Members of the public interviewed on Stokes Croft:
- I remember time and again there have been conversations in the Council about doing it up. They didn’t come to fruition so you kind of forget about these things.
- There’s so much need for a push from the community to do so many different things in the building; it’s a terrific opportunity. It’s something that Bristol could do to be proud of.
- It’s good news.
- Such a waste. Could be such a lovely building with people living in there.
- Should be affordable housing.
- It isn’t an eye-sore. It should be opened up to let people do what they want with it. That would be better.
- It’s been a bit of an eyesore for a long time. With many people looking for housing in the area. Will benefit Stokes Croft and also tenants or people looking to purchase property in the area.
Laura Rawlings interview with Lori Streich and Cllr Rob Telford
LR: Is this good news?
LS: Yes it is. Cautious optimism – it’s been an incredibly long road. A very significant step to actually achieving the end of dereliction of the site.
LR: When we spoke last time (in April) there had been concerns about making sure the development is in keeping with quirkiness of the area, the lack of affordable properties, that it wouldn’t be this gated closed off community. Has that been addressed now?
LS: That has been addressed. A lot has changed since April. CAG has been very actively engaged in a really good quite often difficult dialogue with the developer. To their credit FC have responded positively and creatively and made a lot of changes. Most significantly there’s a lot more commercial and open space. It is no longer gated; it’s been designed so that it would be pretty much impossible to turn it into a gated community.
LR: Lets bring in Rob. Are you happy with the plans?
RT: Yes we are largely. What’s been amazing with this process is that for the last year at least it started in a not consultative way. A lot of developers come to Bristol saying what they want to do and don’t start with a consultative frame of mind. But in this case the developer has gone away and thought he really wants this to happen and has actually worked with the community. That’s good to see. Would have saved a lot of time if they’d come with the right mindset from the start. It’s positive news that it’s happened eventually.
LR: You say it’s the developer who came with the right mindset. People are saying this morning, ‘why has it taken the Council 30 years to do something?’
RT: What happened is we had a compulsory purchase process to work with a registered social landlord but that fell through partly because Fifth Capital came in the frame. It’s been an eyesore for so long. It’s desperate for development.
LR: Is there anything we can learn?
RT: We have to learn the lessons of consultation from this. CAG has done amazing exemplary work to bring the Community Vision to fruition. It really has been amazingly exemplary work – the kind of stuff we should be looking at for all major developments in Bristol.
Laura Rawlings interview with Marc Pennick
LR: Marc Pennick owns Fifth Capital London – the company that will own the site. It’s all changed sine we spoke to you last (in April). It’s all good news. What will people see?
MP: Last night was very enjoyable with the consent going through. It’s come a long way since April. With almost 1500 objections, last night we had 2 objections. We’ve turned it around over the last 6-7 months. The scheme that we’ll start in the next 6-7 months is a vibrant new square, apartments, independent businesses, pop-up shops, exactly what Stokes Croft needs.
LR: People were concerned that it would be exclusive, that it wouldn’t fit in the area, that it would be gated. Segregated yuppie flats was some of the concern and that there wouldn’t be enough affordable properties. But all of that has been ironed out?
MP: Through good work with CAG and good dialogue with wider community the gates have gone, the scheme’s been changed, we’ve got more commercial, more independent businesses going in there, affordable housing has gone up, and we’re looking forward to starting on the site. It’s been 27 years of pain for the area and we’re just looking forward to getting on.
LR: How do think it will it change the whole area?
MP: Stokes Croft has never really had much investment on the site itself and also in the wider area. We need to create a hub area that people not just in the area use but people in the wider city see it as a centre point. By creating this new market square that will be open at weekends with new independent businesses, it’s going to be a destination point.
LR: When will work start?
MP: We still have to sign S.106 agreement with the Council but that won’t take too long; there’s a lot of goodwill from Council members and the Carriageworks Action Group. One of the big points is that we’ve got some people who are on the site at the moment, some of them have been there for quite a while 5-6 years, and I’ve given my word that they’ve got 6 months until they have to vacate then we can get on
LR: How confident that you can deliver exactly what’s in the plans?
MP: These plans that we’ve proposed are not just going to be the plans but they will get better, we’re going to refine them, we’re going to work with CAG and the local community, we’re going to keep working on these plans and we’re going to keep making them better.
LR: If everything goes to plan when could it be finished?
MP: As soon as we start on site we should be done in 18-20 months.
LR: Wow – what a transformation that area’s going to see. Thank you.