The Bearpit is undergoing a makeover. Between March and July, there are works going on that will change the feel of the space. There will be a new paved surface, some changes to the layout of the raised areas, new lighting, and there will be steps down into the space from a new walkway/cycleway round the edge at road level.
The initiative for all the changes in the Bearpit has come from the Bearpit Improvement Group (BIG), a community action group of local people and organisations. The group has been working since 2010, building up gradually through incremental changes, and introducing trading, art and other activities. The group is formally constituted as a Community Interest Company.
From the start, the group has worked with Bristol Council, which owns the land, and other agencies. The Council has designated the site a “Community Action Zone” to encourage community-led innovations and improvements, and to respond to BIG’s initiative. Recently, to put the the relationship between BIG and the Council on to a more formal basis, the group has been developing a license agreement with the Council. This will define more clearly the terms on which BIG operates on what is the Council’s land, and will set the basis on which BIG works with the various arms of the Council. This is a necessary part of the evolution of BIG’s work.
The current physical changes complement the changes that have already taken place, and there will be further opportunities to transform the space in coming months and years, meeting BIG’s objective of making the Bearpit a safe and welcome oasis for everyone who comes here.