Monday, 17 March 2014

Letter to the Post, supermarkets

Dear SIr

I see your anonymous letter writer claims we need supermarkets ( 'Like it or not, we need supermarkets', letters, 16/3/14). This is of course nonsense. What we actually need is food.

What we don't need is a food system which results in massive numbers of car journeys, and therefore pollution. What we don't need is an absurdly centralised distribution system - resulting, for example, in raspberries, picked in Scotland, packaged near Bristol, and sold back in Scotland. What we don't need is a food system which - through the dominance of a few - results in areas of this city being turned into food deserts. What we don't need is a food system which sucks money  and jobs out of the local area.

Supermarkets do all of this.

What we do need is a system based on local production for local needs - where everyone has the opportunity to walk or cycle to local shops, which are actually local. What we do need is a system where - as far as possible - the money remains in the local area - through mechanisms such as the Bristol Pound. We need to make use of the high grade local agricultural land (such as the 'Blue FInger') to get food to local people. We do need to preserve the wholesale market.

By doing these things we can create a virtuous circle which helps local people, provides local jobs, keeps people healthy and cuts pollution and congestion. This is a 21st century solution. Supermarkets are part of the problem. Time to move  on.


Charlie Bolton
Green Party candidate

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

E-news for March

Residents parking

If you haven’t seen it (and I imagine you will have seen the posters!), then please respond to the residents parking consultation:

It is going to happen anyway

Like it or not, residents parking will happen anyway. Or at least thats what Tess Green and Charlie Bolton have been told personally by mayor George Ferguson.

But that doesn’t mean you will get no changes to it. In fact, lots of minor changes are possible (and were made to other schemes). These include changes to the distribution of pay and display bays to residents only parking bays; to check those streets which were initially described as parking on one side only; and possibly to hours and days of operation.

There will also be a major review of the scheme 6 months after its introduction.

To reverse its introduction once it is in will require a change of mayor.

A Green perspective

Charlie Bolton, Green candidate for Southville in the May council election has said ‘I intend to support the implementation of residents parking - with the proviso that I think it needs to be cheaper for those on low incomes.

Also, I would like to have seen local people have the choice over whether or not it is implemented - for example in a local referendum - but I would have campaigned for its introduction (again subject to making it cheaper for those on low incomes).

I’ve lived in Southville for 23 years, and in that time seen it fill up with cars. When I was a councillor between 2006-2010, I was told that growth in car ownership ran at about 2% per year. While that may have been halted by the recession, I see no reason for this growth not to continue now we are getting out of it.

Basically I think we are now at or near capacity. We have a free for all, which is slowly getting worse. And we need to do something to try and control the situation. At its most basic, residents parking is a system of control - which could allow us to consider car-free developments

I’d also add that I am a member of the Green Party and I want to see us live in a sustainable city with a sustainable transport system.  Ultimately, it means journeys by car need to be the exception, not the rule. Along with more local shopping and jobs, more cycling, better buses and trains, more walking, more city car club cars, slower speeds, more playing out - some sort of control over the number of vehicles locally is also part of the solution.’

Better bus service from BS3 to Temple Meads

Many thanks to all those who have already signed our petition for a better bus service toTemple Meads.But we need more. Lots more.

Please sign the petition

And get your friends to sign it too!

The Council Budget

For Cllr Tess Greens report on the budget, please follow the link

Match day parking

Many thanks to all those who have completed our survey on match day parking. We have had around 140 response to date, and will report fully next month.

If you haven’t completed it and still want to, here is the link

It takes about a minute

Islington Road pocket park

There has been a 5 or 6 year saga concerning a site which used to be garages on Islington Road. Local residents would like it to be a facility, perhaps a pocket park, for the local area.

The council appears to want to sell it off, despite the fact that it was turned down by a housing association as being too small.

We will keep you updated!

Tenants Resource Centre

Concerns have been raised over the future of the tenants resource centre in Redcliff. It is used by thousands of tenants per year as a place to get advice. But may be facing council cut backs.


Tess Green - Councillor Tess Green can be contacted at

The Green Party in Southville can be contacted at


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Tuesday, 4 March 2014

A plea for the tenants resource centre

The tenants resource centre is based on Redcliffe Hill. I first came across it in 2006/7 when the Bedminster Area Housing Committee used to meet there. The council abolished it soon after because - one suspects - the members of the committee weren't afraid to express their opinions (which weren't terribly complimentary!)

However, its main work has been volunteer tenants helping other tenants. To quote the council website

The Tenants' Resource Centre exists to give tenants appropriate help and information on housing issues. It is run by volunteers for the benefit of council tenants all over the city.
  • The centre offers free support and information in person and by phone.
  • It is run by a group of enthusiastic volunteers.
  • It provides a voice for council tenants across the city.
  • The centre is fully accessible.
There were 3,700 visitors in a year to the centre according to a report on the same council link.

Anyway, 7 years later, the cuts are kicking in and the centre is a target. It currently receives some officer support and a grant. Both look set to go.

When I mentioned this on Twitter, this was a response.

My understanding is that the volunteers have been offered some options for their future, some of which mean they cease to exist or have access to the centre.

They accept the need for change, and would like to seek an arrangement which means they keep going.

I can only give my personal perspective which is that tenants advising tenants sounds like a great idea. Tenants will know best what tenant needs are. And they are volunteers as well. It sounds to me like something to be encouraged.

So Bristol City Council. Please keep them going. They are an asset to be nurtured.