To enhance and develop St Michaelâs as a centre of enterprise supporting sustainable economic activity in sympathy with Bridportâs heritage.
Enterprise St Michaelâs is pro regeneration and not against development, but we must pledge that any changes or additional buildings must respect the character of the existing heritage and its distinctive layout.
We believe the key is to make the whole site more productive and efficient, while maintaining affordable rents and enhancing the character and attractiveness of the Conservation Area.
There is a great opportunity for providing significant additional business units and community premises for which demand already exists. One such business is Brooks Devlin Ltd who wish to locate a low-carbon regional centre here and intend to promote renewable energy in the area.
St.Michaelâs Trading Estate is well established as one of Bridportâs most productive centres of enterprise and is a haven for small businesses, but suffers from lack of maintenance and reinvestment. Landowners do from time to time allow properties to deteriorate to a point where approval to demolish can more easily be granted.
The members of Enterprise St Michaelâs generally believe that the owners have failed to recognise the huge potential of regenerating and developing their estate as it is already; for trading, light industrial use and further enterprises beneficial to the community.
In the case of St Michaelâs, buildings of historic significance have already been put to good use providing both employment and popular community facilities. Enterprise St Michaelâs aims to both retain and extend this to its full potential.
A way forward
Enterprise St Michaelâs is offering a practical, viable alternative to demolition and urban housing.
Our aim is to restore the estateâs historic buildings, improve others already in good use and provide additional premises in areas that are under-used. Together with an improvement in infrastructure, this would serve to both increase the value of the land, local economic activity and desirability as a destination.
Based on a broad spectrum of discussions over the last 3 years with many opinions of what might be appropriate, Enterprise St Michaelâs would summarise the most crucial priorities as follows:-
- Avoid overdevelopment
- Regenerate rather than redevelop
- Respect the existing scale, layout and open space, complement the estateâs existing character
- Ensure provision of affordable and suitable premises for small and start-up businesses
- Create a practical and welcoming environment
Nothing would be finalised without a mandate from the local population who must have every chance to express their views and ideas. We are looking at sensitive and modest ways of improving the area and helping to bring all interests forward while increasing business opportunities.
In anticipation of this eventuality and full consultation, Enterprise St Michaelâs has mustered several professionals and people with great local knowledge to help illustrate what are some of the possibilities for the trading estate.
We believe it is in Bridportâs interest for us to begin to offer possible viable alternatives, drawing a close to the problems of anxiety, insecurity and conflict, resulting from previous destructive and unpopular proposals. These are only ideas, a point where discussions can start, and are not definitive proposals.
Below is a series of Artistâs Impressions incorporating possible new features on the estate to complement the existing structures, while developing a low-impact and energy-efficient scheme appropriate to the area.
Low Impact, Low Carbon
New buildings can be constructed with minimum energy requirements using sustainable materials, local expertise and labour, creating highly efficient working premises.
Idea for a âPassivhausâ low-carbon building and new workshop units to the west of the Trading Estate (south of Discount Furniture).
Brooks Devlin Ltd.
Environmental Design Consultants
Enterprise St Michaelâs has identified a demand for additional premises from various companies wishing to locate at St Michaelâs. One company in particular, Brooks Devlin, is believed to be highly suitable and could potentially bring great benefits to the area. This is an extract from the companyâs prospectus:-
âIn the Bridport area, there are a growing number of successful businesses that are involved in the low carbon building and renewable energy sectors, enough to be called a cluster in economic terms, attracting further business growth and employment to Bridportâ.
What we are proposing is to create a modest new Business Centre that will be an exemplar of low carbon design and be certified to Passivhaus standards. The building would provide fully serviced accommodation for businesses utilising Biomass heating and Photovoltaic panels. The aim would be to create up to 5,000 ft sq of lettable space and a centre of excellence for the growing low carbon sector in the West Dorset area. Brooks Devlin Ltd would be anchor tenants.â
Possible new energy-efficient workshops opposite Bridport Timber, and a riverside Community Garden alongside the Red Brick CafĂ©.
The Stover Building
One of the largest historic buildings on the estate, it has substantial potential for restoration, refurbishment and increased use for both business and community.
Already home to the Trick Factory skateboard and BMX facility, a good one-third of the building is presently unused and thought to be an ideal location for additional indoor sports and leisure activities serving youth interests across West Dorset. Surveyors have already judged that renovation is entirely viable.
The Cattle Market
This is a unique open space in front of The Edwards Building, with an obvious historical background, and with some of the surrounding sheds still evident. Throughout the 20th century it was home to Moreyâs Auctioneers. In approximately 2002 it was the victim of an arson attack and Moreyâs premises was lost and the site remains unused.
Enterprise St Michaelâs would seek to give the Cattle Market a purpose and envisages use of the footprint of Moreyâs to provide a multi-purpose building for the community.
A heritage centre, a meeting hall, exhibition space, local produce outlet, youth and business skills training and educational facilities have already been suggested but its ultimate function would be decided through full public consultation.
Market research, initiated by ESM has found that in excess of 50 local food producers would like to engage in providing goods for an outlet to open 2 or 3 times a week in Bridport, under the formation of a co-operative. St Michaelâs would be an ideal location for such a community facility, benefiting the local economy and meeting local demand as currently the very popular farmers market operates only monthly.
The location of such a building should serve to create a positive and attractive welcome to visitors at the entrance to the estate while not obscuring the views of the dominant local landmark of the Edwards building.
Enterprise St Michaelâs aim is:
To acquire, improve and operate St Michael’s Trading Estate for the benefit of the local community and the local economy.
Enterprise St Michaelâs intends to improve the overall condition of the estate, refurbishing existing premises. The programme would use environmentally-sensitive and sustainable techniques to retain, restore and enhance the siteâs valuable examples of industrial architecture.
On completion of new and efficient business premises, the income to the community owned estate, while maintaining affordable rents and offering longer leases, would increase and therefore help to further fund improvements.
Clearly there is a need to lay tarmac, repair or replace roofs, improve drainage, lighting, insulation etc and this can be achieved through both reinvestment from increased income, new investment and grant funding.
Enterprise St Michaelâs would work towards creating new community facilities to provide incubation space, support skills development, and opportunities for youth training and leisure activities.
St.Michaelâs Trading Estate has a well-established community of creative talents. These âcreative industriesâ coupled with the Estateâs complementary Vintage and Antiques Quarter has proved a powerful draw for tourists and increased economic activity and we would wish to ensure this continues to grow.
As an Industrial & Provident Society, Enterprise St Michael has a duty to deliver a social dividend to the local community as well as appropriate returns to investors.
A âsocial dividendâ means a tangible improvement to the wellbeing of local residents in the way of, for example, extra educational or leisure facilities, and that is an important underpinning to everything our society would seek to achieve on behalf of local residents and businesses.