Agenda item

Housing Festival - Jez Sweetland

For information and discussion.


The Chair welcomed and introduced Jez Sweetland. Jez Sweetland then introduced his colleague Jessie Weldon and two guests – Francesca Medda and Huw Thomas from University College London.


The following points arose after the presentation:-


  • Homes England had committed money to the Festival and it was hoped that this could bring brockeridge from other government departments;
  • Ian Knight applauded the vision of the festival noting that Local Authorities were under such financial pressure that they could not meet all  needs of communities. He hoped this would be a transformational launch pad and be at the forefront of a different approach to housing;
  • Alistair Allender supported the vision but believed there was a need for strong leadership to keep it on track. In response, Jez Sweetland stated that the festival was the enabler with the Homes Board having an oversight of outcomes, politics and finances along with the City Office. Support was now needed for sponsorships and engagement regarding how the 19-day site could be run;
  • James Durie supported the vision stating that it added to what work was currently underway. He questioned how it could be maintained over a 5-year period. He noted that Education and Transport were connected to Housing and should therefore be part of the vision. He hoped to be able to bring private house builders to the table;
  • Jackson Moulding stated that the Board were considering all factors of delivery. It was not easy to deliver housing and engaging communities. He hoped the Festival would showcase innovation in order to engage the public. In response, the Board heard that it was hoped to tell those innovative stories over the 5-year period. This period was chosen in order to measure outcomes;
  • The Chair was in full support of the vision and project, noting that he regularly attended Housing Conferences but a longer term project could make a far bigger impact. He hoped that the whole city and not just the centre would be showcased with various projects the Council was undertaking as well as what the Festival had to showcase;
  • David Ingerslev welcomed the festival and noted that there were innovative projects in Bristol that were not found elsewhere. He supported the notion of communities having structures which enabled them to self-manage;
  • Tom Renhard particularly supported bringing all housing activities together. He highlighted the challenge of pitching community engagement so that it was not simply a corporate matter. He offered engagement with respect to mental health housing;
  • Nick Horne applauded the inspirational content of the presentation. He acknowledged the innovative community work happening outside of Bristol. He supported the concept of a mobile festival and hoped with the correct content Bristol would get behind it. He hoped that that the focus on people and communities would not be lost. In response Jez Sweetland hoped to find inspirational examples around the globe and that Bristol and the Board would help in its success by working in partnership. He hoped for a solution orientated culture with a will to succeed;
  • The Chair thanked Jez Sweetland for the presentation and stated that the Board would act as a reference group for the Festival and urged the groups represented on the Board to engage with the Festival.


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