Above: View of the landmark skull and croc on Westmoreland House.
After five days of cut and thrust between Opecprime Development Ltd., the owners and potential developers of the Westmoreland House site, and Bristol City Council, Stokes Croft must wait six weeks for the decision of Government Inspector, Elizabeth Fieldhouse. If successful, Opecprime will gain permission to demolish Westmoreland House and to construct another tower of similar dimensions. They will gain permission to demolish 4 Ashley Road, and will convert the Carriageworks into retail shops on the ground floor,with apartments above and to the rear. The proposed development will be a gated community of 150+ predominantly 1 bedroom luxuryapartments.
Given that the proposed development was opposed by all community groups, appears to flaunt the principles of a Conservation Area and does not contain any affordable housing, the decision will be much closer than one would think. Opecprime’s team were very powerful, and were able to highlight the inconsistencies in Bristol City Council’s past planning decisions. In particular, the “Essence” development on Cheltenham Road which was allowed by BCC despite massive local opposition was often cited by the appellant. What became apparent throughout this inquiry was that there has been an ongoing battle over decades between the parties, Stokes Croft assuming the role of the injured bystander. This reporter hopes that permission will be denied for this flawed scheme, allowing for the possibility of a better, more community-oriented scheme in the near future.
All will be revealed in six weeks.