Planning future use: The College learning space

Another large space reused in Bristol, The College, is an old college in Bedminster which had stood empty for a year while current owner Homes and Communities Agency looked for a private buyer. 

The precinct was in good condition and included a gym, classrooms, a warehouse, a hair and beauty room and a horticultural area with polytunnels. All of which are now being short-term re-used by various community projects for permaculture, puppet making, mechanics and carpentry, design and arts, a mothers' space, a youth centre, a community bike workshop, community classes, tai chi and an indoor skate park. College Green activity

In 2011, Bristol City Council's Ruth Essex introduced Artspace Lifespace to the owners and they negotiated a one-year lease to be reviewed and renewed at six monthly intervals until development starts.

Because so many community groups are now actively using the buildings, any future development use may well incorporate some of these activities.

"Artspace Lifespace have been trying out different things on the site with local people and met with local kids to discuss their needs. They've done a lot of the work finding out what's needed locally which maybe consultants or the developers wouldn't have found out that easily but which will be very useful in planning for future use," says Ruth Essex.