​“It’s like tearing down Stonehenge”: Diggers move into Bristol’s Turbo Island

today26/10/2022 51

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One of Bristol’s oldest rave locations, a tiny patch of land on a corner in Stokes Croft, is being torn down for renovation.

After years of locals complaining to Bristol Council about the plot – citing antisocial behaviour – Turbo Island has now been fenced off and met with diggers, and it looks like the iconic patch of land could be closed for good.

Turbo Island has become notorious through the years for playing host to free parties and frequent outdoor raves. The patch, which sits between Stokes Croft and Jamaica Street, first got its name in the 1980s after a local favourite brand of cider.

Read this next: Gabber, cider, and community: Why Turbo Island should be a national heritage site

The land is currently owned by London-based advertising company Wildstone. Historically, Turbo Island first appeared after World War II when town planners knocked down a local shoe store which originally sat in its place to make an easier sightline of the junction. The patch then became a ‘SLOAP’, an area of land leftover after planning.

On Monday, Bristol 24/7 reported that the plot of land had been fenced off, and by Tuesday, diggers moved onto Turbo Island in preparation for renovation. Locals are now mourning the loss of their favourite free party hotspot.

“It’s like tearing down Stonehenge,” reads the caption of a video posted by Best of Bristol, which shows diggers working on the plot of land. “It’s like a national trust site to us,” replied a local.

Read this next: Long-running Bristol nightclub The Basement closed due to development

It’s currently unclear what the patch of land will be turned into, but a planning application made in July suggests that a cafe seating area or food truck could be put in its place once paved.

Some, however, welcome the change. Between April and July this year, there were 44 call-outs for Avon Fire and Rescue Service to Turbo Island due to bonfires built on the land, per Bristol Live.

“We welcome the landowner taking action to prevent anti-social behaviour at this hotspot,” said Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, on Twitter. “Bristol Waste cleaned up Turbo Island this morning before it was fenced off for works.”

Gemma Ross is Mixmag’s Editorial Assistant, follow her on Twitter

Written by: Tim Hopkins

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