Mill Park Project

Suggested solutions


• herb garden • fruit trees

• raised boarders • wild flowers

• benches & seating • decoration/sculpture

• inviting gateway

• playful design for children

• mosaic pathway • solar lights



• littering • fly-tipping • overgrown

• uninspiring planting • difficult access

• nowhere to sit • no lighting • no proper pathways • no ownership • muddy • dark

• Broken play equipment

• No encouragement for wildlife

The People

The residents of Cotton Mill Lane & Barton Court, Barton Hill were hit with tragedy, when a young girl was brutally murdered and her body was found in one of the neighbouring houses. the following police investigation and media storm has rocked this small community and left them feeling unsettled, under a negative spotlight and with a collective need to ‘do something’


In Bristol Studios was approached by Barton Hill Settlement, a community liaison organisation to host community meetings during the trial and to act as a safe space for people meet and support each other. We talked about things we could do as a community to help ‘reclaim’ our neighbourhood and give residents a positive and uplifting project to be part of.


This tragedy has been a catalyst for community action and change, and as a collective of creative facilitators, we wish to enable local residents to create a long lasting and meaningful legacy.


The Project

During the police investigation, a small, neglected ‘park’ situated in the centre of cotton mill lane was damaged further by police searching for evidence. This has been an area highlighted by residents as where they would like to focus their efforts. The space itself is long neglected and is only used by the community as a thoroughfare. There are problems with littering and fly tipping and it has been a really unloved space. It has huge potential to be a community focal point, somewhere the adults can sit and relax and somewhere for the children to play safely.

Moving Forward


We have been successful in gaining DCLG pocket Parks funding and are busy working with local residents to finalise a design for the space. The funding will cover essential groundworks to make the space more accessible, as well as implementing some raised planters to encourage residents with mobility issues to play an active role in the upkeep and maintenance of the space.


We will be applying for further funding for the design and development of some functional sculptural elements that the residents have highlighted as projects they wish to work towards and will utilise the artist fabricators based at In Bristol Studios, to help us do this.


The residents would like the opportunity to work with an experienced community gardener who will help them develop a community handbook on how to upkeep and maintain their space, it is our hope that we will be able to find suitable funding for this part of the project as it ensures the long running legacy of the space and through training, the community can become more aware of nature, bio-diversity, its value and how to support it.


We will include in our sustainability plan, opportunities for residents to change some aspects of the ‘decor’ seasonally as a means of continuing community use and support. The residents themselves are very keen on the space being active and well utilised.