Redevelopment

Project Vision

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.

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.

Our proposals, which we are shaping and reviewing in partnership/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 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.

 

Timescales

 

Bristol Charities is currently undertaking consultation with tenants, the local community and wider stakeholders on early designs for the redevelopment of the Vassall Centre, before refining our proposals 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.

Background

 

The existing Vassall Centre buildings, which were built as a temporary base for US soldiers in 1945, are now more than 75 years old. They have been altered and modified over the years, with the office to the north of the site being redeveloped to provide housing and the current buildings have now reached the end of their practical lifespan. The newly built, upgraded workspace we are proposing will be of much higher quality than the current offices, highly sustainable and built to last. The redevelopment of the site will also mean we can provide much-needed affordable new homes for older people and families.

We are working on designs that will improve the centre’s visual appeal, open it up to the local community and increase biodiversity, with new trees, planting and space for wildlife. We are also currently 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 specialist advice for our plans.

The team is also committed to increasing biodiversity, with new trees, planting and space for wildlife, and Bristol Charities is in the process of appointing a landscape ecologist to help with this aspect of the proposals.

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.

Bristol Charities will continue to offer accessible workspace for charities and businesses. It is proposed that construction will take place in two phases, so that tenants can continue to operate from the site whilst work is underway.

The project team is also exploring ways to commemorate and celebrate the centre’s historic role and legacy within the designs.

Bristol Charities is currently consulting with a wide range of communities and stakeholders to inform and refine our plans, before submitting a planning application in the coming months.

 

FAQs

Consultation

 

The views of local residents, tenants and wider stakeholders are important to us. We would like to hear your thoughts and ideas about the proposals and what you would like to see from the future centre. These will be taken into account as we develop our proposals.

 

The Story So Far

 

The first round of consultation took place in autumn/winter 2021 and was designed to give people the opportunity to influence the emerging designs at an early stage. We held a series of meetings with tenants and the local community and an exhibition to present our early proposals and hear people’s views.

We had good engagement with the local community, with over 100 people participating in the consultation events and exhibition and 74 responses to our survey. In addition to lots of positive feedback and suggestions, there were some shared concerns, particularly from adjacent neighbours, about the potential impact the proposed development might have on their properties, as well as questions as to why the existing buildings could not be retained and refurbished.

Whilst this phase of consultation is now complete, the exhibition proposals can be viewed below and will remain on display at the Vassall Centre and will be updated as the project progresses. The project team has been reviewing and considering all comments in detail, in order to help shape and inform the next stage of the designs.

What’s next?

As the proposals are developed further ahead of the next round of consultation, we would value your help and ideas, particularly in relation to the publicly accessible elements of the proposals. This includes the potential community uses and activities that could be included in the new building, as well as how to make these welcoming to both existing and new residents.

To facilitate this feedback, we have created a new survey which is available online using the button below. Alternatively, copies are available from the Vassall Centre. which can either be returned to the Vassall Centre or by post to ABC.

Public Consultation

The next round of consultation in February/March will include further community events, meetings and facilitated workshop sessions, where you will have the opportunity to view and discuss the evolving designs, give feedback, and help shape our proposals. Further details will be published here. These events may have to be delivered virtually, depending on covid restrictions.

 

Contact us

 

If you have any questions or queries regarding the development proposals for The Vassall Centre, please contact Avril Baker at ABC, our consultation coordinator, on 0117 977 2002 or [email protected].

If you have any queries regarding room bookings or current services at The Vassall Centre, please contact the Vassall Centre operations team on 0117 965 9630 or email [email protected].

If you are interested in leasing workspace at The Vassall Centre, please contact Bristol Charities on 0117 965 3514.