Bradley Stoke is a new town in South Gloucestershire, England, situated on the north side of the city of Bristol. Named after the local Bradley Brook and Stoke Brook streams, the town was planned in the 1970s and building began in 1987. The town is predominantly residential with some retail and commercial areas.
The area that is now Bradley Stoke was once a farmland north of the village of Stoke Gifford. 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 land was 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 exists and was used as offices by the towns developers before becoming the Bailey's Court Inn. Watch Elm Farm was named after a Watch Elm of 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 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 '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 7 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 one of the wealthiest local councils in South West England.
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 6 Councillors elected from 4 electoral wards. Bradley Stoke occupies the central part of the Filton and Bradley Stoke Parliamentary constituency, which elects one Member of Parliament.
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 completion of the doctors' surgery.
The town centre, Willow Brook Centre, opened on 13 October 2008 featuring around 18 units. Stores include: Tesco Extra, Costa Coffee, Aspirations Financial Advice Ltd, Phoenix Dental Surgery, Giant Bicycles, Pets at Home, Pitman Training, Domino's Pizza, KFC, Greggs and Specsavers. 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.
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 and a fast food take away. Between Pear Tree Road and the RAC tower, there is a Toby Carvery (formally the Orchard Pub).
The south of Bradley Stoke (referred to as Bradley Stoke South) has a number of facilities in Bailey’s Court, this include. A Tesco Express, a Solicitors, Ocean Homes, St Peter Hospice, a nursery and Bailey's Court Inn pub.
In addition the town is served by an Aldi store (on the former Somerfield site.) There are six primary schools, a leisure centre with a 25m swimming pool and public library, gym and beauty salon, an emerging district centre, and a secondary school. The comprehensive secondary school, Bradley Stoke Community School, opened in September 2005 and has the capacity for up to 1,080 students. A post-16 centre at the school was completed in Summer 2010.
The Three Brooks Local Nature Reserve is an area of about 60 hectares (150 acres) in the town including bluebell woods, rough grassland, brooks, ponds, and the man-made Three Brooks Lake. The lake is home to many common species of waterfowl. There are also a number of other walks and paths surrounded by small wooded areas.
The town's local football team is Bradley Stoke Town FC. The cricket club is Bradley Stoke Cricket Club.
Employment is particularly found along the Great Park Road, at the Almondsbury Business Park, and at the Aztec West development. The further developments of the Willow Brook Centre and the addition of larger high street chains such as Boots, Burtons, Dorothy Perkins and the Harvester have increased the number of jobs available for local residents as well as boosting trade within Bradley Stoke. In previous years, Bradley Stoke attracted 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 this area.
The Bradley Stoke community festival has been running since 2002 and is held over a weekend in June. The purpose of the community festival is to bring the community together with different activities and events, such as live music and sports.
Bradley Stoke's news publications include: Bradley Stoke Matters, the free community magazine and community website which started up in 2005, and is delivered quarterly to every home, and The Bradley Stoke Journal, an interactive community news website (since 2007) and a free monthly newspaper delivered to every home (since May 2013). The town is served by a community radio station, Bradley Stoke Radio which broadcasts over the Internet via webcasts and on 103.4 MHz FM.
- OS Explorer Map, Bristol and Bath, Keynsham & Marshfield. Scale: 1:25 000.Publisher: Ordnance Survey B4 edition (2013). ISBN 978 0319239773
- "BBC NEWS - UK - England - Bristol/Somerset - 'Sadly Broke' celebrates 20 years".
- "Willow Brook Website". Tesco Stores Ltd. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- "New Town Centre Is Named". Bradley Stoke Examiner. Retrieved 2008-09-02.
- "Development of 0.87 hectares of land for hotel and restaurant (Tesco Stores Ltd) (PT05/1920/O)". South Gloucestershire Council Planning Department. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
- "Alterations and landscaping to facilitate new shop unit (Aldi Stores Ltd) (PT06/3687/F)". South Gloucestershire Council Planning Department. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
- "Establishment: Bradley Stoke Community School". EduBase. DCSF. Retrieved 10 February 2010.
- "Bradley Stoke Community School Information". Retrieved 2008-07-08.
- Champs sur Marne#Twin towns
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