Following a period of extensive public engagement, work is now beginning to create a regeneration framework that will guide change in the area over the next 5-10 years.
The council will use feedback from the community and local businesses as part of the mix of considerations that will influence the regeneration framework as it is developed before it is formally consulted on later in 2021.
In February, Bristol City Council, in partnership with local landowners the Galliard Apsley Partnership and The Hill Group, announced that they will be working together to develop the regeneration framework. By coming together and working collaboratively to create the framework for the whole area, the landowners hope to bring plans forward in a joined-up way to enable a coherent design that avoids piecemeal development.
The long-term ambition is to create a thriving mixed-use, liveable neighbourhood with high-quality new homes to accommodate Bristol’s growing population, while providing inclusive economic growth and community development as the city emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The brownfield site, which currently hosts commercial and light-industrial uses, as well as vacant plots of land, is ideally located near key public transport and walking and cycling routes into the city centre, making it a sustainable location for much-needed new homes, jobs and community facilities.
Through the framework the council also hopes to strengthen the important economic and social function of Bedminster’s historic high street, East Street. The project will explore ways to improve culture and the evening economy in the area and will be underpinned by the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as set out in Bristol’s One City Plan.
To ensure local people have more of a voice in the regeneration of the area from the outset, the council commissioned Action Greater Bedminster (AGB), a group that works to improve Bedminster and Southville, to undertake an extensive programme of engagement. This included community meetings, an online survey and interactive map, and face-to-face meetings with residents.
AGB worked alongside Bristol City Council’s Community Development team, as well as Windmill Hill City Farm, The Sanctuary and Fun 4 Families to reach out across the neighbourhood and gather as many views as possible.
In response to the engagement programme, the council and Action Greater Bedminster received over 200 responses to the community survey, 220 comments on the interactive map of the area, and over 85 attendees at community meetings and workshops.
Using the feedback gathered, Action Greater Bedminster has now published a Community Manifesto that sets out the community’s priorities for housing, employment, sustainability, transport and community building, with the aim of helping the area to thrive and grow as it changes.
The council will now use the Community Manifesto as one of a number of considerations that will influence the regeneration framework as it is developed, alongside factors like planning policy, viability assessments and technical information, such as the location of underground utilities.
There will be two community workshops on Wednesday 7th July at 19:30 and Saturday 10th July at 10:00 for local people to help to identify and test some early scenarios that address issues such as movement, landscape and activities. These discussions will help to inform the development of the regeneration framework. To find out more and register for the sessions, visit Whitehousestreet.com.
Cllr Tom Renhard, Cabinet Member for Housing Delivery, said: “This approach to community engagement reiterates our commitment to hearing from and listening to local people as we bring forward major regeneration in our city. We want to create a fairer, more inclusive Bristol, while building the new homes, jobs and community spaces that are needed as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. By working with local groups like Action Greater Bedminster, we can reach the right people at the right time and ensure that the community continues to have a voice as the project moves forward.”
Ellie Freeman, Chair of Action Greater Bedminster, said: “We want the greater Bedminster area to thrive and grow, supporting diversity, sustainability and accessibility. Whitehouse Street can be a key part of this, complementing what is already in the area and creating new opportunities. It is a potential connector between Temple Quarter, Redcliffe flats, Bedminster and Windmill Hill.
“This process has been a huge learning curve and, while not perfect, has meant the community has been able to feed into the framework and engage with the development process more directly than ever before. We’re really pleased the council has taken this approach and hope it will be used more in future.”