News broke this morning that the Council owned housing company Goram Homes has plans to develop the two Grade II listed bonded warehouses on Spike Island into a new 200 home development. Details are currently scarce barring the fact that it will be a ‘mix’ of affordable and market value apartments developed as part of the ‘Western Harbour Regeneration Area’.
200 new apartments coming, but can the local infrastructure support it?
Lib Dem candidate for Hotwells & Harbourside Alex Hartley said ‘I am glad the Council are looking at regeneration opportunities in the area that involve current brownfield sites, unlike their other plans for Cumberland Basin which involve building on some of the few areas of green space within the ward’
‘I would encourage the Council to pursue a strategy that involved a mixed use of social, affordable and market rate housing given that over 10,000 people in Bristol are currently waiting for council housing. However, given that this will be 200 new dwellings, on top of the 166 that will make up the new development on the Baltic Wharf caravan site, they need to make sure that local infrastructure, especially active travel routes such as the Chocolate Path, are fixed and able to cope with the new demand on the area’
Lib Dem Candidate Alex Hartley overlooking Cumberland Basin and the bonded warehouses
Lib Dem Councillor for Hotwells & Harbourside Mark Wright said ‘It is good that the Council are looking at existing structures for development, and that they are choosing to build homes on the site, as there had previously been suggestions that the warehouses might be used for student flats or offices.’
‘I am also surprised that the Council’s own company is taking on the full development responsibility itself. Historic conversions like this are high-risk, as major problems may be discovered part-way through, as we have learnt during the Bristol Beacon refurb, whose costs have leapt from £43million to £107 million, and this plan would leave all the liability on the Council.’
Ideas for developing the warehouses into flats have been around for a long time. When Cllr Mark Wright was executive member for housing he investigated the possibility, but with uncertain costs, the risk was too great. The Hotwells & Harbourside Lib Dems will continue to keep you updated on developments, and will reach out to the local community to assess their thoughts when more information comes to light.