Potential regeneration projects
Even in a thriving city like Bristol, there are certain sites and buildings which lie empty for years and years. Of course a certain level of vacancy is natural and is part of the natural scheme of things, but usually development does then take place within a reasonable period of time. But some sites do seem to get stuck and give rise to concern by local residents, planners and, if protected, by Historic England.
Why does this matter? With listed buildings there is legislation designed to ensure that these important sites are maintained and looked after. It does seem amazing that such buildings are not all in use or at least being restored.
In all cases there is the issue of a wasted resource – a site or building which could be put to active use. With increased pressure on greenfield sites there is even more need to make maximum use of brownfield resources.
Bristol’s Harbourside has a very central vacant site – in between the Arnolfini and the Architecture Centre – very neatly fenced off and by no stretch of the imagination an eyesore. But surely this site could contribute so much more to the vibrant Harbourside life? And to the owner’s bank account? Ownership issues apparently hinder positive progress here.
Nearby the boarded-up church on the corner of Royal Oak Avenue and Prince Street is not listed but surely represents a valuable opportunity for much more positive use?
What can the Bristol Civic Society do in these circumstances? We have a number of potential roles:
- We can raise the profile of neglected buildings, working collaboratively with local community groups wherever possible.
- We can highlight opportunities, possibly drawing up illustrative proposals to demonstrate potential, much as we did for the possible future of Castle Park in the last edition of Better Bristol.
- We can challenge wherever there is slow (or lack of) progress. We might contact owners directly and see if there are obstacles hindering progress where an independent organisation such as the Society might have a useful and positive role to play.
- We can use our Environmental Awards scheme to celebrate and publicise completed projects.
If there is a regeneration project that interests you, do contact us to see if you can join with other members to take action.