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A part of a first year Graphic Design brief I was given the oppertunity to explore Ashton Vale in order to collect statements from residents on their experience of the area. “Ashton Vale is a small community on the edge of South Bristol. With charming wide open spaces and land protected by Green Belt Policy, local people have valued these fields, woods and the beautiful Colliters Brook that surround Ashton Vale for generations. Ashton Vale is surrounded on three sides by industrial Estates, built up over the last forty years. It’s gem is the natural green open space, described as both the lungs of Bristol and Gateway to The historic City and County of Bristol”




Interview with a local Police woman What kind of crime do you deal with in Ashton Vale? To be honest in this area not much happens... Down this end (Ashton Vale) thereare lots of elderly people. The only problems we have are during the week days are parking issues, lorries might not be able to get through or cars block the pavement so pedestrians cant get through. The only thing that would get rid of that would be double yellow lines on both side of the road. Do you have any problems with fans at the football ground? Not really with the city ground being over there still, but if it moves we will. There are problems with parking on match days, but we don’t get many issues A lady I spoke to mentioned someone opposed to the new ground “had a brick put through her window”? That was a little while ago and the person you threw the brick was no local. But people who have contested the new city ground have all died down now.


“Ashton Vale is a quite nice little area with not much going on” What local problems do you have to deal with? You might get a few neighbour disputes but there is nothing which affects the community generally. Even in the park you don’t get much! Maybe the standard few kids in the bowls green drinking on the weekend, but we are right on top of that. Its really hard to think its so quiet, tumbleweed! To be honest around here there is not a lot but if you went Bedminster! Do many people attend this beat surgeries which you hold every fortnight? We might get the odd person to attend. But not that many because they are such a close nit community. We have a travellers site. But to be honest they talk to me either, because I am police, they either don’t talk to me or just say hello. If they involve the they use the travellers liaison office who is part of the council. He deals with problems like if the taps aren’t working or he got hold of us if something more serious happens. We hold beat surgeries there but no one turns up.





ASHTON VALE BOWLES CLUB Can you describe this club? Basically this is the only indoor bowls club in Bristol and we operate all the year round with over 750 members. What do you think of proposed football ground? I personally think it could be a good idea, but its all finance and politics. What is there, is rubbish scrub land, suddenly people have elevated ideas about it being town green! As a concept, if its landscaped, they will have a stadium and a very pleasant town green area as well. What if they built a new bigger bowls club on the planned area? We don’t need a bigger club because bowls is on the decline. I don’t think the sport will become any bigger than this, it’s becoming smaller and it feels like it is just for the old fogies like john and I. Why do you younger people are not playing the game? Youngsters are certainly coming into the game, folk tend to start with granddad and they will play till they are thirteen or fourteen and then discover these things called girls that come along and the bowls go out the window.


“they will play till they are thirteen or fourteeN and then discover these things called girls�



The following are some key statements that a woman in her late forties said in an hour long conversation: Ashton Vale is a village community, we are not in the real world round here. Well I have lived my whole life give or take a, give or take a couple of odd years here or there The proposed development is a big deal! It’s not about the stadium its about protecting this open space and wildlife haven. We have enjoyed using it for so many years and we all feel that it should be kept that way. Very quiet, there’s obviously there is the church play groups and things go on in there all the time, the community centre very well used. They even have kots of dancing lessons, two or three times a month. They also have bingo, quizzes and the police surgery. Most people are quiet nosy, so there are a few curtain twitches. Been quite a lot of change, because prefabs are being rebuilt. There is a lot of newer people there now; before most people new everybody else. The population generally was pretty old. Most of the residents that have been here a long time are dying off. Most residents do know each other which is quite good My parents live just up the road, well I was born here,


moved away when I got married and then when I had my daughter I moved back, so they went to same school that I went to. In fact I was in the nursery teachers first class when she qualified and my daughter was the last class when she retired, had a picture in the paper and everything Local website Ashton vale heritage, set up originally to fight against the stadium. I think its just going to be a couple of years of noise and mess and my personal opinion is that the whole ambition of the club is sort of ambition over substance because they are not even that good they don’t fill the ground that they have got at the moment. But the current ground is quite old fashioned in the middle of Victorian housing. They don’t even need it because they’re not even very good, they don’t fill the space they have got now, they don’t want it just for that they want to have concerts there and home games every other week. I hear the noise from the stadium but only if its in a certain direction The problem is the only way that they can afford to move the stadium is if they sell the ground to a big supermarket. Sainsburys are going to move, obviously they are going to flatten it, and then there will be huge building works there, its going to be the central southwest distribution point for all the online shopping, so huge lorries and they are not making any changes to the road system, this is our big issue with it, you know, they just think it can suddenly be completely different use with a lot more traffic every day; It’s already crazy even with the ground empty.


Its gone on for a long time, but most people cant be bothered We have had quiet a lot of fights for things. You come under the bridge and it’s our community, its a village. And lots of people who grew up here now live here with their children There was but there has been a lot of problems with the football fans, like bricks through peoples windows, which is why it seems as if its gone quite quiet. No one that would put their hands up now and say I am in charge One lady in particular worked so hard on it was more interested in the wildlife. It was given town green status which is what they are fighting about, but it is a green belt and a flood plain. You can do anything if you have the town planners in your pocket…but I didn’t say that! Although its green belt i5 has been landfill and a flood plane and now they want to build on it,, they just want to sweep it under the carpet Its not just the stadium they also want ten thousand houses, but they didn’t get permission for that, but they need the money from that and they supermarket to build the new stadium.


I think it should just stay the same, lots of people thought the town green status was a bit of a joke, its just been used ever since I can remember, we used to have bonfire night on it. There should be more animals on it People walk their dogs on it and kids play there making dens and there’s the wildlife bit It always used to be the cubs and the scouts having sports days there, all sorts of things Whether it should have got town green status is stretching it to its absolute, but if it works in our favour we were quite happy

“I would just leave it be” 17






I decided to document the residents of Ashton Vale struggle to stop developers building on their village green. I did this because they were a true minority and had lost their voice out of fear. I hand render my poster because I wanted to feel at place within Ashtons Vale’s rough and ready village atmosphere.


My poster was well received by most of the residents of Ashton Vale. They commented that it was nice to see their oppions presented in a modern way. However, I put my poster up outside Bristol City FC’s current stadium and it was imediatly ripped down.







Produced by sam daw


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