Bristol City Council has thanked local groups for their work to improve St James Barton Roundabout as it moves to take full control of the public space.
The area in the centre of St James Barton Roundabout, known locally as the Bearpit, has seen a seen a recent increase in antisocial behaviour and crime, resulting in some targeted attacks on traders.
Over the last seven years members and directors of the former Bearpit Improvement Group, the recently formed Bearpit Community Trust and the traders within Bearpit Bristol have contributed a great deal to the Bearpit. However, problems with antisocial behaviour remain.
Cllr Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for communities, said: “Some great work has been done within the Bearpit over the last few years and I am extremely grateful to those involved for all of their efforts.
“A lot has been achieved but we cannot ignore the unacceptable antisocial behaviour that has taken place recently, so it is necessary for us to take action and take back full control of the area.
“Thousands of pedestrians use St James Barton Roundabout as a through route every day and we need to ensure that this space is providing a safe and positive environment that people across the city can enjoy.
“We will be focusing in the short term on cleaning up the area and dealing with the crime issues, and we will then begin to gather ideas to help us decide on a more long-term strategy that will encourage community spirit and support local businesses.”
The former Bearpit Improvement Group led the management of the space until it was dissolved last year and the Bearpit Community Trust was formed in November 2017. The council has worked with the trust, traders and locals to explore new management options and has concluded that it is necessary for the council to take full control of the area.
There will be opportunities for people to remain involved and to influence the future strategy for the space, but there will no longer be a community group in charge of the area as this process will be led by the council.
The initial focus will be based on safety and the council will work with other public sector organisations to make the space safe and clean, including the installation of new CCTV. Graffiti and tagging will be removed by Bristol Waste until a new strategy outlining an approach to art has been agreed.
Information will be released in due course on how people can get involved with ideas on the future of the area.