News / Hamilton House

End of an era as Coexist leave Hamilton House

By ellie pipe, Wednesday Dec 19, 2018

It was a poignant moment as Coexist, the social enterprise that has run Hamilton House for the last decade, exited the building.

This marked the end of a long-running saga over the future of the Stokes Croft property, which is set to be partially redeveloped into flats and has already changed beyond recognition.

Hundreds of artists who once called the premises home have already left.

Now, the eviction of Coexist has also seen the end of the community kitchen – a not-for-profit cookery school that has worked with organisations such as Bristol Drugs Project and Second Step – the wellbeing centre, which offered free treatments for carers, the reception area and art gallery space.

The building’s owners Connolly and Callaghan (C+C) have installed a new interim management company, Forward Space, to oversee the running of Hamilton House.

The company insists its redevelopment of blocks B and C will safeguard the future of the remaining community hub in the Stokes Croft-facing part of the property.

But it is a sad day for those who have been involved in the development of the space since its inception ten years ago.

Coexist director Claire Holmes said: “It is an incredibly sad time for us to be leaving Hamilton House and we are extremely proud of all we have achieved in the past ten years.

“Coexist may be leaving but this story is not over. This is bigger than us now. It’s about the local area, the community and protecting this important community asset for generations to come.

“Bristol City Council still has the opportunity to step in and do the right thing. Imagine what could be achieved in another ten years.”

Hundreds marched to fight for the future of Hamilton House

A petition calling on the council to issue a compulsory purchase order to protect the future of Hamilton House as a community hub has gained more than 4,700 signatures, meaning the matter will be debated by members at a full council meeting in the New Year.

Community member Gem Burgoyne says: “It will be a huge loss for the local area. Community spaces like Hamilton House are disappearing right across our city and these services are so desperately needed.”

The Coexist team are looking into new sites for 2019 and say they are committed to continuing on with their community work.

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