The Ashton Gate Sporting Quarter was featured in the South West Business Insider! The article published discusses the importance of creating active communities to encourage health and wellbeing. Written by Christian Annesley, an excerpt:
The environments in which we live, work and play have profound impacts on our health and wellbeing. It is well understood, for example, how substandard housing adversely impacts health and worsens mortality rates.
So the terms on which new neighbourhoods or communities are established, or the finer details of any leisure scheme, really do matter: when done well, they can raise the physical and mental health of residents and visitors alike.
Places that discourage walking or have poor cycling provision lead to worse outcomes for individuals, and a rise in so-called ‘western’ diseases, while an ‘active community’ environment and truly accessible leisure sites deliver a lasting positive impact, year in and year out.
This feature is the third in our series looking to the future,
following the two previous instalments, ‘future of living’ and ‘future of work.’
The point this time around, then, is to consider ‘play’ in its broadest sense.
How do we as humans create places to enable us to flourish mentally and physically, enjoy life and connect with each other? That’s the big question that some property developers are trying to answer today, rather than the narrower concerns that more commonly prevailed in years gone by.
Sport for all
It is not just residential-focused developments that need to take account of community. These days, it is built into every project.
In summer 2021, plans for a 4,000-seat sports and convention centre were submitted as part of a major development at Ashton Gate Stadium in Bristol. The Sporting Quarter plans for the area next to Ashton Gate Stadium were first unveiled back in 2018, but then went through a couple of consultations with local residents and were scaled back in response.
… an ‘active community’ environment
and truly accessible leisure sites
deliver a lasting positive impact,
year in and year out
As well as the centrepiece sports and convention centre, which will provide a new home for the Bristol Flyers basketball team, plans include a multi-storey car park, hotel, gym, residential buildings and offices and an improved ‘fan village’. The development is substantially funded by a linked project for about 500 new homes that Bristol Sport’s owner Steve Lansdown is also seeking planning permission for – on land between Ashton Vale and the David Lloyd Sports Centre on the edge of Bristol. Council planners in both Bristol and North Somerset are being asked to give approval for the 500 homes on that greenfield site, which is being called Longmoor Village, and the two plans are directly linked.
Ashton Gate’s chairman Martin Griffiths says the plans for the Sporting Quarter have changed and “improved significantly” thanks to the feedback received from local residents:
“The tallest building has now been reduced by five storeys; community facilities have been increased, with sports, fitness and wellbeing facilities added on the roof of the Sports and Convention Centre, plus the northern entrance, near Ashton Road, has been totally pedestrianised for non-match days.”
Chris Long, of the architects practice KKA, has worked on this and other Ashton Gate-related projects for many years. He says one of the challenges with the project has been to convince stakeholders that the Sporting Quarter and Longmoor Village are genuinely linked. “The two sites will be strongly connected,” he says. “There is a short distance between and travel links are built in. This is a place-making project and not just a sporting business trying to expand.”