Bristol community looks to ‘reclaim’ dual carriageway

A Bristol community wants to ‘reclaim’ a dual carriageway that currently runs through their neighbourhood and turn it into a green community space with affordable housing.

A voluntary group of local residents – The Redcliffe Residents Action Group & Neighbourhood Forum- have worked with local design practice LDA Design to create a visual guide for how the Redcliffe Way dual carriageway could be transformed.

In the plans, the highway is replaced with affordable homes with roof-top gardens, local shops and services, and playful, green public space.

The designs use a ‘Healthy Street’ toolkit to re-imagine how Redcliffe Way could be a people-friendly, green and shared space for all.

The community’s vision shows how an area already rich with heritage assets, such as the Grade 1* listed St Mary Redcliffe Church, but currently neglected could be re-claimed to create a new kind of pedestrian and cycle gateway to the city centre and a healthy neighbourhood for people with space to circulate, breathe clean air and relax.

The group’s approach to development could also provide over 150 affordable homes at a scale that both respects the historic urban landscape and provides a greener and gentler alternative to tall towers.

The proposals come at a time when towns and cities across the UK – including Bristol – are making changes to how road space is used in order to support more walking and cycling as the Covid-19 lockdown eases.

Redcliffe Way, before and after.

Vicar of St Mary Redcliffe Church, Dan Tyndall, said: ‘Redcliffe is currently sliced in half by an over-sized and outdated highway. Redcliffe Way splits the neighbourhood in half and marks the beginning of the sharp divide of inequality between North and South Bristol.

‘We want to stitch North and South Redcliffe back together, create a fitting setting for St Mary Redcliffe, and a welcoming breathing space that the whole of Bristol can enjoy and be proud of.’

Local resident and member of the Redcliffe Residents Action Group, Melissa Mean added: ‘The community in Redcliffe has been long campaigning to reclaim Redcliffe Way. The Covid 19
lockdown has meant many people are looking at their city with fresh eyes and realising just how much space had been given over to polluting, noisy, space-greedy motor traffic.

‘When Bristol opens up again, we want to say yes to development that prioritises clean air, and makes space for nature and people to play, walk and cycle. This is especially important in poorer neighbourhoods – like Redcliffe – where many people live in cramped flats, with no access to outdoor space, and suffer an unequal burden of air pollution, and as a consequence significantly poorer health.’

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