Castle Park is an important Green space in our city. The upcoming development of the site around the St Mary Le Port Church will be very consequential to the park and surrounding area. For many years, this site has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour and many of the buildings have fallen into disrepair, tainting the natural environment of the park.
On speaking with local residents, it is clear that a passionate debate about what the new development should bring to the park has already started. The Bristol Central Liberal Democrats feel that what is included in the new development should be dictated by the needs of the wider community. With this mind we do have priorities for features this development should include and how it should be implemented.
First and foremost, we advocate this development being multi-purpose and built with accessibility in mind. A multi-purpose development will broaden its scope for enjoyment by all Bristolians. In addition, it would reduce the chance that what should be built will become a source of political contention.
When it comes to possible options for what a multipurpose development could look like, we have a few ideas. A number of residents have raised frustrations that Castle Park does not currently have play equipment for children. Because of this we would support the addition of this to the development site. An improvement in lighting in this side of the park would have to accompany this to make sure the play equipment is safe and stays in good order from vandalism and antisocial behaviour.
We would also like to entertain the idea of creating a facility for the extension of St Nicholas Market within the development. St Nicholas Market is an icon for local businesses, who have suffered much hardship of late due to the onset of COVID-19. Such a facility will help give local businesses a vital boost out of the post-pandemic recession in a way befitting of Bristol’s unique character.
We believe it is imperative that any development on this site is in harmony with the rest of the park, and not merely a continuation of the urban city. To make it clear we do not believe that Castle Park can be improved by another ubiquitous office block.
As important to the above conditions is our wish that the development makes a special effort to restore and preserve the St Mary Le Port Church building and wider ruins. The uniquely historic nature of Castle Park is a source of civic pride and genuine curiosity for Bristolians and visitors. Indeed, we are lucky that after the carnage and strife caused by the Blitz air raids that two church towers still stand in the park.