Jun 2017 - Cabot eNews

June's edition of Cabot eNews.

In this edition:

1. General Election aftermath...
2. Details of Mayor's budget cuts finally published
3. Future of Bristol's Parks
4. Grenfell Tower fire disaster
5. McArthur's Warehouse plans submitted
6. Temple Gate roadworks starting
7. Mayor's new Congestion Task Group meets
8. Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge re-opens
9. Harbour powerboat racing update
10. Friends of Harbourside Reed Bed
11. Friends of the Avon New Cut walk
12. The world's first 'treehouse crane' opens in Bristol!
13. Cumberland Road Metrobus Bus shelter
14. Trash problems

1. General Election aftermath...

In last month's eNews I said of the General Election, "I feel it is
totally unnecessary, and a pretty naked attempt by Theresa May to
eliminate any opposition to her plans for a very Hard Brexit". Well,
after a roller-coaster ride it seems that the public came to the same
conclusion! PM Theresa May has been deprived of her majority, and it all
looks very silly now. How the PM is going to put together a government
now I don't know. In 2010 - at a critical time for the economy - the Lib
Dems stepped up in the national interest; but that is not possible this
time, for a number of reasons.

The results in Bristol reflected the national picture, with a big
gain for Labour in Bristol North West, and increased majorities in all
other seats. The Labour Party now hold all the city's MPs, Mayor, and
a majority on the Council - the first time since 2003 they have held
everything. I congratulate them and expect them to represent our whole
city, and to remember that those majorities include the lending of many
Liberal votes who wanted more than anything to prevent the presumed
Conservative landslide.

Elsewhere in the country the Lib Dems had mixed results. We gained seats,
and got some of our best performers back into Parliament; but we lost Nick
Clegg, which I was gutted about. We were also only 500 votes away from
doubling our seat total, as we had a number of agonisingly close losses
(including one by just 2 votes out of over 40,000!) In the aftermath of
the election, Tim Farron has resigned as leader, which I am also gutted
about. A new leader will be elected later in the year.

2. Details of Mayor's budget cuts finally published

The Mayor, Labour's Marvin Rees, has published the details of the cuts
from his March budget. There are some painful shocks in the detail,
the biggest of which is the closure of most of Bristol's libraries:


As my colleague, Cllr Anthony Negus says, we councillors were not
consulted on these library cut proposals, and in the long run such
drastic closures will likely add to costs as more residents face
isolation, lack of access to services, and other costly health issues:

Of course, the cuts are driven by Government cutting funding for
councils, but decision where to cut is local. The Council has put up a
survey where you can give your opinions on these, and other proposals
including the dismantling of Neighbourhood Partnerships - please do so:

3. Future of Bristol's Parks

The Mayor is planning to cut the entire parks budget over the next
few years, in the hope that Bristol's parks will somehow become
self-sufficient. This has never been successful before, and many people
think that it's a hopeless quest that will lead to the decaying of our
city's parks. The Bristol Parks Forum have set up a petition against
this plan:
(Note: This petition was supposed to activate yesterday, but was still
disabled when I last checked)

4. Grenfell Tower fire disaster

The Grenfell Tower disaster has shocked everyone, with at around 60 deaths
now confirmed. As someone who grew up in a block of council flats, it's
been painful for me to see. There are no Council tower-blocks of flats
in H&H ward, but several just beyond it. The Council has written to all
its tenants, with information. Two key paragraphs from the Council's
letter are:

* From the information currently available, it would appear that the
Grenfell block in London was over-clad with a 'rain-screen cladding'
system. This is an entirely different system/material to that used
in Bristol comprising a different design, completed with different
materials. Furthermore we do not and have not used the company which
supplied the cladding in London.

* We do not believe that there is any cause for concern about the
council's housing blocks, but we will of course consider the details
of the fire in London as they emerge, including whether there are any
other steps which may need to be taken. Council representatives will,
where required, attend meetings with residents in order to hear any
outstanding concerns. If you have any concerns please do not hesitate
to contact the Major Projects Team on 0117 3525403

5. McArthur's Warehouse plans submitted

A planning application for McArthur's Warehouse has been submitted to the
Council. This follows quite a long period of consultation. The final plan
has a distinctive industrial feel, which may or may not please. I have
always been clear with the developers that the design must not bring
future residents into conflict with the working boatyard - we don't
want people moving in and then complaining about people hammering metal
all day!

Much of the proposed site is 7 storeys, and the southern tip is
8-storeys. This is higher than I would have liked; my feeling is that
the whole site is probably 1 storey too high. Whether that is enough to
object to the plans, I haven't decided yet - it will probably depend on
how much other positive benefit the plans bring to the harbour. More:

6. Temple Gate roadworks starting

Did you think that roadworks across the city were finally starting to
finish up? Well, the Temple Gate roadworks are coming and will last
until Autumn next year: http://tinyurl.com/y78772q6

7. Mayor's new Congestion Task Group meets

The Mayor took personal control of transport in the city in the spring,
and one of the first things he did was set up a "Congestion Task Group",
about which we had heard nothing for months. The group has now met for
the first time. I'm not sure what it's going to deliver, but it sounds
like a good idea. I have been warning for two years that there is now zero
spare traffic capacity in the city as a result of numerous road and lane
closures over recent years; this means that whenever there's a blockage
somewhere in the centre, total gridlock results for many hours. The
re-opening of Prince St Bridge to cars outbound from the Centre (soon)
will help this. We will see if the group comes up with further measures
to prevent congestion. More: http://tinyurl.com/y7ajxp6s

8. Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge re-opens

After a long restoration, Ashton Avenue Swing Bridge is open again to
cyclists and pedestrians. The bridge is grade 2 listed and the restoration
cost £3.8m.

9. Harbour powerboat racing update

I have been informed that the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has said
it is not minded to approve power-boat racing in the harbour at this
time (2017). The RYA is the regulatory body for harbours in the UK. The
Council is investigating the possibility of 2018, but I hope the RYA
will stick with their original - and correct - decision on this. People
familiar with the RYA suggest it wouldn't normally change its opinion
unless there is a material change of circumstance.

10. Friends of Harbourside Reed Bed

The Friends of Harbourside Reed Bed (FrOHB) are a small group of
local Harbourside volunteers and residents who regularly pick litter
from the reed bed opposite the ss Great Britain and clear overgrown
vegetation. FrOHB have recently launched a Crowdfunding project called
"Restore Bristol Harbourside Reed Bed".  Funds raised will pay for
repairs, replanting and restoring the reed bed to its former glory.
However, the project will only be funded if at least £6,000 is pledged
by 9:00am on Thursday 29th June. If you would like to find out more about
this local conservation project or, more importantly, are prepared to
pledge a donation then please visit: http://tinyurl.com/yddygs5j

11. Friends of the Avon New Cut walk

The next FrANC event this year will be a Botanical Walk along the New
Cut that will be held on Sunday 25th June. Meet at Gaol Ferry Bridge
(Coronation Road side) at 10:00am. This walk will last approximately
1.5 hours and a small donation of £2 per person will be requested as
a contribution to FrANC funds. There is no need to book formally, but
if you would like to take part it would be helpful if you could email
derekwhughes@btinternet.com so that they have a rough idea of how many
people to expect.

12. The world's first 'treehouse crane' opens in Bristol!

You may have noticed that one of the harbour cranes has had something
built around it recently. It has become a temporary hotel! More here:

13. Cumberland Road Metrobus Bus shelter

People have contacted me regarding this bus shelter, which is oddly
placed in the pavement. The cycle path runs directly in front of it, and
occasionally anti-social cyclists zoom past the front of the shelter as
people are leaving or entering it - causing a collision risk. I contacted
the Metrobus people, and they have agreed to put some "Cyclist SLOW"
markings on the cycle route; and to consider putting some 'rumble strips'
along the path in front of the shelter.

14. Trash problems

The combination of good weather and cuts to waste collection budgets
has created a dismal mess in many of our favourite and most beautiful
city-centre spots. I have complained to the Council about this numerous
times (to little effect). You can report overflowing bins online here: