Clear Majority in favour of King Alfred Proposals
An opinion survey of the city's citizens, conducted by ICM in January 2007, found that 63% supported the Karis / ING plans for the redevelopment of the King Alfred site, and only 21% opposed it. The rest were undecided.
The Saga of King Alfred - cont.
An Edwardian Dress?
At the October 2006 meeting of the Policy & Resources Committee the council, as landowner, voted to allow the redevelopment in its latest manifestation to go ahead - but only after a fudged compromise put forward by the Green Party (which seemed to be a fudge needed to appease divisions within the Green Party group of councillors) was passed.
It needs to be remembered that no party on the council has a majority of seats; Labour (6 committee members) rules as a minority administration, and has promoted the redevelopment from the beginning. The Conservatives (6 memberss) have opposed it, and so it is the votes of the two minor parties, the Greens (2 members) and the Lid Dems (1 member), which decided the fate of the scheme. The Lid Dem member, Dawn Davidson, was in favour, and so it fell to the two Green members to make up their minds.
All but one of the Greens were opposed to the scheme. The one in favour, Bill Randall, who normally sits on the committe, withdrew, and was substituted by another Green, Georgia Wrighton.
The Greens in the end did not want to be seen aligning themselves with the Tories and destroying the redevelopment. So Keith Taylor, the Green Party convenor, came up with this fudge: "The council is committed to work with the developer, for them to provide a meaningful proportion of the housing provision of the scheme in another location, in order to enable it while reducing the overall impact."
This it is claimed meets the objection of over-development that has been levelled at the scheme. How many homes, and are they to private or affordable or both, will be moved off site? And to where? Those questions are yet to answered, but it looks like the way is clear for the developers Karis ING to move on to the next stage and submit a planning application. Then the Planning Committee will have their say.
The council will need to be careful that the off site homes, especially if they turn out to be affordable units, as I suspect they will, do not get 'lost' in the details.
The scheme's value seems to continue to go up and up. Currently it is valued at £290 million. So what do you get for that tidy sum?
- 751 homes, of which 276 will be affordable - some these home will now be built elswhere
- a sports centre which will include 3 swimming pools - competitive, leisure and teaching, 2 sports hall, a health and fitness suite, children's soft play area, cafe, and meeting room. An indoor bowls centre will also be provided - off site.
- a public realm which will include piazzas and pedestrian routes, cafes, etc. Antony Gormley - he of the Angel of the North fame (or is it infamy) - will provide the public art.
Gehry's Faulty Towers: what accounts for their odd appearance? Well, apparently the shape of the towers was inspired by an Edwardian dress seen in an historical photograph or painting of the seafront promenade.