New neighbourhood and disability centre planned for Vassall Centre, Fishponds

Bristol Charities submits planning application to transform the 75-year-old centre

Plans have been submitted to Bristol City Council to transform the Vassall Centre in Fishponds into a new accessible multigenerational neighbourhood and disability centre, by the site’s owners Bristol Charities.

The redeveloped centre will provide facilities for the neighbouring community, improved accessible space and support for the array of disability charities currently based at the centre, and a range of affordable housing for people in need across Bristol. 

The sustainable new centre will be designed to be accessible and inviting to all. At the heart of the designs are a landscaped outdoor recreational space with seating, play features and gardens where people can gather and relax. Arranged around this space are a welcoming reception area, a café, nursery, and community gateway building, together with affordable housing for older people in need, adults with learning disabilities, families, and smaller households.

Where possible, Bristol Charities is keen to retain all the charities currently based at the Vassall Centre that wish to remain and will provide them with much-improved accessible space to support and enhance the services they deliver, including offices, space for conferences, meetings and training. Plans include an accessible hub with a proposed employability and enterprise centre and better layout and signposting to help people navigate around the centre.

Altogether, around 90 new affordable homes will be built for older people in need, families and smaller households, as well as specialist supported housing for adults with learning disabilities.

40 dual-aspect one- and two-bed flats for older people, each with its own balcony, will be arranged around a central courtyard garden. Operated by Bristol Charities, all the homes will be let at affordable rents. 

In addition, eight flats will be created above the community gateway building to provide specialist supported housing for adults with learning disabilities and there will be provision for an overnight support worker.

A further 40 high quality affordable homes will be created for families and smaller households. A combination of two- and three-bed houses with gardens and one- and two-bed apartments with balconies will be offered for rent or low-cost shared ownership. They will be operated by experienced charitable housing association, Brighter Places.

The development will be delivered in two phases, enabling existing organisations to remain at the centre while new spaces are created, with the affordable homes for families following in the second phase. The new buildings will range from two to three storeys, to ensure the development fits in well with the local area and meets planning guidance.

The planning application now submitted relates to phase one of the Vassall Centre project. Phase two, for affordable family homes, will be subject to a separate planning application.

Extensive landscaping across the site and around the perimeters will bring sought-after greenery, providing spaces for wildlife, and helping to promote biodiversity. Sustainable materials used in the buildings themselves will provide high levels of comfort for occupants as well as reducing energy consumption and fuel bills.

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