You know that bit of land at the end of Jamaica Street where it meets Stokes Croft, rather amusingly named Turbo Island? There’s talk at the moment of the council doing some work on it, and tomorrow ( Tuesday 15th July 2008 ) from 11am to 3pm, the council’s Urban Design Team will be down there seeking people’s views on what should be done with it.
Here’s some interesting history on the island
The grass area of Turbo Island (originally 71 Stokes Croft) was a bomb site. BCC refused to allow it to be redeveloped because of sightlines on the junction and a potential road widening scheme on Stokes Croft. There has been an advertising hoarding on it since 1944.
The former Avon County Council sold the freehold of the land on 06-DEC-1995 to MAIDEN POSTER PROPERTIES at a completion price of £32,500 (CSS Property reference 87317/DISP). BCC regularly sell off surplus highway land and the plans for road widening had been scrapped. Their hoarding is legal as BCC failed to take enforcement action against them when it was refused planning permission in 1997. BCC do not receive any revenue from this hoarding.
and, as ever, here’s PRSC’s thoughts on what should happen to it.
What PRSC thinks about the regeneration of Turbo Island.
Turbo island is a key site for the regeneration of Stokes Croft. We think it is scandalous that the former Avon County Council sold off a crucial piece of land to the advertising hoardings company, and we believe that this is once again indicative of the lack of concern that our governing body has shown to this area of the City. It is impossible to imagine this happening in more salubrious areas of the City. This is compounded by the fact that the hoarding is now legal because BCC failed to take legal action when planning permission was refused in 1997…
We feel very strongly that there is no point in attempting to improve Turbo Island as long as it belongs to Maiden Poster Properties for the following reasons.
1) Any scheme design would be dominated by an advertising hoarding, and therefore be rubbish…
2) It would be crazy to spend public money to improve an area that actually belongs to a private advertising company.
3) By entering into this kind of partnership to develop Turbo Island, this would effectively legitimise the existence of an enormous advertising board on a site which is a gateway to the City. This cannot be a positive move, paricularly since, in the last three months, alcohol and motor vehicles have been advertised here in an area plagued by addiction, alcoholism and vehicle congestion!
4) If we are serious about making our City better, and are serious about realising the plan to realise Stokes Croft as a Centre for the Arts, and a destination, we will miss the opportunity to make full use of what is arguably the BEST site in the City for Street Art, for which Bristol is justly famous…
The Jamaica Street mural fence has been painted monthly for 18 months now, and there is a waiting list of artists wishing to paint…
Aprestigious site like Turbo Island could become a street Art institution
The PRSC Solution to Turbo Island
We urge BCC to enter into negotiations to buy back Turbo Island at the same price (in real terms) that it sold it for, acknowledging humbly that this land should never have been sold off in the first place… The price would be slightly in excess of £60,000 according to our admittedly rough calculations.
We feel that this is a fair solution for both parties, and feel that Maiden Poster Properties have been fortunate to have a poster site in such a prominent position for 13 years.
If BCC are unwilling to enter into negotiations, then PRSC is willing to mount a campaign to buy the land back for Stokes Croft. This can be done by starting a fund and by donation… This piece of land is that important…
We believe that there should be an open debate about how we all want our City to look and to be. The debate about the role of billboard advertising in the City is heated and already in progress… Look at St. Werburghs…
Turbo Island is at the epicentre of that discussion.
Here’s what it looks like at the moment…
…and here’s an artist’s impression of what it could look like.
This blog’s view? None as yet, will be interesting to see what the council are proposing, but it really is important people get involved and have their say, you’d be surprised how few comments these things attract sometimes, other than from ‘key stakeholders’.
If you can’t get down there on the day, you can also have your say by emailing “vicky.welchman AT bristol.gov.uk”. When you do, you need to mention what your interest is in the area and its surroundings (live there/work there/commute through there/etc).
Unfortunately the documents about this consultation don’t seem to be online at the moment, but if anyone knows where they are, link them in the comments!