Developer concedes a voice to community groups over controversial redevelopment of city centre.
Developer Bristol Alliance has bowed to pressure from local residents and agreed to set up a forum for those affected by the £500m regeneration of the Broadmead development in Bristol's city centre.

The first meeting of the Broadmead Neighbouring Communities Forum, which will include representatives from more than 20 community groups, is scheduled for the middle of this month.

The forum will allow the residents to discuss detailed designs with the developer. It will also have an input into any modifications that are made to it. Up to three more meetings will be held this year.

Residents and businesses in the adjoining neighbourhoods, which include St Paul's, St Agnes', St Jude's, Easton and St Werburgh's, have complained that consultation has been inadequate, and that the council was trying to force the development through.

A project source said that most local people were likely to be supportive of the plans. He said: "The development involves rebuilding one of the eyesores at the heart of the city and creating an exciting residential and commercial quarter."

The source added that residents' concerns centred on increased traffic, air pollution and the need for jobs for local people. He said residents also complained traders and businesses would be harmed by the scheme.

Local residents feel that the council is trying to force the development through

Gene Lowson, co-chair of local group the St Paul's Unlimited Community Partnership, said the council's consultation process so far had been alienating.

She said: "What is needed is a full impact study of the effects the expansion. The study must include the impact of traffic, the impact on land and house prices, the effect of diversion of resources for the extended shopping area, and the effect on local shops and businesses."

The proposal, masterplanned by lead architect Chapman Taylor, includes 11,000 m2 of retail and leisure developments, 218 flats and parking for 148 cars.

Bristol Alliance, a joint venture between developers Land Securities and Hammerson and Henderson Global Investors and Morley Fund Management, received outline planning consent in December 2002. It obtained the backing of the Office of John Prescott, the deputy prime minister, in January.

Architect Alec French Partnership is drawing up plans to convert the area around the Quakers Friars buildings into a pedestrianised square.