Hillfields: Life in the neighbourhood with Bristol’s cheapest properties
Although property prices have shot up in Bristol and across the country in recent years to levels which seem unattainable for many, it is easy to forget that there are areas in the city where housing is still slightly more affordable than in others.
Recent research shows that properties in the BS16 postcode were among the cheapest sold in the Bristol area in the three months to March. As recently as January 28, a terraced house in the area sold for just £130,000.
But in the neighbourhood of Hillfields, which falls into the BS16 postcode, some people think that the low price of housing is not necessarily anything to shout about. Katie Hanchard-Goodwin is a senior manager of the community hub in the area, and she says that it is likely that housing is so cheap because there is not as much investment in Hillfields as there is in other areas of Bristol.
Read more: Life in Hillfields – the oldest council estate in Bristol
“It’s cheap but there’s a reason it’s cheap. It’s a deprived area, there’s not a lot of resources up here.
“It’s forgotten in a lot of things, much like Hartcliffe. We’ve got a library that a lot of people don’t even know is there, people regularly say I didn’t know it was here,” she told Bristol Live.
The 45-year-old says that while there is much to be positive about in the area, and it is a diverse place with a strong sense of community, she doesn’t feel like there has been enough investment in it, which may have kept house prices low. And at the same time, she says that many people perhaps don’t even realise that Hillfields exists.
“There’s no reason to come here probably unless you live here. The community centre and the library serve the community but there’s nothing here to come to.
“You don’t have a supermarket, a doctor’s surgery. You might go along the main road just to cut through to Cossham Hospital but you won’t come here unless there was a reason.”
Hillfields was built as a new council estate in 1919, and it is the oldest of its kind in the city. The average property in the area now sells for around £275,000 according to Rightmove, compared to more expensive neighbourhoods like Clifton where the average price is around £385,000.
And with these lower prices, some people are still drawn to live and work in Hillfields. Joba Magara, a 29-year-old who moved to the area in 2010, thinks the neighbourhood has an unfair reputation amongst outsiders.
“When I came everyone told me get ready for the police sirens, but it’s got a lot better since I got here,” he said.
And he thinks that this could be the reason for such cheap housing in Hillfields. “That’s a lot to do with reputation even though this is a lush place to live,” he said.
Joba helps out at the local church, and he says that there is a certain truth to the assumption that Hillfields has its troublemakers, but that many areas are the same. And he says that this is possibly because of a lack of things for people, especially teenagers, to do.
“For the most part a lot of the stuff that kids out of the trouble (isn’t here). I know it’s a bit of cliché but it’s true.
“With the park, at some point a kid does grow out of it. That’s personally something we’re actually trying to build here, we want kids to find somewhere safe,” he said.
He also thinks that many people outside of Hillfields perhaps don’t know of its existence, but he says that the people inside the community are what makes it a good place to live. “The people who do live here actually try. I’ve never had a bad experience here since I have been here.”