Turbo Island is as iconic to Bristolians as the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and as infamous as the pirate Blackbeard. This odd, abandoned plot of land – labelled a ‘community garden’ on Google, although we can assure you it is not – has been a notorious party hotspot in Bristol for decades.
Now it appears the era of Turbo Island is coming to an end. On Monday morning (October 24), the Bristol Waste Company cleaned up the area, before fencing it off for works. At 1.19pm today (October 25), a small digger was spotted on the site ripping up the earth.
“We welcome the landowner taking action to prevent further anti-social behaviour at this hotspot,” said Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol, yesterday.
What is Turbo Island?
The plot on the corner of Stokes Croft and Jamaica Street is technically owned by an advertising company, who bought the advertising board back in 1985. It’s important that sight to the boarding remains unobstructed, so the land has remained empty and free for local use ever since.
Thanks to a quirk in the law, it remains technically private property. That means no one has been able to stop locals from chilling on abandoned sofas, drinking around bonfires or throwing mini-parties since.
But while some Bristolians have long enjoyed the wild west atmosphere it offers. To others it is an intimidating area, one that has courted much controversy and trouble over the years. Between April 1 and July 13, firefighters came to the area a staggering 44 times.
What work exactly is being done, and what will come of Turbo Island is unclear for now. Earlier this year, Bristol City Council served the landowner, Wildstone Investments, with a community protection notice. They must pave or tarmac the area, and commit to keeping Turbo Island clean.
The Bristol t-shirt brand, Turbo Island, which took its name from the plot of land, has already shared a tribute. “Starting to miss my beautiful studio,” it said.