Saturday, March 03, 2007

New College Development Plans

Last night I went to a roadshow organised by Linden Homes about their Plans for developing the former New College Site (La Sainte Union) on the Avenue / corner of Archers Road. Their plans are for large numbers of flats, a few houses, some commercial offices and some sheltered housing.

I met a number of local residents and spoke with Linden Homes and their architects. No formal planning application has been submitted yet and so the plans are still in draft form.

However based on what I have seen so far I have some concerns.

1. Traffic Congestion. Archers Road is terribly congested already. A new development will mean many more vehicles coming and going. Planning permission was recently granted for large numbers of flats the other side of Archers Road on the old nurses / social services site. The proposed new development for New College has 2 points of access on to Archers Road.

2. Parking. If insufficient parking is provided it will mean more cars clogging up the surrounding streets. I was pleased to see that the developer is considering underground parking under the flats and 3 story townhouses with a garage on the bottom level. I would like to see the maximum amount of parking if the development does go ahead.

3. Design. The site is in the Avenue Conservation Area and it borders another conservation area. The developers are looking to protect some of the old buildings however the new buildings that they propose are of a very contemporary design (think Ocean Village). In my mind a development that is in keeping means that the new buildings look similar to existing ones rather than looking completely different.

4. Combined Heat and Power. There is CHP plans in the city centre (the big red building near Toys R US). This is gas turbine power station (previously a geo thermal power station) that heats most of Northern Above Bar. It is considerably more efficient the normal means of providing heat and power and therefore more environmental. A lot of new housing developments in the city centre have linked into the CHP network. Apparently Linden don't intend to use CHP for this development. I have asked why as it seems worthy of proper consideration.

I have mentioned all the above points to Linden Homes and will follow it up with a letter to them.

There is another Roadshow this morning at New College, for those that didn't get a chance to have a look yesterday.

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