Controversial and culturally diverse, Stokes Croft could become a template for regenerating run-down inner-city districts – without compromising their integrity as cultural and artistic hubs.
The area plays a key role in linking Bristol’s commercial centre with its fast-growing suburbs.
Some commentators might disagree, but to me Stokes Croft is a shining example for other run-down inner-city areas to follow.
This is especially so for those locations which have a core retail element – it is common knowledge that many secondary retail pitches are failing as shoppers are drawn to the convenience of online shopping.
After many years of bad press, Stokes Croft has reinvented itself as the alternative cultural and artistic hub of Bristol. Doubters will argue that it has a split personality – charming and chic at times, less so at other times, although perhaps it’s the underlying edginess that is part of the charm.
At the heart of the change has been the strength and resolve of the local community.
Culturally diverse, they have embraced the opportunity to create their own special brand of uniqueness and the area is now home to artisans and businesses that are as diverse as they are entrepreneurial.
Stokes Croft is thriving, having attracted a unique mixed-use offering, dominated by independent retailers and food halls.
A note of caution is that Stokes Croft may become a victim of its own success – raising its profile has led to increased residential values and if the very people who have created this vibrancy are forced out, then the dynamics will leave with them.
Tim Davies is the head of South West and Wales at global real estate advisor Colliers International.
Main photo by Lily Davies
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