Returning to Hotwells, why the grimness? From the time spent as a resident there in 1989-1991:
- The flyover and one-way system dominates the area; permanent noise, dirt and roads to wait to cross.
- The sole food establishment for locals was a takeway staffed by someone who would hear voices in his head and accuse you of saying things
- The main retail outlet was -and is- Marcruss Army Surplus.
- There were many pubs, each with a flaw. You had to decide whether it was trouble from the Motorbikers, the Bristol City supporters, the pool players, the Jazz fans or the folk music people in their woolly jumpers that you wanted to deal with.
- The sole children's facilities were three rusting bouncy things tucked away in the square of houses trapped by the one-way system.
Yet today, while returning through the area, the low winter sun makes the area seem pleasant, the sun making the concrete as golden as the sandstone of Clifton, highlighting the elegant design and thought that went into the bridge
It also raises ideas in our minds: how could you make Hotwells a destination? There is already the Lockside cafe -very kid friendly- and the waterfront, but there is also a wasteland of bouldered off parking; the bounders there to prevent the traveller community setting up home there again. The new Connect2 bike path will come through here, and the A4 portway bike lane (a commuter route more than a recreational route) ends in a cyclists dismount sign.
This could be a really nice place to stick in a BMX/Skateboard park. You could even consider some football basketball areas under the flyover, so you can have fun in the rain.
This is an idea worth exploring. The land is disused parking space between and under flyovers -only reachable on foot/bike. It appears to have no strategic value, and, as downstream from the inner lock gates, is part of the flood plain for the city. Not for housing then. (there are some photos of Hotwells underwater awaiting scanning posting). It would also provide a wheelpark for Central Bristol other than the Bedminster one, which isn't very appealing or popular. This one would integrate with the River Avon and harbour routes, and give people a reason to visit Hotwells.