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24 September 2014

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You are in: Bristol > In Pictures > Picture galleries > Architecture > The changing face of Portishead

The changing face of Portishead

Have Your Say

What do you think of the rapidly expanding Portishead - does such large-scale development benefit the town or are services not keeping up?

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I have lived here 12 years it was a quite town at first now its busy and to crowded and not enough areas for public to use.

I worked on the design phases of Portishead marina and the missing link to me was always the transport links. The government however, were having none of it. I really believe the key to kick starting Portishead is to give it good public transport links to Bristol and bring in a lot of day trippers for the marina in the other direction. Its good to see many people like the area, there has been some good urban design there, which is why, as Andy says, it hasn't ended up like Bradley Stoke, despite such a strong developer involvement. Portishead can't reach its full potential until the railway goes in (no matter how unfeasible it may seem to some people).

I recently moved to the town and have bought a new house in the village quarter. I think the new development is fabulous, theres a housing crisis in the country and this is exactly rhe kind of development that towns need.

I live in Portishead having moved here just under 5 years ago and live on the top part of the Marina development. I love living here, it is a beautiful environment with the picturesque marina, walks to the lake grounds and a good variety of shops. Supermarkets range from the economical, Co op to the high end, Waitrose. There is a quality fruit and veg shop and also a shop selling organic meat and veg with a deli, plus a health food shop. There is a great leisure centre, football club, running club, youth centre, TA, I could go on and on. Schools are of a high standard and crime and vandalism minimal. The pace of life is still slow compared with other areas. I really think that people should look to their blessings instead of continually whining about the new development which in my view has revitalised the town and reinforced the sense of community. Yes there are issues over transport links, but the buse service is functional and traffic problems minimal when compared with many other towns. The rail link will not be reinstated, for the reasons outlined below. But the town is very cycle friendly. I feel priveliged to live here.

I have lived all over the country and really appreciate what a lovely place Portishead is. There has been a lot of development and despite the fact that I wouldn't want to live on the new estates I think on the whole it has been done quite well especially around the marina and lock gates. Portishead is desperately lacking the infrastructure to support the huge population increase it has seen over the last few years. A rail link is desperately needed and we need decent local shops which sell fresh produce such as butchers and quality fruit shops which will compete with the very expensive Supermarkets we have in this town. Not all of us who live here earn lots of money!

All those people coming down from London and its surrounding areas will bring their bad habits/accents with them changing the very area of its original identity which is what brought them down in the first place. The quality of life they seek will eventually be the same as the place they left, too much traffic, higher crime, lack of patience, destruction of local customs and traditions. They move into an area then want to change it to what they had up in the smoke - why move in the first place! Also you aint going to stop progress, but you can ensure proper infrastructers are in place before building estates, which is down to local councils/government, but hey look of the mess in bristol over the last 50 yrs concerning the transport issues, bunch of buffoons comes to mind.

why do people see the need to be so afraid of development, what is better an old derelict power station and some swamp land or a nice development modernising Portishead and putting the older side to shame, if you really want to point out Portishead's problems you need to look to pull down the concrete precinct, get rid of the shops at the top of Avon Way and put some decent method of transport into the town, look at other towns such as Bradley Stoke, Portishead is very lucky to have retained such an affluent and prestigous feel to it

Thank God I moved to Clevedon 6 years ago .I think they have spoilt it completly

Paul Bailey

Hi there people. I have read your comments with keen interest and found some of the comment thought provoking. I am black british of African Origin and have lived in Cardiff, Truro and London at various times in my life. I am now married to a fellow african and have 2 beautiful boys aged 2 and 4. We are hoping to move to portishead in the next couple of months from cardiff. I now am not so sure. It looks an absolute fantastic place with amazing scenery , fabulous shops and i just get a really family feel from it. I am looking for a safe heaven of some sort and a wonderful place to bring up my boys. With all the publicity about knife crime and gun crime in places like london

Kate Thompson
I agree with Mark, having also just relocated here from South London. It is very quiet here and a lovely place to bring up children, which is why we are here, back where my husband grew up. We need a train station desperately and I am looking forward to a few more shops too! I don't agree that it is not as nice a village as it was before the development however because family homes and cafes have got to be better than a power station and phosphorous plant surely?!

People who live in Portishead dont work in Portishead and vice versa.

The leisure centre is better than what was previously there but is nowhere big enough for the number of people forecast. This is the same for all resources in Portishead.

A classic steam train would attract tourism and more business back to portishead aswell as serving as a vital link into the city centre. Removing congestion from the roads and providing a viable alternative to the appalling bus service.

John Clifton Ake
I find the photographs interesting but the peace and tranquility that I knew seems to have gone. I am 84 years old, and My Grandfather was the Manager of the Co-op in 1924

Your photographer has done us an injustice!!

I've moved from Surrey recently and I think you all have it easy round these parts. Try going anywhere in the South East in a car or on a train between 6am and 10pm in the'll soon all shut up about your little wait at Cabstand and the small queue up at the motorway. And as for the train, Portishead will never get it back, its not just a case of that last 3 mile stretch being reinstated. Bristol Temple Meads is at full capacity, which means another new platform will need to be constructed to accomodate any new trains from Portishead. The entire length of the line along the gorge will need relaying to bring it up to the standard acceptable for passenger use, at the moment it is at a standard for freight use only. Passing points will also need to be added along the gorge because it is only a single line, how else are the freight and passenger trains supposed to pass each other? Portishead is a breath of fresh air compared to the South East, a better quality of life by far for me and my new family. There is far less litter, graffiti and mindless yobs hanging around. People are more friendly and patient, the standard of driving is so much better.

Poorly planned, who else would give permission to build 1400+ new homes and a further 300 retail outlets and not even look at the transport infrastructure. Who? North Somerset Council... We are in the hands of self opinionated bunglers who have their heads truly buried in the sand mark my words their eneptuios decision making will cause us all to suffer.

Portishead is a great town surely bringing in a massive deal of revenue for North Somerset Council and assisting other Local Authorities by providing an accessibile base to surrounding areas of the region. Therefore why can all regions Local Authorities not see sense and put into place a rail link from Bristol Temple Meads (BTM) to Portishead. As most people know the land for this project is still available and a line operates between BTM and Portbury Docks, SO PLEASE RECONSTRUCT THE LAST 3 MILES OF LINE AND GIVE PORTISHEAD A SUSTAINABLE PUBLIC TRANSPORT SYSTEM. People do not wish to spend over 1 hour a day commuting into Bristol! Also to add to another point of the BBC Bristol website if Portishead had a rail link, I'm sure that hundreds of people would not park on the already clutered streets of Kingsdown, Cotham, Clifton, etc and walkable areas to the City. North Somerset Council, Bristol City Council, Network Rail, The Government Office of the South West and a train operator (whoever that may be) all need to sit down and AGREE WHEN Portishead will get it's rail link back and construct it ASAP! Also just to finish as most will know the Highways agency added an extra lane North and South bound to the M5 between junctions 19 and 20 a few years back at a cost of over £28m. Has this solved any congestion issues or just added to the problem? It would only take approximately £25m to regain Portishead's rail link therefore PLEASE all of former mentioned bodies get together and solve Portishead's congestion issue.

Kate Strong
There is nothing wrong with good development, in fact the town that stands still will eventually cease to exist. Portishead has become the victim of ill advised councils and greedy developers with the result that new areas have been built with indecent haste, lacking in strutured community-focussed planning and with insufficient infrastructure.A beautiful town will soon become an eyesore and a classic example of 'too much too soon'. Thank you North Somerset for ignoring all the pleas from our residents and following the golden calf - please don't wreck any more towns before you correct your lack of forethought and put in the money so vitally needed to provide adequate infrastructure. Redress the balance in Portishead and make this a town that people want to stay in and not just use as a weekend stopover.

Great place to live, but I agree we do need another road out of Portishead! Also, the wait for the traffic light (ie. the Cabstand lights are pathetic). A new library and a bigger leisure centre would be great!

Helen Horrocks
I dont mind the new houses but We DO need the railway re-opening. Its a NIGHTMARE to get out of in the mornings. Wake up Gordon Brown and give us our railway!

The property developers and town council are so in love with their own reflection that they fail to a see a town whose infrastructure is crumbling around their ears. No rail line, pathetically under resourced health centre, traffic congestion, poor traffic planning (i.e the Cabstand lights) - but hey, we have lots of nice sculptures and we're getting a 500 seater Italian restruarant to placate the M4 weekenders on the Marina.Great town, spoiled in the name of greed.

Val Fullalove
We need a library which the elderly can use. We need another road out of Portishead! We need a railway. We need a roundabout by the Co-op - not lights. We need a 24hr garage where you don't have to queue at a red light to get into it! We need an extension on the surgery. I could go on.....

If you dislike Portishead please move else where. You will help reduce the traffic congestion in the mornings!

I am a 33 year old lady who has been in the council housing list since I was 18.I waited my turn fair and square.I lived in a bed-sit for 9 years amongst single men who were drug addicts and sold drugs outside my front door for years. I had to put up with antisocial behaviour on a daily basis and music and yelling all night.Also, I have been seriously ill for the past 4 years and on chemo therapy so all in all the last say 4 years of my life with regard to my living conditions, sleeping with a fridge freezer next to my bed buzzing all night and lack of space and the awful neighbours, my life was most unhappy.Then I received a phone call from Knightstone Housing in partnership with North Somerset Council offering me a new apartment on the so called DREADED Ashland's.I did not hesitate and things went ahead and I had a interview and home visits. I viewed the new place and have been here almost a year, so yes after all that I went through illness and upset I feel my, ship shall we say came in.I love the Marina and the Quay the yachts the walks all of it and Portishead ought to be PROUD of such a modern clean and above all, I feel, safe area along side its old town I love also and have many memories of myself.I have been met with some not nice comments when I tell people where I live.One woman made the sign of the cross at me, when I said Ashland's. I soon realized that I was living in a controversial place.If the locals as they call themselves,who assume I am new to the area as well, although I was born in Weston Super Mare and lived in Portbury went to Portishead with my mother to shop on push bikes from a young age.I know Portishead better than some I know who wine on.I went to school in Portishead.I recall the Ashland's and the way the land was in tumps from where they dumped the ash from the Power Station.I recall the day they blew the chimneys up oh yes, I can tell anyone plenty about round here.I do not MIND any one saying this new area has came as a shock and the infrastructure is under pressure I agree but if I am met with hatred then I have no time to empathize at all.May I say that the local people,this section that moan could be jealous..? and maybe clearly at the crucial time before any demolition took place, did not fight hard enough alongside the local council to have a say for better, more agreeable plans made up by, the awful Crest Nicholson.I love my new home and if people knew my story where I come from, how I can never afford to get on a property ladder, then maybe they would wish me well and not JUDGE me.For the first time in my life I feel I have a real home with a bedroom that is so great for me after no bedroom.People who don't like me for being here, I dare say have secure houses with lots of rooms and space.At some time some one else had to put up with that development being built.Everyone forgets that their home was BUILT and seen as new or radical, pick up a history book and see the changes Victorian, Edwardian.We are a mixture of our past, everything along side its predecessors.The Power Station land and Ashland's was browfield land not green belt.You can not STOP progress and we all have to live somewhere and Portishead has had bits added on to it since I was a child, no one likes change I know that.A very happy Ashland's newbie with an open mind, can we all try to be the same please and think before judging.

its turning into a city and its brilliant all we need now is sky scrapers; lets hope their building them next. who cares about community facilities, it isnt a community any more and if you want that sort of place to live in then move, simple! people just cant accpet that things change and dont stay the same forever, well get over it.

F Poyner
Portishead is great place to live, except that the developers have done anything about the access in an out of Portishead, which is a great shame, nobody wants to sit in queuing traffic first thing in the morning, getting stressed before doing a day's work. Get the railway up and running and improve the roads.

T Moorly
Very nice pictures but what about the ones of the parking on pavements, the fact that you cant get an emergency vehicle through roads because of the parking problems, somethines I have trouble squeezing my car through! What about the ones of the long queues of traffice every morning, the rubbish around mcdonalds, the kids causing trouble at the lake grouynds in the evening, the list goes on and on and on. Very nice I admit but there is so much housing, its all housing and nothing else. Where ar ethe Libraries, shops, recreation spaces and places and the nre roads and transport links??

Portishead has become an ugly sprawl. Poorly planned, with inadequate road and rail links. No community facilities to speak of. The local councils have failed the people by not imposing sufficient conditions upon greedy developers to ensure the necessary infrastructure was built along with the development.

M Pritchard
I've lived in Portishead for 35 years and I think the new development has done wonders for the community, however, the developers have made there money now and have not spent anywhere near enough on the roads in and out of Portishead! Leaving a vast amount of people frustrated on a daily basis, I have about had enough of waiting on the Portbury Hundred to go to work in the morning, sorry to say but the local council has not had the back bone to stand up to the developers and insist that they amend the road system first, prior to building the vast amount of houses, and sorry to say, they are still developing!! no need to mention the problems in the high street at the moment that cost approimately £800,000! This is a outrage and a total waste of tax payers money and now we will have to cover the costs to amend the scheme!

Christopher R
Its not the population that is growing due to "natural" causes, it's all in-migration from elsewhere, especially London. The west country is being crowded out and sacrificed for those who think the grass is greener over this side of the country. I hate having to go into Portishead, I'm glad I don't live there and I pity anyone who has to because of work. It isnt everyone's problem, either....everyone is suffering because planners didnt do their jobs properly and insist on infrastructure before the greedy builders got in there. Builders just build, pocket profit and then move on...leaving the councils to sort out the mess. For heavens sake someone get that railway going!

Mike Keen
If the population is growing people need places to live with the infrastructure to support this; it is everyones problem.

Portishead is a fantastic place to live. I live in the new Marina and love it here. However I can not believe that the train line has not been re-opened. This needs to be a priority if the town is to continue to grow. Without adequate infrastructure no family or business will consider living here as it will soon be impossible to get into or out of the town at rush hour.

jean chappell
wonderful--would be better with a rail link to Bristol though.

Margaret O'Connor
I moved to Portishead in 2003 from Bradley Stoke, where I lived for 14 years, I think Portishead is a lovely place to live, and I think N. Somerset council are attempting to not make the mistakes that new developments in the 90's made. Having said that new services will be very welcome, particularly the new library.

Paul En
Portishead is a classic example of unfettered greed from developers, allowed by a weak and ineffective council. What has been built so far ? Houses, houses and houses. No new pubs, restaurants, no new library, and no new railway link in to Bristol (all that is needed is a few miles of track to the recently refurbished Portbury line into Bristol).All the new houses are crammed together like sardines in a can, with no space to park, so pavements have become de rigeur parking bays for the selfish.What a disaster !

Not lived there for the best part of 10 years but parents still there. Hope global warming isn't as bad as expected given the number of houses built at sea level. I suspect there was a reason for most of the rest of the town bring built on the hilly bits. As for the traffic It was difficult enough getting to the motorway in the morning then and Im told its much worse now. Much like the rest of Bristol still await the legendary, trams, trains, fast buses or any number of things that have never been built

Terry Manski
I live on Port Marine - it's brilliant - community, quality, professional people - but... who allowed such poor parking facilities? Who allowed the development without building better access roads into Portishead? Who allowed the Cabstand traffic lights system to be installed? And why not build the final 2 miles of the rail link?

E Edwards
My partner lived in Portishead for 12 years, and I lived there with him for the last three. We loved the friendly feel of the town centre, the excellent local traders, and the access to the coast. But the traffic misery just got too much for us - alas for the rail link which would be such a simple, perfect solution - so we moved in to Bristol where we can cycle or get the bus to work. We miss the town, but not the queues of cars...

wonderful to see so many new houses but local amenities and infra structure is not adequate. it is virtually impossible some mornings to access the motorway from portishead.

Flourishing Carnival, great christmas lights, new shops,local shops and popular supermarkets. Local restaurants - busier than ever. Good pool and sports centre, coastal walks, fresh air, good local sports clubs-tennis,football, rugby,cricket. Great schools, boats, ships, fishing, unbelievable views and sunsets,close enough (and far away enough) to Bristol, little crime- Life is good in Portishead. Lived there for 20 years and love it.

R. Smith
The developers have built and sold all the residential units first at the expense of retail shop units, restaurants, coffee shops, a library, a doctor's surgery et al. The result is a soulless development with lots of parked cars and no life or activity. Transport planning is a disaster with poor access arrangements, poor public transport and poor parking facilities. Portishead is now stagnated by an abundance of traffic lights and stationary traffic waiting at them.Overall a missed opportunity and an example of Developers dictating and riding roughshod over the community aided by the inability of the Local Authority to lead the process properly. I hope Portishead does get its new library, doctor's surgery, and new leisure facilities which should have been built in the earlier phases.

Ian S
Far too much, far too quickly. Portishead has rapidly transformed over the last ten years from a friendly welcoming town, to an identity free sprawling urban mass where I no longer feel at home. The developments have been done with zero consideration for the original residents of the town.

V Howard
The transport links between Portishead and Bristol need serious consideration! The build up of traffic on the A369 at peak times is already very bad, more houses in Portishead = more people traveling in and out of Bristol.

Steve Bigwood
How sad to see the fields I used to play in as a child & take long summer walks in with my dog(only 5 years ago!)now almost all covered with the Royal Portbury car parks, tightly packed housing & roads.My wife & I left Portishead in 2003 as it was changing so much(not for the better)with what appeared to be little council consideration for the 'old town', totally appalling road access in & out of Portishead & the plans for a further doubling of the new houses built upto then. Look at it now - We made the right choice!

I cannot believe that housing has been built on the railway line and station, even though the line to Portbury docks has been upgraded. I was sceptical about the new St Joseph's school had been built at the opposite end of the High Street from the development. But it still remains a plaesant town (when it isn't flooded... and those houses aren;t that high above sea level).

The recent rapid growth of Portishead is a joke, nothing but scrupulous developers just throwing up housing to make a quick buck. The town council are the biggest villians in this piece by allowing this to happen without ensuring the community facilites were developed at the same time. The redevelopment of the Cabstand/High Street junction is a farce & how the Government can clainm there isn't the demand for extending the railway when Portishead has been identified as one of the fastest growing towns in Europe is beyond me!!!I grew up in Portishead, I still consider it my home town but it's lost all of it's charm! I'm not against growth, it's important for a town to grow, but it has to be in conjunction with the supporting community facilities and infrastructure - none of this is evident in Portishead!

It is no use enforcing a large number of homes on an already overburdened town when the transport system serving Portishead is now worse than in victorian days. Before more homes are built there needs to be serious attention given to the reinstatement of a local RAIL SERVICE.(the Government excuse that this is not a priority is rubbish) One only has to experience the huge traffic holdups at the motorway junction with the M5 and in the town's High Street to see how the residents of Portishead are being ignored.

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