Oct 2018 - Cabot eNews

October's edition of Cabot eNews.

In this edition:

1. Congestion charge mooted in Bristol
2. No vehicle-idling zones proposed
3. "Masterplan" for Cumberland Basin appears online
4. Threatened libraries could be taken over by community
5. Cribbs Causeway expansion refused
6. Survey on Bristol's high streets
7. Jacob's Wells road zebra-crossing update
8. Clifton and Harbourside neighbourhood forum: 8th Oct at The Pavilion
9. Jacobs Wells Community Hub AGM
10. Autumn Litter Blitz
11. FrANC talk on the "Origin of the River Frome"
12. Consultation on Bristol's Parks vision
13. Members of Loptresti ice cream family charged with "modern slavery"
14. Access to Cathedral Square
15. Taggers fined
16. Foster Friendly Employers
17. Local exhibitions

1. Congestion charge mooted in Bristol

The early coverage of the Council's most recent transport strategy was
dominated by the rather unrealistic proposal of an underground system,
but as the dust settles attention has moved on to the more sensible
proposals in it, one of which is to investigate a congestion charge
in the city. This is a complex subject, because in the absence of an
affordable mass transport system like London has, a congestion charge
would likely end up hurting poorer people in the suburbs who have no
choice but to use a car to get into the city. Nevertheless, this proposal,
and how it might link with the planned clean air zone, are well worth
discussing. The devil is always in the detail, but I would be willing
to support a carefully designed congestion charge in the city.

I have always supported a "workplace charging levy", which is also
considered in the new strategy - the Lib Dem administration tried to do
this in 2006, but sadly the government and local businesses both blew
cold on the idea and killed it. More: https://tinyurl.com/yd7vaxs2

You can see and comment on the Transport Strategy here (consultation
closes on 2nd November): www.bristol.gov.uk/transportstrategy

2. No vehicle-idling zones proposed

I have proposed a motion to Council calling for "No vehicle-idling zones"
to be set up across the city, in an attempt to improve air quality,
particularly in the Centre. The zones, which have been adopted by
other local authorities including Bury and Southampton, aim to cut
emissions from cars which remain on whilst idle in traffic. The National
Institute for Health and Care Excellence and Public Health England
produced new guidance last year that recommended these in places where
health-vulnerable people collect, such as outside schools, hospitals
and care homes, and in areas where exposure to road-traffic-related air
pollution is high.

I am keen to extend the use of these zones in Bristol, particularly to
cover schools and children's play areas in order to reduce the risks to
young people. I have also proposed working with NHS partners to extend
the scheme to outside medical buildings and hospital pick-up points. It
was submitted to the September meeting but was too far down the agenda
to be discussed, but may now be debated at the 13th November meeting. You
can read the motion here:

3. "Masterplan" for Cumberland Basin appears online

A company called "Place Dynamix" has published online their "masterplan"
vision for the Cumberland Basin. They claim that their client is "City
of Bristol". Note that this is a bit of deception - their client is *not*
Bristol City Council. I wrote to the Director of the Planning Department,
who responded with:

* "None of us recognise placedynamix and I can confirm BCC has
not commissioned this work and I have established it appeared as a
speculative piece of work some time back. Allegedly someone trying to
return to Bristol having worked abroad and trying to make a mark. It
says client City of Bristol, which is subtly different to BCC. Either
way it has no backing from BCC and no status."

Note that there are numerous problems with the vision, not least the
elimination of the A370 and A4! It's likely we will be bombarded with
these "visions" until the Mayor provides more clarity on what his
vision for the area is. You can see the Place Dynamix "vision" here:

In related news, the proposal of a tunnel under the Cumberland Basin has
also suddenly popped up in the news. The Mayor had previously dismissed
the idea, saying it could cost £2billion (though given that the Mayor
believes an entire underground system can be built for £3.5billion,
all these figures should be taken with much salt). It's unclear why the
idea has re-appeared in the news now, though it may be related to the
city flood defences strategy: https://tinyurl.com/y73sp83h

4. Threatened libraries could be taken over by community

The Council has allocated £360k to look at ways other than closure that
could help the city's library service work within budget. This is very
good news, and is a result of the Mayor's U-turn on the issue, after
he gave in to a big year-long campaign to save most of the libraries
in the city he had proposed to close. One option that will be examined,
which the Lib Dem group proposed well over a year ago, will be letting
local communities take over the libraries. The study will finish in the
spring 2019: https://tinyurl.com/y797jtyj

In addition, the location of the Central Library will be considered
by the study. Built in 1906, the Grade I listed building was designed
as a library, but does now face very high maintenance costs due to
both age and design. I am interested in residents' views on this
issue. https://tinyurl.com/y9de5msw

5. Cribbs Causeway expansion refused

The Government has blocked plans for a huge expansion of Cribbs
Causeway. South Gloucestershire council - which wants to create
a regional retail centre to compete with central Bristol - had
previously given permission for the expansion, but this overturns
that permission and is very good news for business in central Bristol:

This has relevance to the Mayor's recent decision to cancel the city
centre arena, because an arena at Filton would add to the Cribbs Causeway
retail momentum. Ironically the Mayor welcomed this government decision
to block Cribbs Causeway expansion. As a result of the government's
decision, a proposed £200m expansion of Broadmead and Cabot Circus -
which already has planning permission - will likely now go ahead, which
is more good news.

6. Survey on Bristol's high streets

Bristol City Council is calling for people to share their views on
the future of the city's high streets and shopping areas. The three
surveys are aimed at residents and visitors, businesses located on high
streets, and groups or organisations representing or working on behalf of
businesses or residents. These surveys, seek people's views on a range of
issues including how often they use their high streets, how they travel
to them and to what extent they spend leisure time there. For businesses
the survey asks about footfall trends, what methods they use to promote
themselves and what external factors impact upon them. See them here:

7. Jacob's Wells road zebra-crossing update

The annoying lack of progress over the last 9 months on this project
was partly due to the loss of the previous two staff at the Council. I
am pretty disappointed that we are now looking at early 2019 for
completion. Given that this crossing was first put into the system in
late 2015, this means we'd be looking at nearly 4 years to deliver a
crossing, which is bad even by the Council's standards! I have asked
for the Council to make effort to advance the finish date where possible.

8. Clifton and Harbourside neighbourhood forum: 8th Oct at The Pavilion

There is a public meeting of the Clifton and Harbourside neighbourhood
forum on Monday 8th October, 7pm to 8.30pm, at The Pavilion on Harbourside
(BS1 5JE). Local issues will be discussed, so please do come along!

9. Jacobs Wells Community Hub AGM

The JCW Hub's AGM is 3pm, Sunday 21st October, at the Jacobs Wells
Baths. New committee members are sought after and welcome.

10. Autumn Litter Blitz

From 15th-28th October, Bristol Waste and Bristol City Council are once
again encouraging residents to help blitz our city of litter. Bristol
Waste will loan you kits, including litter pickers, high visibility vests
and rubbish bags and will provide you with all the information you need to
get you safely on your way. They will also arrange for the litter to be
collected for free when you've finished. If you are interested contact:
hello@bristolwastecompany.co.uk or 0117 304 9022. Alternatively book
your litter picking kit online: www.bristolwastecompany.co.uk/litterpick
More information: www.bristolwastecompany.co.uk/litterblitz18

11. FrANC talk on the "Origin of the River Frome"

The Friends of Avon New Cut will feature the Environment Agency's Melvin
Wood presenting an illustrated talk entitled "Origin of the River Frome"
on Thursday 25th October. The talk will be held in the Osborne Room of
The Southville Centre, Beauley Road, BS3 1QG and will start at 7:30pm. A
small fee of £3 per person will be charged which will be donated to
charity. The capacity of the Osborne Room is limited to 22 people, so if
you want to attend this event you must book. You can do so by contacting
their Chair either by email (derekwhughes@btinternet.com) or telephone
(01179 544 888).

12. Consultation on Bristol's Parks vision

The Bristol Parks Forum as the umbrella organisation representing groups
directly involved in our Parks and Green Spaces have been working on
a new Vision. The draft vision is written to make people look forward
to a world which could be different than it is now. They are asking
for comments by midnight on Thursday 18th October so that they can
consider comments or potentially finalise it at their AGM on the 20th
October. A copy of their Vision and details of how to reply can be seen
at www.bristolparksforum.org.uk/vision

13. Members of Loptresti ice cream family charged with "modern slavery"

Two members of the Loptresti Ice cream family have been charged with
"modern slavery" offences regarding their Ice Cream business, based in
Bedminster: https://tinyurl.com/yc7e64b5

Some residents of Harbourside and Brandon Hill will be aware of the
troubles that local amenity groups and I have had over the years in
getting Lopresti ice cream vans to obey the terms of the tenders they
won to sell ice creams from busy hot-spots like Brandon Hill Park and the
Harbourside (particularly, switching off their engines). Over the years
I have also criticised the Council repeatedly for allowing Lopresti to
gain control of most of the prime vending spots, effectively becoming a
near monopoly in the city. I very much hope that this current criminal
case shakes the Council out of its complacency on this matter, and I have
written to the Council again, asking them to take more serious note of
the ethics of companies they they award contracts to in future.

14. Access to Cathedral Square

The Council has been in dispute with the Cathedral School regarding public
access across Cathedral Square, between the school and the cathedral. A
lot of public money was recently spent on restoring the square, on the
grounds that public access across it would be maintained. I'm please
to say that agreement has (again) been reached regarding that public
access. The closure times for the access gates will now be 9.45am -
3pm on the 175 school days only.

15. Taggers fined

Tagging is a persistent problem in the city. The Council has been working
with the police to catch taggers and prosecute them. Since the start of
August six taggers have been caught defacing property and issued with
fines, which I welcome. Bristol has a great reputation for artistic
graffiti, but there is no excuse for mindless vandalism.

16. Foster Friendly Employers

The Council was awarded Fostering Friendly Employer status by national
fostering charity the Fostering Network in 2016. Fostering is one of
the most noble and generous things that anyone can do for other people,
and not only that but it saves councils a huge amount of money otherwise
spent on high-intensity care facilities. So if you know anyone in a
medium to large business/organisation, direct them to this new webpage
for more information: https://tinyurl.com/yd6kw9oj

17. Local exhibitions

Spike Island Centre

* Test Space Exhibition: RUNG - 6 to 21 Oct. RUNG is a grassroots project
which aims to support emerging artists through providing an alternative
'gallery' space via print and online.

* Jess Bugler: Sharp Lines - 8 to 26 Oct. The latest Peter Reddick
Bursary exhibition to be presented in Spike Print Studio.