Hillfields: neighborhood living with Bristol’s cheapest properties
Although house prices have skyrocketed in Bristol and across the country in recent years to levels that seem out of reach for many, it is easy to forget that there are areas of the city where housing is still slightly more affordable than in others.
Recent research shows 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 townhouse in the area sold for just £130,000.
But in the Hillfields area, which falls within the BS16 postcode, some people think the low price of housing isn’t necessarily something to shout about. Katie Hanchard-Goodwin is a senior community center manager in the area, and she says housing is likely to be so cheap because there isn’t as much investment in Hillfields as in other neighborhoods of Bristol.
Read more: Life in Hillfields – Bristol’s oldest civic estate
“It’s cheap but there’s a reason why it’s cheap. It’s a deprived area, there aren’t many resources here.
“It’s forgotten in a lot of things, kind of like Hartcliffe. We have a library that a lot of people don’t even know is there, people regularly say I didn’t know it was here,” said she declared. Bristol live.
The 45-year-old says that while there’s a lot to be positive about the area, and it’s a diverse place with a strong sense of community, she doesn’t feel like it there was enough investment, which may have kept house prices low. And at the same time, she says a lot of people might not even realize Hillfields exists.
“There’s probably no reason to come here unless you live here. The community center and library serve the community but there’s nothing here to come to.
“You don’t have a supermarket, or a doctor’s surgery. You could take the main road just to cut to Cossham Hospital, but you won’t come here unless there’s a reason.”
Hillfields was built as a new municipal 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 areas like Clifton where the average price is around £385,000.
And with these lower prices, some people are still drawn to living and working in Hillfields. Joba Magara, a 29-year-old who moved to the area in 2010, thinks the neighborhood has an unfair reputation among foreigners.
“When I arrived everyone told me to get ready for the police sirens, but it’s been a lot better since I got here,” he said.
And he thinks that might be the reason for the cheap accommodation in Hillfields. “It has a lot to do with reputation, even if it’s a good place to live,” he said.
Joba helps out at the local church, and he says there is some truth to the assumption that Hillfields has its troublemakers, but many areas are the same. And he says it may be because of a lack of things for people to do, especially teenagers.
“For the most part, a lot of things that kids get out of trouble (are not there). I know it’s a bit cliché but it’s true.
“With the park, at some point, a child grows. It’s something that we personally try to build here, we want the children to find a safe place,” he said.
He also thinks many people outside of Hillfields may not know of its existence, but he says the people inside the community are what make it a great place to live. “People who live here actually try. I’ve never had a bad experience here since I’ve been here.”