Around 45 local residents joined their Councillors, Ruth Pickersgill (Easton) Marg Hickman (Lawrence Hill) Afzal Shah (Easton) and Hibaq Jama (Lawrence Hill) at a meeting at City Academy on 6 March to hear about proposed CIL-funded projects for our neighbourhood.
Ruth opened the meeting with an explanation of CIL, and what it can (and can’t) be spent on. Community Infrastructure Levy is money paid to the council by developers when they build on a site. 85% of the money goes directly to the council to be spent on large infrastructure projects, but 15% of the money is set aside for local projects, and local Councillors decide how it is spent. It can only spent on capital projects, for example a new road crossing or building, and cannot be used for ongoing maintenance or staff costs.
Residents and local groups then had their chance to suggest project ideas, which we have briefly described below - thanks to local resident Claire who took the notes. In total 15 projects were proposed. All projects submitted by the closing date of 15 March will be considered by Councillors, who then have until 23 April to decide which projects will go through to stage 2 of the process. During this time they will contact project proposers to discuss costings and feasibility.
In May, shortlisted projects will be invited to complete a full proposal, with a deadline of 22 July. There will then be a period of technical assessment by Council staff before the Area Committee meets in September/October to make final decisions. Easton and Lawrence Hill are part of Area Committee 4, which also includes Central, Ashley, St George Central, St George - Troopers Hill and St George West.
2019 CIL project proposals for Easton and Lawrence Hill
Refurbishment at Easton Christian Family Centre
Funds are sought for:
- the refurbishment of all toilet facilities, which are currently sub-standard. Also to make improvements to the facilities to create an accessible wetroom.
- Improvements to the cafe, and the creation of a suitable welcoming and safe space for the community, and a baby-changing area.
Two metrobus stops on Eastville roundabout and refurbishment of area
The Metrobus currently only travels along the M32, meaning Eastville and surrounding areas are not serviced. Two bus-stops on Eastville Roundabout (Junction 2) would resolve this. Funding is also requested for a project involving both local children and international street artists to improve the appearance of the roundabout and provide signage giving information on the area before the construction of the motorway. Improved lighting would make the area safer. Tree and hedgerow planting would create a greener environment and encourage wildlife. This area is worth investing in as many visitors enter the town here.
Improvements to the Bristol to Bath Railway Path
1,400 surveys of path users have been conducted including cyclists, walkers and disabled users, to establish their priorities and gather thoughts. Many people are reluctant to use the path due to fear of speeding cyclists. Funding would be used to help make the path safer and more accessible for all, using signage, zoning and lighting. Changes would be made following consultation with users.
Improvements to St Marks Road
This area has been neglected for 30 years - there are potholes in the roads, buildings are becoming derelict, there is a build-up of rubbish and graffiti. The poor road condition means cyclists use pavements instead which creates a risk to pedestrians. St Marks Rd is an important street in Easton and well-known across the whole of Bristol. This is a major project which could be broken into smaller projects for funding purposes.
Felix Road Green Oasis
Felix Road Adventure Playground is used by people 0-80 years and has helped multiple generations in Lawrence Hill and Easton. They work with vulnerable young people and have already carried out a consultation event. There is a 30 year lease and the aim is to improve the playground, cafe and youth spaces catering for vulnerable adults and holding evening classes. Felix Road has the potential to be the best adventure playground - a dog-free green community space for all. Other improvements include a vegetable garden and a sensory garden for children with disabilities.
Pakistani community space
The Pakistani community are looking to either refurbish substandard existing community facilities, or obtain a new building with better facilities.
Easton Community Centre and Owen Square Park
There are many issues with antisocial behaviour, littering, urinating. Security and lighting are inadequate, making the whole area unsafe - including connectivity to and from park and the car park next to the mosque. The intention is to tackle the whole area, increase cycling and bike parking and create better walking facilities. Replacing the floodlights on the football pitch.
Trees and park under Stapleton Road railway viaduct
This is the area underneath the new railway extension, from Fox park, by the Coachhouse pub. This area is in need of improving and is seen as unsafe. Funds are sought to fill the two community flower beds there with fruit trees/nut trees and other plants, and create more green space in this gateway into Easton.
RP clarified that re-greening this area is not part of Network Rail’s remit despite the fact they removed the greenery during the development. They do not have permission to plant trees in case this encourages anti-social behaviour.
Safer streets around Chocolate Factory development
(Councillors noted that this may come under Section 106)
These streets are already built up and congested, with an increase seen over the last 5 or 6 years. There is a high population of 2-10 year olds and not many places to play other than Greenbank Cemetery. The intention is to mitigate the inevitable increase in traffic from Cooperation Road and consider air quality in what will be a higher density living space. Lack of consultation from Generator (developers) is a challenge. Ideas to make these streets safer include:
-increased planting, including trees.
-traffic calming measures, bollards at certain times of day
-electric charging points for cars
-creating a ‘homezone’ space at the corner of Bruce Road.
St Luke’s Crypt improvements
Funds are sought for:
- Establishing youth facilities in Barton Hill
-drop-in services for meals and primary school kids, to combat holiday hunger
-Upgrading toilets, better lighting, improve entrance hall.
-Refurbishment to make whole space suitable for hire by the community.
Play/wellbeing areas in Barton Hill, Netham, Newtown
This bid is made in conjunction with Wellspring and Barton Hill Settlement - the best investment anyone can make is to help young people, reduce crime, increase employment and contribution to society.
Barton Hill is a densely populated area, with lots of children but insufficient play areas. It is important for families to feel safe and confident to visit the available areas. Funds tend to go to the more affluent areas of the city. Parks in Barton Hill have not been touched in ten years and the community house needs refitting. Play equipment in need of repair has been removed and toilets have been closed due to a lack of caretaker, leaving children with nowhere to play.
The area of Newtown has also been neglected, residents feel isolated - there are parks there in need of redevelopment, with improved lighting and play areas.
Bannerman Road pedestrianisation
The junction outside Bannerman Road is due to be closed by Safer Streets.
A local artist is on board for pedestrian areas, making children more visible and safer. The plan is to encourage alternative transport, create an engaging place for social interaction and to monitor road safety, public perception and changes in behaviour before and after the road closure.
Plans for the new identity of the space include seating, lighting, bollards, support for cycling, walking and making the area a playful space.
While Bannerman Road is closed, traffic will be diverted to other roads in the area, so a more holistic approach would be preferred, looking at routes to school and making children visible. This may include timed closure of All Hallows Road at pick-up and drop off times, routes to amenities to and from school e.g. Felix Road Adventure Playground. Looking to build a body of evidence which could impact other areas of Bristol.
(Councillors noted that this would come under Old Market Neighbourhood Plan)
Project to expand the range and type of community groups using the Trinity Centre, invest in customised container units, to use as hot desk space for start-ups, businesses and support individuals’ new initiatives, through to stage 2 ‘Power to Change’ application. This would be match funding for a bigger grant.
Victoria Parade in Redfield
Lorries and cars constantly park on the pavement behind Wetherspoons. This means residents from nearby older people’s homes can’t use the pavement. This is the main access to Church Road. There have been attempts to get pavement bollards fitted in the past but this has not been actioned as never seen as a priority,
Greening bus stops and improving air quality across Easton and Lawrence Hill
The plan is to plant living walls on Evergreen school, and others, to create a barrier against traffic pollution. This will also apply to bus stops along Church Road and Stapleton Road, with the aspiration of improving air quality in general. This could potentially amalgamate with other projects.