Willow Brook Centre, the town centre
|Population||20,599 (2011 Census)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Dialling code||0117 and 01454|
|Police||Avon and Somerset|
Bradley Stoke is a town in South Gloucestershire, England, situated on the north side of the city of Bristol, 6 miles (10 kilometres) northeast of Bristol city centre and 103 miles (166 km) due west of London. Not far from the Severn Estuary of the Bristol Channel, Bradley Stoke is bordered by three motorways; the M5 to the north, the M4 to the east and the M32 to the south.
Planned in the 1970s, building began in 1987. Bradley Stoke was Europe's largest new town built with private investment and was named after the local Bradley Brook and Stoke Brook streams. The Willow Brook Centre, Bradley Stoke's town centre and shopping hub, has more than six million visitors every year. The town is predominantly residential but was planned on a self-standing basis with retail, leisure and commercial areas in the North, South and Central areas, and various business parks on the outskirts of the town.
The area that is now Bradley Stoke was once a farmland north of the village of Stoke Gifford near Bristol city. The land was divided between the civil parishes of Stoke Gifford and Almondsbury. The area consisted of a number of farms, Bailey's Court and Watch Elm Farm in the south, Bowsland Farm and Manor Farm in the north and Webb's Farm in the middle. Some of the lands were used as pasture. A number of woods also existed, Sherbourne's Brake, Webb's Wood and the large Savage's Wood have all been preserved. Fiddlers Wood, the name of which lives on in Fiddlers Wood Lane was all but obliterated by the M4 motorway. Baileys Court Farmhouse is the only original building that still remains and was used as offices by the towns developers before becoming the Bailey's Court Inn. Watch Elm Farm was named after the Watch Elm, an elm of a legendary size that blew down in the mid 18th century. The Stoke Brook flows through the middle of Bradley Stoke.
During its development, the new settlement faced some problems in the wake of a national recession. At the time, Bradley Stoke was reputed to be one of Europe's largest private housing developments and did struggle to develop at first to establish itself as an identifiable town unlike other earlier new towns which were supported by a New Town Development Corporation, as the settlement relied principally on private investment within a restricted statutory framework of the local authority Northavon District Council within the Avon County Council area. A combination of private house builder led the development and with only limited input from commercial businesses and the consequent recession resulted in the new town gaining a reputation for being a soulless housing estate with only limited facilities and no town centre, with the exception of a Tesco supermarket. High-interest rates during the early 1990s soon led to the collapse of the property market in the area with many new homes falling into negative equity. This led to the branding of the new town as, accurately named, 'Sadly Broke' until property values and the development market began to recover.
Bradley Stoke has a Town Council made up of 15 Councillors elected from seven wards to administer the local issues. The Town Council is chaired by the Town Mayor and is assisted by the Deputy Town Mayor. The three standing committees of the Town Council acts as deliberative wings of the council. Decisions of the council are carried out by officers and staff employed by the Council headed by the Town Clerk.
Bradley Stoke is part of the South Gloucestershire County Council which acts as its Unitary Authority. Bradley Stoke Town is represented in the South Gloucestershire Council by six Councillors elected from four electoral wards. Bradley Stoke occupies the central part of the Filton and Bradley Stoke Parliamentary constituency, which elects one Member of Parliament. First elected in 2010, Conservative MP Jack Lopresti is the MP for Filton and Bradley Stoke.
The area that covers Bradley Stoke was historically part of the Gloucestershire County. From 1974 until 1996, Bradley Stoke was part of the Northavon district of the Avon county. However, when Avon County was abolished in 1996 in favour of unitary authorities, and the area became part of the newly formed South Gloucestershire.
The membership of the town council, as of the election held in May 2019, is shown in the table below.
|Tom Aditya||Bradley Stoke South||Conservative|
|Michael Hill (Vice-Chair of Council)|
|Fabrizio Fazzino||Bradley Stoke North||Labour|
|Tony Griffiths (Chair of Council)||Conservative|
|John Ashe||Stoke Brook||Conservative|
Many of the facilities in the town were to be funded by the housing developers from housing sales, via 'Section 106' planning agreements. When house building and sales slowed for a time in the late 80s, there was a significant slowdown in facility completion. This included the late provision of the road joining the North and South sides of the town, and also the completion of the doctors' surgery.
The new town centre was named by an anonymous resident as part of a competition run by Bradley Stoke Town Council in partnership with Tesco. The centre is situated on the original Tesco supermarket site, and the redevelopment was approved by South Gloucestershire Council on 13 November 2006.
The Bradley Stoke Town Council operates three activity centres located at The Bradley Stoke Jubilee Centre on Savages Wood Road, Baileys Court Activity Centre on Baileys Court Road and Brook Way Activity Centre on Brook Way. Each activity centre offers rooms and facilities to hire, and the provision of sports activities such as bowls, football pitches and hardball courts.
There are over 9000 residential homes in the Bradley Stoke area. 1600 properties or nearly 18% of properties are registered for social housing.
Bradley Stoke North
To the north of the town (often referred to as Bradley Stoke North—because building in the town was originally in two locations, north and south, eventually working towards the centre: for many years the two sites were separated by an expanse of green fields) there are a number of other facilities on Pear Tree Road. Including a Tesco Express, Prime Time Recruitment, Coral, a beauty salon, a cafe and two fast food take away establishments. In addition, the town is served by an Aldi store (on the former Somerfield site.). Between Pear Tree Road and the RAC tower, there is a Toby Carvery (formerly the Orchard Pub).
Near the Aldi supermarket, there is a pub named the Hollow Tree. The former pub on the site, the Bradley Stoke, closed down in September 2012, when the site was sold to Marstons, a brewery and pub operator. The new pub opened in March 2013, and gained a "Pizza Kitchen" in renovations in 2016.
Willow Brook Centre, the town centre
Willow Brook Centre opened on 13 October 2008. Stores at Willow Brook Shopping Centre include Tesco Extra, Argos, Boots, Burton, Card Factory, Children's Hospice South West, Costa Coffee, Domino's Pizza, Dorothy Perkins, EE, F&F, Giant Bicycles, Greggs, Harvester, Holland & Barrett, KFC, Ladbrokes, O2, Pets at Home, Poundstretcher, Reflections, Shoe Zone, Specsavers, Subway, Tanning Shop, The Food Warehouse by Iceland, Timpson, The Works, Vision Express. Services at the Willow Brook Shopping Centre include Anytime Fitness, Aspirations, BT, CJ Hole, Explore Learning, Kumon, Leading Edge, Lionbridge, Logical, My Dentist, Ocean, Reed, Taylors, Waves car wash and Willow Clinic.
Bradley Stoke Leisure Centre and library
The Active leisure centre near the town centre provides access to a 25m swimming pool and a public library. Additional services at the leisure centre include a gym, beauty salon, Soho Coffee and a skate park. The leisure centre and library are host to many in house and local activity groups.
In 2018, as part of renovations reducing the size of the sports hall, a small climbing centre was installed.
The Soho coffee shop was established in June 2013 and was renovated in 2017.
Bradley Stoke South
The south of Bradley Stoke (referred to as Bradley Stoke South) has a number of facilities in Bailey's Court, this included a Tesco Express store, a Solicitor's firm, Ocean Homes Estate office, St Peter Hospice, a nursery, the Beijing Restaurant and Bailey's Court Inn pub.
Employment opportunities are found along Great Stoke Way to the South, Woodlands Business Park and Almondsbury Business Park to the North, and at the Aztec West development. The town is served by the nearby Bristol Parkway railway station in Stoke Gifford and is a short distance from the Ministry of Defence, the Aviva Centre and the Abbeywood Retail Park. Situated in the surrounding business parks are companies including RAC, Paragon, DHL, Greencore, Pukka Herbs, EE, GE Capital, HSS Hire, and various hotels, production factories, courier services, warehouses and offices. The business parks are facilitated by cafes and restaurants including Starbucks and Turtle Bay.
The further developments of the Willow Brook Centre and the addition of larger high street chains have increased the number of jobs available for local residents as well as boosting trade within Bradley Stoke. Businesses continue to be interested in the further development of the town centre, such as the planning application to build drive-through commercial units adjacent to Bradley Stoke Way.
Bradley Stoke attracts custom through passing trade from those exiting and joining the motorways and commuting, however since the expansion of the Willow Brook Centre both business owners and potential employees are attracted to the area. Despite the available employment opportunities, many residents commute from Bradley Stoke to Central Bristol, The Mall in Cribbs Causeway or via the nearby motorway junction for work.
- Saint Marys Catholic Primary School
- Bailey's Court Primary School
- Wheatfield Primary School
- Meadowbrook Primary School
- Holy Trinity Primary School
- Bowsland Green Primary School
- Bradley Stoke Community Primary School
- Bradley Stoke Community School, the comprehensive secondary school, opened in September 2005 and has the capacity for up to 1,120 students. A post-16 centre at the school was completed in Summer 2010, and a primary school extension was completed in 2015.
Bus services are operated by First West of England and Stagecoach West offering transport links to Aztec West, Thornbury, Cribbs Causeway, Bristol Parkway railway Station, Bristol city centre and University of the West of England, Bristol. A new MetroBus service was introduced by Bristol Community Transport under contract by FirstGroup.
Bradley Stoke borders the M5 to the north, the M4 to the east and the M32 to the south. Main transport routes are via Aztec West and via the Stoke Gifford bypass to the south.
The Bradley Stoke Community Festival has been running since 2004 and is held over a weekend in June. The festival hosts a variety of activities and events primarily aimed at young children and families involving live music, performances, sports and games.
A Bradley Stoke Community Carnival event took place in 2014, 2015 and 2017. The carnival hosted stilt walkers, a brass band, performers dressed in costumes, competitions and prizes and live music.
Similarly to the Bradley Stoke Community Festival, Wheatfest is an annual event hosted by a local group Friends of Wheatfield Primary School. The event on the grounds of Wheatfield Primary School is primarily aimed at young children and families. The 2019 event raised over £6000.
The Willow Brook Centre provides a summer beach in the town centre. Primarily aimed at young children and families, the Centre features a 38-tonne sandpit, dozens of deck chairs, and suspended decorations.
The Town Council operates an annual fireworks display in early November to celebrate Guy Fawkes Night, in 2018 raising over £2000 in support of West of England MS Therapy Centre and the Stroke Association.
Stars of the Stokes
Since 2016, the Willow Brook Centre has hosted annual Stars of the Stokes Awards to recognise the local heroes in our community featuring special guest celebrities. Awards are issued to a champion carer, a parent in a million, coach of the year, high achievement, young person of the year and teacher of the year. The event is sponsored by Tesco, Honeyfield, Aztec Hotel & Spa, First Bus, Bradley Stoke Radio, Olympus Academy Trust, Carisway, Bradley Stoke Radio and Frome Valley Vocie.
The Bradley Stoke Rotary Club hosts a variety of meetings and events such as knitting and an annual barn dance, the 2018 dance raising £600 for Bristol Children's Charity.
The local Baileys Court Inn and Three Brooks Pub host regular quiz nights, as does the Hollow Tree.
Each year the town is adorned with lights to celebrate Christmas. Along with an annual Christmas tree and decorations in the town centre, courtesy of the Willow Brook Centre, one property in Elm Close raises funds each year for St Peters Hospice by decorating their home in 30,000 lights. In 2018, over £3000 was raised.
The Woodland area of Bradley Stoke is named Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve, an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres) that includes bluebell woods, rough grassland, brooks, ponds, and the man-made Three Brooks Lake. The lake, part of the Frome Valley Relief Sewer, is home to many common species of waterfowl including nesting swans. There are also a number of other walks and paths surrounded by small wooded areas connecting various parts of Bradley Stoke. Wild fruit can be found throughout the woodland, namely blackberries, apples, plums and cherries. A community orchard grows in the heart of the woodland.
The local Stokes Art Group (SAG) and the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group (TBNCG) teamed up for an art project to personify the God of Three Brooks Nature Reserve. The God was named Trolletheus, named after two rusted supermarket trolleys dredged from the man-made lake.
Regular woodland walks and foraging groups are conducted in the local woodland hosted by the Three Brooks Conservation Group. In May 2019, the Three Brooks Nature Conservation Group were awarded a grant of £25,000 from Enovert Community Trust to improve accessibility to the woodland through renovations to walkways.
The Bradley Stoke Bowls Club was opened in May 2010 at the Baileys Court Activity Centre.
The Bradley Stoke Cricket Club has been playing at the heart of Bradley Stoke since 1991.
The town's local football teams are Bradley Stoke Town FC and Bradley Stoke Youth FC.
There is a well lit concrete skate park located at the Bradley Stoke Active Leisure Centre.
Bradley Stoke is popular with joggers and runners along the many pedestrian and cycle routes in the town as well as in the local woodland. The town hosts a 10 km event, with locals competing against each other to run a course across the length of the town.
Tennis lessons, games and events are played at the Jubilee Centre on Savages Wood Road.
Bradley Stoke's news and media publications include Bradley Stoke Matters and The Bradley Stoke Journal.
Bradley Stoke Matters is a free community magazine and website which started up in 2005, following local news and events. The free magazine is delivered quarterly to every home in Bradley Stoke.
The Bradley Stoke Journal is a free interactive community news website since 2007, following local news and events. and a free monthly newspaper delivered to every home. Since 2013 the free magazine is delivered monthly to every home in Bradley Stoke.
Bradley Stoke Radio, the local community radio station, broadcasts over the internet via webcasts and on 103.4 MHz FM. Live broadcasts are regularly held during local community events, in Willow Brook Shopping Centre's town square, and at local festivals, featuring live singers and commentary directly from the events.
Bradley Stoke receives Heart West Radio on 96.3 MHz FM and BBC Radio Bristol on 94.9 MHz FM.
Bradley Stoke is covered by, and has featured on the local television channel Bristol TV, formerly known as Made in Bristol TV.
Bradley Stoke is served by Avon and Somerset Constabulary. There is a local police beat surgery office located in the Willow Brook Centre Avon and Somerset Constabulary were criticised in early 2019 for having no active Police Community Support Officers (PCSO). A police presence has since been reinstated.
Bradley Stoke benefits from a low crime rate compared to other areas of Bristol. Categories of most commonly reported crimes in the area include theft, violent or sexual crime, anti-social behaviour, public disorder offenses and traffic offenses. In 2018, the crime rate reached its highest level for 5 years with over 100 crimes reported in the month of June. The supermarket, leisure centre, petrol filling station and nearby pub are hotspots for the most frequent crimes Incidents involving arson, threats towards children and multiple counts of indecent exposure were reported in the area.
Numerous acts of vandalism were reported around the Three Brooks Nature Reserve over the May Bank Holiday weekend in 2019. Incidents included two counts of theft, destruction of wildlife housing, damage to the Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve signage and installations. An incident occurred involving a community project to decorate roundabouts involved intoxicated individuals stealing an ornamental animal. The animal was returned but later damaged in a separate incident involving a car driving over the roundabout.
The Avon and Somerset police crime statistics record that between May 2018 and April 2019 at least 900 crimes were reported in the Bradley Stoke area. The crimes included 230 reports of anti-social behaviour (25.56%) and 256 reports of violence and sexual offences (28.44%). Other offences included bicycle theft, burglary, criminal damage and arson, drugs offenses, possession of weapons, public order offenses, robbery, shoplifting and vehicle crime.
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- Champs sur Marne#Twin towns
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