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Urban Design Compendium

Case Study 055 - Achieving diversity through small development parcels

055 - Ashley Vale, Bristol

The Yard at Ashley Vale, Bristol has achieved a rich variety of building types and styles through the introduction of small development parcels and promotion of individual self-build projects.

The Ashley Vale Action Group (AVAG) was set up in 2000 by residents of Ashley Vale in response to concerns about the proposed redevelopment of a former scaffolding yard. A not-forprofit private company, AVAG had a vision to create a community where local people would lead the design and development process. Following a successful campaign to raise funding, AVAG purchased the site and set about the preparation of a masterplan and architectural designs.

A ‘planning for real’, community-led day attracted local people to discuss a vision for the site. The aim was to deliver a series of individual buildings to be built by independent self-builders. The group agreed a series of design principles, including maximum building heights, roof pitch and a materials palette of timber, render and clay tiles to ensure cohesion. The process of consultation continued between AVAG and the self-builders on detailed design issues to ensure the principles and original vision for the site were maintained. Planning permission was granted in March 2001, based on the layout plan and plans for individual buildings.

The Yard is now home to over one hundred residents. It is made up of 41 homes including three-storey detached and semidetached houses, three-storey terraces, flat conversions and bungalows that have been self-built or self-finished. A converted office block provides space for a large community venue and three work units supporting small local enterprises. The overall result is rich and varied, with a strong sense of
community. The scheme shows the impact local people can have through collective and creative working and thinking.

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UDC2 Section - Delivering Quality and Adding Value

Planned and built by local people, the most striking feature of The Yard is its strong sense of community.

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