Deprivation, employment and the effect of Arena siting on Lawrence Hill residents

Statement to Extraordinary Full Council meeting, Monday 3rd September 2018
Deprivation, employment and the effect of Arena siting on Lawrence Hill residents

Multiple deprivations in Lawrence Hill and lack of employment opportunity

As a resident of Lawrence Hill ward, I am particularly concerned by the missed opportunity building the Arena in the centre of Bristol will have on communities here.

Lawrence Hill has, according to Bristol City Council’s own Deprivation in Bristol 2015 report, five Lower Super Output Areas in the top 20 most deprived in Bristol (Easton Road, Stapleton Road, St Philips, Cabot Circus and Barton Hill). All LSOAs in Lawrence Hill ward are within the most deprived 10% nationally. Overall, the ward is the fourth most deprived and has the second highest percentage of people who are employment-deprived in Bristol, with 3,240 (25% of the population). More than a third of people in Lawrence Hill are income deprived (7,060, or 36%). Almost half of all children live in income deprived households (2,235, or 46%)

I do not believe that the siting of an Arena is a panacea for this deprivation and the wider income inequalities in Bristol and the UK. However, if we think for just a few seconds about the kind of work that will be made available by this development – regular work in the service and hospitality industry – this is exactly the kind of role suitable for people who are long-term unemployed and with skills and education deprivation.

Journey times for Lawrence Hill residents to Temple Meads quicker and cheaper than to Brabazon Hangar

The siting of the Arena is a factor on people within Lawrence Hill accessing the Arena’s jobs. The route connections from our area of the city to the Filton area are poor. Even from the most northerly point of Lawrence Hill (where the M32 intersects with the railway line), the minimum journey times to the Brabazon Hangar are currently:

Walking: 1 hour 30 minutes
Cycling: 30 minutes
Bus: 50 minutes (with at least one change of bus)
Train: 54 minutes (requires a change to bus)

For comparison, here are the journey times to Bristol Temple Meads, adjacent to Arena Island:

Walking: 34 minutes
Cycling: 11 minutes
Bus: 22 minutes (includes 12 minutes’ walk)
Train: 13 minutes (direct train)

This shows that the siting of the Arena will have a substantial and direct impact on the cost and desirability for Lawrence Hill residents taking jobs at the Arena. Additionally, the anti-social hours that employees of an Arena may need to hold are not necessarily conducive to the use of public transport.

Conclusion

The Arena Island site represents a substantial opportunity for residents in deprived areas like Lawrence Hill (as well as other areas of inner city Bristol, both north and south of the river) to access good-quality jobs within walking, cycling and public transport distance. I hope that the Labour Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, considers the people who need jobs most before he decides to move the Arena project away from these employment-deprived areas.

Rob Bryher
Lawrence Hill resident

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