Residents chance to comment on plans for £8.4m Youth Zone in Knowle West

Main image: Artist’s impression of entrance to the proposed South Bristol Youth Zone. Picture Seven Architecture.

Residents have another chance to comment on plans for a £8.4m Youth Zone to be built in Knowle West – which have been submitted to Bristol City Council.

The proposed site for the new South Bristol Youth Zone would cover around 8.11 hectares of green space at the back of Inns Court, close to the roundabout at the junction of Hartcliffe Way and Hengrove Way.

The plans are for a two-story building and a multi-use games pitch (MUGA) with disabled and mini bus parking and a service access road. They also include amendments to the A3029 (Hartcliffe Way) central reservation, signalling and crossing.

Aerial view of location. Picture OnSide.

The application is from OnSide which is collaborating on the project with Bristol City Council and local youth charity Youth Moves.

OnSide already has 14 similar Youth Zones operating across the country – which are purpose built spaces providing local young people aged between eight and 19 (and up to 25 for those with a disability) “access to affordable high-quality sports, arts and leisure facilities and activities, seven days a week, all year round.”

OnSide says its centres are open over 40 hours a week (from 8am-10pm) and “young people will be able to access over 20 activities every night, ranging from sports such as football, boxing and climbing, to creative arts, music, drama and employability training.”

Artist’s impression of interior of the Youth Zone. Picture Seven Architecture.

If the plans are passed, the new Youth Zone would be run by Youth Moves, which is currently based at The Park Centre, with the charity working alongside other youth organisations to deliver the programme.

OnSide says in its application it anticipates 5,000 young people will join the Youth Zone within 12 months of opening.

Artist’s impression of the Youth Zone. Picture Seven Architecture.

Public consultations to show plans for the youth facility took place in Knowle West in December 2021 as well as online, and a public meeting was held in February this year – following fears expressed by the Inns Court Residents Group that local people’s views were not being heard.

The group said at the meeting they wished they had been consulted in the early stages when the location was being discussed.

There has also been concern from residents about loss of further green space in the area and fears that crowds of young people coming and going from the building could cause more noise and littering.

Increased traffic has also been a worry – but the application’s Travel Plan says the proposed Youth Zone is within “a range of bus services routing close to the site via nearby bus stops/bus station”, can be accessed by bike and is a 26 minute walk from Parson Street Station.

In a letter sent to residents at the end of last year by Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and Deputy Mayor Asher Craig, they said the new Youth Zone would be “adding to youth provision in the area and not replacing it” and 90 per cent of people taking part in a public engagement survey demonstrated “strong support” for the goals of the Youth Zone.

They said: “…The proposed site behind Inns Court and by Hengrove Way roundabout is a location which sits on the boundaries of four south Bristol wards: Filwood, Hartcliffe & Withywood, Hengrove & Whitchurch Park and Bishopsworth, making it a neutral, accessible, and welcome location for all surrounding communities…”

Residents can view the plans on the Bristol City Council website (planning portal reference PPP-11139886) and make comments at:

https://pa.bristol.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=documents&keyVal=RBOCNMDNGCS00