Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Letter to the post re cycing and the Cycling campaign strategy

Dear Sir

While I am in no way surprised at the way in which the local media has focussed on the crass and insensitive use of a tank by RPS protestors at last weeks council meeting, it has drawn attention away from other parts of the council meeting.

In particular, it has drawn attention away from the excellent cycling manifesto. The manifesto, produced by Bristol Cycling Campaign, asks for a number of things which will increase the rates of cycling within the city. It has substantial levels of support – indeed, like the RPS protest, also broke the 3,500 vote barrier to force a debate.

The measures proposed will be familiar to many of us. A cycling network and proper funding for cycling. A cycling network would be great value for money compared with other transport schemes. Implemented properly, it would act as an encouragement for cyclists of all age and all levels of experience.

And more cycling benefits us all in terms of health, fitness, reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. It is  the fastest way to travel over shorter distances. And being a value for money solution for the individual, employers and authorities is truly socialism on wheels.

Bring it on.

Monday, 7 July 2014

Open letter to George, Brian Allinso and Metrobus re Blue finger/Stoke Park

This is already doing the rounds, but then I wrote it, and for that matter, I suggested it, and asked people to support it.

To George Ferguson, Brian Allinson and the Metrobus  proponents
Cc to Mark Bradhsaw

From Kerry McCarthy MP, Charlotte Leslie MP, and Councillors Daniella Radice, Lesley Alexander, Estella Tincknell, Gill Kirk, Claire Hiscott, Bill Payne, Wayne Harvey, Rob Telford, Tim Malnick, Gus Hoyt, Charlie Bolton

We the undersigned call on you to reconsider elements of the Hengrove-Northern Fringe metrobus project.

We believe that low carbon efficient public transport AND local, accessible food and places to grow it, are both a vital part of the future to Bristol’s position as both a sustainable city and the ‘Green capital of Europe’.

We support any action that can be taken to ensure that Bristol and South Gloucester local authorities find innovative and collaborative solutions to transportation and congestion challenges, without compromising the excellent and valuable work that is producing food from some of our best land.

As such, we call on you to devise and implement alternative public transport solutions which will NOT result in the loss of ANY Grade 1 agricultural land along the M32 corridor, specifically at Stapleton allotments, Feed Bristol, Sims Hill, or on any former market-garden sites. Any proposed transport solution should look first at brown field sites, and should resolve rather than cause  congestion in the local area. It should not compromise the use of high quality agricultural land by important and effective charities, community groups and local people, for the benefit of all. We note the proposed changes you suggested at cabinet on 1st July but need to be convinced that these make any meaningful difference to the land affected.

We are also concerned about the proposal to run a section of the new road across Stoke Park. This historic piece of landscape is valuable not only as the 'green lungs' for North Bristol but also because it contains ancient woodland, rich meadows full of rare species and a number of heritage buildings.

We believe the loss of such land is utterly incompatible with Bristol’s ambitions to be a Green Capital, and we urge you to think again.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Supporting development at St Catherines Place

Planning Application 13/05616/P

I have decided to support the above application (subject to adequate provision of affordable housing).
I do so for the following reasons

Helping the local trading streets

The application will support the local traders on East St in particular in two ways. Firstly, it will provide a significant extra population who it is to be hoped will make use of the local shopping available. Secondly, the redevelopment of St Catherines Place is likely to offer opportunities for events, such as farmers markets, which can attract additional footfall to support local shops.

Use of brown field site

This is a brownfield site, and as a Green, I have promoted brownfield development for many years. Furthermore, I recognise the need for new housing in the city, of different types.

Potential for use of public transport

The development is close to Bedminster station, and there is clear potential for use of the station to get to Bristol Temple Meads (and elsewhere). This could benefit the station as well, because it can help increase demand for trains. There is also a decent range of bus service from the area. I further note the provision of significant numbers of cycle parking stands. I wonder if there is the possibility of other measures to promote people to choose cycling as a means of travel.


I support the use of CHP as a sustainable heating system.

Affordable housing

I believe there is a need to maximise the amount of affordable housing  in the development. My support is contingent on this being achieved.


I don’t like the scale of the development, nor particularly the look of it. To be honest, I cannot remember a substantial development I do like the look of. However, my personal preferences have to be outweighed by the need for an adequate supply of homes for people in the city.


I am aware that this is a tall building with impacts from various views. But this has to be seen in the context of the existing (and ugly) DSS building. I am aware the developers have been at pains to try to demonstrate the minimal nature of this impact, but again, I think the importance of providing adequate numbers of homes outweighs objections for this reason.
I admit that the building will in no way impinge on my view (which is of a church hall).


Overall, I have increasingly come to the conclusion that those of us who own homes increasingly – and probably unwittingly – have ‘pulled up the drawbridge’ against those who do not.
House prices alone should tell us there is a clear demand for flats and houses way in excess of supply. And given the alternatives of ‘greenfield’ or ‘brownfield’ development, I have to choose ‘brownfield’.
I am aware that this brings further pressure on infrastructure, but ultimately, I think we have no choice but to try and meet the demand for extra housing.

Charlie Bolton
Southville ward
Green Party