Bristol Charities’ reveal big plans for Vassall Centre

The Vassall Centre

The Vassall Centre in Fishponds to be transformed into a vibrant new neighbourhood centre

The Vassall Centre is to become a vibrant new neighbourhood centre for multigenerational living and working. Bristol Charities purchased the site in spring this year and it has been working with Bristol architects AWW to develop ideas to deliver much-needed, affordable, high-quality homes for older people and families, along with accessible, contemporary workspace for businesses and charities and a range of new community facilities.

Bristol Charities, which provides opportunities and support for people and communities to improve lives through grants, housing and charitable projects in Bristol and South Wales, is asking local residents, neighbours and current tenants of the Vassall Centre to review the outline proposals when they are published later this month and share their views and ideas.

“We are looking forward to hearing the views and ideas of our neighbours and
tenants to create a high quality, sustainable and attractive new centre
that is built to last,”
Richard Gore

The Vassall Centre was built in 1945 as a base for American soldiers and currently offers affordable, accessible workspace and conference facilities for businesses, charities and not-for-profit organisations. The buildings are now at the end of their practical lifespan and offer very low levels of energy efficiency and sustainability.

The proposed new centre will be made up of three areas, offering contemporary homes for older people at one end of the site, affordable homes for families at the other, and workspace, community facilities and shared, public outside space in the middle.

Potential layout for new centre on the Vassall Centre site

Its modern, high-quality design will significantly improve the visual appeal of the centre and include landscaped, outdoor space for the use of tenants and residents while also reducing barriers and increasing public access through the site. Biodiversity will also be significantly increased including new trees, planting and space for wildlife.

Potential community facilities include a nursery, café, and a landscaped courtyard, with a view to encouraging interaction between older people and children and staff in the nursery.

Bristol Charities is committed to the site for the long-term and plans to own and manage the housing for older people, community facilities and workspace. Brighter Places, a highly experienced charitable housing association based in Bristol, has been selected to develop and manage the affordable housing.

Bristol Charites will also continue to offer accessible workspace for charities and businesses. It is proposed that construction will take place in two phases, so that tenants can continue to operate from the site while work is underway. The newly-built, upgraded workspace will be of much higher quality than the current offices, highly sustainable and built to last.

The Vassall Centre aerial view

Anne Anketell, chief executive officer at Bristol Charities, said: “We are hoping to deliver much-needed new housing for older people and families and build a really connected and supported community for everyone living and working here. The views of local residents and tenants are hugely important to us, so we’re asking people to join us for brief consultation events either in person or online, or simply to visit our website to view the details and share their views and ideas.”

Richard Gore, chair of trustees at Bristol Charities added: “We believe these proposed new facilities will breathe new life into the site, opening it up to people living in the area, making much better use of the space and increasing public and community facilities, green space and biodiversity. We are looking forward to hearing the views and ideas of our neighbours and tenants in order to create a high-quality, sustainable and attractive new centre that is built to last.”

To find out more, visit the Bristol Charities’ website at

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