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What does the community think about the look and feel of the development?

Following on from engagement events in July, an in-person event was held on 8th September at the former Park Furnishers site.

Around 50 people attended the event to learn more about the fascinating history of the area around Whitehouse Street. Attendees were encouraged to share their memories of living in and around the area, and were treated to a talk by Pete Insole, Bristol City Council archaeologist, on how this part of Bristol has developed since the medieval period.

The event was also an opportunity for people to see examples of architecture, public realm and public art projects from elsewhere in the world and give their thoughts to help inform the project.

An online survey seeking views on some of these examples is on the Whitehouse Street website for those unable to attend the event. So far, this has been completed by 23 people.

Although overall this is a small sample and the two surveys used slightly different images, there seem to some themes emerging.

At the in-person event and online, people seemed keen on the modern developments i.e. Paintworks, Freiburg, Wapping Wharf. Comments on Wapping Wharf include: 'I think the space has overall been well designed for people to move through, or stop and rest', 'great atmosphere', 'does not dominate skyline' and on Freiburg: 'Really exciting, different, almost an attraction to wander through in itself, like St Werburghs', 'Green, not too high'. There were some reservations about maintenance and the mixed use of cycle/walking paths.

Respondents were split or not keen on Caxton Works, Bourne Estate and Fish Island. Comments on the Bourne Estate: 'Boring', 'lacks character', 'not inspiring', 'too generic' and Caxton Works: 'no nature, no art, feels a bit soulless', 'needs more planting'. With Fish Island people seemed to like the river and greenery but were not very keen on the architecture itself, with lots of comments saying it's too high and overbearing.

People also like the more traditional conversions such as the Robinson Building, with comments online saying it reflects the history of the area.

The most popular theme, both online and in person, is the Byzantine style, with comments like: 'it has distinction, prettiness, play on pattern, looks bold', 'Very Bristol, handsome, historic'. At the in-person event, the terraced houses got lots of votes, with the police station also being popular. Local character is obviously appealing.

Public Realm and Public Art

When looking at public realm (that is spaces designed for public enjoyment and use such as streets, parks or cycle routes), there were 20 votes for Orford Road online and 4 in person, with comments such as: 'Wide pavements, planting, one way street', 'lots of space for pedestrians, quiet street, could do with more trees though', 'it looks fantastic, clear pathways, cobbled street, green, wide pavement' although there was some concern about disabled access. The image showing street planting in Waltham Forest got 5 votes.

The Pocket Park had 19 votes online, with positive comments. A couple of comments said The Pocket Park could be more organic, curved and natural looking, needed maintaining and did not replace the need for larger green spaces, while others said it looked lovely and 'the more green, the better', 'a space for people and nature which looks safe for children.'

The image 'Commissioning temporary or permanent artworks' had 5 votes while the others had none or negative comments. In the online comments, people said they wanted to see:

  • Street art, artist studios, exhibition space
  • Space for the community to develop their own public art that can be renewed over time.
  • Art that is interactive, playful not gimmicky, restful, uses renowned artists, is organic feeling, from sustainable materials
  • The utilisation of interesting lighting - neon, spotlights etc - Bristol Light Festival was great!
  • Art from a diverse range of people in the city, representing Bristol in its entirety.
  • Interactive playable sculpture, rotating funded exhibitions on streets and an input from Upfest.
  • Input from local artists through Upfest and works linking with nature