£12m funding bid for decade-old regeneration plan for Knowle West

Locals have expressed disappointment that a new masterplan has not been drawn up
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A rundown shopping street in south Bristol could soon get a £13-million regeneration after a decade of delays.

Filwood Broadway, Knowle West’s main shopping centre, has been earmarked for a huge regeneration project since at least 2012. Now Bristol City Council is asking the government for money from the Levelling Up fund to help get the project started.

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But local residents and councillors are concerned about the regeneration masterplan being a decade old, and the council being “extremely dismissive” of local views in recent consultations. Council bosses have promised to visit the area to hear their views.

If the bid is successful, the government would pay £12 million towards the project, and the council would chip in £1.2 million. But it’s not certain the bid will succeed, potentially leaving the regeneration project without funding and facing further delays. Bristol’s cabinet signed off the bid for money on Tuesday, June 7, when residents and councillors raised their concerns.

During the cabinet meeting, mayor Marvin Rees said: “Filwood Broadway is within the top 1.5% most deprived areas in England. The number of people claiming unemployment related benefits is 60% higher in Filwood than in Bristol on average. Only 66.7% of local residents were satisfied with their local area. We hope this investment will support an important local high street to flourish after the pandemic.”

Filwood Broadway could soon get a £13-million regeneration after a decade of delaysFilwood Broadway could soon get a £13-million regeneration after a decade of delays
Filwood Broadway could soon get a £13-million regeneration after a decade of delays

But as the masterplan for the regeneration was drawn up in 2012, a decade ago, local residents are now calling for new plans to be set out, with fresh consultations carried out. One councillor criticised recent consultations as dismissive and even asked: “What is the point, other than to tick a box?”

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Michelle Tedder, of the Filwood Broadway working group, said: “We’re disappointed that there is no support for a new masterplan. We fear the piecemeal approach may miss some vital opportunities. We call on the council to review its decision and work together with us on this.”

Labour Councillor Zoe Goodman, representing Filwood, added: “We’ve been very disappointed in the responses of some council officers, particularly on pre-planning consultations. They have at times been extremely dismissive of our responses, telling us it’s too late to make changes. What is the point of these consultations, other than to tick a box?

“We have been told the masterplan, developed a decade ago, is sufficient. But things have changed in the past decade. I call on the council to work with the local community on the co-design of the Filwood Broadway, so that residents get the centre they deserve and not a rushed, piecemeal development.”

The masterplan includes knocking down a former cinema and building housing, community and commercial space. Cllr Tom Renhard, cabinet member for housing, said he understood the local concerns and promised to visit the area.

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He said: “I’ve offered to come out to Filwood to meet with the groups to go over their concerns. I’m aware they’re largely about access to the cinema site and trying to get a supermarket there, which I know has been a long held ambition.”

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