Eco-boost for Southmead high street

Eco-boost for Southmead high street

Southmead community comes together to celebrate a greener and more sustainable future for the local high street.

13 May 2022

Local people helped to design a range of improvements to make Arnside Road a more attractive, safer and eco-friendly place to visit.

The shopping area has been substantially updated, including new pavements, kerbs and walkways, new cycle stands and bollards, street planting beds to help natural drainage and increase biodiversity, and new car parking areas on Greystoke Avenue.

Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees said: “We have declared a climate and ecological emergency and it is fantastic to see areas within the city taking big leaps to make their high streets more sustainable and climate friendly.

“We’ve carried out a range of improvements to the streets and facilities around Arnside Road and are committed to an ambitious regeneration and housing delivery programme in Southmead. We’re looking forward to working with Southmead Development Trust and other partners to deliver the next important phases of improvement.

“I would like to thank the people of Southmead, and the various local community groups, who have engaged with us so enthusiastically on this project.”

Large Sustainable Urban Drainage trenches have been dug on both sides of Arnside Road. This is the first time ‘Stockholm’ tree pits have been built in Bristol and means Arnside now has an avenue of trees as well as a system to help reduce flood risks for homes in the area. There is also ‘raingarden’ planting along each side of the road.

Alongside these improvements, eight sustainable drainage pods have been constructed and planted in the roads to the north of Arnside Road. These will help to hold back rainwater and reduce flooding downstream as well as bringing colour and nature into the local streets.

The work on Arnside is the first step in delivering the Southmead Masterplan, the community-led vision that was adopted in 2018 with wide input from many of the residents and stakeholders.

This includes current proposals to sell council land to Aldi to enable them to deliver a larger, improved store, subject to planning approval. The expansion will secure the long-term future of this anchor store and in turn the future of the Arnside Road shopping area.

This will mean relocating services that currently take place in the youth centre to newly refurbished space at the Ranch – Southmead Adventure Playground. Southmead Library will also be moved – firstly taking up a temporary space at Southmead House before a new purpose built home is created for it as part of future development in the area.

The new look Arnside was officially opened by Lord Mayor of Bristol Councillor Steve Smith.
He said: “It was an honour to officially open the new look Arnside and reveal the extensive public realm works that have been undertaken over the last year.

“The new granite benches feature artwork by Nick Hands and Simon Tozer. They were developed with local people and celebrate everything about the local area, including famous son of Southmead David Prowse who played Darth Vader in the original Star Wars trilogy.”

The public realm improvements were made with support from a £3.6 million Housing Infrastructure Fund grant from Homes England, and work to install the drainage system was supported by funding from Wessex Water.

Wessex Water’s Director of Assets and Compliance Matt Wheeldon said: “Working with partners to develop the infrastructure to help protect communities is a key element of our continued wider commitment towards finding sustainable solutions towards reducing surface water flooding and the amount of groundwater entering public and private sewers and drains.

“In Southmead, we are contributing £55,000 towards the work of Bristol City Council and Homes England to install Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) in the regenerated Arnside area to help mitigate against the issues caused when very heavy rainfall overwhelms drainage systems.”

Amy Kinnear, CEO of Southmead Development Trust, said: “We’re delighted to see the works complete and the boost this will give to the much loved Arnside shopping area.  Bristol City Council has involved our residents at every step of the way, including designing the artwork for the new granite benches”.    

The council is also working with the local representatives to support community-led plans for a vibrant new development of homes and community facilities on Glencoyne Square.

The current development proposals include over 170 new homes to meet local need, community and enterprise space, and a new Southmead Library, together with an improved open space.

You can find out more about that by visiting the Southmead Development Trust website.

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