Of the five development sites in the city centre identified in the Launch Document we have selected for comment the two most relevant to our members’ concerns, SB1, the Cattle Market site, and SB3, Manvers Street. In both cases we have used the council’s Core Strategy Document (Policy B2) and Place Making Plan Launch Document as a frame of reference.
CATTLE MARKET SITE
1. This is a transitional site which acts as a bridge between the commercial heart of the city and the Walcot Street area of residential streets and small, independent enterprises including pubs and restaurants and many craft and home related service businesses. Development of Site would provide an opportunity to establish a more effective link between these areas reducing the current relative isolation of Walcot Street and improving pedestrian flow to and from the city centre. Development of the site should emphasize mixed uses with residential uses predominating but with a continuous commercial frontage on Walcot Street combining small and medium sized units. While there could be a case for replacing the Hilton Hotel on the site in general large or multi-occupancy uses should be avoided.
2. Building massing should reflect the character of the surrounding area with building heights limited to four levels above Walcot Street grade.
3. Traffic congestion on Walcot Street already ranges from moderate to severe throughout the day. Any mix of uses for Site SB1 should aim to reduce to a minimum the need for on-site parking and any temptation to continue to use this area as a parking resource for the city centre as a whole should be avoided.
4. Public access to the riverside must be protected. There could be a case for extending the riverside walkway north from Pulteney Bridge but if further extension to Beehive Yard and beyond proves impractical, as seems likely, then a suitable destination for pedestrians should be provided within the site. This could, for example, take the form of a riverside park with moorings and a pedestrian bridge across the river to St Johns Road could also be considered.
5. Any development of the site needs to incorporate a satisfactory role for the Corn Market building which has been in a derelict and unsightly condition for too long. Considering the numerous failed attempts to identify a future for this important building an agreement under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 covering a larger area of the site may need to be considered.
MANVERS STREET SITE
6. The Manvers Street site has two principal characteristics. The northern part of the site, currently mainly a car park with adjoining police station, has external linkages mainly to hotel and residential development to the north (South Parade) and west (Manvers Street), with some supporting commercial frontages but only limited links to the city’s retail core to the west. With its two churches and mosque the emphasis here should be on residential development with commercial uses limited to supporting retail and services and the opportunity should be taken to provide a more appropriate setting for St John’s church. Building massing should reflect the height of buildings on South Parade and Manvers Street
7. Bounded by the river and the railway the southern part of the site has limited external linkages and is dominated by the Royal Mail sorting office and some commercial office development. Larger industrial and commercial uses would be suitable here and there is an opportunity to create a pedestrian link to the station from the north.