Derelict building repurposed into modern council homes in Brislington

Several families have moved into a new housing development where the Broomhill elderly persons home once stood. The homes are part of Bristol City Council’s New Build Programme, which seeks to turn brownfield sites into much-needed housing across the city.

Started in 2014, the programme has seen over 145 properties built so far. The repurposing of existing resources helps keep costs down, improve areas for local residents and reduce anti-social behaviour on derelict sites.

Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, explained:

“This is one of the best bits of my role – being up here with new houses and young families, knowing that lives are being transformed.

“There’s real joy here, as the parents talk about their children being able to go outdoors and play. There’s space here for local residents to come together and form the communities that are the building blocks of Bristol life.

“There are lots of challenges ahead for Bristol, for the country and for the wider world, but this is a city in which we are delivering on housing. We said it, we delivered it, and there’s plenty more to come.”

Despite being built on an older site, the homes are modern and have been built to a high standard. All the buildings are fitted with solar panels, which provide energy to each property and feed any excess back to the grid. The rent is affordable and it is hoped that the tenants will finally be able to put down roots and become part of a new community.

Councillor Paul Smith, Cabinet Member for Housing, explained:

“It was a very poor situation here – we had a building that was run down, with people living in bad conditions. Now we have fantastic houses for those who need them the most.

“The kids here will grow up together and the families will build strong relationships. The more housing we can build, the more people’s lives we can improve and the more we can help communities form the connections this city needs.”

The new site in Broomhill consists of 13 properties, the majority of which are two-bed houses along with two one-bed flats. Smaller council properties are very much in demand in the area, and the first residents moved in during the final week of November.

Mr Kamal Mohamed, whose family recently moved into their new home, says:

“We moved in three weeks ago and it’s absolutely brilliant. I’m here with my wife and our two kids and we’re really enjoying it. […] We used to live in a very small flat with no garden so it wasn’t a lot of fun for the kids.

“Moving here and having a good sized garden is giving them a lot more exercise and it’s a relief for us! We’ve already met a few of the neighbours but we’re all still exploring. We’re really thankful to Bristol City Council.”

The council’s ambition is to accelerate the delivery of new housing over the next five years, creating 1,000 new homes through various delivery routes, including both brownfield sites and new builds.

In November of this year, Bristol City Council won a prestigious national award for its approach to modular housing in St George, and last year won two architectural awards in recognition of its sustainable housing developments.

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