Cotham’s main boundaries are the Whiteladies Rd, Redland Road and Cotham Rd and, at its narrowest point, Zetland Rd and Cheltenham Rd. It has a population of around 12,000. It’s one of the most beautiful wards in Bristol – leafy, with some open space and pleasing architecture. It has a residential feel, but it’s close to the shopping and restaurant life of both Whiteladies Road and the Gloucester Road and, via Redland Station, the Severn Beach line offers links within and beyond the city.
Cotham’s schools (two primary, one secondary) are flourishing. There was massive, Labour government investment in the Cotham (secondary) School and the North Bristol Sixth Form Centre. The school, which specialises in the performing arts, with fantastic facilities for drama and music, has a great record of academic achievement.
Of course, no area is without its problems. There is a lot of privately rented accommodation (well above the average for the city), including houses in multiple cccupation (HMOs). This makes for high density and some of this accommodation is poor. A small part of the ward (the Cotham Hill ‘super output area’) is in the worst 10% in the country on one measure – living environment deprivation – which includes the poor indoor conditions in the private rented accommodation prevalent there*. Traffic, pollution, parking, litter and noise nuisance, can all make some parts of the area less than agreeable to live in at times. There is pressure on places for those good schools. Nor are local residents immune from national concerns – like the impact of the continuing recession or student fees.
With many students living in the area, Cotham has a younger population than the city average – about half its population is aged 16 – 29*. Although many of its residents are passing through (for a short, but very important part of their lives), Cotham has a neighbourly, community feel, as well as the youthful air and vibrancy that comes from the connection with the universities. Many people find Cotham a fine place to live – and help make it that way, through their involvement in the local organisations that contribute to that sense of community.