A useful, but neglected, walking route runs alongside the City Farm connecting Windmill Hill to Bedminster. With local residents and Greater Bedminster Community Partnership we are working to improve the environment along this route.
The path from Windmill Hill via the railway bridge by Bedminster Station to Asda along Clarke Street is a useful route used by local residents. It is open to traffic at each end with a non-traffic zone in the middle. The Malago river runs alongside it for half of its length, though it is not very visible in a deep, walled gully. Currently it is a desolate and unwelcoming route (particularly at night), known locally as ‘Crack Alley’. It is unlit for most of its length and not signposted in any way.
The route has the potential to be green and pleasant with little vehicle traffic and could fulfil many functions: as a useful short-cut between residential and commercial areas of the neighbourhood; to illustrate the rich social history of the site; and to provide a habitat for wildlife along the Malago. The river has the potential to be a central feature of the route with additional trees planted alongside. It has a wealth of wildlife and history already there just waiting to be appreciated.
A group of local residents approached the City Farm because they wanted to make the route better used and more attractive. Together we proposed a project to the ‘Let’s Walk Bedminster’ programme (a strategic project of the European Green Capital 2015 year). The project will conduct a survey of the walking route to record its assets and areas for improvement; will add some way signage to make it easier for people to know where the route leads; and will put in place some information boards to highlight the natural and historic heritage of the route.
In parallel with the proposed signage there are other measures that might improve the environment of the route including
In the longer term, Urbis have been given the go-ahead to develop a plan for the surrounding area (being called Bedminster Green) and their business partners have recently purchased the NCP car park. The prospect of a large-scale development makes the long-term prospects for this route good, particularly if local people are involved in its development.
Engagement between developers and the local community can be facilitated by local community groups such as GBCP, BS3 planning group, Windmill Hill City Farm and residents’ groups in Windmill Hill and Bedminster. Events and initiatives on the route itself will all play a role in forming the long-term vision for the space. In the mean time, we can improve the route more immediately.
A survey of the route is now complete:
A new gate is now in operation from Clarke Street into the City Farm.
Contact and positive discussions have been had between the City Farm (leading the project); local residents; NCP (who manage the car park); Urbis (planning developments); Philip St Chapel; and GBCP.