'Unusually cruel' extra storeys plan is voted out again

January 08 2021

Bristol councillors cast their final vote rejecting a bid by a London developer to add two extra storeys on top of a three-storey block of flats.
A Bristol City Council planning committee indicated last month they were “minded to refuse” the “unusually cruel” application affecting Grange Court residents, many of them elderly.
But they deferred their decision to enable officers to come up with wording for the reasons that would stand up at appeal, and have now voted nine to one to refuse the application.
The case, which sparked an outcry among local residents, was a test of new planning law introduced in August.
The new legislation allows developers to add up to two extra storeys to residential buildings without seeking full planning permission, as long as certain criteria are met.
Planning officers recommended councillors grant prior approval to London-based developer ERE, which owns the freehold on the building in Henleaze.
But councillors stuck to their guns, voting without debate to reject the application on December 9 based on three reasons crafted by officers at their request.
The reasons – the impact on parking, the appearance of the building, and the quality of life for residents – were among those cited by 268 people who objected to the application, including all three local councillors and Labour MP for Bristol North West Darren Jones.
Julian Chaffey, who lives in the flats on Grange Court Road, called the application an “affront to home ownership”.
“The flats are on a 1,000-less-one-year lease, tantamount to home ownership,” he told the committee last week.
“This application is an attack against a person’s home. It is an attack against the elderly in their final home, an attack against the vulnerable, the quiet, the poor in spirit, the very people who need peace.”