STOKES CROFT FOR THE PEOPLE
The Stokes Croft we all love is changing. And fast.
For decades, this run-down half-forgotten area, known for its dereliction and homelessness, has been the most creative radical powerhouse, a potent cultural node that has been a powerful driver of political and societal change. The Cube, Café Kino, Jamaica Street Artists, The Croft, Lakota, Coexist, Love Bristol, Demolition Diner, the graffiti community, Banksy, Massive Attack, the squatter community and the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft have been just a few of the players in this heady cultural mix that has always punched way above its weight.
But now the gentrification vultures circle above us, attracted by the juicy cultural capital that we, the community, have produced. In pursuit of profit, property developers and corporate business are moving in, thereby destroying the very culture that makes Stokes Croft attractive.
We believe that the only way to halt this excavation of cultural capital is for community to own its own land, and thereby be in control of its own destiny. We deserve to reap the rewards of our efforts.
Stokes Croft Land Trust (SCLT) is precisely the vehicle for this radical departure from the norm. A society for the benefit of community, this charitable trust will enable the community to own and steward property in the Croft for the benefit of those who live here, not for those who seek a fast buck.
By owning property in common, Stokes Croft can retain its INDEPENDENCE.
By owning property in common, Stokes Croft can be in control of its future.
By owning property in common, Stokes Croft can lead the change to a fairer society, by creating an exemplar of how the world could be if it was not directed by profit alone.
The first step to this utopian vision was the purchase of 17-25 Jamaica St, Stokes Croft, currently home to the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft HQ. Active in Stokes Croft for 15 years, PRSC will continue its community activities as tenants of SCLT, paying rent to ensure the community investors get their dividends.
Stokes Croft is one of the most independent and iconic areas of Bristol. Now it is time to secure the future of our community’s land… for the community.
What is a Community Land Trust?
Community Land Trusts (CLTs) and similar cooperative structures like this are grass roots organisations tackling local land injustices. They are a fair and transparent way of grappling control of houses, shops, industrial land and public spaces away from the forces of gentrification. Giving local groups ownership, a say and rights to the benefits of what goes on in our neighbourhood.
The first CLTs emerged from the Civil Rights Movement in the USA during the 1970s, and the idea has now spread round the world. England now has a Community Land Trust for every day of the year.
Over the last twenty years, the work of local artists, activists, performers and community organisations has transformed Stokes Croft from a from a run-down city fringe neighbourhood in the 1980s to the vibrant Bristol cultural quarter that it is today. Along the way, a lot of social and cultural capital has been created. Since much of the financial value associated with this has now turned into substantial rises in local property prices, the Croft is right in the cross hairs of the gentrifiers and land speculators. To counter this big steal of value from our community, members of Stokes Croft Land Trust are building an organisation that will acquire and steward land and buildings in Stokes Croft in perpetuity on behalf of local people. This will enable local land and buildings to be removed from the market and ensure that some of the value that has been created locally stays local and continues to provide benefits for local people over the long term.
Looking for Stokes Croft Community Land Trust? That’s still us! We are a community land trust, even if that’s not precisely what it says in our name, so whether you’re after SCLT or SCCLT, you’ve come to the right place.