I adore Bishopston, Bristol and its surrounding areas! It is such an interesting, exciting and diverse place to live. I enjoy seeing familiar faces and well-known characters on our daily travels up and down Gloucester Road. There are always things to see and do. Nearby there are excellent primary schools, good health centres and many playgroups, classes and activities for children. Altogether, I think that it is a fantastic place for kids to grow up.
However, one facility that I feel the area lacks is a library. Yes, there is Cheltenham Road library. Henleaze Library is also within walking distance and I make regular trips there with my children. But both libraries are a bit out of the way from where we live and for many other families living in this area.
So when I first heard that the Bristol North Baths building on Gloucester Road was to be redeveloped into a library and health centre, I was really pleased! The Bristol North Baths is a fantastic, Edwardian building which opened in 1922 and closed in 2005. When I was little I used to go there for weekly school swimming lessons!
However, following news of the planned redevelopment several years ago, we seem to be no closer to having the library or health centre. Instead, the building has been used as a temporary art gallery and recently inhabited by squatters. I do think that the art exhibition was a great use of the currently wasted space. However, progress of the redevelopment of the building into the library and health centre would obviously be preferable.
I decided to contact Bristol City Council to find out the latest on the redevelopment. Stephen King, the Marketing and Communications Officer, kindly updated me on what was happening...
'The library service is currently in negotiation with partners and prospective tenants and building on site will begin once these negotiations have been concluded. We estimate the development will take around 13 months to complete from this point, so at this stage it looks as if the new services will not be available before 2013 at the earliest.'
'Once we have a date cleared for building to begin, we will be updating our publicity, although at this point there is not much further to report.'
So while it is good news is that the redevelopment is still going ahead, unfortunately, at this present moment in time, we are not much closer to having our new library or health centre. When the redevelopment does, finally take place, I think it will make a great addition to Gloucester Road.
In the meantime, I will keep you updated on any news about the site!
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