A tide of greenwash is lapping at the gates of the Packers Chocolate Factory site in Easton. After original developers Persimmon were seen off by local opposition, the site was bought by local 'regeneration company' (hmmm) Squarepeg, self-styled saviours of the site. In true Bristol style, words like community and sustainability featured heavily. Seven months on, it's shaping up in a depressingly predictible way.
As Chris Hutt points out, the much hyped 'cycle houses' are little more than conventional three bedroom noddy boxes, complete with integral garage, with added bicycle storage and direct access to the cycle path. Yes, the cycle houses have a built in garage. That's right up there with carbon neutral Land Rovers.
Since Chris's post, architects Acanthus Ferguson Mann have published more detailed plans and drawings. What's striking is how closely the 'cycle houses' (top picture) resemble the nondescript new build housing a stone's throw away on Greenbank Road (bottom picture).
On the sustainability front, the plans are equally unimpressive. One might have expected the developers to go from the the carbon neutral gold standard level 6 (which is due to become mandatory in 2016). In fact, they are 'aiming' for the substantially lower level 4/5. If these are really 'some of the most energy efficient in the UK', then heaven help us.
Perhaps the planners have been focusing on the issues that really matter most, like 'mak[ing] sure parking... can be maximised'.
And as for community consultation, Jenny Gee, who heads Squarepeg's 'consultation team', has taken to ticking people off for daring to express a view without visiting their exhibition (which ran for all of two days).
Needless to say, the Evening Post is