Overhaul of Turbo Island to start in coming weeks after site plagued by camp fires, drug use and vermin

‘It’s the supermarket for crack and heroin, no joke’

Plans to overhaul Turbo Island have been set in motion after a spike in antisocial behavior and vandalism at the ‘degraded’ site.

The small but colourful triangle of land at the junction of Jamaica Street and Stokes Croft is appreciated by some for its ‘wildness’ and is home to some iconic graffiti.

The site in Stokes Croft is plagued by drug use, camp fires and vermin.

But it has also become an infamous spot for street drinking, drug use and camp fires - and is plagued by vermin due to rubbish strewn around the area.

For some people living and working in the area, the issues have become unbearable.

Resident Jonny Northern said: “Turbo Island needs to be paved over. This is the supermarket for crack and heroin, no joke.

Stokes Croft resident Johnny Northern wants to the site completely overhauled.

“This is the fundamental place for all smackheads, crackheads and everyone that’s on drugs in Bristol. They come here.”

Avon Fire and Rescue has been called out to incidents at Turbo Island 44 times between April and July.

Meanwhile, Bristol West MP Thangam Debbonaire said she had received multiple complaints about what goes on at the troubled site.

Now Wildstone, an outdoor media infrastructure firm which owns Turbo Island and its advertisement billboard, have announced plans to tackle ongoing problems at the site while giving it a full revamp.

Avon Fire and Rescue Service were called out to 44 incidents at the site between April and July.

Philip Allard, CEO and director of the firm, said: “The site has become a focus for anti-social behaviour and we are working with Bristol City Council local residents and other stakeholders to try to address the problems as we have done on other sites in the city.

“The land was formerly landscaped and well kept, but unfortunately due to sustained vandalism and anti-social behaviour over the last few years its appearance has significantly degraded.

“Following discussions with the Council it is proposed to regrade the land, hard landscape it and install bike racks.”

Not everyone is happy about the upcoming revamp, particularly people who have come to see the site as a sanctuary.

There are concerns that gentrification is forcing people on lower incomes out of Stoke Croft, no matter how much they love the area.

Alfonzo said: “People who are higher just think about themselves and what they can get.

Alfonzo said no thought had been given to homeless people who see the site as a sanctuary.

“They don’t think about the small people who are out here sleeping on the streets.

“People will still come here and do what they want to do. They’ll still make fires. It ain’t gonna make no difference, really.”

Andrew Waters, from Westbury-on-Trym, said: “It’s a loss of the local character. This is a well-known tourist area and it doesn’t make sense economically.”

Andrew Waters said the site was about to lose its character.

Wildstone will be funding the project but the work will be undertaken by Bristol City Council, starting within the next few weeks.

“We are also working with the Council and local businesses to address issues with vermin caused by bins in and around the site and our contractors are attending the site on a regular basis to remove rubbish,” added Mr Allard.

“The anti-social behaviour issues are symptomatic of wider problems and while we agree that these works should have a positive impact it will require a multi-agency approach to address the wider social issues.

Work is due to start on Turbo Island in the coming weeks.

“In this regard, our powers as a private land owner are limited. We will continue to work in a positive and proactive manner with the Council and local community to try to address the ongoing issues.”