Generator South West (GSW) wishes to outline the current status of plans to redevelop the former Elizabeth Shaw Chocolate Factory site in Greenbank, Bristol.

22 Jan 2015

GSW is currently carrying out an extensive programme of public consultation on redevelopment proposals for the derelict former Elizabeth Shaw Chocolate Factory site in Greenbank, having acquired the site in April 2014.

GSW prides itself on its conscientious approach to community engagement and started the consultation with stakeholders early in the development process in May 2014. Since then we have received many positive ideas, feedback and suggestions for the redevelopment of the site online through a dedicated project website, a dedicated Twitter feed, design workshop and at two public consultation events held at Easton Community Centre in July 2014 and September 2014 respectively.

Following a meeting in the summer with Stephen Williams MP, he ‘tweeted’ acknowledgement of GSW’s engagement with the community:

“Met with Generator Group @generatorgrpllp new owners of chocolate factory in Easton. Glad they're taking community engagement very seriously”

The redevelopment plans have evolved significantly on the basis of the feedback that we have received from the local community and a range of interested local organisations and community-interest groups. GSW has employed proven development expertise to balance the clear aspirations of the local community with the key economics of scheme delivery.

Throughout the consultation process, the local community has made it clear that their top priorities for the redevelopment of the site are to provide employment opportunities in the form of workshops for small creative businesses, to create new public open space and to deliver a new mixed-use space for use by the entire local community.

At the last public consultation event, attended by over 180 local residents, 64% of feedback respondents stated that providing public open space for use by the local community was of the highest priority, over 50% indicated that the creation of a pedestrian and cycle access onto the Bristol & Bath Railway Path and creating new flexible employment space on the site were very important. 83% stated that they found the event useful or very useful.

Alongside this consultation process, GSW has carried out a number of technical studies which have considered a range of options for the retention of existing buildings on site, with the community’s aspirations in mind. This has included consideration of the condition of existing buildings and in particular health and safety issues associated with the asbestos and dilapidated state of some structures.

The conclusion of this exercise is that a mixed use development of new build and part refurbishment is the key to bringing forward a viable proposal and one which seeks to best realise the aspirations of the local community.

GSW has taken the precaution of applying for partial demolition and asbestos remediation to the dilapidated buildings that are contaminated with exposed asbestos. By carrying out these works it will minimise any health hazard and damage to neighbouring homes from asbestos, falling debris and subsidence of the existing unsound structures.

Whilst partial demolition is necessary, GSW is pleased to have formulated a redevelopment proposal which includes the retention of prominent buildings on-site, including the main factory building dating back to 1910, the iconic former Elizabeth Shaw offices on the corner of Turley Road and an element of the Victorian-era shed buildings fronting Cooperation Road

On this basis, detailed plans will be exhibited at two further public consultation events in February 2015, before a planning application is submitted to Bristol City Council.