Developer responds to claims of using ‘underhand’ tactics to find support
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Residents have accused developers of using ‘underhand tactics’ in order to drum up support for a controversial scheme that will see more than 100 new homes built in Lockleaze.
Goram Homes want to build a mixture of 140 apartments and houses at an underused compound just off Dovercourt Road, and submitted an outline planning application in February.
But residents living around the site aren’t happy with the plans for a number of reasons, and tensions have been escalating ever since with 180 objections already lodged against what they say will be a ‘catastrophic’ project.
The latest row has seen the Dovercourt Residents Group ‘call out’ Goram Homes, owned by Bristol City Council, for ‘misleading’ residents who live 28 minutes’ walk away into filling out forms stating their support for the new homes.
The group claims these residents have been told properties at the site will be ‘affordable’ when only minimum provision (30%) for ‘affordable’ housing is proposed, as illustrated in the outline planning application.
But Goram Homes has refuted this, stating that they wanted as many residents to be involved with engagement over the site as possible, and that there are ‘aspirations’ to make the site up to 50% affordable.
What the Dovercourt Residents Group said
A joint statement from the Dovercourt Residents Group said: “It appears that Goram Homes has decided to go for what looks to be underhand tactics aimed at presenting support for a housing development that has very little local support from local residents.
“[We have] been made aware of a consultation carried out by MPC (on behalf of Goram Homes) that appears to be based on [them] misleading people who live 28 minutes walk from the depot into filling in forms in support of the [project] by giving them the suggestion that these new homes will be affordable for local residents.”
The statement goes on to say that unless prices go below market value for the area, £450,000+ for a three bedroom family house was ‘very much not affordable for any local family struggling to get on the property ladder’.
The group added that that the nine letters of support gathered from the MPC came from residents living in council homes in Eden Grove in Horfield, which they felt was ‘cynically considered’.
Richard Dinham, who has been heading up the group since the scheme’s launch, said: “We are not surprised at these kinds of tactics being deployed as in keeping with Goram Homes efforts to build houses at any cost, regardless of negative impacts on either residents or wildlife.
“While we understand that Bristol City Council have made decisions leading to losing tens of millions of pounds of Bristol council taxpayers money, trying to claw it back through relentless house building is not the right strategy.
“We will continue to fight for developments to be questioned and their plans to be interrogated, it is the right thing to do for Lockleaze and it’s residents.”
What Goram Homes said
A spokesperson for Goram Homes said: “Goram Homes is committed to ensuring that as many people as possible are included in shaping the proposals for any new homes at the Dovercourt Depot.
“We know that the complexities of the planning process can be a barrier to engagement and speaking directly to residents is part of our commitment to making the system more accessible.
“MPC was appointed by Goram Homes and Keepmoat Homes (who will be delivering the project if approved) to help widen engagement with those who hadn’t been included in the consultation so far.
“They visited residents close to the proposed development to explain the plans and the next steps in the process.
“A flyer with details of the proposals was given to everyone who was spoken to. We found support for new homes in the area, as well as some concerns that will be explored further and responded to as the project progresses.”
The firm confirmed that they hoped to build up to 70 (50%) ‘affordable’ homes at the site.