Bristol’s housing crisis is rarely out of the news, and according to the Bristol Post, 10,000 people are currently waiting 8-10 months for a council home. But in typical community spirit, the people of Bristol are taking the crisis into their own hands and coming up with all kinds of unusual and exciting home-building projects. Just check out these 5 fantastic proposed solutions to the housing crisis!
Kevin McCloud, of Grand Designs fame, has made Somerset his home and taken the region to his heart. Since January, his company HAB (Happiness Architecture Beauty) has raised £1.9 million for new homes in Bristol. For its first project in the city, HAB plans to transform the Dunmail Road primary school site in Southmead into 161 sustainable and affordable homes, with outdoor community spaces. The homes – known as ‘flat-pack’ houses because they are built from basic kits that can be customised – will be completed by 2018, subject to planning.
Converted office buildings
If there’s one thing Bristol isn’t lacking, it’s empty office space, and the organisation Abolish Empty Office Buildings (AEOB) sees a solution to the city’s housing crisis in its unused offices. Their idea? To buy derelict office buildings – funded by donations from concerned citizens – and convert them into affordable, eco-friendly homes that cannot be sold for profit, thus helping to support local communities. The AEOB is currently working on a project on Battens Lane in St. George, and they welcome donations of any size from anybody who wants to help out.
For the Bristol-based charity St. Mungo’s, the first step to solving the housing crisis is to get homeless people off the streets and into safe accommodation. As part of the charity’s Guardianship scheme, City Hall has temporarily given St. Mungo’s access to several empty Council buildings, and the St. Mungo’s team have carried out improvements to create low-rent rooms for less than £70 per week for people who would otherwise be sleeping rough.
Backed by the government, the not-for-profit organisation Bristol Community Land Trust (BCLT) is making use of community spirit to convert abandoned sites into affordable homes. The idea is that future residents will muck in with the building work to save money on contractors and tools. Last year the BCLT completed a project on the site of the old Eastville Park School – bought from the Council for just £1 – and the residents helped with the final stages of the work. The BCLT plans for a future project in Lockleaze to be entirely self-built.
It isn’t just communities who can get involved with self-building. South Gloucestershire Council one of several local authorities introducing the ‘Self-Build Register‘, which allows individuals and groups to register interest in self-building, and to be informed whenever a plot of land becomes available. Self-builders can get funding through the Homes and Communities Agency, and Bristol City Council is hoping that interest in self-build projects will help to ease the housing crisis.
With so many innovative individuals getting involved, the future of housing will surely be bright for Bristol!
Are you looking for a home in Bristol? Contact Gough Quarters today to find out where to start.
Bristol Harbour and the Grain Barge (cropped) by James Clark from Flickr, under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License
Bristol by Synwell from Flickr, under Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic
IMG_5827 by Adrian Scottow from Flickr, under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic License