Monday 19 January 2009

Lockleaze: the forgotten quarter

Back in December, there was a shocking expose on Lockleaze, Bristol's forgotten quarter.

With high unemployment and very low school completion rate, it's deprived, though not necessarily as much as some other parts of the city. It's just less known, less feared,and gets less attention.

Hope is on the way though. As the article says, it has been discovered and the council is planning "a programme of housebuilding and investment which will take 20 years to complete but should bring new life to the struggling area."

For those people who don't know where Lockleaze is, and don't have time to visit it, here is a view of a deprived Bristol suburb:

This is Purdown Camp, with the the tower in cloud. The mud is frozen today: Eismud.

Here's the view into "Lockers". This field is very popular with dog walkers during the day, mini-moto riders in the evening. It is good fun to race them on your bike and it is generally jovial.

Further along, looking at the M32. The morning fog prevents it from being seen, there is just the permanent background buzz of traffic the area. Perhaps that is why the park is not a major destination at weekends the way Ashton Court is.

All that will change in the future. The neglected urban wasteland viewed in these pictures will be regenerated by fulfilling Bristol's central-government-imposed quota for 117,000 new homes. In years to come, when commuters sit in the M32 traffic jams. they will be able to look up the hillside and see a new Lockleaze growing out of the ashes and wasteland of these green fields.

It's worth remembering here that the plans for thousands of homes aren't coming from the local councils. Nobody says "look, we have a flood plain near Lower Ashton, let's do 10K houses". Nobody says "look, these fields aren't profitable, let's put housing up. Instead they've been given a quota for houses from above, and expected to sort it out. S, Gloucs. were overjoyed at the opportunity to stick a lot of these in behind the MOD, as it would tick off a big slice of their quota without impacting the rest of the area. But are the fields and greenery in the city, near Lockleaze, below Dundry something we in Bristol ought to value more and fight to preserve?

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