16 Sep 2010

Hospital site plans on show

As reported here Kevin McCloud's company, Hab Oakus, is putting forward designs for affordable housing at the derelict Cashes Green Hospital site.

Yesterday there was a drop-in that I ended up spending nearly 3 hours at - good cakes! It was also a good opportunity to talk to many residents and the various architects and designers.

Photos: yesterday at the consultation drop in at the Youth and Community centre in Cashes Green

It was possibly the eighth consultation drop-in I had been to about this site over the years - and have to say I was expecting consultation fatigue from residents but many were very positive about the plans. Indeed there were very significant numbers of people going through the consultation - and many were local residents. Although one said they would accept almost anything after so many years of this site with nothing happening.

Many were excited by the green credentials and the community areas - as part of the agreement, Hab Oakus will construct all 78 new homes to Level 4 of the Code for Sustainable Homes - plus there will be an allotment site with a community building.

Some were unhappy that the allotments were only two-thirds of the original site - an issue I made with all the folk there including Kevin - as I've noted before I think there could be room for getting land released locally not on that site for allotments - or as we have done in Ruscombe leasing land from a private landowner to establish allotments. There is also at the moment no decision over how the sites allotments could be allocated - poss the Parish would but ownership might be retained? We'll see.

Other folk were concerned that parking was very minimal, others that the site had many routes through it linking it to the other communities and that that could increase crime - both these issues while I understand them I don't go along with - indeed I have advocated long and hard at all the consultations re the need for the site to be linked to the surrounding communities.

One big issue was the old buildings - many, like me do not want to see them destroyed - it was good to hear Kevin was also wanting to retain stuff - however the economics and state of buildings present many challenges - there is talk of keeping the bricks and more to use....we'll see...

Another issue was the lovely red brick wall along the road - Highways seem to want to widen the road or keep it that wide - I want to see it narrower so that traffic is slowed down. One solution if Highways get there way - and I hope they don't is to maybe reduce the wall height and put a path on the other side of the wall.

Anyhow Kevin's company Hab Oakus was selected a couple of months or so ago as the best of eight submissions made to the site's owners, the government's Homes and Communities Agency. They will work alongside a community land trust, the Stroud-based Gloucestershire Land for People, and housing group Green Square on putting up 78 homes at the old hospital, 39 of them for affordable rent or part-ownership. The plans at the event are at a very early stage - one comment from a resident was that they didn't look nice - hopefully at the next meeting - I think 19th Oct - there will be more news re designs as these were only to give an indication of what the site could look like.

Under the proposals, Gloucestershire Land for People will own and manage 39 of these homes, which will be available for affordable rent and part ownership. The remaining homes will be made available for sale on the open market by Hab Oakus.

It is the first time a housing-focused Community Land Trust proposal will be delivered on HCA-owned land - it has been described as a flagship for delivering affordable housing in England. It is great that this project looks set to happen here in Stroud - and this time the team behind it look set to deliver - if not I'll never watch Grand Designs again - oohps - don't tell them I don't have a telly...

It is expected that a full planning application will be submitted for the site later this year....excuse the haste of this blog entry but am dashing to work and wanted to get something down here....


Peter Berry said...

The progress on this project has to go carefully to get a worthwhile development as we do not want problems we had with Concrete houses in Queen Drive area or Tricon House. As a long time resident of nearly 40 years on Foxmoor I wish to see balanced attractive dewllings on site that will integrate West and East Communties of Cashes Green. I do wish that all local residents will take part in Consultations,contribute in a constructive way so that when the buillding starts we will not get people coming out sniping with lots of petty objections.

Philip Booth said...

Thanks for comment. Agree re the integrating communities - I am very keen to see that there is a way through the site - in the past developers wanted to have it with only one entrance. Design will also be key but crucial that we build houses that are fit for next 5o years - oil is running out we need proper energy efficient designs. Also crucial will be green spaces.