The former Filton Central Garage could be transformed into 71 student bedrooms.
Plans submitted to South Gloucestershire Council show the transformation of the garage site into eight ‘apartments’, each with up to 10 bedrooms. There will also be a commercial unit on the ground floor for employment use.
The garage closed for good in 2021 after many years serving the local community.
The developer says the scheme will help ease the pressure on the creation of HMOs in Filton which are popular with students but which have caused much concern in the local area over the past three years. Opponents of HMOs say they cause parking issues and contribute to a reduction in community cohesion.
The new scheme, according to owner Dane Sampson, will address the high demand for housing without adversely affecting the local community.
Some residents say they have concerns around the ‘impact and overbearing nature of the development’ including the effect on light privacy and views up to the church and Pegasus House.
They also say the consultation process has not been sufficient, with local councillors limited due to the election period.
The consultation has now begun with residents invited to give their views, ending on May 31 after an extension was granted. UPDATE Filtonvoice understands this has been extended today from the original May 5 deadline
Mr Sampson told Filtonvoice student tenants will be vetted and it will be stressed that this is not an ideal accommodation for car owners.
He said: “This development will be privately managed in-house by a responsible landlord. I have been a landlord for 10 years and managed my own student lets all across the county. I understand residents’ concerns, however my own experience of students has been extremely positive and the majority of students are kind, considerate and just want to get on with their studies.
“This block will be managed effectively and efficiently and local residents to this block will be able to report problems to the management company if there are any that arise. A management plan outlines what we will do to ensure the safety of the students and the surrounding area.
“The scheme is being promoted as a car free development. As a private landlord we will be discouraging car use and legal agreements will be underwritten in favour of those students without cars. We have also conducted traffic management plans, travel plans and student management plans. The site will have fewer car movements on it than in its previous use as a car sales/garage on a day to day basis.
“The development will ensure that around 12 residential houses will not be converted into HMOs as this scheme is purpose built and Filton residents are fed up with houses being converted into HMOs. Filton Town Council were in agreement with this. It aims to build a beautiful building with a bio diverse brown living roof to encourage wildlife, that will transform this part of Filton for the better. The front elevation fronting Hanover Court has been designed with feedback from our meeting with Filton Town Council to ensure the scale of the building is reduced.”
He added that with it being a student block, there would be just one ‘changeover’ per year, reducing the amount of disruption.
And he said rubbish and fly tipping near or around the site will be managed by an in-house team who will be ‘on site frequently during every week to ensure the site and its surroundings are kept clean and tidy’.
He said: “As a responsible landlord we will endeavour to keep our site clean and well maintained.”
However some people living near the scheme say they are concerned about noise and cars, with the scheme having just 12 parking bays.
They also say it will raise concerns for elderly people living in nearby Hanover Court retirement flats.
Michelle, a resident in Rectory Lane, said: “I am highly concerned around the lack of consultation and early engagement on this proposal. The current plans will have an unacceptable impact on residents and the community within Rectory Lane which includes a social housing development and sheltered accommodation.
“Impacts are not restricted to parking and waste collection; they include a loss of privacy, loss of daylight / sunlight, noise increase and overuse of the site not designed in keeping with the local area/ considerations of the local amenities. This is linked to the change in use of the site from a business use site operating 9-5 Monday – Saturday to a 24/7 Sui Generis general use site therefore further assessment is required to consider whether the local amenities and council can accommodate an additional number of residents with another residential development recently approved and underway nearby.
“There is demand for housing in the area: family, sheltered, social and student and a development such as this will not mitigate or avoid the continued conversion of houses into HMOs, especially as many HMOs are used by young professionals and adults who cannot get onto the housing ladder.
“It was a tremendous loss to the community and to Rectory Lane residents in particular when Filton Garage closed, which had been an integral part of the community. The owners and staff were incredibly respectful and reticent of their location next to residences, and business and residence worked in harmony. I would be happy to engage with the landowners and developers to come up with a more workable solution to reuse the site, which enables use of the brownfield site whilst being mindful of its setting.”
Moria and Andy, residents at Hanover Court, said: “The notification of this planning proposal has had a severe impact on the mental health and wellbeing of residents at Hanover Court.
“When we as residents took the decision to move here, freeing up family homes for others, we did so to future proof ourselves and with the intention we wouldn’t need to move again. This proposal would have such an impact on our building especially the loss of light and privacy due to the overpowering nature of the building and also our quality of life.
“The proposal is situated on one of the highest points in Bristol, therefore the landscape is situated on a hill. Hanover Court and the old dairy sit substantially lower than the proposed site and any development over one storey will severely impact our privacy and sunlight/daylight.
“The plan makes little consideration to the impact on a sheltered accommodation block and the community we enjoy at present. The development will impact the whole community in Rectory Lane and we would have to consider seeking accommodation elsewhere if the planning application is approved.”
To look at the planning application, visit https://beta.southglos.gov.uk/search-planning-applications and reference P23/01258/O