So this is what I was up to tonight... I was supposed to go to Bath for the opening of the UK School Games, but was told at the last moment about a public meeting to discuss residents' objections to the proposed new development at Junction 3 of the M32- a Creative Learning Centre they call it, which means a library, some art spaces, some learning facilities, and much more, including housing - because that's how they'll get the match funding. (It's a £3.5m project, half of which is provided by the Lottery).
Local residents are unhappy that they've not been properly consulted, and have concerns about pressure on parking, loss of green space, air quality, and residents' safety. All agree, however, that the area is badly in need of a make-over. Its undeveloped, semi-derelict state at present makes it a haven for drug users and sex workers, which is particularly grim considering it borders a primary school, a youth club, a church and the Single Parent Action Network's study centre. Residents tell stories about seeing people crawling out of the bushes as they're on their way to work in the morning, and sex/ drugs litter everywhere.
One of the things we discussed was the need to breach the barrier between St Pauls and Easton, created when the M32 was built, so that St Pauls' people feel they can use the Centre too; at the moment people don't feel safe walking through the subway, so there's talk of surface walkways instead, or better security. The plans are on the Council website.
*Bit rubbish, I know, but the best I could do and I'm working my way through the Fall now, which will go on for ever and ever. A bit like the band really. My sister fell asleep with her head on the stage at a Fall gig once.