Bristol flats gain approval despite fire safety concerns


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Donard developers now have permission to build 221 apartments in Bristol between York Street and Mead Street despite serious fire safety concerns, including one block featuring a single escape route, leading to official calls for major design changes.

The apartments are a part of the Mead Street development project which plans to construct around 1,500 new homes in the area. The development brief was signed off by the council earlier in August after a long delay.

Both local residents and council planning officers campaigned for the plans to be refused by the development control committee ahead of the decision being made on Wednesday 24 August. However, as Councillors said the need for housing outweighed the issues with the designs.”

The HSE highlighted the need for changes to the current designs, due to fire safety concerns. One block currently will only have a single escape staircase, which is in breach of fire safety standards.

Council officers have said that the current designs could be altered to address the fire safety concerns without making a new application to the council. Building control will also need to sign off the new build’s safety before potential residents could move in.

Residents and councillors are also against the proposed builds due to a lack of windows in the apartments, giving residents a limited amount of natural light, and disruption to the views and character of the area.

John Geater, a councillor for Avonmouth & Lawrence Weston, said: “My concern is if we refuse this, what will happen is we’ll get a reduced height in a planning application that comes back, so that it gets around all the design rules and the places will be bigger.

“But there’ll be 10 percent affordable housing because they’ll knock off all the affordable housing in order to make it compliant and a lovely design.”

Ed Plowden, a Green councillor for Windmill Hill, said: “When you’re reliant on things like shiny paint to get your light levels up, I don’t think that’s great. I really worry about the quality of accommodation for people who will be living here. This has been rushed through and there are loose ends about whether it’s safe to live in.”

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