Community leaders in one of Bristol’s most deprived areas are urging support for development plans which they say will transform the area.
Lawrence Weston Neighbourhood Planning Group held a recent meeting attended by Bristol City Council officials and residents over plans to redevelop the area’s former City of Bristol College site between Long Cross and Broadlands Drive.
The college closed the facility in 2010, which meant the further loss of services to the neighbourhood in north-west Bristol.
Residents have been involved in a consultation across the entire estate over plans for the multi-million pound development. They are calling for high quality housing, a supermarket and other modern community facilities to be built.
Co-owned by the council and City of Bristol College, the site will be put on the market in the summer.
Mark Pepper, chair of the group and local resident, said: “This redevelopment will help boost the regeneration of the area and will be a significant improvement.
“It’s important for the community to have a supermarket because prices in the small shops we currently have are very expensive and elderly residents don’t always have the chance to travel out of the area to a big supermarket.
“Residents are very opposed to more flats being built because these encourage a transient population. But if we build high quality housing with gardens people will feel a greater sense of ownership of the area. This will help people put down roots and get them more involved in community life.”
Mr Pepper added that the new Localism Act, which aims to shift power from central government back into the hands of communities, means residents should feel greater confidence their views will be taken into consideration.
Lawrence Weston is one of Bristol’s most deprived areas, with 27% of the working age population claiming benefits (the Bristol average was 14%) in May 2010.
The area also ranks highly in terms of health deprivation with significantly higher than average rates of obesity, mental illness, teenage pregnancies and low educational attainment.
Lawrence Weston sits within the ‘Northern Arc’, an area designated as a priority for regeneration within the council’s Core Strategy.
Helen Bone, spokesperson for Lawrence Weston Community Network and working with residents to create a new community plan for Lawrence Weston, said: “For too long now residents have had to watch while other neighbourhoods were prioritised for regeneration.
“The community here is fantastic and the neighbourhood has huge potential, but there are problems too and the residents of Lawrence Weston deserve better. The redevelopment of the college site and creation of the community plan are key to attracting public and private sector investment into the area.”
There will be further consultation on Saturday, April 28. For more information, contact Mark Pepper at firstname.lastname@example.org