Former Redland High School building to be redeveloped
Published on: 26 Jan 2018
PLANS to redevelop Redland High School have been approved, despite being recommended for refusal by planning officers.
Kersfield Developments Ltd submitted plans to turn the Grade II listed Redland Court and its land into 43 flats and houses, as well as carry out an internal and external restoration project. The building on Redland Court Road was home to Redland High School for Girls until it merged with Redmaids’ in 2016 to become Redmaids’ High School.
The school vacated the buildings in September 2017 when pupils moved to the site in Westbury-on-Trym.
Despite opposition from officers due to the lack of affordable housing that had been included in the £25 million proposal, Kersfield was granted approval, subject to conditions being met, at the council meeting on January 10. This was following last minute amendments being made to the plans in order to include five apartments that would be sold under the shared ownership scheme.
In addition to the concerns raised by the council, Historic England also lodged “considerable concerns” regarding the fragmentation of the development and the proposed density; however they did positively note that the plans included proposals to remove unsightly buildings.
Alex Fielden-Cook, development manager for Kersfield, said: “We were delighted that committee members felt the scheme should be approved and they spoke very positively about the quality of our designs for this important historic site.
"We listened to last minute feedback from councillors who said they wanted affordable homes on the site. So, we changed the proposals and included five shared ownership homes in the Victorian former art building. We are very proud of our proposals and the other heritage projects Kersfield has undertaken in Bristol.”
Kersfield has also said that if planning goes through as expected, work will start this summer. It expects the project to be completed approximately 18 months later. It plans to release the housing units in phases too.
Commenting on the council’s decision to approve the plans, Martin Fodor, Green Party Councillor for Redland Ward said: “Thanks to the new transparency over ‘viability statements’ we know more about the disagreement between the council and the developer over what we should expect of the project. Council officers maintained that the £7.5m Kersfield paid for the site was too much and their report also criticised the company for not taking account of the council’s planning policy and failing to include provision of adequate affordable housing in the calculations.
“In the committee debate, our colleague Clive Stevens, councillor for Clifton Down, put forward a motion in the meeting for the committee (acting as the local planning authority) to support the application, subject to a section 106 agreement that the developer provides the five affordable homes on-site, plus a contribution of an additional £750,000 for affordable housing in another location. This takes account of the benefit of restoring the site and not allowing it to become derelict, but pressures the developer to offer a better deal to the city. Planning committees are very sensitive at present to the need to get more affordable housing in as many ways as they can both on a specific development site and elsewhere.
“This amendment received unanimous support. The developers, who own the site, will now have to face up to whether they will implement the planning permission which requires them to provide both the five units and the additional funds. We’ll have to wait and see if they do this, or perhaps try to come up with another fresh application instead.”