We have spent time over the past few months meeting with local groups, representatives, small businesses and organisations to try and get a real understanding about what makes this community work and how our scheme can become a positive part of this neighbourhood.
We propose to do this by dedicating the ground floor to meeting local needs, including providing:
- Creative business ‘maker spaces;
- A community space for a range of uses, particularly education and skills training;
- Commercial floorspace, including for a local supermarket;
- Really attractive landscaping with plenty of green spaces to sit and relax.
Above the ground floor will be student accommodation – which we will build, own and manage – to serve the needs of the new University of Bristol Campus. We have carefully considered how to ensure the students can integrate into and become a useful part of this community.
PROJECT VISION: KEY PRINCIPLES
01. Local Engagement
Early and on going engagement with key stakeholders to deliver long-term benefit and social value
02. Think Beyond the Red-Line
Design a high-quality scheme that responds to context and contributes to ongoing rejuvenation of the East Dings neighborhood
Deliver the project through a high- caliber, Bristol based design team with a track record of positive transformative developments in Bristol
Support enhanced pedestrian and cycle connections by encouraging sustainable travel choices with the ‘front door’ meeting the Bristol-to-Bath cycle path
05. Ground Floor Activity & Enhanced Public Realm
Deliver active frontage and improve local environment to enhance the sense of place and feeling of day and nighttime security
06. Dynamic Mix of Uses
Providing new street-level maker spaces targeted at local operators with further flexible spaces for small food store and an education focused community offer
07. Student Accommodation
Providing well located, high-quality, professionally managed and purpose-built student accommodation that helps to address demand for homes for student across Bristol
Creative business ‘maker spaces
- There are a lot of very entrepreneurial, small businesses in the area, but not enough workshop spaces for them to flourish;
- So, we’ve incorporated light industrial maker spaces into our scheme;
- This will also ensure there are more industrial jobs on the site once the development is complete than there is now;
- We are looking to specify and manage these spaces in a way that suits those local businesses, which already add so much vibrancy to this area.
Space for the community
- We are offering a space for the community which faces towards the existing homes on Kingsland Road;
- The space will have an emphasis on education where local adults and children will be offered a range of teaching options including to support numeracy, literacy and computer skills;
- We have held initial discussions with Bristol Hub, a charity already working in The Dings, that gets University students involved in volunteering to help teach local youngsters. https://www.bristolhub.org/;
- The space would be owned and managed by Dominus and will be available for many other community uses.
Ground floor commercial floorspace, including for a local supermarket
- The need for everyday grocery shops has also been made clear to us;
- So, we have designed a space fronting onto Sussex Street which could incorporate a local supermarket;
- Activity from the new shop and active ground floor uses will help make this location safer and more vibrant.
Making Kingsland Road safer
- To help local people safely access the new facilities we will be seeking to slow traffic coming along Kingsland Road;
- The details need to be discussed and agreed with the highways officers at Bristol City Council;
- Our development presents an opportunity to make it much safer for pedestrians, some of whom may also use that route to walk to the new secondary school at Silverthorne Lane.
- If you look at old maps of the area, you can see this site used to have terraced housing;
- There was a street called Henry Street running through what is now a private and inaccessible area;
- So – to help open the site up and improve connectivity – we are creating a New Henry Street, for pedestrians and cyclists;
- This will really help improve the neighbouring section of the Bristol & Bath Railway Path, by creating a strong connection and by making it safer and more attractive;
- We are also looking at ways we can help get the one remaining section of the Railway Path – currently set aside for the recycling centre – opened, so there is no interruption across its entire length from Bristol to Bath.
Greening the area
- Currently there is very limited biodiversity on the site;
- Our landscape architects and horticulturists have prepared a plan that would bring trees, extensive planting and a lovely environment to walk though and to dwell in;
- A variety of trees be planted – including fruit trees – along the New Henry Street and Alfred Street, with extensive planting along the Railway Path side of the development;
- Our scheme would be car free, other than four disabled parking bays;
- Ample secure bike storage, including for the community centre and businesses on ground floor;
- Investment in improving existing pedestrian and cycling connections;
- Targeting the highly sustainable building standard BREEAM Excellent.
- The development would comprise three buildings running in parallel with Kingsland Road;
- An internal bridge across New Henry Street would connect two of those rows;
- Following our dialogue with stakeholders, we have included eight town houses, four facing onto the Railway Path and four onto Sussex Street;
- The townhouses would all have their own front door opening directly onto the street to help mirror some of the traditional homes in this neighbourhood;
- All parts of the development would have active frontages, including ground floor spaces facing neighbouring homes on Kingsland Road, helping create a safer and more vibrant street;
- The buildings would have a range of heights and facades to create more visual interest, and avoid large, single blocks;
- The lowest buildings have been located closest to the nearest homes;
- The heights start at four storeys, with five, six, seven and eight storeys climbing higher towards the Railway Path and Alfred Street;
- We are proposing a range of materials, principally comprising high-quality brick and metalwork – these will reference the engineering history of the area while adopting an innovative and contemporary design approach;
Increasing employment on the site
- Currently there are 20-25 people employed across the whole site;
- Our development, including the ground floor maker spaces, would provide more than 50 jobs;
- Employment opportunities would be provided through the active ground floor uses and the operation of the student accommodation;
- So, there would be a significant increase in the number of people being employed on the site;
- We would work with the local community – through construction and management – to create opportunities for training and apprenticeships to help people get onto or return to the jobs market.
Hands-on management to be good neighbours
- Not only would Dominus build and own the whole development, but we would also manage it;
- We have recently started our own student accommodation management business, and will be here for the long-term;
- We want to become part of this community, to contribute to it, and to be good neighbours;
Why student accommodation?
- We understand there are sometimes concerns raised by communities about student accommodation;
- However, students are – of course – youngsters who also need somewhere warm and safe to call home while they are studying in Bristol;
- The University of Bristol and University of the West of England both continue to thrive and contribute enormously to the city;
- By building dedicated student accommodation, pressure on the existing housing stock across the city can be eased;
- It is also sensible to build student accommodation close to where they will need to study – and this site is very close to the new Temple Quarter Campus;
- However, we are very keen to do all we can to help the students contribute to the community;
Our commitments to managing the development would be secured through a Student Management Plan, to be submitted with our planning application. Those commitments are:
- Professional management – the building will be managed with a single point of entry, staffed 24 hours a day;
- Community liaison pack – these will be distributed across the local area providing information about the arrangements and operation of the accommodation, prior to each academic year;
- Community liaison officer (‘CLO’) – a named ‘CLO’ will be in place at all times as the principal liaison contact;
- Community liaison group (‘CLG’) – the CLO will coordinate a CLG as a managed process to enable discussions with the community on operational and management matters;
- Student wellbeing – we will work closely with the University to provide pastoral support for students;
- Tenancy agreement and welcome pack – these will be signed by students and a pack issued summarising key information including access to healthcare services;
- Student behaviour – a code of conduct will set out the expectations for all students
- The shared part of the building will provide a variety of high-quality areas for study, wellbeing (places to socialise, relax and be healthy) and day to day needs (including a parcel room and laundry).