Van dwellers move on to new temporary site in Knowle West

They have been supplied with water, a toilet and rubbish collection facilities

<p>The new temporary site in Knowle West has up to 15 vehicles</p>

The new temporary site in Knowle West has up to 15 vehicles

Van dwellers have moved onto a new temporary site provided by the council in Knowle West.

Bristol City Council has opened the disused area at the former Novers Lane Infant School for up to 15 vehicles.

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Also known as a meanwhile site, the facility is a piece of land owned by the council earmarked for future development, but currently unused.

It has been opened to offer a safe place to stay for people living in vans.

Last year, the city council estimated there were about 40 locations across the city where people live in vans parked on the street.

The new site is on land which backs onto Greenfield E-Act Academy and the Western Slopes.

It has been undeveloped since the infant school was closed in 2006 and then demolished.     

Occupants are due to be on the site for a minimum of six months, and have signed a code of conduct with the city council arriving.

Overgrown vegetation has been cleared, and water, toilet and rubbish collection facilities made available.

It is the second such site in the Knowle West area after one opened at Kingswear Road, on part of the Northern Slopes, last year.

A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “People living in vehicles do so for a variety of reasons.

“Some do so through choice, but others through a need to find somewhere to live as a result of the housing crisis, and we have seen a growth in the number of vehicle dwellers in the city over the past 18 months.

“Our focus is on finding solutions that are sustainable and it is only through delivering more affordable homes across the city that we will tackle Bristol’s housing and affordability crises and reduce the need for so many people to live in vehicles.’’

A community pact between vehicle van-dwellers and the city council was signed earlier this year.

It revealed how the first site in Knowle West ‘quickly filled’ and there was a large waiting list for future provision.

The document was drawn up to encourage good relations and set values of living.

In the report, the council said: “We know that, in the past, some parts of Bristol have felt that vehicle dwelling has presented challenges to some communities, at Bristol City Council we aim to work together to recognise that vehicle dwellers can bring a richness and diversity to our municipal environment and are a part of making Bristol what it is.”