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Built environment report



STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT REPORT: WRITTEN STATEMENT

ST WERBURGHS BUILT ENVIRONMENT INITIATIVE


OCTOBER 2002

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 Purpose, Scope and Objectives
1.2 Neighbourhood Renewal

2 METHODOLOGY
2.1 Overall Approach
2.2 Phase 1 State of the Environment Report
2.3 Phase 2 Identification of Opportunities
2.4 Phase 3 Development of the 'Proposals for Discussion'
2.5 Report and Document Presentation

3 THE STUDY AREA
3.1 Location
3.2 Description
3.3 History

4 ST WERBURGHS STATISTICAL PROFILE
4.1 Demographic Analysis
4.2 Summary
4.3 The Overall Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000

5 LOCAL PLANNING POLICY APPRAISAL
5.1 The Bristol Local Plan - Adopted December 1997
5.2 The Local Plan Issues Report to 2011 & Summary and Required Actions
5.3 The Next Steps 22
5.4 St Agnes and St Werburghs Renewal Area 1998 Strategy
6 CONSULTATION REVIEW
6.1 Methodology
6.2 St Werburghs Community Consultation
6.3 Community Consultation Exercise
6.4 Inner City Project

7 LAND USE SURVEY
7.1 Methodology
7.2 Local Context
7.3 Residential
7.4 Commercial
7.5 Retail
7.6 Public Houses
7.7 Formal Places Of Worship
7.8 Education
7.9 Community Uses And Buildings
7.10 Vacant Buildings And Areas
7.11 Open Space

8 TRAFFIC, TRANSPORT & ACCESSIBILITY
8.1 Traffic and Transportation
8.2 Traffic flows
8.3 Public Transport
8.4 Accident Hot Spots
8.5 Accident Corridors

9 CURRENT PROJECTS AND STUDIES
9.1 Introduction
9.2 Neighbourhood Renewal
9.3 Safer Streets Project
9.4 Community Transport Study
9.5 Ashley Vale Action Group (AVAG)
9.6 Mary Seacole Court
9.7 St Werburghs City Farm
9.8 St Agnes and St Werburghs Renewal Area
9.9 Environmental Improvements
9.10 School Project & Arts Space
9.11 The Sims/Birds Employment Site
9.12 Mark Priest Building
9.13 Community Centre

10 BUSINESS SURVEY
10.1 Introduction The Information Gap
10.2 The Business Survey
10.3 Survey Findings

11 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
11.1 Introduction
11.2 Work and Enterprise
11.3 Crime
11.4 Education & skills
11.5 Health
11.6 Housing & Physical Environment

APPENDICES

Appendix 1 Business Survey Questionnaire and covering letters.
Appendix 2 Population Statistics provided by The Data Depot.
Appendix 3 Office of National Statistics (Extracts from comparable data sources).
Appendix 4 Schedule of Public Consultation, Information and Policy material.
Appendix 5 List of Community User Groups.
Appendix 6 Traffic Accident Schedule (to be read in conjunction with Book of Plans).
Appendix 7 IT Launch Day Powerpoint Presentation

1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 Purpose, Scope and Objectives

The St Werburghs Community Association, Mina Road Park Group and St Werburghs Neighbourhood Association formed a Steering Group, supported by Bristol City Council, to promote and develop a number of integrated physical regeneration projects and initiatives for St Werburghs. The Steering Committee appointed Stride Treglown to inform the preparation, evolution and delivery of a series of proposals. These proposals will form the basis of further discussions by the Steering Group and the wider community.

The purpose of the commission is twofold. It is designed to collate readily available information regarding the area. In order to achieve environmental improvements it may be necessary to apply for funding from European, National, Regional, Local Government and other development agencies. In order to assist the bidding processes, it is important that factual information concerning the make up of St Werburghs is available as a reference document. A snapshot of the area, as at June 2002, also allows the benefits arising from regeneration and redevelopment initiatives to be measured in the long term. This report is therefore known as a State of the Environment Report and presents factual information concerning the area, together with a summary of the aspirations of local groups and organisations.

Ultimately, the study seeks to identify, based upon the views expressed by local residents and business interests, a number of bespoke and discreet initiatives that, cumulatively, will lead to tangible and long term benefits in terms of environmental improvements to the area. These projects will be presented as a series of Proposals for Discussion.

The study is commissioned as part of the Neighbourhood Renewal programme.

1.2 Neighbourhood Renewal

A New Commitment to Neighbourhood Renewal: National Strategy Action Plan sets out the Governments approach to regeneration.

Bristol is one of the 88 cities in England charged with developing a Neighbourhood Renewal Strategy & a plan that sets out how it will deliver real change in poorer neighbourhoods over the three years from 2001 to 2004. To help Bristol develop and deliver the plan the city was allocated £8m over three years through the Bristol Partnership.

The main aims of the Neighbourhood Renewal Programme are to:

1. Develop a community-led approach to regeneration (resident led)

2. To bring about real changes in the way mainstream (City Council, Colleges, Health, Police and so on) agencies deliver services and respond to the priorities of local residents.

3. To develop a strategic approach through the development and delivery of neighbourhood plans.

Ashley is one of 10 Neighbourhood Renewal Areas in Bristol. The focus of the work is on St Pauls and St Werburghs to identify neighbourhood priorities and to build a better working relationship between these communities and the agencies that provide services.

In St Werburghs the Neighbourhood Renewal Working Group brings together local community and voluntary groups and residents to oversee a plan of action. The Built Environment Initiative is one of three key projects (The other two being the Street Safety Project and the Community Bus Project) that will provide a basis for further work.

Neighbourhood Renewal is geared towards addressing the issues which have led to a perceived decline in the quality of environment experienced by those living and working within the country’s most deprived communities. The national action plan looks at a range of particular indicators with a view to setting best practice examples, the parameters within which communities can work together to regenerate their areas. The core indicators which neighbourhood renewal seeks to address include:

  • Work and enterprise
  • Crime
  • Education and skills
  • Health
Whereas this State of the Environment Report looks predominantly at the fifth of these factors, Housing and the Physical Environment, linkages between particular areas and initiatives within St Werburghs and beyond are important and for this reason we will touch upon initiatives which may have an impact and benefit to the community in terms of one or more of the other core factors.

The State of the Environment Report is made up of two documents;

Part 1 Written Statement, This A4 document provides all of the text, figures and tables providing a snap shot of St Werburghs in 2002.

Part 2 The Book of Plans - An A3 document of illustrative material which will be referred to throughout this document. This is bound separately to the Written Statement.

The base date for the information contained within these documents is June 2002. On the instruction of the Steering Committee, we have updated the report in relation to two projects & the outcome of the Community Transport Project (9.4) and the current status of the Mark Priest Building (9.12). All other information is correct as of June 2002.

2 METHODOLOGY

2.1 Overall Approach

Our approach to this commission is centred upon applying information readily available from community involvement/participation, with an understanding of the local area and the list of proposed regeneration projects to create a coherent and deliverable set of Proposals for Discussion, creating a foundation for the next chapter in the life of St Werburghs.

The commission is not one that involves formal community participation, but one that takes the results of past consultation exercises forward. Notwithstanding this, we have responded to the needs of the client group by addressing the information gap that has emerged as a result of past consultation processes. This is principally an understanding of the attitudes and views of local employers in the area. We have also catered for a gradual drip feed of views from local groups, organisations and residents though discussions during the preparation of the study.

We have embarked upon a phased approach to meeting the requirements of the brief. We set out below a short summary relating to the tasks to undertaken in each phase.

2.2 Phase 1 State of the Environment Report

Phase 1 related to the identification of information sources and the collation of readily available data in order to prepare this State of the Environment Report.

The collation of this information has come from a number of different sources:

  • Population and demographic Analysis.
  • Local Planning Policy Appraisal.
  • Previous Public Consultation Exercises.
  • Land Use Mapping.
  • Consultation with Local Businesses.
The approach for each of these is described in the following paragraphs.

1. Population and Demographic Analysis

Using industry agreed sources, we have arranged for the preparation of bespoke Demographic and Economic reports based upon most recent census data. It is unfortunate that the 2001 Census data will not be available until early 2003. We have therefore only been able to present 1991 census data, as projected to 2001. This does however form the most up-to-date assessment of demographic profile for the area. This can be replaced in due course with the accurate (non-projected) 2001 data.

Taken together with other key indicators the figures can be used to benchmark or compare the success of the strategy.

2. Local Planning Policy Appraisal

The Development Plan for an area provides the administrative basis for the determination of planning applications and provides a framework for the development that will necessarily include both promotion and control.

An assessment of the adopted and emerging local plans, as well as the Renewal Area Strategy, provides this administrative background and indicates the range of opportunities and constraints that apply in the area.

3. Previous Public Consultation Exercises

In the past two years there has been a number of public consultation exercises to ascertain the views of local residents and organisations active in the area. This commission is designed to appraise, examine and analyse the various consultation documents in order to identify recurrent themes and issues.

The commission is not intended to include a formal public consultation exercise. Not withstanding this, it has become apparent that there is an information gap with regards to aspirations and views of local employers within the St Werburghs area. This study seeks to ascertain their views in order to lead to an informed decision as to the initiatives that should be pursued into the future.

4. Land Use Mapping

In order to understand the relationship between the current and proposed initiatives, a comprehensive land use plan of the study area has been prepared. This enabled us to prepare a series of maps and plans showing the physical makeup of the area; buildings, routes and spaces. These plans are presented in a separate Book of Plans and can be broadly categorised as:

1. Land Uses

  • Community and Social Infrastructure (Centres, Schools etc)
  • Retail uses (including small scale convenience stores)
  • Major Employers and Employment sites
  • Parks and Open Areas
  • Geology

2. Highways and Transportation

  • Historic road patterns
  • Public Transport Routes
  • Public Footpaths and Road Crossing Points
  • Key vehicular and access routes
  • Road Accident Hot-spots

3. Redevelopment and Regeneration

  • Housing Improvement Projects
  • Derelict land and commercial buildings
  • Developments under construction
  • Proposed Developments
Using a common plan base, it has been possible to highlight the opportunities that would appear to exist to resolve a number of linked concerns. These include securing appropriate Safe Routes to Schools by looking at road and footpath improvements together with bringing peripheral derelict sites back into economic use or undertaking environmental improvements linking new community and housing sites. Taken together these might achieve a more inclusive sense of place that local people can take pride in.

5. Consultation with Local Business

The Steering Group identified an information gap in terms of the views of local businesses and employers in the area. A bespoke Business Survey Questionnaire was prepared in liaison with the Safer Streets study team at UWE and the Bristol East Side Traders (BEST). This is attached as an Appendix.

The questionnaires were hand delivered to around 85 employers in the area on the 9th April. These ranged from Brooks, as the largest employer in the area, to individual shops along Mina Road, to local petrol stations. The response rate was poorer than we had expected & only 15% responded within the time period given. In view of the importance of ascertaining business and commercial aspirations and concerns, we then followed this with a second round of hand deliveries, speaking with representatives of the firms concerned on the 10th May.

Given their prominence in the area, we contacted Brooks direct and held a meeting with the General Manager on the 21st May 2002.

Following the second round of deliveries, a further four surveys were returned. The results of the Business Survey are described in Section 10 below.

The findings of the survey will inform the preparation of the Action Plan for the areas, and identify possible opportunities to facilitate expansion of the indigenous firms in the area. The survey also ascertains opinion in relation to perceptions of crime and possible solutions to overcome criminal activities experienced by local firms.

6. Project Based Consultation

During the course of the commission a number of formal and informal interviews were held with identified stakeholders within the area. Interviewees were identified by members of the Steering Group and were either contacted by telephone or face to face interviews held. It is not the intention of this project to undertake widespread consultation but it was felt that the views, and most importantly the development aspirations, of key local groups should be included.

During the data collection exercise the Community Centre organized and hosted an IT Launch Day (24th April 2002) The Steering Group felt that this provided an excellent opportunity to inform more widely on the preparation of this document. Therefore an exhibition stand was prepared, allowing those who attended the opportunity to see the results of the Land Use Mapping Exercise and to comment upon specific issues regarding the future development of the area.

2.3 Phase 2 Identification of Opportunities

Following the data collection exercise and the preparation of this State of the Environment Report we will seek to identify initial Case Studies to reflect the findings. This may be in terms of physical connections between current and proposed development projects, areas that may benefit from improvements to the road layout to meet local congestion, environmental improvements, gateway schemes and possible commercial and social nodes within the area.

The identification of options should not be regarded as a fixed solution to the myriad of issues facing the area. They are, put simply, an initial focus for further debate.

2.4 Phase 3 Development of the Proposals for Discussion

Following discussions with the Steering Group we will expand upon a number of possible initiatives, consolidated onto a series of plans, accompanied by a Written Strategy Statement and appendices. This latter document, bound under separate cover, will identify those projects which the consultant team consider merit further consideration: the initiatives will therefore be Proposals for Discussion.

In order to ensure that the initiatives can be understood by all parties, we propose to translate these into a series of plans to identify how they link together to form a coherent set of measures for the area. We will adopt an approach that seeks to list the opportunities and initiatives, consider the priority in which they are brought forward, the linkages between the various initiatives.

In light of the status of the Proposals, we would recommend that, in liaison with the City Council, the Client Group discuss aspects of grant eligibility and programming in order to be in a position to assist in the collation of a coherent preferred strategy to bring forward specific initiatives. It is envisaged that these will be the subject of further public consultation.

2.5 Report and Document Presentation

This State of the Environment Report, prepared in two parts (Written Statement and Book of Plans) represents the output of Phase 1 of the study. It is intended that a draft version is presented to the steering group at a meeting on the 13th June. Following this there will be a period of review and refinement of the base data during which omissions and errors can be rectified if necessary. At the meeting of the 13th various initial options will be presented for discussion in order to identify the priority projects/issues for further consideration.

The chosen studies will then be undertaken in parallel with the redrafting of the State of the Environment Report.

The final output of this process will be the preparation of the Proposals for Discussion. This will be presented in a similar form to this Report. The text will include not only descriptions of each of the case studies, but also reference to preferred delivery milestones to bring such proposals forward. This will be the basis of a further round of consultation prior to the adoption of a suitable strategy for the area.

3 THE STUDY AREA

3.1 Location

St Werburghs is a relatively small neighbourhood approximately 1.5 km to the north east of Bristol city centre. It’s location is shown on Plan 1 and indicates its proximity to the city and major transport corridors including the M32 and rail lines. Plan 2 indicates the extent of this study area.

3.2 Description

The area is dominated by residential development built at the turn of the twentieth century as part of the industrialisation of the city. However, the northern part of St. Werburghs accommodates large areas of allotments, woods and other green spaces, giving this area, known as Ashley Vale, a distinctly 'rural' cityscape.

The boundaries of the study area, shown on Plan 2, are generally:

  • The M32 to the south-east
  • The intercity rail line to the north east
  • Lower Ashley Road to the south-west
  • Ashley Hill, leading to Sussex Place to the west.
The area known as Narrowways, a residential area to the north east, has historical connections with the St Werburghs area. However, for the purposes of this study and to delineate a defensible boundary, we have been asked to exclude this area at this time. We accept however the connections and impacts upon surrounding areas and visa versa and have incorporated, where appropriate, these impacts in the preparation of our report.

Further detailed description of the area is providing in Section 7 Land Use Mapping.

3.3 History

The parish of St. Werburghs now forms part of the ward of Ashley, along with St Paul’s, and St Agnes. It, along with Easton, traditionally formed part of an area known as Baptist Mills. However this was segregated in the 1960’s by the development of the M32. This segregation is still physically present in the form of the motorway, which can only be crossed via underpasses or walk bridges, which have become notorious for street crime and muggings. Plan 3 indicates the historic (circa 1900) road layout of the area and shows the links between the wards of Easton, Lawrence Hill and St Werburghs which still retain strong links and form part of a wider multi racial community.

The history of St Werburghs, as with much of Bristol is a long and varied one. Once the entire region of St Werburghs was covered by oak woods. Neolithic farmers probably commenced the clearances of the woodland, creating the first fields. There have been Roman finds in Mina Road and a Roman road; the Via Julia from Sea Mills to Bath intersected the River Frome at Baptist Mills.

St Werburghs used to be part of an estate named 'Asslega' (from the Old English 'aesc' [an ash tree] and 'leah' [a wood]) which later became known as Ashley. In 1170 the Monks of St James Benedictine Priory were in possession of Ashley until 1544 when Henry VIII 'privatised' the Priory's land and sold it to Henry Brayne who sold off individual parcels of land. In 1626 the owner of Heath House Estate, Thomas Walker purchased the neighbouring former priory lands along with a hill and land called Northeway, later called Netherways and later still, Narroways. By 1767 the Smyth family came into ownership of the whole area and were still in ownership during the development of the railways in the nineteenth century during which the topography of Narroways Hill and St Werburghs was dramatically altered with the construction of deep cuts and railway embankments.

Before the First World War, the allotments in the St Werburghs area were behind what is now the site of the Ashley Vale Action Group self-build housing project. There was once an orchard where there is now scrubland. At this time, the other slopes of Ashley Vale were scenic, wooded estates until the war when the land was used for growing vegetables on allotments.

Baptist Mills

The Bristol Brass Works Company was established at Baptist Mills and was located at what is now the St Paul's roundabout, Junction 3 on the M32 Motorway.

The City Corporation of Bristol had plans to demolish the mills at Baptist Mills, as they were the reason behind widespread flooding in the area. The milldams on the River Frome were preventing the free flow of the river's water. The flooding of the River Frome was practically an annual event. By this time the St Werburghs and Mina Road areas had been built up and the flooding caused widespread damage.

All traces of the Baptist Mills Brass Works were completely wiped out when the M32 Motorway was constructed in the 1960s.

Mining

The Bristol region was one of the first places to use coal as a fuel in industrial applications. There were coal works in Easton and the surrounding area from at least 1793. These were shallow works obtaining coal from various outcrops in the area. Coal was supplied in huge amounts to the Company for Brass and Battery Work at Baptist Mills, which ran 25 furnaces producing some 250-260 tons of brass a year.

A map showing the coal seam and the area of mining activity is included as Plan 4.

4 ST WERBURGHS STATISTICAL PROFILE

4.1 Demographic Analysis

Information received from The Data Depot, a specialist demographic and statistics consultancy, is contained overleaf. Their report is based upon 1991 census data, projected forward using an industry approved methodology, to 2000. The data sets out an index against which comparisons can be made to the average for Great Britain.

In summary, the main findings of their report are set out below.

Population

The total resident population for the study area is 2535.

The area houses a significant number of lone parents & nearly three times the national average.

Age Profile

The age profile of the area highlights a slightly higher than average number of children under 9 years of age, and a noticeably higher proportion of adults within the 20-34 year bracket, falling slightly for the 35-44 age range, but still higher than the national average.

There is a dramatic fall in the number of residents over 54 years of age in comparison to the 45-54 age grouping (an index of 113 against 71). The proportion of residents over 54 years of age is lower than the national average in all older age bands. Two thirds of residents over 75 are women.

Ethnic Origin

The ethic origin of local residents has little bearing on the national average figures. Approximately 60% of the population are Caucasian, 15% are from African or West Indian descent (an index rating of 1168), 14% from the Indian sub-continent (index rating of 505) and 9% from other areas (index rating of 355).

Economically Active Household Residents by Social Grade.

The application of Social Grade suggests that there is a lower than average proportion of AB (Professional and Managerial), a proportion of C1 (Intermediate and Junior non-manual) residents that broadly reflects the GB average, and a higher than average number of residents classified as C2 (Skilled Manual) and DE (Semi-Skilled and Unskilled Manual).

Academic Population

A higher than average number of local residents have attained a level of education to degree standard, the number with higher degrees is broadly in line with the GB average.

The St Werburghs area houses a significant number of students in full time education (an index rating of 170). This may in part be due to the proximity of the City of Bristol College, located to the north west of the study area. With two large universities and a number of technical and further education colleges, Bristol has a very large student population.

Access to Car

The level of car ownership is a curious indicator. It should not necessarily be used as a indicator of wealth or economic prosperity as areas that benefit from good public transport or access to local facilities within walking or by bus could score below the UK average. Notwithstanding this caveat, the proportion of local St Werburghs households with no car (index of 157) is far higher than those with access to a car (index 111) or with 2 cars or more (38) & the latter being one of the lowest comparison scores in the data report.

The information provided is one of a number of bespoke reports that can provided for any geographical area of the country. Whilst we have not provided additional studies, it is considered that there may be merit in considering the purchase of the Employment Profile report. This provides base and comparison data concerning the resident employment profile as opposed to those working in St Werburghs but residing outside the area.

Statistical Profile

Information obtained from the Office of National Statistics for the Ashley Ward of Bristol are set out below. This represents the baseline, or benchmark data set against which future reviews can be compared. For a detailed examination of the dataset provided, you are guided towards the following internet page: www.nationalstatistics.gov.uk or www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk .

  • Income Support claimants (August 1998, Numbers) 1695
  • Primary School Pupils Average Key Stage 2
  • 1998 Summer Score (target score of 4) 3.7
  • Total Number of VAT registered enterprises (March 2000) 415
  • Total Employee jobs (September 1998) 10,400
  • Resident Population (Mid 1998 Estimates) 13,600
  • Percentage of the resident population aged under 16 20
Index of Deprivation (Office of National Statistics)

4.2 Summary

The Office of National Statistics information are taken from the ward level Indices of Deprivation and the Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000 ('IMD 2000'). The six main indicators used to assess the relative level of deprivation are:

  • Income
  • Employment
  • Health Deprivation and Disability
  • Education, Skills and Training
  • Housing
  • Geographical Access to Services
A Child Poverty Index is also presented, which is a subset of the Income Domain.

4.3 The Overall Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000

The overall IMD 2000 has two strands of data. The first is the Index of Multiple Deprivation Score and the second is the Rank of the Index of Multiple Deprivation. The ward with a rank of 1 is the most deprived, and 8414 the least deprived, on this overall measure. The Index of Multiple Deprivation 2000 was constructed by combining the six main indicator scores, using the following weights:

  • Income (25%)
  • Employment (25%)
  • Health Deprivation and Disability (15%)
  • Education, Skills and Training (15%)
  • Housing (10%)
  • Geographical Access to Services (10%)


The Results

The ONS Figures have ranked the Ashley Ward for the six main indicators as:

For each indicator, we have also presented, in illustrative percentage terms, the rank compared to all wards (i.e. within the worse x% of all wards in the Country)

Indicator Rank Rank as %

Income 620 7.3%

Employment 550 6.5%

Health 1,376 16.3%

Education, Skills and Training 1,469 17.4%

Housing 800 9.5%

Geographical Access to Services ,701 91.5%

Child Poverty 491 5.8%

The overall Index of the Ashley Ward is 756. This places it within the worst 9% of all wards in the Country. However, the table above does illustrate that in at least one category Geographical Access to Services the area is in the top 10% of all wards.

The index of deprivation is a comparison tool. The table below compares the Ashley Ward with 17 other (random) wards in the Bristol area.

Ward Index of Deprivation % rank of all wards .

Henleaze 8065 96
Redland 7367 88
Westbury-on-Trym 7363 88
Cotham 7295 87
Clifton 7172 85
Bishopston 6897 82
Stoke Bishop 5819 69
Brislington West 4485 53
Cabot 3970 47
Hengrove 3911 46
Stockwood 3713 44
St. George East 3168 38
Brislington East 3040 36
Bedminster 2951 35
Frome Vale 2765 33
Horfield 2504 30
Southville 2496 30
Eastville 1998 24
Avonmouth 1955 23
St. George West 1783 21
Hillfields 1596 19
Henbury 1423 17
Windmill Hill 1278 15
Kingsweston 1207 14
Lockleaze 1095 13
Easton 1043 12
Hartcliffe 1036 12
Bishopsworth 935 11
Whitchurch Park 921 11

Ashley

756

9

Knowle 733 9
Southmead 628 7
Filwood 221 3
Lawrence Hill 133 2

The comparisons above can be monitored year on year to see movements in indicator scores.

The table highlights that the Ashley Ward is amongst the most deprived wards in the Country. This supports its’ eligibility for grant funding under the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund. Attached as Appendix 3 are extracts taken from the ONS website.

5 LOCAL PLANNING POLICY APPRAISAL

The adopted Local Plan for the area is the Bristol Local Plan, published in December 1997. This plan sets out the detailed development strategy for the city and is in accordance with a Structure Plan, prepared by the Joint Technical Unit (formerly Avon County Council) that sets out broad development principles and seeks to co-ordinate the Local Plans prepared by the various Local Councils.

The Bristol Local Plan covers the period 1991 to 2001. It is however still used for development control purposes and is the primary document against which planning applications will be determined (pending updated policy guidance issued at the National or Regional level).

The Bristol Local Plan is in the process of being updated to cover the period to 2011. We set out below a summary of the Adopted Plan and some of the key issues that are emerging in the Issues Report which in turn will inform the new Local Plan.

5.1 The Bristol Local Plan - Adopted December 1997

Policies to protect existing housing and to discourage urban sprawl are important aspects of the Local Plan. The restoration of existing property, the restoration of derelict and substantial properties and the redevelopment of existing housing which has reached the end of its useful life is considered to have the impact of dramatically increasing the available housing stock in the City.

A large part of the St Werburghs study area is situated within a Housing Renewal Area as defined on the Local Plan Proposals Map: one of just two confirmed areas identified in the City at the time of the publication of the Plan. These areas are designated within the local plan to guide housing improvement schemes and funding, promote new housing projects and to improve the associated green spaces. Five other areas were identified in the plan as having potential for later renewal projects. Some of these areas involve the complete rebuilding and remodelling of housing stock which may include an element of new build on undeveloped sites.

Extracts from the Local Plan Proposals Map relating to St Werburghs are included as Plan 5. The map shows the site specific proposals and policies which apply across the area.

The map indicates that the majority of the northern area is protected as Open Space (Policy NE1) and for its value to wildlife and nature conservation (Policies NE6 and NE5). The allotment area which slopes down from Ashley Hill is designated as a Prominent Green Hillside (Policy NE2) reflecting the importance of the feature in the landscape.

Principal footpaths in the area around the allotments and Narroways are designated as Greenways (Policy L3), aimed at providing off-road routes for walking and cycling. The route of the railway line forming the eastern boundary of our study site is a Safeguarded rapid transit route (M12 and M13) potentially providing the access for LRT to the city centre from the north. A site for a potential LRT station is identified just to the north of the study area, off Station Road. (Policy M11)

The area to the west of the study area is designated as a Conservation Area (Policies B13 & B18) and this includes small pockets of buildings on the eastern side of Ashley Hill and Sussex Place which are within this study boundary.

The area including the Ashley Trading Estate, Minto Road Industrial Centre and Parkway Trading Estate are designated Primary Industrial and Warehousing Area (Policy EC4 and EC5). Interestingly this does not extend to the Brooks site, nor the area around the scrap yard off Gatton Road.

Mina Road Park is designated as Open Space and a Historic Landscape (Policy NE9) as a municipal park, 1884-90.

The east side of Mina Road from Sandbed Road to James Street, is identified as being an important shopping frontage. It is designated as a Primary Retail Frontage (Policy S2 and S5) from James Street to John Street and a Secondary Shopping Frontage (Policy S2 and S6) from John Street to Sandbed Road. The designations reflect the role in offering choice of goods and services to the local catchment’s population. Permitted development in this area will include additional or replacement shops, financial and professional services and food and drink uses. Other uses of general public interest, or services which are normally associated with high streets, will be permitted as long as these do not give rise to unsatisfactory environmental conditions. Alternative uses, such as residential, will not be supported.

Finally the Local Plan Proposals Map identifies the extent of the Housing Renewal Area (Local Plan Appendix H1) one of 7 designated for the city and reflecting in this case the St Agnes and St Werburghs Renewal Area. Further detail of this is provided at Section 9.8.

The Local Plan generally emphasises the need for retention of the existing housing stock (Policy H1). Development proposals that would result in a net reduction in the housing stock will be resisted, unless the proposals result in community service gains. In general terms, subject to accordance with design guidelines and the protection of residential amenities, the Plan will support proposals for new neighbourhood community facilities.

In line with Central Government guidance in the form of Planning Policy Guidance Note Housing issued in March 2001, supplemented by a best practice guidance note Tapping the Potential in December 2001, applications for residential development of under-used backland sites will be permitted provided that there is no unacceptable loss of off-street parking, the site is no longer required for its original use, the development is of a comprehensive nature taking into account any likely change in the use of adjacent land and that other community needs which may also require land in the locality have been assessed (Policy H4). This policy may be used to justify individual development opportunities in the next phase of the commission.

The sub-division of existing homes into smaller units of accommodation is permitted under Policy H7, subject to there being no adverse impact upon the character and amenity of the immediate locality. In general, the use, or re-use of upper floors above retail and other ground floor uses will be acceptable (Policy H8).

For large scale residential developments, the City Council will seek, through negotiation with developers, an element of affordable housing to meet local needs. The exact number of affordable units (usually taken to be defined as properties which are managed by a Registered Social landlord) to be provided as part of the wider development, will need to reflect demonstrable need.

Good standards of design, which reinforce or create attractive identities and establish a scale appropriate to its locality and use are promoted.

The Local Plan supports the development of new Neighbourhood Community facilities, provided that the facilities are appropriately located to meet the needs of local people. Likewise, development involving the loss of existing community service land or buildings will be permitted except where the building is capable of continued use, or capable of adaptation, there is a demonstrable need for community facilities in the area, or the loss of land or property does not form part of a large scheme for the development of community services serving the needs of local people, or no compensatory facilities of an equivalent community benefit are provided (Policy CS1). This Policy would be important in any development that would flow from consolidation of Community Facilities that might emerge in the area in the Plan period.

The St Werburghs City Farm, one of four in the City, is acknowledged in the Plan as important local initiative as they are established and managed by local people. The concept of a City Farm as a means of providing a wide range of educational, childcare and recreation facilities, while at the same time creating an attractive and productive environment based upon sound ecological principles, is welcomed and supported by the City Council. As such, Policy CS4 of the adopted Local Plan supports the extension of existing Farms, provided that the amenities of local residents are not adversely affected and traffic generation would not result in road safety hazards.

The development of new primary health care facilities will be permitted, provided that residential amenity is safeguarded and traffic generation would not be unacceptable. This Policy would be of use in the support of new health facilities within the St Werburghs areas, possibly as part of a mixed-use development. Close liaison with the Health Authority would be required in order to determine the demand for medical treatment in the area.

5.2 The Local Plan Issues Report to 2011 & Summary and Required Actions

Published in June 2001, the Bristol Local Plan 2001-2011 Issues for Discussion for a sustainable city, identifies a number of key issues that will inform the preparation of the Bristol Local Plan review. The City Council consider that an Alteration to the plan as opposed to an entire re-write, a Replacement is appropriate. The alternation, in preparation, will therefore selectively change the content of the plan to update policies in line with new Central Government Guidance.

Whilst the Issues Report highlights a number of questions, rather than prescriptive concrete issues that will be taken forward, there is a common stance taken & that of Cross-cutting themes. The Alteration Plan is regarded as the opportunity to combine land use, economic, social and regeneration goals into a cohesive strategy that can be taken forward by the Council (and the people of Bristol), over the next 10 years.

It is interesting to note that the Report highlights the expectation that the Alteration to the Plan will accommodate new strategic and locally based regeneration projects, including the revitalisation of neighbourhoods, greater mixed use and regeneration which is clearly sustainable.

Community Safety and Land use Implications

The Adopted Local Plan does contain an environmental framework to achieve a safer city. Whilst it recognises that a sensitive approach to planning and development in the city can improve community safety, especially with regard to the design and layout of new development, the Alteration Plan will seek to take this further: Community safety being about reducing crime and the fear of crime.

The Report acknowledges that patterns of crime in the City are influenced by:

  • The degree of natural surveillance from passers by and overlooking, including effective lighting of buildings, routes and spaces,
  • The frequent use of public spaces, streets and pathways, and
  • The relative mix of uses to ensure a wide range of activity and surveillance occurs over a wide period of time.

Open Spaces

In terms of open spaces, the City Council is undertaking a Parks and Open Spaces Strategy. This will set goals for the provision of open space at citywide and neighbourhood levels and include proposals for action to tackle deficits.

The Built Environment

Policies concerning the Built Environment will be shaped by the 1999 Lord Rogers Urban Task Force Towards an Urban Renaissance which made important recommendations to the Government for the introduction / formalisation of integrated urban form, high standards of design and greater development densities in accessible locations. Many of these recommendations were addressed, to a greater or lesser degree in the Governments Urban White Paper.

In urban areas, there is an increasing recognition that in order to develop our cities in a sustainable and social context, that the urban core of our cities and previously developed land, rather than open spaces, will need to be brought forward for new forms of development that seek to achieve a more optimum use of land. This is a principle that will be applied to Bristol in general and St Werburghs at the local level.

Employment Land

Maintaining and promoting business is acknowledged by the Council as vital to the Cities well-being. Bristol is also seen as having a flourishing third sector economy that has developed in neighbourhoods across the City in response to Community needs.

The Adopted Local Plan is regarded by the Council as being effective in that 80% of land developed for employment uses has been in areas or sites identified in the Plan with around two-thirds of this development occurring in the identified Regeneration Areas.

The Local Plan Review seeks to create a positive economic framework to reflect local circumstances. This includes:

  • Maintaining high and stable levels of economic growth: a key element in promoting sustainable development
  • Protecting existing employment
  • Ensuring new development is closely linked to public transport facilities and can easily be reached from local housing and by walking and cycling
  • Bringing forward contaminated land and Brownfield sites.
  • Link decisions about the location and density of development with good access by Public Transport.
  • Enable social inclusion, equal opportunity and access for all, including use of employment as part of mixed use development to help achieve more sustainable communities.

Transportation and Accessibility

Transportation issues are likely to shape a great deal of the future land use plan for Bristol. The City Council is leading a number of important pilot studies and is considering new initiatives that seek to reduce reliance on the private car. Some of these measures, including the possibility of a car toll to access central areas, may not be popular, and the wider implications of these will need to be considered in St Werburghs in tandem with other plans and actions for the area.

It still remains the case, in Bristol and elsewhere, that an appropriate balance needs to be stuck between the measures to reduce private car use and the delivery of practical and attractive alternatives. Safeguarded strategic transportation links, such as the Light Rapid Transit system, are likely to be a key feature in the plan.

Community Facilities

The Issues Report considers that the Council have been successful in bringing forward community facilities in areas where there has been a demonstrable need. However, the pressure to sell land in community use is high, given spiralling land prices. In order to revert (or at least protect against further losses) this trend, the Local Plan Alteration may refer to the future provision of community uses including:

New investment in the National Health Service which may effect the development and provision of local services;

  • More independent living for older or disable people;
  • Demands for improvements in education and major investment in schools and;
  • Increasing emphasis on locally led regeneration partnerships in neighbourhoods and communities which may lead to a demand for a flexible approach to meeting accommodation or development needs in response to local priorities.

5.3 The Next Steps

The outputs from this Commission, in terms of the component parts of the Proposals for Discussion, may allow an ability to present a number of key development initiatives to the City Council for inclusion as either land use policies, allocation, proposals or supportive text in the Alteration Local Plan. The benefit of securing a series of land use allocations is clear. It will identify these opportunities to the development industry and reduce developer uncertainties in bringing forward such schemes to meet regeneration needs. There will be a number of development sites that are likely to fall under the scope of general development control policies: the development being in line with Central Government Policy Guidance.

It will be important to monitor the preparation of the Local Plan insofar as Consultation Periods and Publication dates are concerned. It is advisable, if circumstances allow, that a proactive submission prior to final agreement of the draft of the plan, rather than an approach reacting to the policies once a Draft has been published.

5.4 St Agnes and St Werburghs Renewal Area 1998 Strategy

The St Agnes and St Werburghs Renewal Area was declared by Bristol City Council in April 1994 as a ten year project seeking to improve homes, enhance the environment and help the local economy within a defined area as shown on the Local Plan Proposals Map.

A Renewal Area Proposals Map was produced which illustrated the extent of the area, the general land uses within it and identified four Key Project Areas. A copy of the map is included as Plan 6.

The Renewal Area boundary is not concurrent with the extent of this study. Only part of the area covered by this project is within the Renewal Area, the remained is within the neighbouring St Agnes area.

The work of the Renewal Area has been guided by an overall Strategy and a vision to work with the local community over a ten year period to rejuvenate the area and make it a better place for people to live, work in and visit both now and in the future.

The Renewal Strategy proposed actions in respect of the following key objectives: Under each objective, we set out the key headings discussed in the Renewal Area Strategy.

Homes

To improve the general standard of homes in the area and, where possible, promote opportunities for new and better housing. Issues:

  • Group Repair Schemes Bristol City Council and the Housing Associations have agreed to improve their houses in the Group Repair scheme under the same contract. Thus, all housing, irrespective of ownership can be improved, subject to funding.
  • New Housing Developments - Such as that constructed at Conduit Street / Summers Terrace in 1997.
  • Reuse of Empty Properties
  • Living over the Shop (LOTS) Priority is given to shops along Lower Ashley Road, Ashley Road, Grosvenor Road and Mina Road.

Streets and Open Spaces

To give the area a face lift and make it more attractive, greener, cleaner and healthier.

Issues:

  • Shopfronts - Face lift improvements were identified, ranging from basic repairs and re-painting, to the possible introduction of new shop windows, doors, sign boards and hanging signs.
  • Boundary Walls
  • Gateway Schemes & schemes on Sevier St, Mina Road and Sussex Place were identified in the original strategy.
  • Pollution Monitoring & a series of specialised electronic tests to monitor air quality and the water quality of the River Frome was identified.
  • Managing the Environment & Local service provision (street cleaning, rubbish collection, pollution control, dog wardens, anti-graffiti, pest control, food hygiene and safety.
  • Mina Road and St Agnes Parks & Working with the two management teams established for these areas, the City Council identified a need to develop opportunities for wildlife conservation, improvements to the appearance and safety of the parks.
  • Other open areas & including the concept of the creation of pocket-parks
  • Tree Planting
  • The Railway Embankment providing excellent opportunities for wildlife and for creating interesting and attractive walkways. This has culminated in the creation of Narroways Millennium Green.

Movement

To make movement in the area easier, safer and more pleasant, especially for local pedestrians and cyclists, with special attention given to disabled people.

Issues:

  • Junction Improvements giving priority to pedestrians and cyclists
  • Safe Routes to Schools
  • Traffic Management to avoid incidences of rat-running and speeding cars in residential streets.
  • Cycle Routes and Cycle Parking facilities both new routes and establishment of better routes in and through the area.
  • Footpath Maintenance and Improvements
  • Support for Pubic Transport working closely with the bus operators to ensure that local bus services are maintained and improved.
  • Parking regarded as a major issue in the residential parts of the Renewal Area and highlighted by residents and local businesses, particularly in relation to shops along Mina Road.
  • Lorries investigations were proposed to introduce a 7.5 tonne weight restriction in a number of residential streets in the area to discourage heavy traffic.

Community Safety

To provide for a safer environment for people to live, work and plan in and reduce the fear of crime in the area. Issues:
  • StreetLighting Proposals & a comprehensive plan for improvements is referred to within the strategy throughout the area. This was proposed to be undertaken in a rolling programme of works, involving replacement of existing lighting columns and introduction of white lighting in certain areas.
  • BackAlleyways Lighting improvements, clearance and management of these areas was proposed. These works were identified in order to curtail a risk to public health as well as improve personal safety " and as a mechanism to design out crime.
  • The M32 Underpass is a vital link between neighbouring areas, this core route has become a focus for criminal activity.
  • Designing out Crime " either as part of group repair schemes, landscaping and built form in liaison with the Police Architectural Liaison Officer.
  • Closed Circuit Television as a mechanism of reducing crime levels in key usable areas (shops and parks) as well as transportation corridors, particularly over and under the M32.

Jobs and Businesses

To encourage investment in the area, promote better training and employment opportunities and wherever possible, support existing and new businesses which employ local people.

Issues:

  • The Scrapyard, Gatton Road responding to the needs of residents, who wish to see the use relocated
  • Use of Local Labour
  • Bidding for Additional Resources Single Regeneration Budget (including City Lifeline), SWRDA etc.
  • Consultation with local people seminars are proposed in the strategy for local business people with representatives of the Council attending.

People and Communities

To improve community and recreational facilities and work with local people to achieve lasting improvements to their quality of life.

Issues:

  • Mina Road and St Agnes Park Play areas proposals included the redesign of both play areas to incorporate new, up to date equipment, surfacing and associated landscaping.
  • The Renewal Area Team continue to work to implement the vision put in place and have had some significant success. Further information on the work of the Renewal Team is included in Section 9 Current Projects.

6 CONSULTATION REVIEW

6.1 Methodology

At the outset of the commission we were given access to the large amount of information relating to consultation exercises carried out over the last 3 years. Whilst certain items of new information have been collated, the fundamental approach taken has been a review of this documentation and its’ cataloguing for future use. In essence, we have drawn a line in the sand in respect of public consultation and are seeking to take the findings of these reports forward to inform the preparation of a series of Proposals for Discussion for the area.

A simple schedule of all documents examined, their title, author and publication date are attached as Appendix 4. This provides a clear indication of the material available but should not be considered exhaustive as there are undoubtedly emerging or peripheral documents which were not known (or available) to us during the course of the commission.

The review of available information indicates that 29 documents were reviewed, broadly falling into two groups, Consultation Documents and Policy Documents.

During the course of the review 12 documents reporting on consultation exercises were identified, whilst 17 Policy and similar documents were also included.

The purpose of this exercise was to consider the views of local people as represented in the consultation exercises. The list of Policy Documents reviewed is included in Appendix 4 for information but no detailed assessment of findings has been undertaken of those documents.

The consultation documents represent a period from mid 2000 to the end of 2001 and provide an insight into the views of local people on a number of local issues. All of the exercises were undertaken to support a defined initiative or proposal and as such general views and opinions of the area were not directly questioned. However, the responses provided do indicate more general views and concerns.

Within the information reviewed there are three main documents which represent the most widespread consultations and therefore provide the clearest indications of views.

These three are précised below:

6.2 St Werburghs Community Consultation

Jane Titley, November 2000

This report was commissioned as the first stage in a series of consultations as to the future of the St Werburghs Community Centre and focused on issues relating to the development options for a new core building.

100 local people were interviewed, 100 community facilities visited and 24 Community Centre user organisations completed questionnaires. The majority of this work was undertaken by local people, guided and aided by a facilitator.

Results centre upon on the character of and the scope for facilities that respondents wished to see included in a new community centre. This identified a demand for a bar or community café, art/craft classes, community information, room for parties and advice service. In addition, one of the main preferences was for a computer suite. This lead, in part, to the opening of an IT suite within the existing Community Centre in April 2002.

The Consultation included a survey of 100 residents, asking which were the most important community facilities to them. Responses ranged significantly but Leisure and Sports activities came out highest and the current construction of the Cabot Sports Centre in St Agnes will go some way to meeting these requirements.

A review of local facilities indicated a good range for daily needs but the lack of health centre, chemist and dentist did suggest a gap in health provision. It was also noted that there appeared to be an opportunity to develop an adult learning programme within the area (which now may be partly filled by the new IT suite) and also the opportunities for businesses to co-operate for their mutual benefit. This is likely to be of interest to Bristol East Side Traders, who are developing a network of business support functions in the area.

The Consultation Report included 1990 census information specific to St Werburghs provided by Bristol City Council. As the 2001 Census has not yet been published it has not been possible to provide more up to date figures, though the projections provided in Section 4 do give some indication of changes.

The consultation document is available in the Community Centre. It provides useful background information on the community in general and users of the Community Centre in detail. It also includes a number of contacts for local groups. The report included a large plan of the area, mapping local facilities. The original map is held by the community centre but the information from that map has been included in the land use mapping exercise undertaken for this project

A list of Community Centre Users is attached as Appendix 5.

6.3 Community Consultation Exercise,

The Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation May-August 2001 The Neighbourhood Initiatives Foundation (NIF) were commissioned to undertake a further community consultation exercise, following the Community Consultation indicated above. The exercise aimed to identify specific views about the future of the Community Centre and discover perceptions of its usage.

The study was based around a Planning For Real style event, to further develop ideas for a new community centre.

A pin board was used to indicate numbers of participants and showed 82 individuals registered their involvement, though others may not have logged their views. A total of 339 suggestions were placed on a model, grouped into six core issues:

Traffic

Primary concerns related to noise disturbance from the M32 and car speeds within residential areas.

Community facilities.

The greatest demand shown was for a community café. Access to computers and IT training was also regarded as a high priority. This has, in part, been met by the introduction of a new IT suite at the Community Centre in April 2002.

Crime and safety

Residents indicated they did not feel safe visiting the community centre and particular concern over the footbridge over the M32, lighting and the lack of CCTV.

Leisure

Residents identified a wish to create an arts and craft club, multi-gym, youth theatre and music related activities.

Environment

Results concentrated upon the design and character of the Community Centre itself, rather than wider environmental issues. However, of particular concern is the contribution the building makes to its surroundings. A Home Zone around any new building was suggested.

Overall the study provided further information on the views of people with regard to the possible redevelopment of the community centre. However, the numbers of people involved were relatively low.

6.4 Inner City Project

Communications Co-operative, September 2001

This project, promoted by VOSCUR (Voluntary Organisation Standing Conference on Urban Regeneration) commissioned the Communications Initiative to carry out a consultation exercise that sought to inform and consider the needs and aspirations of all areas in the Inner City - Easton, St Pauls, St Werburghs and St Judes. It was essentially divided into two parts:

An Interim Report which dealt with a review of 13 recent consultation documents and compared them with the findings of a community event Getting Organised held in June 1999. The purpose of the review was to identify trends and also gaps in information indicated by the core documents.

A Final Report presented the findings of a second community Event Getting on with it held on 21 July 2001. It also, usefully, included A bluffers guide to Local Strategic Partnerships by Kevin Tinsley. This provides a useful introduction to the topic.

The findings of the study reflected views from individuals and groups from across the Inner City Area, but many of the themes are applicable to St Werburghs.

The document review indicated that central to the concerns of St Werburghs residents was the pollution and danger arising from traffic on the M32 as well as on local roads. There was also a general and underlying structural concern about safety and crime, and the fear of crime.

The community event Getting on with It facilitated 7 workshops, covering a range of topic areas. These were attended by those interested in the distinct topics and lead to a series of Action Plans being produced by VOSCUR. Many of the findings of the working groups and the principle themes of the Actions plans were not related to the physical fabric of the areas but to the provision of services and support. However, a number of key activities were linked to physical development.

Arts and culture

The action plan identified a need for more arts space within the inner city and for all facilities to be mapped to provide information as to the availability of existing resources. Opportunities for local artists within the external environment, mural/sculptures etc. were also seen as a central aim.

Community safety;

Most actions were not physically based. However, the designing out of crime and reduction in opportunities for antisocial behaviour are central to all of the aims.

Learning, employment and economy

Again most actions did not have a physical form except for the need to make all facilities accessible to the disabled.

Health, social care, housing and homelessness

The plan focussed on the need for appropriate accommodation for all. This included accessible dwellings for the disabled and the provision of services especially health services, for all.

Transport and getting around.

The Action Plan identified the presence of the M32 as the key barrier to movement. Proposals included the reduction of the motorway to an A road and subsequent crossings at grade rather than the bridge and underpass. Also pollution from traffic was seen as a central issue and changes to reduce through traffic were supported. In parallel improved cycle and pedestrian routes were promoted to aid alternative modes.

For more information, or to obtain a Conference Report, please contact VOSCUR on 9099949

7 LAND USE SURVEY

7.1 Methodology

The 49.6ha (122.6acres) of the study area was surveyed in stages during March, April and May 2002. Where appropriate, this was combined with the hand delivery of the Business Questionnaires. Our land use survey involved simple, external visual surveys of all streets, commercial property and open areas within the study area. It has not included any internal surveys or any structural surveys of buildings.

The findings of the surveys are illustrated on a number of Plans contained in the Book of Plans, accompanying this document.>

7.2 Local Context

Section 3 describes the location and character of St Werburghs in general. Plan 8 illustrates the local context of the area and the main features, in terms of the natural and built environment as well as social and key highways infrastructure outside, but in close proximity to, the study area.

Plan 8 indicates the visual dominance of road and rail transport corridors bounding the study area. The M32 and the railway lines dominate the southern and eastern boundaries. The west is dominated by a busy footpath and Ashley Hill. Only the north is not delineated by a main transport route. This is defined by a footpath which runs through the extensive area of allotments and open space.

Outside the study area there are number of community, employment and retail areas that have direct and indirect links and influences with, and over, St Werburghs. A number of these are shown on the Context Plan (Plan 8). These include:

Schools

Brunel College

Sefton Park Junior and Infant School

Fairfield Grammar School

St Thomas More Comprehensive

St Barnabas Junior and Infant School

Millpond Nursery

Easton Youth Centre

Health Facilities

Charlotte Keel Health Centre

Retail (Convenience and Comparison Goods)

Eastgate Retail Centre including Ikea, Tesco, Mothercare,

Railway station Stapleton Road Junction

Gateways

Plan 8 indicates a number of gateways into the St Werburghs area. These are divided into those that are solely pedestrian in nature, and those which are vehicular and pedestrian

The gateway locations indicate the number of key travel routes which residents, visitors, and businesses will pass by when they enter or leave the area. These points are important in setting the character of the area and peoples (and investors and developers) perceptions - key if new inward investment in the area is to be generated.

7.3 Residential

Private dwellings

Plans 9a and 9b illustrate the land uses within the area and indicates the extent of residential properties. Analysis indicates that 45% of the developed area (excluding roads and footpaths) is occupied by residential properties (Including gardens). Thus illustrating the dominance of residential use within the area.

The 1991 Census information produced by the City Council for the St Werburghs Community Consultation document (Nov 2000) indicated that 79.4% of homes were terraced houses built before the first would war. This remains the case, though there have been a limited number of new dwellings erected in the 1990’s including Summers Terrace, adjacent to Parkway Methodist Church.

Plans 10a and 10b attempt to indicate the approximate age of the dwellings (usually grouped on a street by street basis, unless obvious differences in ages exist). It indicates that this situation remains and despite some limited infilling the housing stock is generally one hundred years old.

Plan 7 highlights the dwellings which have, or potentially will, benefit from investment as a result of Bristol City Council’s Group Repair Scheme. This is referred to in Section 9.8 but generally has lead to investment in the external envelope of dwellings through funding from the City Council.

Plans 11a and b illustrate sites and buildings within the ownership of the various departments of Bristol City Council. They indicate the large areas of open space within council control but also the areas of prominent road frontage similarly controlled.

Throughout the area there are a number of vacant buildings and sites. These are all identified on Plans 12a and 12b. There are only two residential buildings which we have considered as vacant as at the date of writing. These are:

Mary Seacole Court

2-12 Mina Road

Within the area there is also one large vacant site, known as the AVAG site (Ashley Vale Action Group). This site has the benefit of planning consent for residential use and is discussed in more detail in Section 9.5.

7.4 Commercial

The land use plan, (Plan 9a and b), indicates three main areas of commercial activity within the study area and a total land use of 17% for commercial properties. The uses identified on the plan fall into Use Class Order categories B1 (Offices, Research and Development Light Manufacturing/Industrial), B2 (General Industrial " those uses which are not appropriate to be undertaken in residential areas) and B8 (Storage and Distribution) uses.

The more commercial, industrial activities are located in the south east corner of the study area, around the Scrap Yard, adjacent to the M32 and the western edge, including Brooks, Ashley Trading Estate, Parkway Trading Estate and Minto Road Industrial Centre. A secondary commercial area, comprising more localised traders and businesses is located in the north of the area, beyond the connecting road bridge. This area includes the Willis Estate and City Farm.

It is estimated from Ordnance Survey Plans, taking into account site boundaries, footprints and number of floors (checked on site during the land use surveys) that there is approximately 29,000m2 (Gross Floor Area) of commercial floorspace within the study area. The buildings range in size from the Brooks Complex (the largest at some 6,400 sq m), to the Mark Priest Building (2,700sqm), to very small enterprises located within residential streets. These include a car repair garage on Sevier Street, KB Printers on the corner of Seddon Road and Mina Road and the City Farm office.

We have not been able to identify, given the nature of the survey methodology, the number and incidence of residential based commercial business activities. These may include registered companies and freelance workers. It would be our opinion that a number of such enterprises are run, to varying degrees of success, within the area. A full search of Companies House records was not felt to be cost-effective at this stage. The data held by Companies House can be obtained in due course if felt appropriate, however, this source will not identify the full extent of latent commercial activity undertaken in the area.

During the land use surveys vacant properties were noted and have been plotted on Plan 12a and b. The total area of vacant property is calculated to be approximately 5,000m2 or 17% of total. This is, however, dominated by the Mark Priest building (circa 2,700 sq m). Excluding this building/site would reduce the vacancy rate to only 7%.

The land use survey identifies the following vacant buildings:

Address Size (sq m) Selling Agent

Unit 7 Ashley Trading Estate circa 380 Osmond Tricks

Unit 9b Ashley Trading Estate circa 230 DTZ

Land to the rear Parkway Trading Estate circa 300 RA Elson

Unit 1 and 2 Merstham Road circa 1315 Alder King

Unit 4 Minto Road Industrial Centre circa King Sturge

Unit 9 Wallis Industrial Estate circa King Sturge

In addition to the existing buildings there are also a number of areas of land which are either currently used by commercial users or was last used as such and are now vacant.

The largest such area is located off of Gatton Road, adjacent to the Scrap Yard.

This is an area of approximately 0.75ha and has recently gained two separate planning consents for redevelopment for industrial units, further details in Section 9.11. Adjacent to the site is located the operational scrap yard which occupies an area of approximately .75ha. The location of the yard in this location does cause significant local problems not only due to the noise and fumes generated by the on-site activity but also because of the traffic accessing the site and recently due to a number of fires.

This whole area, including the scrap yard was identified as a Key Project Area in the Renewal Area proposals map. To the north of this area there is an area to the rear of Warminster Road which backs onto the railway embankment. The area is enclosed and no survey has been possible. However, it is reported that the area is used for the maintenance of cars, though this has not been confirmed. If this is the case the area effectively could provide a further extension to the large Key Project Area identified above.

7.5 Retail

Plan 9a and b indicates the location of buildings within use classes A1, A2 and A3 which includes shops, food outlets, high street services such as banks and video stores. The total area of such uses is relatively small, only 1.7% of the total built area.

The plan indicates the concentration of these uses along Mina Road, especially south of the junction with James Street. Within this area there are a number of small shops meeting mainly daily needs such as a butcher, post office, bakery and off license. There are also a video shop, residential letting agent, centre for alternative medicine and a couple of cafes and takeaways. A laundrette is also located in this area and would be seen as a similar kind of use, though technically falling within the Sui Generis Use Class.

Outside of Mina Road There are limited other retail uses, though there is a shop on Ashley Street and two garages, one on Lower Ashley Road, the other on Ashley Place, which both have a retail element.

St Werburghs is located between two major retail areas, the Eastgate Centre to the north and Broadmead to the south. The area is therefore well served by major retailers of all types.

At the time of survey there were three vacant retail properties identified. These were

50-54 Mina Road

82 Mina Road

3 Ashley Street

These are shown on Plan 12a and b.

There are no Chemists, Doctors Surgeries or Dentists within the Study area.

7.6 Public Houses

Within the study area there are 5 operational public houses;

The Farm, Hopetown Road

The Miners Arms, Mina Road

The Victoria, James Street

Duke of York, Rosebery Avenue

White Horse, Lower Ashley Road

There is a sixth public house building within the area, the Botany Tavern on Conduit Place. At the current time this is not trading.

Public Houses are acknowledged as serving an important social and community facility serving the locality.

7.7 Formal Places Of Worship

There are two active churches within the study area

Ivy Pentecostal Church

Parkway Methodist Church

In addition to these permanent facilities, there are a number of religious groups, organisations and networks that utilise the St Werburghs Community Centre as a place of prayer and worship. These include the Egyptian Church of Christ, Top Ministries Church and groups within the Muslim community. The Potters House Christian Centre on Sussex Place also offers accommodation for religious groups.

7.8 Education

The Bristol Gateway School

The Bristol Gateway School on Stafford Road is situated on the site of the former Cutlers Brook Junior School which merged with Willow Green Infants School in 1999/2000 to form St Werburghs Primary School.

The Gateway School was created to facilitate an historic under provision for special needs boys with emotional and behavioural difficulties. Following building works, the school opened in April 2001. The school is currently operating over capacity (the number of planned spaces is 42, the current year roll is 45): the school receives additional financial assistance to cater for this provision.

The school takes Year Groups 7 " 9 (11 to 14 year olds) who later transfer to nominated colleges to complete their secondary education.

St Werburghs Primary

Created from a merger between Willow Green Infants School and Cutlers Brook Junior School in 1999/2000, St Werburghs Primary School takes boys and girls from Reception Year (Aged 4 ½ ) to Year 6 (11 years olds). The current school roll is 187 in 7 classrooms although the capacity in the school is taken to be 191. The School employs 28 members of staff, half of which work part time.

St Werburghs Nurser

The nursery celebrated its 70th anniversary in 2002 and is located adjacent to the Primary School on James Street. It does share some facilities , such as sports hall, by arrangement, with the school but has a separate head teacher.

The nursery currently has four classrooms, with a total capacity of 104 full time equivalent spaces. A total of 27 people are employed in the nursery, including cooks and cleaners. The nursery provides After-school and Breakfast clubs as well as providing space for parents groups within a community room.

7.9 Community Uses And Buildings

The land use plan identifies three community halls which serve the population of St Werburghs and surrounding communities, along with two recreational concerns which have a wider customer base.

St Werburghs Community Centre was originally erected as a school in 1902 but was converted to a community centre in the 1970s. The building provides space for numerous groups and activities but is in poor condition and a project is underway to replace the building on the same site. Further information on this is provided in Section 9.13.

Brooklands Hall is located at the end of Rosebery Avenue, adjacent to Parkway Methodist It was erected in 1970s and is currently occupied by Avon and Wiltshire mental health partnership NHS trust - current outpatient/community teams & base and is home to the local Scout Group.

There is a third, small, hall located on the corner of Lynmouth Road and St Werburghs Road adjacent to the allotments.

St Werburghs Church, was moved from Corn Street to its current location in 1876. The building was converted into a climbing centre and now provides indoor climbing faces. The centre caters for a large number of visitors from a sub-regional catchment area.

The final community use identified in the land use plan is the City Farm. This is located on both sides of Watercress Road and includes a stable building, animal enclosures, greenhouses and small pond to the south of the road. To the north the farm includes a prefabricated office building, small community space used, mainly by local children’s’ groups, a café and a play area.

The Farm Charity also owns land off Briavels Grove (Known as New Roots), the community garden adjacent to the climbing centre. The Charity has identified proposals to take on further space to the north of the Boiling Wells Lane railway bridge. Further information regarding this proposal and pertinent background information regarding the operation of the City Farm is set out in Section 9.7.

The Chinese Overseas Association are based in accommodation along Lower Ashley Road. This demonstrates the existence of a community facility which caters for a distinct ethnic group.

7.10 Vacant Buildings And Areas

Within the study area there are a number of vacant buildings and spaces. These have been brought together in a single plan (Plan 12 a and b).

7.11 Open Space

Surprisingly for an area within the inner city the land use survey indicates that almost 30% of space is occupied by Green Spaces in a variety of uses. A Community Assets Plan (Plan 13a and b) includes three categories of open space reflecting the character of the areas.

Allotments

There are three geographically distinct allotment areas within the study area. The first is located north of the railway line beyond the link tunnel. The allotments occupy an area of over 10ha, stretching up from Watercress Road to Ashley Down Road. The allotments provide an important setting for the area, divorcing it from the city and providing a very tranquil backdrop.

Despite being one large area, all owned by Bristol City Council, there are two areas managed in different ways.

The Ashley Vale Allotments are directly managed by the City Council. The site, comprising some 103 plots, is currently 66% occupied. Although a large proportion of the vacant plots are overgrown, an on-site manager is in the process of cultivating these for use. Unlike other areas, the tenants of the allotments in the area tend to cover a larger age range, involving an increasing proportion of young local women.

The area has experienced a number of localised incidents, including rough sleepers, which is a concern to tenants. As a result, the City Council is proposing to erect a new security fence and works to improve the footpath routes in the area.

The City Council are currently well placed to recruit new tenants, through the use of information packs promoting gardening and produce production

The Ashley Vale Association, comprising allotment tenants, manages the larger of the two sites in the area. Located next to the City Farm, the Association have a leasing agreement with the City Council.

The Council is expecting a capital investment of circa £2m in the autumn of 2002 to spend on allotments in the city resulting from the disposal of the Talbot Road site in South Bristol (a former allotment site). Some of this money will be directed towards the St Werburghs Allotments.

The other allotment areas are located south of the railway line. The first are located as part of the Community garden on Mina Road. They are managed by the City Farm and used as part of the educational role of the farm.

The third set of allotments are similarly owned by the City Farm, they are accessed off of Ashley Hill at its junction with Briavels Grove. The area is currently tended by the New Roots Community group. It is approximately 800m2.

Public Open Space

Within the study area there are a number of formal and informal recreation areas open to the public.

The largest of these areas is the Narroways Millennium Green which links the north and south areas via footpaths over what was British Rail/Rail Track land. The Millennium Green was established following a campaign by local people objecting to the prospect of development of the area for housing.

The Land Use Plan (Plan 9a and b) highlights an area of approximately 1.6ha, however the Green does extend east of the railway lines towards Rousham Road. The area of the green merges with adjacent landscape areas that are of a different character, generally being wooded and inaccessible due to overgrowth and steep gradients. The Millennium Green and adjacent landscape areas provides a green heart to the study area.

The most popular open space within the area, as described in the St Werburghs Community Consultation Document Nov 2000, is Mina Road Park. The park occupies 1.4ha in the centre of the study area and is made up of a number of distinct zones: a children’s play area, gated play area and open park dominated by mature trees. Much of the south western boundary is delineated by a stream, although a small area of the park is located to the west of the stream.

The park has benefited from investment over recent years as a part of the Renewal Area investment and continues to be monitored by the Mina Road Park Group. This has included some remodelling works, planting and the provision of play equipment. Current proposals include the provision of additional play equipment aimed at older children and the improvement of the stream. These are covered further in Section 9.

South of Mina Road Park is Jubilee Row, located between Conduit Place and Ashley Street. This is a small park (0.15ha) including a children’s play area close to Botany Tavern.

The final area of open space is located off of James Street, close to the railway bridge on the boundary of the study area. The area runs from James Street northwards to the rear of St Werburghs Park and occupies just under 0.5ha. It includes a children’s play ground and open grassland.

Landscape Areas

Within the study area there are a number of spaces occupied by formal landscaping which has an amenity role, though is generally not accessible to the public as open space. The Land Use Plan (Plan 9a and b) indicates that the largest areas of such space are located around the railway corridors at the centre of the study area. The landscaped areas extend to some 3.5ha and are generally characterised as woodlands located on the steep sides of the railway embankments.

There are also a number of much smaller landscape areas that add to the amenity value and softening of the locality. The largest of these are shown on the land use plan and include:

Land to the rear of Brooklands Hall. The hall has a large garden area located between it and the motorway junction. Mature trees within the garden provide screening for the hall and nearby houses from highway traffic.

Land adjacent Gatton Road. A landscape strip exists between the road and the M32, providing screening for residential properties. The area is subject to proposals as part of the Gatton Road Enhancement scheme, further information being contained in Section 9 below.

Land on York Street and Sevier Street. Planting has been undertaken on a number of the verges to improve the appearance of the area from the highway and provide seating, noticeably surrounded by palms along York Street, opposite Minto Road Industrial Estate. The seating area has been facilitated by Growing Together

8 TRAFFIC, TRANSPORT & ACCESSIBILITY

8.1 Traffic and Transportation

Traffic routes and flows play a central role for St Werburghs and plans indicating main traffic nodes and activity are included in the Book of Plans.

Plan 8 indicates that key traffic nodes are located at:

  • The southern end of Mina Road, at the junction with the M32,
  • Sussex Place, at the bottom of Ashley Hill,
  • The Junction of Ashley Hill and Sevier Street,
  • The railway bridge on Ashley Hill (where the road goes over the bridge) and,
  • The railway bridge on Glenfrome Road (where the road goes under).
There is potential vehicular access under the railway bridge at the eastern end of Boiling Well Lane, which provide access out onto Muller Road. This is illustrated on Plan 8 but is little used and is not really suitable for vehicles.

Plan 8 indicates three pedestrian links into the area which are not open to traffic. The first is at the north over the railway lines, via Narroways Millennium Green. This provides a link between the Community Garden, (located adjacent to the Climbing Centre), Narroways and Rousnam Road, to the north. This is primarily a recreational route for pedestrians, providing access to the open areas and footpaths of Narroways Millennium Green and its immediate environs.

Consultation documentation has identified that these footpath routes are abused by motorcyclists. This accentuates the concerns of local residents to their personal safety and hinders the enjoyment that these areas could provide for local residents.

The second and third pedestrian routes have a very different character. They are located in the south of the area and link St Werburghs with Easton over and under the M32. The pedestrian bridge over the M32 is located adjacent to the Community Centre on Gatton Road and provides access for many of the people who utilise the centre at present. The link under the M32 is located at Junction 3 and emerges close to Brooklands Hall.

Both routes have a poor reputation and are seen by residents as location for crime. These will no doubt be further covered in the parallel Safer Streets Study.

8.2 Traffic flows

Plan 8 indicates the context of the area and indicates the main traffic routes around and through the Study Area. Plans 14a and b illustrate the local transport network within the Study Area.

Plan 8 identifies the M32 and Junction 3, both of which have a significant impact upon the character and accessibility of St Werburghs. The proximity to the motorway provides good access to Bristol City Centre and communities along its alignment. However, the noise and pollution generated by the passing traffic and the flows of traffic from Junction 3 through St Werburghs to adjacent areas, cause local parking, congestion and accident concerns.

Access to Junction 3 is principally achieved via Lower Ashley Road. A secondary access exists from the M32 roundabout along Mina Road via the north bound slip road. This access is restricted allowing traffic travelling south along Mina Road to turn left only, joining the M32 north bound.

Plan 14a and b indicates the location of signalised traffic lights at the junction of Lower Ashley Road and Sussex Place. These have been relatively recently installed as part of a Renewal Area gateway scheme. Anecdotally it has been reported that they have lead to significant traffic queuing along the southern part of Lower Ashley Road from the M32. This has resulted in increased use of Mina Road for traffic exiting the M32 and wishing to go north up Ashley Hill.

Mina Road, north of Sandbed Road, is subject to traffic calming measures as part of the another Renewal Area Enhancement Scheme. It is reported that traffic, increasingly rat runs, along Horley Road and Sandbed Road occurs, before traffic turns into Mogg Street and Stafford Road in order to access James Street.

Within the study area there is currently a single one-way road, Magdalene Place between its junction with Sevier Street and Morley Street. The road is used by a relatively high flow of traffic in order to avoid the Sussex Place traffic lights. Traffic speeds of southbound traffic are reported, at least anecdotally, as high, leading to perceived danger for pedestrians and cyclists.

8.3 Public Transport

Despite being located close to the centre of the city the area is relatively poorly served by public transport.

St Werburghs is not served by a train station. The nearest station is Stapleton Road Junction, located on the opposite side of the M32, shown on Plan 8.

Studies into a potential LRT system for Bristol continue and it is currently proposed that the first line (Line 1) travel along the railway line forming the eastern boundary of the study area. There are proposals for a station at Station Road, off Ashley Hill, to the north of the study area.

Throughout the study area there is only one bus route, which runs along James Street, York Street, Sevier Street and Sussex Place. The route is identified on Plan 14a and b and links the City Centre with the Eastgate Centre and areas to the north. Bus stops are also noted on Plan 14a.

There is at present a lack of east-west bus routes. This provides difficulties for those wishing to travel to destinations such as the Charlotte Keel health centre in Easton. This has been identified as a major deficiency and a Study has been commissioned by the Neighbourhood Renewal Team to report on the provision of transport in the area. This is referred to further in Section 9.4.

Cycling and Walking

Plan 14a and b indicates the extent of footpaths within the Study Area, providing internal routes and linkages to external areas.

The paths generally fall into two categories; in the southern areas they are essentially urban routes within housing areas providing short links between shared vehicular and pedestrian routes. However, to the north the paths have a more rural character providing recreational routes linking the Community Garden with Narroways, the extensive areas of allotments to the north and providing links to Ashley Down Road and Muller Road.

Two important pedestrian links are shown on Plan 8 as Gateways. Both provide links across the M32 from Easton. The first is the pedestrian bridge, the second the underpass at Junction 3. Both provide important links for residents on both sides of the motorway. However, both are subject to concerns over security.

Road Traffic Accidents.

A bespoke research output has been obtained from Bristol City Council Road Safety Team for St Werburghs (represented by the boundaries of the study area). The information, covering the period between 1st January 1999 and 31st December 2001 (3 years) has been plotted and is presented as Plan 17, accompanied by an Accident Schedule as Appendix 6.

The data relates to only accidents that resulted in personal injuries and were reported to the Police. As such, damage only accidents and near misses are not recorded. The total number of accidents experienced in the area is therefore likely to be significantly higher.

There have been no fatalities in the St Werburghs area over the recorded time period. Two serious accidents were recorded, one at the bottom of Ashley Hill at the junction with Sevier Street, the other on James Street adjacent to St Werburghs Primary School. Both serious accidents involved adult cyclists.

32 slight accidents were recorded in the same period. Data excludes the main signalised junction at Sussex Place/Ashley Road/Lower Ashley Road. It is reasonable to assume that given the traffic flows experienced in this locality, accidents would have occurred at this junction over the three year period, despite the presence of signals.

No data has been obtained at this stage relating to personal attacks, assault and other street crime. This data will be presented as part of the Safer Streets Study being undertaken by the University of the West of England.

8.4 Accident Hot Spots

There are 4 particular junctions which have experienced more than one accident. These are defined as accident hot spots for the purposes of this study. They include:

Ashley Hill / Sevier Street: 6 accidents, 1 serious, 5 due to unspecified junction movements (using the roundabout)

Hurlingham Road / Ashley Hill 5 accidents, 4 of which resulted from junction movement onto Ashley Hill.

James Street / St Werburghs Park: 3 accidents, 1 serious, 2 Nose to tail shunts.

Sandbed Road / Mogg Street: 2 accidents, both junction movements.

Since the installation of Traffic Lights at the main junction of Lower Ashley Road and Sussex Place, there have been no recorded accidents at this junction.

8.5 Accident Corridors

The data received suggests that there are a number of accident corridors " roads that along their length experience a notable number of incidents. They include, listed by number of accidents recorded:

Ashley Hill " Sussex Street

There have been 18 recorded accidents along this key vertical (north "south) transportation corridor linking the M32 and St Pauls to St Andrews, Ashley Down and Horfield. This accounts for just over half of all accidents in the St Werburghs area. The majority of accidents along this corridor occur at the two hot spot junctions with Hurlington Road and Sevier Street (see above). Other accidents relate to nose to tail shunts " principally at junction locations off Ashley Hill.

James Street " Sevier Street

This main horizontal (east " west) corridor extending to the Ashley Hill Roundabout has experienced 12 accidents, amounting to around one third of all accidents in the 3 year period. Accident types include adult pedestrians injuries, junction movements and nose to tail impacts in the proximity of the St Werburghs Primary School

Mina Road

Leading from the M32 to the James Street junction, Mina Road is the retail centre of the area. 5 accidents include loss of car control, impact with a child cyclist from the Park and those associated with junction movements.

Sandbed Road

Sandbed Road, leading into Mogg Street is a favoured rat-run that avoids, travelling in a northern direction, the narrowing of the road and crossing points along Mina Road in the vicinity of the retail units. Accidents include, loss of car control, injuries to adult and child pedestrians and junction movements into Mogg Street.

The nature of, and location of the accidents listed within the Schedule will inform the initiatives as set out within the Proposals for Discussion.

9 CURRENT PROJECTS AND STUDIES

9.1 Introduction

Within the St Werburghs area there are a number of projects and programmes that are currently underway which will have an impact upon the character and fabric of the area.

Many of the projects are site specific but some are more widespread or services based. Those elements which are centred on a single area or building are shown in Plan 15a and b.

The projects identified are not necessarily exhaustive but have been arrived at through discussions with local people, representatives of local organisations and the city council. It is therefore hoped that the majority of proposals have been identified and accurately reported.

9.2 Neighbourhood Renewal

We have structured this State of the Environment Report to broadly accord with the guidance notes as set out within A New Commitment to Neighbourhood Renewal " National Strategy Action Plan published by the Social Exclusion Unit in 2001. Reference to the context in which this study has been prepared is set out in the Introduction (Section 1).

9.3 Safer Streets Project

Safety and fear of crime are clearly indicated in the consultation exercises described in Section 6 as a major concern for residents in St Werburghs. This has promoted the commissioning of a Community Safety Survey by Neighbourhood Renewal.

The survey, undertaken by the University of the West of England, will involve a postal questionnaire of all dwellings in the St Werburghs (study) area. The purpose of the study will be to identify key areas of concern and to act as a basis for a community safety action plan.

The work on this study is currently underway but no results have been produced and therefore at this stage it is not possible to input any further material from this source.

9.4 Community Transport Study

Contacts between the areas of Ashley and the adjacent neighbourhood in Easton have traditionally been close with many trips between the two. However, the presence of the M32 does provide a physical and social barrier.

The land use mapping exercise undertaken for this commissioned has identified a lack of public transport linking the two areas. The issue of local public transport is now subject of a study, funded by Neighbourhood Renewal. The purpose of the study is to identify which facilities local people wish to access and on what frequency.

It is intended that this information be used to promote some form of community transport solution to improve access for residents of all areas.

The project has recently (Oct 2002) been completed. It resulted in a proposal to run a Community Bus between the communities of St Werburghs, St Pauls, St Judes and Easton. An Urban Bus Challenge Bid has been submitted to Government from Bristol City Council that would provide funding for this project. The outcome of this competitive bidding process will be announced in November 2002. This project is being managed by the Ashley Neighbourhood Renewal Office.

9.5 Ashley Vale Action Group (AVAG)

AVAG is made up of residents of the Ashley Vale area who came together initially in order to object to the redevelopment of a former scaffolding yard at the northern end of Mina Road. The site had been occupied by SGB Services since 1965 but commercial pressures led the company to relocate and offer the site for sale in early 2000.

McAlpine Housing sought to purchase the land and submitted an application (BCC ref. 00/01964/P/C) for development. The character of the proposals put forward at this time would have significantly increased the number of dwellings in the area north of the railway bridge and were considered unimaginative and uniform. AVAG was therefore formed to co-ordinate responses to the planning application.

The significant local opposition lead the prospective developer to withdraw from the land purchase and AVAG then looked to purchase the land itself for development. A Planning For Real exercise was undertaken in June 2000 and provided the impetus for AVAG to bid for and eventually purchase the site.

In April 2001 a planning application for Residential Development (BCC ref. 00/03936/F/C) consisting of 22 self build dwellings and 6 no elderly persons bungalows including use of existing office block for Business Use (Class B1) was approved by Bristol City Council and work has recently started on site to erect the first of the self build houses.

The approved scheme will include 6 elderly persons bungalows which will be built and maintained by Redland Housing association and a workspace created by the refurbishment of the existing office block on the site. Within this block it is proposed that a Car Share will operate, providing sustainable vehicles for the use of local residents.

The remaining dwellings will be built by individuals to their own designs but guided and constrained by sustainability criteria provided by the Steering Group.

The project has benefited from funding from both European and Domestic sources. The refurbishment of the office block has attracted £117,000 from the European Objective 2 fund, whilst the Department of Trade and Industry has awarded a grant of 79% of the cost of photovoltaic (PV) panels for each of the houses in the self build project. These panels will provide energy for the dwellings from the sun, therefore reducing the need for use of fossil fuels.

A third project put forward by the AVAG was also submitted for funding as part of the Home Zone Challenge. The bid, to radically redesign the roads north of the railway bridge to give pedestrians priority, was not successful but it is likely that the provision of traffic calming, the resurfacing of roads and provision of street furniture, sculptures and plants may be subject to further future bids.

9.6 Mary Seacole Court

Mary Seacole Court is a single two storey building located on a prominent site at the Junction of James Street and Mina Road. The traditional brick and tile roofed building is currently vacant and is boarded up at ground floor level. It is owned by Anchor Housing and was last lawfully occupied as an old peoples home for about 12 residents. The size of the operation and the decline in the market generally meant that the use was no longer profitable and lead to its closure. The building is currently occupied by about 6 squatters.

The owners have put the property on the market for sale and this has resulted in two planning applications for the change of use of the building. Both applications have been on behalf of Bristol Family Housing and have been for Change of use from elderly persons home to hostel accommodation (BCC ref. 01/01250/F/C and 02/00580/F/C). Both applications have been refused by the planning authority and have raised local objections. These objections have been supported by the local police who are generally concerned about the level of hostels in Ashley as a whole.

There is already one hostel close to the site, adjacent to the Mina Road Park and the proximity of this was also a factor in the decisions.

However, given the refusal of both applications it is now not clear what the future holds for site.

9.7 St Werburghs City Farm

St Werburghs City Farm is centred on a site at the northern end of Mina Road, on both sides of Watercress Road. The area was once covered in watercress beds but in 1910 a terrace of houses was built on the southern side of Watercress road. These buildings were damaged by an explosion in the 1960s and were derelict by the 1970s. In 1980 the City Farm was established as a charity by a group of local residents with the aim of involving local people in the running of a livestock farm and providing recreational space, particularly for disadvantaged people.

The charity now employs 5 full time and 4 part-time with the main aim to work in partnership with the local community to provide educational, recreational and environmental services and resources within a working farm, particularly with those who are socially or economically disadvantaged.

This is achieved through the provision of a range of services centred on the Farm Visitor Centre on either side of Watercress Road. This includes a small stable block, paddocks, duck pond and horticultural training unit on the southern side of the road. There is also an office, playground, café and community building on the north side.

In addition to this main core site the City Farm also has a sub-lease from the Narroways Millennium Green Trust for a Community Garden located off of Mina Road, south of the railways bridge. The garden is leased on a peppercorn rent for 999 years and is used to support the horticultural training undertaken by the charity.

In addition the City Farm owns an area of allotments at Briavels Grove, off Ashley Hill which is used by New Roots.

In 2001 Bristol City Council offered the farm the use of a new area of land at the northern end of Boiling Wells Lane. The site is shown on Plan 15b. It includes about 2 acres of land on the side of a hill, bounded by a stream and gardens.

It is proposed that the area be managed as a nature conservation area and be used as the base for running additional courses. A wildlife audit of the site is being undertaken to indicate the existing value of the site and provide a baseline for future work. A public consultation exercise is proposed for summer 2002 to identify local priorities for the area and inform developments.

For the purposes of this study a meeting was held with a representative of the Farm to identify concerns and proposals relating to the activities of the farm. The majority of concerns expressed relate to access to the farm and the condition of buildings and facilities provided.

The Farm attracts a high number of visitors. However, it is considered that the railway bridge provides a physiological barrier to many people due to its threatening character and this is increased at night due to a lack of street lighting in the tunnel and on Watercress Road. The result has been that the Farm has had to run a number of courses in alternative locations, such as the Community Centre, in order to attract numbers.

Within the vicinity of the farm there are concerns over parking and highway safety as there is no off street parking and the presence of travellers vehicles parking on the streets further reduces available on street parking. There are no disabled parking bays, dropped curbs or double yellow lines in the area to restrict parking and this does have an implication for safety, particularly with children using both the playground and the main farm area, on opposite sides of Watercress Road. There are also problems with the drainage at the junction of Watercress and Mina Roads, leading to ponding and limited flooding during heavy rainfall.

9.8 St Agnes and St Werburghs Renewal Area

The Renewal Area scheme is supported by a team which administers the projects and funds. The team is divided into two main groups; the Group Repair Scheme and the Environmental Improvements Team.

GATTON ROAD ENHANCEMENT

Gatton Road is a residential road joining Mina Road in the west with industrial units and the scrap yard to the east. The road therefore attracts large flows of heavy vehicles. A Planning for Real report in 1998 highlighted local traffic concerns and associated noise and pollution. As a result, a steering group comprising local people, representatives from the Community Centre and the Neighbourhood Association was established to consider these issues and try to reach a solution.

There have been two community consultation exercises to consider solutions to the problems. The first, in May 2001, proposed road design layouts. This lead to the choice of an option which provided a build-out on Mina Road to facilitate turning and slow traffic, the demolition of 2-12 Mina Road, known as east block and the creation of a new industrial road

Following the choice of road layout a second consultation was held in January 2002 which focused on the potential for environmental improvements based upon the road layout.

RESIDENTIAL GROUP REPAIR.

The aim of the scheme is to improve a whole residential street or part of a street through repairs to the outside of the buildings. Funding comes from central government and the city council but owners of properties are asked to a pay a contribution to the works, the level of this contribution is means tested, to a maximum of 25% of the total cost. Residents who benefit from the scheme are required to remain as owners of the property in question for at least 5 years from the date of works, otherwise they are required to pay the full amount for the works.

Plan 7 shows the areas which have benefited from the Group Repair Scheme. It shows the dwellings which have been improved and those which are specifically excluded. These include commercial properties, retail properties and those which are not two storey traditional dwellings.

The first scheme for 21 properties on Ashley Street was completed in September 1995 and since then eight more schemes, total value £2.5m had been completed by June 2001. There are currently 9 other schemes in progress, either on site or having been surveyed and a number of further schemes proposed if funds permit.

Changes in the funding of the scheme means that it is not likely that all streets within the area will be improved. The scheme is nearing the end of its life, April 2004 and therefore there is limited time for schemes to be implemented. The team have therefore identified a Priority Area within which to concentrate spending. This area is shown on Plan 7 and is delineated by the M32, railway line, James Street and Mina Road.

It is likely that all future schemes will be located within this area, unless further funding is made available.

9.9 Environmental Improvements

The second main stream of the Renewal Area Team is centred on the improvement of the appearance of the area and has been implemented through a number of inter-related projects.

Boundary Wall Schemes.

The replacement of boundary walls is not possible under the Group Repair Scheme but do have an important influence upon the appearance and character of an area. The renewal team have therefore had a three year programme to rebuild boundary walls and provide new gates to properties in streets where Group Repair has been carried out. The work has been part funded by the SRB (Single Regeneration Budget).

Mina Road Gateway Scheme

The improvement of this area was identified as a Key Project Area on the Renewal Area proposals Map. Works have been undertaken to improve both the street and the adjacent park.

Along Mina Road the introduction of traffic calming measures has provided protected car parking bays and street furniture has been improved, cycle racks and litterbins have been provided. Shop fronts along the street have been improved and include traditional shop signs. Work to improve the Park is on-going, co-ordinated by the Mina Road Parks Group.

Sussex Place Junction

The improvements to the area of Lower Ashley Road and Grosvenor Road were identified as a Key Project Area within the Renewal Area Proposals Map and were undertaken in three phases.

Phase 1 involved the removal of the Sussex Place roundabout and its replacement with traffic lights. The second phase related to the improvements to Grosvenor Road, making it one way providing build outs, sheltered parking and upgraded pavements. Also at this time improvements were made to the street lights and shop fronts on both Grosvenor Road and Lower Ashley Road. The final phase, completed in 2001, concentrated on improvements to Lower Ashley Road including a cycle path and residential improvements.

Mina Road Park.

The park has benefited from significant investment, providing fences, street furniture and lighting as well as ground sculpting and play equipment. The renewal team have worked with the parks section of the council and also with the Mina Road Park Group, a local group set up to further develop the park.

Horfield Brook

In September 2001, The St Werburghs Mina Road Park group commissioned Thamesis to undertake a preliminary site investigation and survey report to comment on the status of Horfield Brook within St Werburghs Park.

Horfield Brook flows southwards from Horfield to its convergence with the Frome. The brook has both open sections and some sections in culvert.

Water testing has shown there to be acceptable concentrations levels associated with good water quality.

Other Environmental Improvements.

Every year the renewal team support local and community projects. Examples include;

  • Financial Contribution to the City Farm Summer Event
  • Repainting signs in the Community Centre
  • Conduit Place Park
  • Support for Growing Together Palm Grove Project
  • Palm Group along Sevier Street.
BEST Bristol East Side Traders

The BEST Team were set up with support from many agencies to support small and medium sized businesses within the two Renewal Areas. It was initially an 18 month project to link with local retailers and small businesses to facilitate training and other links with the business community. It is now in it’s third year and continues to provide support on a range of fronts.

9.10 School Project " Arts Space

St Werburghs Primary School was been nominated by the Education Action Zone (EAZ) to bid for funding to develop resources at the school and its proposals for a Community Arts Centre was accepted by the DfEE. The project received funding in February 2001 and a planning application for development was submitted later that year (BCC ref 01/02758/FB/C Single storey extension to provide arts studio, meeting room and ancillary areas including external glazed canopy over existing courtyard. By Director of Education)

The single storey extension will provide a flexible indoor-type space which will be designed for performing arts with some ancillary accommodation. Out of school hours the building will be made available for the local community in the form of art based activities and support groups.

9.11 The Sims/Birds Employment Site

Locally known as the Birds employment site, shown on Plan 15a, this is made up of two distinct parcels of land. The first is a piece of vacant ground adjacent to the scrap yard, fronting Gatton Road. The second is partially occupied as a buildings yard off Saxon Road.

There are two full planning consents for commercial uses on these sites. The north site comprising the land off Saxon Road has permission for the redevelopment of the existing builders yard to provide units for light industrial / office purposes. The applicant is The Bird Group of Companies.

The development consists of six new units along with additional landscaping. Contamination of the site is a likelihood and as such one of the conditions attached to the planning decision requires that a scheme to deal with contamination must be approved.

The southern site has permission for the erection of 8 units for light industrial and office purposes. The applicant was Terdonkyn Investment Ltd. The proposed units are two storey buildings in blocks of three attached adjacently to each other.

9.12 Mark Priest Building

The Mark Priest Building is located on Sevier Street close to its junction with Ashley Hill. As such it is on a central traffic axis through St Werburghs close to a main gateway for people travelling into or through the area.

The building was originally used for the production of chain and is three storeys in height, fronting directly onto the pavement for a length of over 145m. It is therefore very visible and an important landmark for the area. In addition the size of the building (Approx 2,700 sqm) provides a very large percentage of the overall commercial floorspace within St Werburghs.

The building has been vacant for a number of years but part of the ground floor has recently (summer 2002) been occupied by the Better Food Company and the remainder of the building by The Scrap store.

9.13 Community Centre

The St Werburghs Community Centre is located at the southern end of the study area boarded on three sides by roads, Horley Road, Gatton Road and Mertsham Road. It is adjacent to the footbridge crossing the M32 and as such is accessible to individuals from both St Werburghs and Easton.

The centre provides a range of spaces for some 93 Member groups and organisations. Facilities include the recently opened IT suite, funded by UK Online. The majority of the Member Groups are regular users of the Centre.

The centre is managed by the St Werburghs Community Association (SWCA) a charity and Company Limited by Guarantee, through a voluntary management committee consisting of representatives from user groups and local residents. There is a small team of full and part time staff who run the centre on a daily basis.

The SWCA key responsibilities are to provide and manage good quality facilities to meet the needs of the communities it serves. The association is also a Development Trust and therefore has a development and community regeneration role. This has lead to the association being the catalyst for several of the community consultation exercises undertaken in recent years and for it’s central role in commissioning this study.

The community association manage the Community Centre, which was originally built for the Bristol School Board in 1902 and is now owned by Bristol City Council. The building itself has significant structural problems illustrated in a Building Condition Survey (2000). The building suffers from subsidence, leaking roofs, water penetration and poor energy efficiency. The fabric provides a poor quality environment internally and the external appearance is not welcoming.

The existing building has a capacity of 250 persons, the largest hall holding a max of 150. Four other rooms are available for hire and three more are permanently occupied by resident groups. The SWCA has two rooms for its own use and there is a bar and kitchen. One room has recently been refurbished to include 11 internet linked computers, funded by IT Online.

The SWCA has 73 members and 30 user groups ranging from Tai Chi and Yoga, through Narcotics Anonymous, to a Sudanese Community Group and help for the unemployed through Bridging the Gap group. There are also a number of cultural and arts groups from choir singing to Arabic Drum Classes and there is a significant income from the hire of rooms for private parties.

The Community Centre plays an important role in the life of the local community, 33,198 visits were made to the centre in 2001, of which 20,262 people came from black or other ethnic minority groups (Figures come from Building For the Future, Business Plan May 2002 and exclude private parties). It provides a space and resource for all sections of the local community, particularly ethnic minorities. There is increasing demand for space, which the limitations of the existing building mean cannot be met. Also, the quality of the building and the high running costs limit the potential of the centre and it is the vision of the SWCA to build a fully accessible, sustainable centre to be the focus for community activity.

The Community Association considered four options for the future of the Community Centre:

  • Do Nothing. The ongoing running costs and deterioration of the building make this an untenable situation.
  • Relocate. The City Council does not own suitable premise in the St Werburghs area and the association did investigate the commercial market. However, there were no suitable premises affordable within the area.
  • Refurbishment and extension. The condition and configuration of the existing building made reuse an extremely expensive and unattractive option.
  • Demolish and new build. It was concluded that a new building, located on the current site was the most cost effective long term solution, serving the community best.
SWCA is currently proposing to redevelop the Horley Road site for a new community centre and has employed architects, Central Workshop, to design the new building. Together the architects and association have undertaken a range of consultations, to gauge local views and inform the design process.

It is currently estimated that the new building will cost in the order of £1.3m and proposals include a hall, café, IT suite and workshops over two floors. Funding applications have been or will be made to a range of organisations but the main sources are likely to be:

Objective 2. An outline application for capital funding has been submitted and approved for £450,000

Community Fund. Being located within the Neighbourhood Renewal Area the project is eligible to apply to this fund and it is considered that an application for up to £350,000 will be submitted.

Bristol City Council. The Community Association is building a case for capital grant support based on current and future maintenance costs . It hoped that a figure of £250,000 may be made available.

In addition to the above there are a number of charitable trusts who have been identified as being potential sources of funding.

In order to support these bids and co-ordinate fund raising it is proposed that the SWCA appoint a Capital Fundraiser. The Association has been offered a 60-year lease on the site at a peppercorn rent.

 

10 BUSINESS SURVEY

10.1 Introduction " The Information Gap

At the time of our commission, we were advised of an information Gap in baseline data for the St Werburghs area. It was apparent that whilst a great deal of information was collected from individual residents as part of the numerous consultation events and processes undertaken, little information existed in relation to the views of local businesses and employers.

10.2 The Business Survey

In order to fill this gap, Stride Treglown, in liaison with the University of the West of England team responsible for delivering the Safer Streets initiative, prepared a detailed Business Survey Questionnaire. A copy of the blank questionnaire and the accompanying covering letter is attached as Appendix 1.

In order to maximise the number of returns, 85 questionnaires were hand delivered to business premises on the 9th and 10th April 2002. It is important to stress that all employers were recipients of the survey. These included all shops, cafes and petrol stations. The first deliveries were undertaken in the early morning, therefore a number of vacant premises would have received the surveys. We would have anticipated that 75 surveys would have been received by trading businesses.

The requested deadline for the return of the surveys were the 21st April. By that time only 15 returns had been received.

Given the importance of obtaining business data, a second round of deliveries were undertaken on the 21st May 2002. 30 additional questionnaires were received by firms in the area. Without exception, we spoke to a member of staff to explain the purpose of the survey and the importance of obtaining local data to inform the Proposals for Discussion.

By the 10th June 2002 a further 4 returns had been received, 19 in total. Of the 75 eligible premises, the response rate totalled 25%. Given the size of Brooks as a local employer, a meeting was arranged with the General Operations Manager. The views of Brooks have been taken into account in the text which follows summarising the findings, although the statistics which underpin the findings do not.

2 retailers advised that they would be closing down in the next few weeks and would not be returning the surveys.

10.3 Survey Findings

Business Profile and Activity

The survey respondents covered a wide range of business enterprises, from manufacturing, light industrial, service, professional, retail and distribution sectors. 12 (63%) employ under 10 people, 4 (21%) employ between 10 and 20 staff with the remaining 5 (26%) employing a number above this figure.

A large number of the respondents (13 / 68%) have been trading for less than 20 years. 4 firms (21%) have been operating for less than 5 years. Collectively, the profile of those companies who responded suggests a good mix of well established and new businesses employing staff numbers from just 2 to 85 (excluding Brooks of circa 500).

Accommodation

14 respondents (73%) have occupied their current premise for a period of less than 20 years, 8 (42%) less than 10 years and 7 (36%) less than 5 years. This suggests a good balance of established firms who have been active for many years, and new firms established and taking space in the area in the last 5 years.

8 firms of the 18 who responded to the questions concerning land title, own their accommodation (44%). Of those properties which are leased, and who answered the question (8 out of 10), the majority of leases are under review in 2002 and 2003.

15 respondents (78%) feel that their current accommodation meets the current needs of their business. Of those that did not, all respondents cited the need for additional space.

In relation to the anticipated suitability of their current premises to meet their future needs (defined as being the next three years), a smaller number of firms considered their accommodation would be suitable (10 firms / 52%). 7 firms (36%) are looking to expand their operations, but do not have sufficient space to do so within their current site. 1 business considered that their retail site was too big from which to trade given a downturn in activity.

Given the relatively low overall response rate, we are unable to prepare a detailed schedule of suitability of accommodation across the commercial sector in St Werburghs. We can make judgements however as to the propensity of firms to relocate or expand and the opportunities which may arise in order to make provision for indigenous growth of local business activities.

10 respondents (52%) have relocated since they commenced trading. The majority of these firms have moved from premises within Bristol (9 / 90%): the majority (7 or 70%) since 1996. This suggests a reasonable demand for commercial accommodation in the area, of varying sizes. This is corroborated by the results of our Land Use Survey which suggests that vacancy levels for commercial property are in the region of 7% excluding the Mark Priest Building.

In response to questions concerning business and accommodation plans and/or commitments over the next 12 months: (more than one answer can be given to the questions)

15 (78%) wish to stay in their current premises.

7 (36%) are planning to refurbish part or all of their accommodation,

3 (15%) are planning to expand their operations (and site utilisation)

None are seeking to relocate within St Werburghs

3 (15%) are seeking to relocate outside St Werburghs but within Bristol.

The reasons given for a planned relocation relate to the need for more space (the implication being that no suitable accommodation is known to exist in St Werburghs at the current time), the perceived threat of toll road charging in Central Bristol and as a result of corporate restructuring.

Staff Recruitment and Training

Across the 19 firms who responded, 11 staff have been employed in the last year. Of the 140 staff covered by the survey, this amounts to 7%. An additional 10 staff have been employed in the last 2 years.

In relation to recruitment of staff, 9 firms (47%) use Bristol based newspapers: the majority of staff that are in the process of being recruited (8) are semi-skilled and manual workers. 7 firms (36%) use or would use local employment agencies, 3 use or would use local Notice Boards. For professional and managerial staff there is a tendency to also use national trade press. The findings support the continued use of locally organised recruitment drives, corroborated by open ended answers that suggested other methods include word of mouth and leaflets etc.

14 firms (73%) stated that they do not operate formal training programmes for staff. Of the 5 that participate, programmes include:

Apprenticeships

First Aid

Risk Assessments

BEST Training Days

Computer usage

Supplier training

Union Sources

Student Training

Of those firms (5) that expressed an interest in learning more about training programmes, the following were cited as requirements:

Computer based training

Sales Support

Customer Care and Marketing

Health and Safety

Team Skills and Management

Office Administration

Telesales

In terms of the residential distribution of staff, a varied response was received. The larger the organisation, the less likely the incidence of these questions being answered. Of the 140 staff covered by responses, 64 (45%) reside in postal code districts outside BS1-7 inclusive (greater Bristol urban area), 76 (54%) inside, of which 20 (14%) live within St Werburghs.

The distribution of staff has an implication upon the preferred mode of travel to and from work. Of the 140 staff covered by the responses, 102 (72%) drive to work " although the survey did not ascertain whether this was as a lone driver or as a car sharer.

Brooks have advised that a large percentage of their staff at any one time are residents of Easton and locations within walking distance to the south of the M32. This results in a large and steady flow of pedestrians across and underneath the motorway " gateways which are perceived by many to be dangerous. A large number of the workforce of Brooks come from an ethic minority background and are women.

Crime and Perceptions of Crime

The section of the questionnaire relating to actual criminal action experienced by local firms, perceptions and fears of crime and possible solutions to minimise criminal activity was completed by 17 firms (90%). Opportunities to respond to open ended questions were generally widely taken.

In broad terms, just over a third of firms worried about crime a lot, a quarter a little and just over a third a little. No firm stated that they did not worry about criminal activity in the area.

In terms of actual criminal experiences, at least 54 incidents were recorded in the last 12 months. The varied nature on which respondents answered the questions prevents a definitive answer to this question.

Incidents experienced included theft of property (15 cases) and criminal damage (13 cases).

Perceptions of criminal activity were sought through open ended questions ranking concerns from 1 (highest) to 6).

Results taken from the Rank 1 responses suggests a general and widespread concern as to Burglary, Robbery, Theft and Shoplifting with 12 out of the 18 responses (66%). Car Crime (4 or 22%) and vandalism 2 (11%) were also ranked highly.

In relation to all responses, a total of 45 categories of criminal activity were mentioned. These were grouped as follows:

Theft / Robbery / Burglary 20 references 44% of all responses

Criminal Damage 13 28%

General crime 3 6%

Assault 3 6%

Other 6 13%

Amongst others the following were mentioned " Arson, Trespass, Drug taking and prostitution.

In response to the questions as to what businesses would like to see being done to reduce the problems of crime, increased Police activity in the area (i.e. Police on the beat) were cited as the highest priority (rank 1) by 13 out of the 14 firms that responded* quoting possible solutions (92%).

The following were cited as action issues to address. In all but one case, these were ranked as being lower than a greater police presence in the area:

More Police

Increased use of Shutters on frontage properties

Increased and improved lighting

Increased use of Close Circuit Television (CCTV)

Tougher action to prevent / reduce Drug Taking and prostitution (7 references)

Youth Gang activities

Change in Council Housing Policies to prevent undesirables residing in the area

Neighbourhood watch

The final question of the survey sought opinions as to the issues which most dissatisfies respondents in doing business in St Werburghs. The following are ranked in terms of the number of references:

Crime / Fear of Crime / Car Crime 4

Open Drug Use and Dealing 3

Nothing / We love it / We like it 3

Parking 2

Traffic Flows at Peak Times 2

No safe walking routes 1

Customer perceptions 1

Untaxed cars and vans parked on-street 1

High Rates 1

Talk of Road Charging 1

Abuse from customers 1

Youth gangs 1

A number of the items listed above can be mitigated by effective management of the built environment. Designing out crime is a main theme of government guidance. We have taken into account these responses in formulating our recommendations for the area in the form of Proposals for Discussion.

* two firms responded that they had not traded within the area for a sufficient time to comment.

The level of response following the series of questionnaires and personal introductions was poor. It is suggested that this be pursued with one-to-one interviews with those who did not respond. The views of local employers are important to achieve an inclusive and jointly-owned Plan or Strategy which itself can only be promoted with the support of the private sector. Local job opportunities which flow from local businesses need to be better understood and publicised. It may be that BEST are well placed to pursue this interview process as part of their property audit database. Should the initiative be pursued, it is vital that a wider range of issues (other than property) are addressed to maximise the use of results to inform a number of networks and projects.

11 SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

11.1 Introduction

This State of the Environment Report provides a baseline of information, as of June 2002* to act as a foundation for future work within St Werburghs. The purpose of the document has been to draw together a number of existing strands of information and to undertake research into specific topics, not previously covered, to provide a thorough understanding of the area at the present time.

The information collected within this document has been used as a base for the production of a series of Proposals for Discussion, prepared following discussion with the project steering group. This group is resented by local community groups, the St Werburghs Community Association and supported by Bristol City Council. The funding for the project has come from these groups and the Neighbourhood Renewal Team of the City Council.

A draft State of the Environment Report was presented to the steering group on the 13th June and comments from the group have been incorporated into this final version.

The document is structured to reflect the methodology set out in Section 2, with the following sections presenting the work undertaken in each of the work packages. This summary takes the information from these sections but presents it under a series of headings to reflect the New Policies, Funding and Targets from the National Strategy Action Plan produced by the Social Exclusion Unit in January 2001.

The Action Plan reflects the governments priorities for the next three years in the defined deprived areas, which includes St Werburghs, for the whole range of services and facilities, many of which are outside of the scope of this study. However, it is important to reflect these priorities in this study as this will be the primary driver for improvements and a main source of funding. Management of the physical environment can also influence and address many of these core topic areas.

*as amended by updates to the Community Transport Project and the status of the Mark Priest Building.

11.2 Work and Enterprise

St Werburghs, as part of Baptist Mills, has a long history of employment generation and is even credited with being the cradle of the industrial revolution by some local historians.

The local plan allocates a large portion of the area as an Existing Primary Industrial and Warehousing Area. This includes Ashley Trading Estate, Parkway Trading Estate and Minto Road Industrial Centre.

The St Agnes and St Werburghs Renewal Area proposals included, as one of its Key Project Areas, (Number 4) an area between Gatton Road and Saxon Road for employment generation. Part of this area is currently vacant but has the benefit of planning consent for employment uses. (See Section 9.11 Simms/Birds employment site).

A bespoke land use survey undertaken for this study indicates a total of 29,000m2 (Gross Floor Area) of commercial floorspace within the study area, a vacancy rate of 17%. This figure was strongly skewed by the inclusion of the Mark Priest building, which made up 10% of the 17%. The buildings were vacant in June 2002 but in the period before the production of this document the building has been occupied and thus the vacancy rate for commercial buildings is only 7%.

The National Strategy Action Plan acknowledges the importance of transport to employment generation and also to the promotion of accessible employment for all, particularly through efficient public transport. The presence of the M32 provides excellent accessibility for businesses to the national road network. However, the flows which the motorway artery generates through the area leads to a degree of congestion which causes local concern.

St Werburghs is a mixed commercial and residential area and the potential conflict between these road users does lead to some concern. The separation of these users both in terms of the flow of large vehicles and the safety of pedestrians especially children are issues dealt with in the Proposals for Discussion.

The views of local businesses, their current situation and aspirations for the future were identified as an information gap by the Steering Group at the outset of this project. As a result a survey of local businesses was undertaken, 85 questionnaires were delivered to locals businesses across the range of sectors (Industrial to retail) and scale.

The results of the survey indicated that the majority of firms (78%) felt that their accommodation meets present needs. However over a third did identify a desire to expand operations within the next three years but lack space to do so.

With regard to staff issues, the majority of staff employed by companies who responded live within the central Bristol urban area (Postcodes BS1 " 7). However the majority (72%) still travel by car. 73% of firms do not operate any formal training programmes for staff. A small number of firms expressed an interest in training programmes for a range of skills including sales, customer care, telesales and office administration.

11.3 Crime

Crime and the fear of crime are recurring themes in the responses given by residents and businesses to surveys both for this study and previous research.

The bespoke survey undertaken for this commission indicated that crime is experienced by many local firms, and the perceived threat of crime is prevalent. The vast majority of respondents referred to the wish to see increased police presence on the streets. Whilst these views were made, the remit of out commission (that of looking at the Physical Environment) prevents us taking forward this particular initiative/measure. Environmental improvements that restricts the incidence of criminal activities in the area (improved lighting, CCTV etc) were highlighted. These measures, now commonplace to Design out Crime can be taken forward as individual initiatives, or as part of the redevelopment of sites for a variety of uses.

Questionnaires completed for the Community Consultation Exercise in 2000 indicated that crime was a specific concern amongst many and this was generally linked to specific sites, including the bridge overt the M32 onto Gatton Road. These views were reiterated at the community consultation exercise undertaken as part of the IT Suite opening day.

Crime is currently the subject of a specific study being undertaken by UWE on behalf of the Community Association and Bristol City Council. The study is being undertaken in parallel with this document, although at the time of writing, no findings are available for inclusion at this stage.

11.4 Education & skills

The study area includes a nursery school, primary school and Special School plus the community centre which is the location for a number of courses and Parkway Methodist Church, the centre for a crèche.

St Werburghs Primary School is currently subject of development proposals for an Arts Space which will provide a flexible indoor space, designed for performing arts with some ancillary accommodation.

The business survey indicated that the majority of local firms do not operate their own training programmes. A number identified a need for training in skills such as Computer based training, Sales Support, Customer Care and Office Administration.

In all cases the physical accessibility of educational opportunities for both adults and children is seen to be restricted by fears over personnel safety. These fears are focussed towards both conflict with traffic and fear of personnel attack in key geographical locations.

The proposed redevelopment of the Community Centre, the creation of additional public space at the AVAG site and the provision of the Arts Space at the school will all enhance the educational opportunities within the area. However, if the fear of travelling to these sites is not reduced, particularly for adults at night and for children in the crossing of busy streets, then the additional capacity will not be taken up.

11.5 Health

The review of previous consultation exercises indicated that the lack of a health centre, doctors surgeries, dentists or treatment rooms within the area is a concern for local residents. This situation is made worse by the paucity of public transport links to the nearest facility, Charlotte Keel in Easton.

The Renewal Area team has commissioned a study into the opportunities for community transport across the M32 with a view to promoting a service to meet demand. However, the option for a St Werburghs Health Centre will be considered within the Proposals for Discussion as part of mixed use developments on identified sites.

11.6 Housing & Physical Environment

The land use survey indicated that the majority of the study area is occupied by housing of varying ages, predominately erected pre 1900. As part of the Renewal Area designation these dwellings, in part of the study area, have benefited from Group Repair Scheme funding. However, this funding has been limited to a number of streets and has not included certain categories of dwelling, notably those which include other uses within the building, i.e. retail at ground level and buildings which are of recent construction.

The Group Repair Scheme is currently entering its final phase and it is unlikely that all of the dwellings eligible for grants will benefit. Generally, however, St Werburghs does not suffer, like other inner city areas, from low housing demand and abandonment of dwellings. In fact a casual review of estate agent windows in the vicinity indicates a strong housing market and rising prices.

The land use survey also identified that a high percentage of the study area, particularly considering the city centre location, is dominated by green space including parks and allotments. However, the green spaces are concentrated to the north of the area, the south being a very much more urban grain defined by a major motorway and rail line.

At the centre of the southern area Mina Road Park has been the subject of significant investment from both the city council and the local community. The park was identified as one of the Key Project Areas as part of the Renewal Area Proposals and has benefited from investment in street furniture, play equipment and the fabric of the park itself. This, along with improvements to Mina Road in general, have improved the physical environment of this part of the area significantly. However, projects are still underway to improve this further.

An important aspect of the changes to Mina Road have been the calming of traffic along the road, which has traditionally formed a rat run from the M32 to York Street. The impact of introducing calming on Mina Road has however been to redirect traffic along adjacent residential streets such as Sandbed Road. This traffic flow is reflected in the responses from individuals to questionnaires and is indicated by the level of traffic accidents recorded along these roads. Further accident hot spots are located at the Sevier Street/Sussex Place/Ashley Hill junction, at the top of Ashley Hill and along the Sevier Street/York Street/James Street corridor.

The quality of the environment within these streets is reduced by the flow of traffic and it is desirable to consider opportunities for the reduction. The government is currently monitoring 8 Home Zones, where residential streets are shared by pedestrians and vehicles equally. An area around the AVAG site in the north of the study area was submitted as a potential home zone but was unsuccessful. However, the further consideration of Home Zones in this area should be supported.

There are already a number of projects underway which will improve the overall environment of the study area through the redevelopment of sites. These include the redevelopment of the Community Centre, the AVAG site and the Simms/Birds employment site. The last of these is adjacent to the scrap yard which remains in operation, with no firm proposals for redevelopment. This site does pose a significant issue for the quality of the local environment both with regard to heavy vehicle traffic, the impact of which will to an extent be minimised by changes as a result of the Gatton Road enhancement, but also from air pollution caused by fires within the site.

Other key vacant and underused sites offer potential to rationalise employment provision, introduce new residential uses and strengthen the retail service offer to local residents, while acting as a catalyst for further investment. These sites (and others) are taken forward as potential projects in the Proposals for Discussion, prepared under separate cover.

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