Trustees and volunteers at the Ardagh Community Trust (ACT) have welcomed a decision by Bristol City Council (BCC) to extend the charity’s lease to cover all sports facilities at the Horfield site.
ACT Chair Peter Walker said:
“We are delighted at this decision as it means we will now be able to go ahead with a major fundraising drive to improve the facilities further for community use.”
The Council’s decision is the conclusion of a lengthy consultation and decision-making process by BCC Parks Department which resolved a number of the complex, licensing issues connected with areas of the site previously outside of ACT’s lease.
Lack of clarity about the ongoing maintenance and management of those areas was preventing the charity from being able to progress with much-needed improvements to the site.
ACT has ambitious plans – informed by hundreds of local people over the last 5 years – which include a Changing Places facility, improved courts for multisport and events use, improved access and egress and ongoing improvements to the public gardens and play facilities.
Peter Walker added:
“Trustees are proud of the work that we have done to date, and the transformation of the Ardagh site that has taken place since ACT secured a lease for the site in 2019. We are now looking forwards to progressing with further, much-needed and long awaited improvements to the wider site facilities for the benefit of the local and wider community.”
This also comes as welcome news for local Green Party councillors for Bishopston and Ashley Down, Emma Edwards and Lily Fitzgibbon, who have been supporting the Ardagh in their plans.
Councillor Edwards said of the decision:
“The Ardagh is a much-loved and valued community space, and the trustees and volunteers work incredibly hard to keep it running – so I am so pleased that this community asset transfer is going ahead. It’s something that Cllr Lily Fitzgibbon, myself and previous local Green councillors have been helping the Ardagh work towards for many years. This measure will give the community trust more scope to develop and grow the space, while still allowing for the bowling club to carry on, a concern that some members have had. I am so pleased that a solution has been reached that works for everyone.”