For further information on the recently completed consultation, please visit the consultation page. 


Bristol Charities

Bristol Charities is a registered UK charity whose mission is to provide opportunities and support for people and communities to improve lives through grants, housing and charitable projects. Our organisation has transformed and enhanced the lives of those in need in Bristol for over six hundred years.


Project Vision

Our vision for the Vassall Centre is to transform the site into a balanced new neighbourhood centre for multigenerational living and working. This will include accessible, sustainable work and meeting spaces for current and potentially new tenants alongside new, high quality affordable housing for older people and families, together with facilities for the wider community.


The Site

The Vassall Centre is located on the corner of Gill Avenue and Vassall Road in Fishponds, Bristol.

The existing Vassall Centre buildings, built in 1945 as a temporary based for American soldiers. Now more than 75 years old, they are at the end of their practical lifespan and offer very low levels of energy efficiency and sustainability.

The site is in a sustainable location, within a 10-minute walk of the commercial centre of Fishponds Road, with a variety of shops and restaurants and well connect, with good bus links and bus stops next to the site entrance.



Our proposals, which we are shaping in consultation with our tenants, local residents and wider stakeholders, offer a unique opportunity for the Vassall Centre to improve upon the existing services, make better provision for the local community and make more effective use of the site.

The new centre is being designed to offer much-needed affordable homes for older people and families; new accessible highly-sustainable workspace for charities and businesses; community facilities and shared, public outside space in the heart of the scheme.

Modern, high quality designs will significantly improve the visual appeal of the centre, open it up to the local community and increase biodiversity, with new trees, planting and space for wildlife. We are also exploring ways to commemorate and celebrate the centre’s historic role and legacy within our designs.

Bristol Charities is committed to retaining a high level of accessibility for which the Vassall Centre is well known and we have appointed an independent accessibility consultant, Centre for Accessible Environments (CAE), to provide expert advice to inform our plans. Specialist consultants, including a landscape consultant, ecologist, highways consultant and mechanical and engineering consultant are bringing their particular knowledge and expertise to the project.

It is proposed that construction will take place in two phases, so that tenants in the workspaces can continue to operate from the site whilst work is underway.

We are committed to the site in the long-term and plan to own and manage the housing for older people, community facilities and workspace. Brighter Places, a highly experienced charitable housing association based in Bristol, has been selected to develop and manage the affordable housing.


Recent progress

Our design and planning team, including the recently appointed landscape, ecology, accessibility and engineering consultants, have been reviewing the initial consultation feedback and developing more detailed plans.

The design development work includes:

  • Daylight/sunlight studies to show how the latest proposals relate to neighbouring properties
  • More detailed designs for the ‘landscaped heart’ of the scheme including outdoor recreational space offering wellbeing, wildlife and ecology benefits
  • Ongoing discussions with providers in the Fishponds area to confirm the demand for good quality early years and nursery provision
  • Reviewing responses to the community survey (see below)
  • Developing the office hub layout including accessibility features
  • Commemorating the centre’s important historic role and legacy including the reuse of materials from the demolition of the Vassall Centre to create landscape features
  • A phased approach to the overall development so that existing Vassall Centre tenants who want to remain are not displaced during construction
  • A review of the layout and mix of housing which Brighter Places will be bringing forward in phase 2



Bristol Charities will be refining our proposals and taking people's ideas from the recent round of consultation and submitting a planning application to Bristol City Council in the coming months.

Once the planning application is submitted, there will be a further consultation period led by Bristol City Council, when people will have a further opportunity to comment on the proposals before any formal planning decision is made.