About Stokes Croft Land Trust

Our mission at the Stokes Croft Land Trust is to acquire and steward buildings and property in Stokes Croft, with and on behalf of the local community, for the long term.

We are a community benefit society (registration number 7004) with exempt charitable status from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which has been created as a grassroots institution, governed and run democratically by its members (local people) to acquire and steward buildings and property in Stokes Croft on behalf of the local community for the long term.

Our goal is to take land out of the speculative capital investment market, and into secure community ownership, thereby enabling long-term affordable and sustainable local development, putting the control of local areas back into the hands of local people.

On a local level, this share offer will allow the Stokes Croft Land Trust to purchase the freehold tenure of its first building and thereafter, to plan a longer-term programme of improvements to the building in partnership with the tenant PRSC. The Stokes Croft Land Trust will be off the starting blocks and at the same time securing PRSC’s license to occupy and develop the building’s space and facilities for its range of cultural, artistic and campaigning activities and events.

In the longer term, the Stokes Croft Land Trust plans to negotiate stewardship of all the buildings that PRSC now uses or has an interest in and intends to convey the buildings and property into the Stokes Croft Land Trust ownership, subject to feasibility and viability assessments at the appropriate time. 

The Stokes Croft Land Trust is also aware of other opportunities to acquire premises within the Stokes Croft Conservation Area, which are not occupied by PRSC, and has already engaged with some local business owners whose premises could be secured into community ownership should they proceed to sell them. 

SCLT Board

Keith Cowling

Keith is a former architect with 35 years’ experience as a community architect and social entrepreneur. He founded Eyehouse Consultancy, specialising in the engagement of non-professionals with the built environment and the involvement of communities in the design and management of their neighbourhoods.

During the decade from 2000 to 2010 Keith carried out a number of town and neighbourhood studies, wrote area regeneration strategies and developed a range of business cases, business plans and project frameworks for community-led capital projects, working for his previous company Insight 02 Ltd. He developed a range of consultation processes and techniques aimed at helping service providers understand the needs and aspirations of their users and client groups and used them to run a range of consultation programmes.

Keith has a particular interest in community-led capital projects and the management of community assets and has a broad experience of urban and rural regeneration policies and community-based interventions in local economies. He was chair of the Bristol Community Land Trust from 2011 until 2020 and is a director of The People’s Republic of Stokes Croft CIC.

Andrew Baker

Andrew is a Chartered Accountant, an accredited Business & Finance Professional and a teacher of Classical Hatha Yoga, with a penchant for helping people achieve their dreams. For over 15 years he has worked to provide accommodation for the homeless in and around Bristol. He has volunteered as Treasurer for a number of charities and co-operatives over the years, including ones working for education, youths, renewable energy, international aid, aiding disadvantaged people and the rehabilitation of former offenders. His passion is sustainability, and in 2007 he was one of a small team who developed ideas towards the creation of a centre of excellence in sustainable communities, detailed in “The Red Book”. This has resulted in a number of projects in Stokes Croft, including the incubation of hundreds of small businesses and charities, a hub for the performing arts and one of Bristol’s largest rooftop solar power arrays. Andrew has also planted 1,000 broadleaf trees this year, on the edge of the Forest of Dean.

Lucas Batt

Lucas is a community engagement and independent media consultant with over eight years experience pioneering community-driven local media. He previously led on membership and community engagement at the Bristol Cable, a community-owned Bristol newspaper, which was based in the top of 14 Hillgrove Street from 2014 to 2020. Lucas joined the Cable in 2015 following the completion of a Philosophy degree at the University of Bristol. In his 7.5 years at the Cable, Lucas helped take the organisation from a voluntary start-up into a professional and established community organisation. As well as working on membership and community engagement, Lucas worked across the cooperative, including leading on HR and fundraising.

Lucas now works with media organisations across Europe to help them address their sustainability challenges, and better understand and involve their communities. He is a coordinator of the Reference Circle, a network of European independent public interest media.

Kathryn Chiswell Jones

Kathryn has been the Company Manager of Artspace Lifespace, a Bristol-based arts charity since 2017. She headed up the DIY Arts Cultural Workspace group from 2018-2019 and helped produce the Futur Ville Summit and Futur Ville report of 2020. Before joining Artspace Lifespace, she spent 7 years at AWW, an architecture firm in Bristol as Head of Marketing and Health and Safety, responsible for the overall Marketing Strategy, bid management and digital marketing. In 2014, she took on the role of Health and Safety Advisor at AWW, responsible for the day- to-day implementation of AWW’s health and safety policy, management of the EXOR and ISO accreditation process and CDM questionnaires. Kathryn’s key skills are strategy, research, marketing and project management with 20+ years’ experience working across Public Sector, Engineering, Real Estate, Architecture and Arts Sectors in Japan and the UK.

Hilary Sudbury  (Co-opted)

Experienced Co-operative and Social Enterprise Adviser since 1996 supporting incorporations, governance, raising finance & business planning. A Community Led Homes (CLH) Accredited Advisor – 2019; Fully Licensed Community Shares Practitioner – 2015; Co-operative and Social Enterprise Adviser Accreditation – 2004; SFedi Business Support plus Social Enterprise Standards Accreditation – 2008 & 2010.

Chandra Wilby

Chandra Wilby has a PG Degree in Vol Sector Management and more than thirty years experience in development and training work primarily in Bristol inner city. She set up and ran her own successful management consultancy and mentoring service supporting a diverse range of local ethnic minority and womens’ organisations until her retirement. Having lived and worked in the area for many years, Chandra is keen to support SCLT achieve its aims.

Aseem Inam

Aseem is an urbanist, with 20+ years of experience practicing as an architect, urban designer, and city planner, especially in partnership with local communities. He is also a professor and chair in urban design at Cardiff University, where he combines teaching, research and practice to craft creative strategies to address critical issues such as urban inequality, gentrification, and a lack of affordable neighbourhoods. Aseem is also the founding director of TRULAB: Laboratory for Designing Urban Transformation, an innovative practice that has collaborated with communities and governments in the UK, US, Canada, Brazil, and India. The range of projects he has led include designing anti-gentrification strategies, revitalising the public realm in collaboration with a women’s immigrant group in one city and with street vendors in another, and developing long-term transformative strategies in partnership with local political leaders.

Aseem’s publications include two books, Planning for the Unplanned, and Designing Urban Transformation, and a third forthcoming book, Co-Designing Publics. He considers himself to be an activist-scholar-practitioner, an approach that combines working towards systemic change by interrogating power relations, deepening our understanding of how the world really works through serious research, and intervening in our neighbourhoods and cities in order to transform them.

Russell Vaught

Russell is managing director of a construction and property management business, lives and works in Stokes Croft, and is passionately committed to seeing the area thrive to the benefit of all in the community. After a successful career in music, TV and digital media, Russell worked in strategy and corporate partnerships for nonprofits including Age UK and Keep Britain Tidy. Russell has acted as a pro bono advocate in housing and homelessness cases in London and Bristol, holds degrees in business management and law, and is a non-practising barrister.

Neil Gokani

Neil is an NHS Physiotherapist working for Sirona and is a staff member of the board of Sirona Care and Health CIC. He has worked in the NHS for 19 years. He lives in Bristol and serves the local community here in the heart of Bristol. He is passionate about supporting long-term affordable and sustainable local development and as a member of the local community he feels excited to be involved in the development of SCLT.

Theo Cox

Theo has spent his career in the nonprofit sector as a consultant and researcher, bringing experience in alternative governance and participatory strategy, facilitation and grant writing. He has worked with a variety of organisations ranging from major charities to the UK Government and European Commission.

Theo is currently a Senior Expert in the Emancipatory Economy team at Demos Helsinki, one of Europe’s leading progressive think-tanks, where he works developing the foundations of a new economy. He has previously conducted research on cooperatives, and economic democracy continues to be a major area of professional interest. He holds a first class degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Oxford, and an MSc in Development Studies from the London School of Economics.