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Meeting notes: March Community meetings

Click here to read the meeting notes from the three events held in March.
Who attended

Graham Stephens – Project Director/Manager, Stride Treglown

Paul Haworth –Town Planner, Stride Treglown

Paul Seaver - Urban Designer, Stride Treglown

Nicola Beech – Cabinet Member with responsibility for Spatial Planning and City Design, Bristol City Council

Lynn Parfitt – Community Development Officer, Bristol City Council

Ellie Freeman – Chair, Action Greater Bedminster

Fiona Clabon – Communications Assistant, Action Greater Bedminster

Tom Selway – Director, Cadence PR

Community conversations on regenerating the area around Whitehouse Street

Three community events were held virtually in March to introduce the Whitehouse Street regeneration project. These sessions aimed to provide details of what the Regeneration Framework for the area will be about and answered initial questions that attendees had. Approximately 85 people from the local community and businesses took part across the three events.

The creation of a Community Manifesto for the area was also discussed. This will be used to help shape the Regeneration Framework.

Comments made in the meeting relating to the manifesto have been used to help create a draft Community Manifesto. You can comment on the draft here, as well as attending workshops to refine the draft on 1st June at 6pm and 8th June at 6pm. Please get in touch if you would like to attend.

Below is a summary of the meetings and some of the early comments from participants. There were a number of questions asked about the Whitehouse Street project, including about noise, the Clean Air Zone, and school provision. We have added these to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website.

A Regeneration Framework for the area around Whitehouse Street, Councillor Nicola Beech

Cllr Nicola Beech, Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning and City Design, introduced the background to the project and why the area has been identified as a location for regeneration. The project aims to deliver much needed new homes and jobs in a sustainable location close to the City Centre, as well as proving leisure and cultural spaces. Cllr Beech also reiterated the importance of involving the local community from the outset, in order to create a site that is an asset to the community, somewhere people are happy to visit, walk through, live and work.

Cllr Beech explained why the regeneration team have teamed up with Action Greater Bedminster (AGB) to help ensure the local community, with their local experiences and knowledge, have a say on how this is brought forward. You can read more about the background to the project and the work that Action Greater Bedminster have been doing on the Whitehouse Street website.

What is the Whitehouse Street Framework? Graham Stephens, Stride Treglown Architects

Graham heads the team at Stride Treglown who will be responsible for creating the Whitehouse Street regeneration framework. Stride Treglown are a respected Bristol based architectural and development practice with a huge amount of experience in delivering frameworks like this and getting the best possible outcomes.

Graham explained the role of a regeneration framework in meeting the council's objectives for delivering new homes, businesses and community spaces, and ensuring the site's mix of uses work well together. Graham also shared examples of good regeneration planning, for example The Kings Cross, London development: King's Cross - welcome to the neighbourhood

What is a regeneration framework?

A regeneration framework is a document that brings together urban planning, transport, design and community thinking, with inclusive and sustainable growth in an area. It's there to make sure that:

  1. Any changes to an area work well all together
  2. Proposals are brought forward in accordance with emerging council Planning Policies
  3. The three landowners can collaborate to transform the area based on an agreed vision
  4. The priorities of the local community are embedded from the start - before designs for planning applications begin
  5. Design quality and environmental objectives are locked into future planning applications

What is a regeneration framework not?
  1. A planning application
  2. Detailed building designs
  3. The last chance to have your say in development proposals coming forward in the area.

Graham explained how much influence the community will have on the project. While the council is keen that the community can have its say throughout the process, there are some elements that are out of their control, such as planning policy and technical information like underground utilities.

We have published a Community Scope of Influence so that it is easy to see what the community can and can't influence.

Graham also set out the process for activity to take place. You can view this below.

What is Action Greater Bedminster's (AGB) role? Ellie Freeman, Action Greater Bedminster

AGB has been appointed to facilitate community conversations and to create a Community Manifesto for the area around Whitehouse Street.

AGB is the community partnership for Bedminster and Southville. They are volunteers who work with local organisations and councillors. This the first time AGB has worked with the council in this way from the start of a project to help create more positive outcomes for the community.

Ellie went through some of the feedback given by the community so far. We have received a huge amount of feedback including over 200 comments on the interactive map and a similar number of survey responses. The main themes so far include: outdoor space for community use; sense of community; comments on height and student accommodation; wildlife and greenery; and sustainability. This has been used to create a draft Community Manifesto.

Updated May 2021- You can read and comment on the draft Community Manifesto here and sign up to the Community Manifesto workshops here.

There will be many opportunities for the community to comment as the plans progress and we will keep the website up to date, as well as having regular email updates. The best way to stay in touch is to sign up to the mailing list.

What questions and comments were raised?

There were a number of questions asked about the project. We have added these to the Frequently Asked Questions section of the website here. We will continue to update this page as the project progresses and new questions are asked.

Some of the comments made during the meetings are below. These themes have been incorporated into the emerging Community Manifesto.

“This approach of engaging with the local community early is so welcome! To see early engagement setting out the process and the scope of influence helpful being really clear.”

“Improvement on some of the processes we've seen in the past in this area, thank you!”

“It is obviously very hard to run community consultations / raise awareness during a pandemic and I think AGB have done a great job promoting. We also have the election coming up so that will affect what AB are trying to do.”

“The proposed road improvements will seriously affect all of the businesses around and may make it impossible for us to trade.”

“Community cohesion is really important and spaces where people can meet provides opportunities for people to build community. The importance of having outdoor areas for the community to use has been highlighted over the last year due to Covid where we've all been meeting friends and colleagues outdoors. If a similar situation would ever happen again these outdoor community areas would be so key and important to benefit the mental health and community feel of the area.”

“One of the things I love about this part of Bedminster is that we have the local business estate - where people are employed and offer services to local people. There's over 400 people employed in the industrial estate - that's not a small number of jobs. We are keen to keep skills, training and jobs in the area of south Bristol.”

“We are concerned about businesses outside the immediate development zone and the wider impact of the development and construction work on businesses in the area.”

“We need to start from the ground up and make sure we tread as lightly as possible on our precious planet.”

“There is a lot of evidence that Mixed Use— business, industry, small workshops, and diversity of economic and social offerings - make better places. We need to bring that evidence forward into the manifesto. A 'good place' means different things to everyone, so maybe integrating diversity of scale of businesses, types of housing, and so on is key.”

“As a local parent with children at St Mary Redcliffe Primary, my main concern is the impact on school places if there will be lots of new family homes built on this area. Community spaces are extremely important, we use the farm a lot which holds a multi faith space. Thinking about the future of this area.”

“There is a negative history around the process, fatigue, due to previous developments. The community needs reassuring. It's going to be important to get the message out there that this is different, reassuring the community, allow them to raise voices and for them to feed through to the planning applications.”

“As residents, we are asking for total transparency. We appreciate it has to be commercially viable for all involved, landowners. Highlighting what the community will want, creating an area that has a community feel is important. Concern over the developers ignoring the desire for green space as Victoria Park is next door. It would be great if there could be focus on creating a successful place and lasting legacy; thinking about the long-term impact of the spaces they are developing.”