway infrastructure.

“Without seeing the proposed traffic scheme for Atlas Place as a whole, it is impossible to make fully informed comments.”

Of the 20 public comments made as the Voice went to press, 13 were objections, one was in support and seven were classed as ‘neutral’.

One resident said the council should not support an application falling below its 30% affordable housing threshold, saying: “These targets exist for a reason.”

Others said local roads would need to be re-designed for the extra traffic and the effects on existing residents had not been considered.

The sole comment in support also questioned whether “enough thought” had been put into infrastructure.

The plans can be viewed on the planning section of the city council’s website, by searching for application 23/03104/P.

The planning group can be contacted by email at FishpondsCPG@gmail.com.

Picture: Factory buildings (right) on Goodneston Road would be demolished to make way for houses under the plans