Under the motorway – update

On Friday morning I paid a visit to the site under the motorway, with Simon Dilly, who has been doing a really impressive job pulling this project together. We were joined by Labour Cllr Faruk Choudhury, from Easton ward, and new Labour Cllr Mahamadur Khan, from Eastville ward, as the site spans both wards (but is mostly in Eastville and therefore Bristol East).

I have to say, it was quite inspiring… Of course I’ve driven round there many times, and have been to the nearby mosque on a few occasions. I’ve also done walkabouts in the bit near Freemantle Road, looking at problems of fly-tipping and sex litter, and also the need for a road crossing (three pedestrians have been killed there) which is thankfully now happening. But until I went on a tour with Simon I didn’t have any concept of how huge the area is, and what potential it had as a public space. And also, how useless the architects/ planners were who put the M32 through there in the first place… So much wasted space, and so badly-designed.

The area is ugly concrete, unlit and noisy (it’s under a motorway after all). But there’s so much that can be done with it. There’s already a little market that has started up by the mosque, and this could become a regular, much bigger thing. Part of the area would make an absolutely fantastic skate park, and there’s talk about a community orchard, film shows, performance spaces…. London’s Westway (which I only know about from the Clash, really, but intend to go and visit now) is seen as the model to emulate. I’m really sure we can make this happen, and with the help of the councillors we’re going to get “official channels” on board too. (Part of the problem, as ever is working out who is responsible for which bit of land…. The council owns the ground bit, Highways owns the motorway, ie the roof… And then there’s the culvert, so waterways are in there, and possibly Ikea…) But it’s going to be community-led, not council-led. We need volunteers from the Eastville/ Easton area to help, so let me know if you’re interested…

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  • Tom Youngman  On June 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Salvaging public space for creativity and community from the concrete mess? Sounds beautiful.

    FoodCycle is a project that takes edible food waste from local businesses, cooks it and serves it for free to the local community as a nutritious meal. The Bristol hub work out of a community centre in Easton. If you were ever doing a launch thing, I’m sure they’d cook up a fantastic community meal. I’ve been there and their food is very tasty, too!


  • Pedro  On May 4, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Painting the rest of the columns would certainly brighten the place up, Also a major rubbish pick and a fence that actually works,( would be beneficial), Skate park and sufficient lighting, not really that much to ask for! But people talk to much, and do not follow through these wonderful ideas, c`mon EASTVILLAINS
    Lets sort it out!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The council can only do so much, this is why we need action from residents that have skills to offer, We can talk a little, but please, lets get on with it. Thank you phew!!

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