During a time of council spending cuts what we want for Southmead, and the action we need to take to make it happen, could not be more important. In 2014, in the door-to-door Southmead Survey, we identified what it is like to live here and what we would like to change. Our answers and views created our future vision: the Southmead Community Plan, launched in 2015.
Since then, ‘action groups’ – made up of volunteer-residents, charities, and council representatives – have been working to find funding to back the changes we said we wanted to make. There has been progress in many areas of the Plan; we now have a community website, a project to tackle social isolation and mental wellbeing, a volunteer project, a youth programme, and have raised funds to begin work on many other areas of the Plan.
But currently, as well as council spending cuts, residents are extremely concerned about a sharp rise in land costs, property rents, and house prices – some of which is directly linked to the effect of the ‘super hospital’. It is, therefore, essential that we keep focus on our Plan which calls for affordable housing, as well as finding the income to retain and strengthen the existing places which are important to us.
The voluntary group, BS10 Parks & Planning, has been leading on the actions and projects from Chapters 6 & 7 of the Southmead Community Plan: ‘Housing, Planning, Parks and Green Spaces’; and ‘Community Buildings and Facilities’. They have also been keeping tabs on the different ideas and discussions to regenerate Southmead.
The three main areas for regeneration are currently: the Dunmail Road Development (on the old school land), which is being led by the United Communities Housing Association; Greystoke Avenue (on the Southmead Community Centre site and adjoining areas), which is being led by the Southmead Community Association; and the Glencoyne Square & Arnside Regeneration project, which is being led by the Southmead Development Trust. An up-date for each of these projects follows:
Dunmail School Site (from United Communities): “Our planning application was submitted in September 2016. It has been positively received by both the community and the council. Things are looking good but we are awaiting the final go ahead from Bristol City Council. We are working with our contractor to establish a confirmed site date, but it is looking likely to be early summer 2017. However, you may see us doing a few surveys and things on-site in the meantime. We are so pleased with the support and enthusiasm from the community in Southmead and can’t wait to get started”. If you have any queries, please call United Communities 0117 942 4600, or click on www.unitedcommunities.org.uk
Glencoyne Square & Arnside (from the Southmead Development Trust): “We held four public consultations in spring 2016 and invited residents to consider the idea of more housing and shops around Glencoyne Square, which is owned by both Bristol City Council and private landlords (primarily the churches). We continue to work hard in exploring options in meetings with land owners, potential funders, and in particular with Bristol City Council, to find out what might be possible. Some of the ideas have attracted national press attention as Southmead is being seen as a positive, can-do, community, who are willing to take matters into their own hands and deal with issues like housing, when central or local government is not. But no decisions have been made yet and the green space we have is protected. Trying to find out what is possible may take another six months at least. Any progress (including master plans, housing, community businesses, what is or isn’t built and where) will be decided by residents, as part of a working group, with open consultations. Everything for this project will be overseen by residents (who are elected to the Board of Trustees for the Southmead Development Trust), as well as the BS10 Parks & Planning Group.” If you have any queries about the project or would like to know more about the Southmead Development Trust, please call 0117 950 3335, or click on www.southmead.org
Southmead Community Centre & Greystoke Avenue: *Awaiting further up-date* The Southmead Community Association held a public consultation meeting last August at which Barefoot Architects presented possible ideas and plans, and asked residents for more ideas. Residents were asked to fill in a questionnaire, which was also made available to fill-in online. If you have any queries, please call the SCA on 0117 950 1187.
Meanwhile, everyone is welcome to attend the BS10 Parks & Planning Group meetings on the 2nd Monday of every month – next at Henbury & Brentry Community Centre, 18.00 on Monday 10th April. Minutes from past meetings are available to read on the BS10 Parks & Planning Group page @ www.themead.org.uk – if you would like a printed copy of minutes, please contact the Group on 0117 950 3719.
You can read the Southmead Community Plan here www.southmeadcommunityplan.co.uk, or request a printed copy from the SCART Shop on Arnside, the Southmead Community Association on Greystoke Avenue, or the Southmead Development Trust at the Greenway Centre, Doncaster Road.