Stokes Croft is an area which embodies what Bristol is all about.
Unique, fiercely independent and full of character, the area is home to fantastic street art and a wealth of bars, clubs and restaurants – not to mention a fascinating history.
It was badly damaged during World War Two, with many of its buildings destroyed during the Bristol Blitz.
With the council opting to first regenerate offices in the south of the city and housing in the north, it meant there was a lack of larger developments in Stokes Croft.
This in turn led small independent businesses to choose it as their new home, creating the bohemian feel which has gone on to characterise it ever since.
However, things could be very different in the not-too-distant future.
There are a number of major developments planned for Stokes Croft and the surrounding areas, which threaten to eradicate its famously avant-garde and idiosyncratic nature.
Below are some of the most prominent currently proposed.
Blue Mountain is a nightclub which has been running for nearly three decades.
Over that time it has gained a legendary status with ravers of all ages and has welcomed countless world-renowned DJs to play behind the decks.
But in December last year, its management announced that the club’s final ever event would take place in February with a heartfelt message.
However, the club was then handed a lifeline in the month in which it was supposed to close when its team revealed that it would be allowed to stay open throughout the summer.
This meant it was recently able to play a part in Rave on Avon, but the club is still expected to close later this year, bringing an end to one of Bristol’s most famous party spots.
A plan has been submitted by RedOak Property to demolish the nightclub and build a mixed-use scheme including 245 bedrooms of student accommodation as well as commercial and office space.
RedOak Property, whose headquarters are in Luxembourg, is described as a “real estate fund focused on UK purpose built student accommodation investment.”
According to a spokesperson from RedOak: “The site is in need of regeneration and part of the site already has permission for student accommodation.
“We have been in talks over potential future uses for the lower floors and our current thinking is for the ground floor to be commercial, the first floor to be office, maybe shared workspace; and the remainder to be student.”
The planning application was submitted in April and has so far received plenty of letters of objection, with people arguing that more student accommodation is not needed in the area.
Full plans for the development can be seen on Bristol City Council’s website, where you can leave your own comments on it.
Like Blue Mountain, Lakota is a truly legendary club which is seen as one of the best in the South West.
In the early 90s the legendary venue on the corner of Upper York Street and Moon Street was regarded as one of the most famous in the country, welcoming many of the world’s most exciting DJs.
Now, three decades on, it is still held in the same esteem among DJs and clubbers far and wide who love it for its grimy nature, pounding sound system and consistently impressive line-ups.
But the Burgess family, who own the venue, released a statement in October las year expressing their intentions to call it a day, confirming the worst fears of many by hinting it could become accommodation and business space.
While it will come as a relief to clubbers that there are no imminent plans to redevelop the venue, with it likely to remain as it is for a few years, it’s still a huge blow to Stokes Croft and the whole of Bristol
A planning application has been submitted to Bristol City Council for a scheme which would see the former Coroner’s Court and 6 Upper York Street – which is home to Lakota – transformed into a mixed use development.
The scheme, which has been submitted on behalf of The Old Bottle Works, includes 54 residential dwellings spread across the site.
A new four-storey block of accommodation would be erected adjacent to 6 Upper York Street.
The applicants say they intend to keep the ground floor of the Upper York Street building – which is where Lakota is based – for business use but it is currently unclear what that would be specifically.
The rest of the site would be made up of 42 one-bedroom flats/studio, 11 two-bedroom flats and one three-bedroom flat.
Westmoreland House and The Carriageworks
Both Westmoreland House and The Carriageworks are currently in the process of being demolished, with work beginning in November last year.
Westmorland House was famously the home to a football pools company and back in the 1960s and 70s it was a modern building employing hundreds of staff, most of them women in clerical roles.
Though any right-thinking person would consider “spastic” a grossly demeaning term today, in the 1950s and 60s it was considered a neutral and acceptable term.
It was known across the country as “The Spastics Pool” and to Bristolians Westmorland House was “The Spastics Pool Building”.
The firm came to an end in 1976, with the remaining staff being laid off at short notice.
The freehold on the building seems at some point to have reverted to the Spastics Society, which put it on the market in 1980 at an asking price of £1.9m. It has been empty ever since.
The work is part of a large-scale project to build 112 homes and residential units, the design of which was influenced by a working group of residents and business owners from the surrounding area intent on shaping a development which matched the character of the area.
However, fewer than 10 per cent of the properties which will be built as part of the redevelopment will be affordable, which has drawn plenty of criticism.
In addition to the new accommodation there will be 13 commercial units on the ground floor of the development.
There are plans for artwork to be installed at the Carriageworks site, once completed, which will be “in keeping with Stokes Croft’s current aesthetic”, but not everyone is convinced.
The PG Group is responsible for the ongoing work at the site, who recently made some amendments to the plan, including a reconfiguration which will mean there are fewer but larger residential units.
Plans for the development can be seen on Bristol City Council’s website.
The corner of Surrey Street is currently occupied by derelict buildings and warehouse space, formerly owned by Sandhu Cash and Carry and more recently used by YoBike to store cycles.
The buildings were bombed out of existence during the Second World War.
But a developer hopes to demolish the industrial units to create space there and behind numbers 31 and 32 on Portland Square.
A 93-apartment development is planned which would see the regeneration of the corner of Surrey Street and Portland Square either side of the popular nightspot Cosies – which could put it in jeopardy – and opposite the former bar the Surrey Vaults, which suffered its demise as a result of noise complaints.
The plans, submitted by The Portland Square Ltd alongside Clifton -based developer Freemantle, would also include the partial demolition of two presently derelict Georgian buildings on the Grade I listed square and see them replaced with new “replica-style” structures.
This would see the square complete for the first time since two buildings on the west side were destroyed during World War Two.
The Brunswick Club
The Brunswick Club is a former working men’s club which has played host to gigs, exhibitions, and workshops by artists from Bristol and further afield and has been a stalwart of the Bristol social scene for more than 100 years.
The club has been home to Bristol Experimental & Expanded Film (BEEF), an experimental film and sound collective, Residence, a live art and performance group, CHAMP, a DIY artist collective, and sound artists-in-residence Melanie Clifford and Howard Jacques who broadcast a weekly show on Resonance FM.
It has been leased to more than 30 artists, performers, film-makers and musicians since March 2017 and has become an artistic hotbed in the 18 months since.
But those artists and musicians recently had to vacate the building to make way for development.
Plans have recently been approved to turn the iconic building into offices.
Building owners Arlo Holdings applied to the council for a change-of-use from a member’s club to office space in April 2018.
A separate planning application was submitted for the necessary building work to convert the space.
The plans include replacing the bar and skittle alley downstairs with open-plan offices, as well as the bar and function room on the ground floor. Other rooms upstairs will also be converted into office space.
Following more than 300 objections, the first plan was rejected but the developers Nordic Star Investments Ltd won at appeal.
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