The Society has responded to the consultation on the City Centre Development and Delivery Plan (CCDDP). The CCDDP ‘represents early stage concepts and ideas …, which will be developed in more detail’. A number of the outstanding pieces of work, not least the tall buildings strategy, are likely to be significant in shaping the city centre.
In our response, we address five questions that are central to the success of the CCDDP.
(1) Does the Plan do enough to shape new development in Broadmead?
We are deeply concerned that this Plan will not change the current piecemeal development of inappropriate tall buildings which are adversely affecting both the distinctiveness and liveability of our city. The Plan should explain how targets for the amount of residential, student, office, retail space etc were arrived at, and show that they can be accommodated satisfactorily.
(2) How much leverage can be gained from the Council’s land ownership in Broadmead?
The Plan suggests that the Council as land-owner has leverage to influence developers, as the Council owns the freehold of most of Broadmead. But this is constrained by terms of leases. The Plan could usefully explain exactly what is within the Council’s influence and what is not: it is important that the Plan does not promise more than can be delivered.
(3) Are the planned new pedestrian routes, consistent with the area’s topography?
While we welcome the priority given to pedestrian routes, we are concerned that some of the routes shown on the map ignore big changes in level: most of the diagrams showing the pedestrian routes make no comment on the topography. We think the Plan should say more about how the design of the routes would address the level changes: without this, the proposals lack credibility.
(4) Are all the proposed changes to Castle Park needed?
Rather than a large infrastructure project at the north-east corner of the park, the remedy for the eastern end of the park may have more to do with maintaining the tranquillity created by the landscaping and trees at the far eastern end, whilst encouraging occasional activity in the open space (the Plan proposes a ‘City Events Lawn’).
(5) Will the CCDDP deliver and sustain quality in the public realm and ensure it is inviting to all?
The Plan should commit to use of quality materials, which is arguably more worth spending money on than the Penn Street gateway. It is essential that the Plan should be clear on how maintenance costs will be funded and delivered, in perpetuity. Attention needs to be given to the design of thoroughfares, and how streets are managed so they feel safe and welcoming, including dealing promptly with litter and uninvited graffiti.