Historic airfield hangar to become community hub

A GRADE II listed aircraft hangar at Filton is being turned into a community hub as part of the transformation of the airfield.

Built in 1917, Hangar 16U once housed ‘Battle of Britain’ fighter planes, including Hawker Hurricanes. The restoration work will see it become a library, café, gym and social centre for the new Brabazon neighbourhood.

Bristol-based architects Ferguson Mann have designed Hangar 16U to live up to the legacy of its past, ensuring that distinctive features such as the original hangar doors are restored and rehung.  The Belfast trusses and intricate red brickwork will also be fully preserved.

Hangar 16U is located between the first phase of 302 homes at Brabazon –  almost half of which are now completed and occupied – and the 15-acre Brabazon Park. Work to restore the building is due to start in the coming months, with a target opening date before the end of 2024.

To the east of the building will be a public square with space for street food stalls and pop-up events. To the west, the café will spill out on to the park, which will have playgrounds, picnic areas and exercise zones, criss-crossed with cycling and walking paths.

Developers YTL have also announced a partnership with Southern Brooks to fund community development work designed to foster social cohesion across South Gloucestershire and North Bristol.

 Sebastian Loyn, planning and development director at YTL Developments, said:

“Hangar 16U has an incredible history and we can’t wait to bring this building into public use. It will provide something for everyone, a place for all ages and for all interests, for this generation and the next.

“The restoration will also accelerate our vision to create a truly sustainable new neighbourhood at Brabazon, where every daily essential – from food shopping, to schools, exercise classes to evenings out – is just a 15-minute walk or cycle away.”

 Alison Findlay, CEO at Southern Brooks, said: “South Gloucestershire and North Bristol have needed new community spaces for some time. Hangar 16U, Brabazon Park and the new transport links at Brabazon will be brilliant places for local residents to come together. This holistic approach to building sustainable communities should make a real difference in improving social cohesion, reducing poverty, loneliness and isolation while boosting people’s health and well-being.”

 YTL Developments has also recently launched new pathways into employment for local young people. They are working with Bristol Talent Partnership to hold taster sessions about careers in property, launched a work experience programmefor 16 year-olds and introduced university placement opportunities for students.

 You can learn more about the plans for Hangar 16U by visiting  www.brabazon.co.uk