Help us to Keep The Lights On for another decade! Back the Cable
The Bristol Cable

Rastafarian Culture Centre sale set to go ahead, despite community objections

The prospective buyer says thay are committed to ensuring the community can still use the building, says Bristol City Council.


Photo: Shawn Sobers

Correction: This article originally said that the sale of the Rastafarian Culture Centre had been agreed, but it has not yet been decided, and local campaign groups are continuing to contest the sale. Additionally, Bristol City Council were originally quoted in the article saying that “the prospective buyer says they are committed to ensuring the community can continue to use the building,” but the Cable has since been told by campaigners that so far they have only been promised one evening a week.

The controversial sale of a Black cultural hub in Bristol looks set to go ahead, despite objections from thousands of community members.

The prospective buyer says they are committed to ensuring the community can continue to use the building in St Pauls, according to Bristol City Council – but campaigners say they have only been promised an evening a week so far, which they say is an insufficient replacement for the work that the RCC does. 

The future use of the building will be discussed at the Council Meeting on 8 September, with Green party Councillor Cleo Lake fighting to keep the Centre in community ownership. A protest is being discussed to coincide with the meeting. 

More than 4,500 people have signed a petition to stop the planned sale by the council of the Rastafarian Culture Centre on Grosvenor Road. The Youth Chapter of the Afrikan Caribbean Assembly (ACA) started the petition after concerns were raised that the council would evict a community elder who runs the centre.

In that time, he has turned the building into a community centre, as well as a place for Rastafarians to practise their religion. For years it was used by the campaign group set up to call for justice for Marlon Thomas, the Bristol teenager who was left near death in a brutal racist attack by funfair workers on the Downs in 1994. But the council announced it was selling the building earlier this year and asked Ras B to leave.

Councillors heard emotional pleas from members of the community desperate for the council to stop the planned sale of the building last month. At the time, a council spokesman said the decision to accept a bid on the council-owned property was “on hold” while “future options” were explored with the potential buyer.

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning

The council has said that the potential buyer is committed to providing community “access and use”. A spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Ensuring the community has access and use of this building was an important consideration in the bidding process and we have in place a bidder committed to providing this.

“After years of being vacant there is now a plan in place to bring the space back into full use for the benefit of the community.” But campaigners say one evening a week is not sufficient to replace the work the RCC does

The update came after mayor Marvin Rees and deputy mayor for communities Asher Craig attended a meeting about the planned sale just over a week ago. The Local Democracy Reporting Services has asked the council for more information about the planned sale and the potential buyer.

Join 2,500 Cable members redefining local media

Your support will help the Cable grow, deepening our connections in the city and investigating the issues that matter most in our communities.

Join now

What makes us different?


Report a comment. Comments are moderated according to our Comment Policy.

Post a comment

Mark if this comment is from the author of the article

By posting a comment you agree to our Comment Policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Related content

‘He was our godfather’: Bristol musicians remember Mark Stewart

It’s a year since the Pop Group singer, a revered figure of the post-punk era, died aged 62. Beyond the uncompromising legacy of his own releases, his influence remains etched into his home city’s musical DNA.

Owner of ex-pub and cinema should up his landlord game before developing more flats, say tenants

High-profile plans to turn a former Wetherspoons on Church Road into housing have been withdrawn this week. Some tenants of the developer, Landrose, say it needs to improve its service to people already living in its properties.

‘We can move the dial’: can Massive Attack set a new benchmark for low-carbon live music?

The legendary Bristol band have announced a huge hometown show for 2024. But will the eco-friendly event provide a model for a more climate-conscious live music industry?

‘Speaking is a political act’: Bristol artists push Arnolfini for action over Palestine controversy

The prominent gallery has apologised for cancelling two events from the Palestine Film Festival in November – but an emerging artists-led campaign says it doesn’t go far enough.

Listen: Bristol Unpacked with Ruth Pitter on the role of the charity sector, pioneering Black theatre and her recent MBE

Neil chats to Ruth, a daughter of the Windrush generation, on her decades of work with Bristol's voluntary and community groups, how that's changed as public services have been cut – and whether she feels conflicted about receiving an honour associated with empire.

Listen: Bristol Unpacked with Watershed CEO Clare Reddington on cinema, class and council cuts

As Bristol City Council slashes spending on venues including arthouse cinema Watershed, Neil asks its boss Clare why funding the arts matters, and whether the sector's reputation as catering mainly to the well-heeled is justified.

Join our newsletter

Get the essential stories you won’t find anywhere else

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter to get our weekly round-up direct to your inbox every Saturday

Join our newsletter

Subscribe to the Cable newsletter

Get our latest stories & essential Bristol news
sent to your inbox every Saturday morning