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Saturday, 28 August 2010

Southmead's picnic protest

Despite a shabby August, it has been a summer of big picnics. But that's because this summer is the time to respond to the Council's consultation on the Parks and Green Spaces strategy. The strategy's aim was to sell off disposable land in order to raise money to enhance the rest. Nothing wrong with that. Except that much of the land that the Council has earmarked as potentially 'disposable' and up for development is anything but to the communities who live in the area.

The old Dunmail School site on Lanercost Road is a case in point - a school that the area now would much need was demolished, but now the Council have earmarked the land for possible housing or traveler site development.

The community turned out in force to make the point that the site is not of low value or disposable - the community is doing all it can to make its voice heard. The Council has said it is listening to local people - the community is hoping that listening will mean acting on what they have to say.


The good news is that at a meeting with the Council Officer in charge of the process, I asked whether the Council's very impenetrable consultation forms were the only form of response that the Council would accept. Thankfully he confirmed that the Council would accept any form of submission to the Consultation.

The Council told me that the most helpful thing is to look at the strategy ( you can see it at local libraries, and online) and comment on specifics, with your opinion always backed up with facts ( eg. traffic, access, local infrastructure etc) - and also put forward some positive ideas of your own. - That's the best way to get your voice heard.

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Upper Horfield's blooming Housing Association

I have watched the development of Upper Horfield for several years now, and the local housing association, Bristol Community Housing Foundation ( BCHF) have always been at the heart of what's going on in the area. They provide a very good model of what is meant by 'The Big Society' - they are helping to create a good community not by thousands of rules and regulations, but simple things like encouraging people to take ownership of small plots of green space on their street; community clear-ups, and by giving Sue Moon, pictured here, the bulbs, space and most of all freedom to share her gardening expertise with the rest of the street by planting out the communal flower beds. She also makes a mean blackberry jam from local blackberries ( thanks Sue!).
If you want to see an alternative to using thousands of rules and regulations to create a healthy, good community, you could do a lot worse than visit BCHF at 400 Filton Avenue...