By Marc Rath / email@example.com
A graffiti-covered squat which was at the centre of rioting in Cheltenham Road in April could be converted into three homes.
A planning application has been submitted to Bristol City Council to transform the eyesore Telepathic Heights building into two flats and a maisonette.
The council bought the four-storey Georgian terrace earlier this year using compulsory purchase powers after it had lain derelict for years and had become occupied by squatters.
It was the eviction of the squatters from the building in April which led to rioting in Cheltenham Road with shops, including a new Tesco Express, vandalised and police injured.
It is understood the property has now been sold by the council to a developer.
The application has been forwarded by a Mr O Cadel and outlines plans to add a side extension to the building.
Before being occupied by squatters, the property had been used as offices.
A statement included as part of the planning application said: “The proposed extension is a great improvement both in design and layout and there would appear to be no planning or aesthetic reason for this application not to receive the support of the local authority.”
Earlier this year, Bristol West MP Stephen Williams raised questions about how 141 Cheltenham Road was allowed to remain derelict for 10 years and be occupied by squatters.
He said the council needed to be tougher with the owners of derelict buildings in the area who neglected their properties and allowed squatters to move in.
Mr Williams suggested conducting an audit of all the properties in Cheltenham Road and Stokes Croft to establish which ones were standing empty.
He said some of the abandoned properties dragged down the area and prevented it from rejuvenating.
The two riots in April threw the community of Stokes Croft into disarray, with rioters damaging local businesses and buildings, lighting fires and frightening residents.
It is understood rioters caused £100,000 of damage to Tesco Express and surrounding properties, including family business Fred Baker Cycles in Cheltenham Road.
In total 46 officers were injured – 42 from Avon and Somerset, including one inspector who had his arm broken. A member of Gwent police – one of three forces called in to help police the riots – was badly injured when a concrete block was dropped on him from the roof of Tesco.
It is understood that protesters and innocent bystanders were also injured during the disturbances.
The first riot began after about 160 officers raided the squat at Telepathic Heights because police had received intelligence that people inside were planning to petrol bomb Tesco Express.
About 300 demonstrators were embroiled in running battles with police on April 21 and 22.
The second protest took place in Stokes Croft a week later.
It started peacefully, but turned violent, with officers injured after rocks and missiles were thrown by some of the 400 protesters.
The city council is aiming to make a decision on the planning application by September 26.