We bought the building as we were attracted to its history and a sense of belonging within Old Market, one of the more interesting areas of a great city, Bristol.
The Guild Heritage has been used but not abused, by Bristol City Council since the late 80′s. Local residents in recent years will remember it as a Housing Office. Bristol CC decided they didn’t need the space so sold the building in an open tender.
June 2011 Update
We got some interesting feedback from the Old Market Community Association - here. While we did not agree with it all there was clearly lot of thought that went into it. We talked to the planners and they suggested we wait until the Autumn. In particular we should continue to market for an existing commercial use and do this for at least 6 months to meet Bristol City Policy guidelines.
So we pulled the application and continued marketing.
21 April 2011 Update:
We have submitted a full planning application - To read the full design and access statement for the building click here
How we got to make the application…from the blog of Spring 2011.
The property and the immediate neighbourhood have potential – but it all needs reviving. Staff who have worked in the Guild felt we should protect the quirky, enterprising spirit of the old place. We agree.
We are ultimately creatures of the UK in the 21st Century – two blokes wanting a return for our effort in a financial sense. But we also aspire to achieve a wider return and believe the Guild might be revived to create a small but positive impact on the immediate area. Its early days but where there’s a will…
Anyway, we commissioned a slightly wonderful local firm of Architects (FIT) to undertake a feasibility study. Our brief was pretty wide, asking what alternative uses could be considered other than commercial space.
If you’re interested, read the 2nd draft here (or click FIT logo).
In this draft, Option 1 is still our preferred route at present – an interesting mixed use (live/work?) approach which could critically lift some of our financial burden yet retain a much more viable, marketable commercial space in the central hall. Not radical, but could be fab.
Option 3 was a difficult option to include for us.
- In the first draft we had considered student lets, using the first floor and possibly going into the roof with dorma conversion.
- It was decided that students would not integrate easily alongside office space which we plan to open up by revealing the original internal courtyards as light wells.
- So to keep the money men happy we asked to see how the Guild might work as complete student lets. In the unlikely event that this was viable, we figured we could develop it or sell on and find a different property or project. In the end, we aren’t looking to run a student accommodation business so the study helped us rule it out.
If you have any view on what we should do then post, tweet, mail or ring. We would love to hear from people interested in regeneration of a bite-sized chunk of Bristol.