Thursday, 11 September 2008

The race is on (2)

Here's Kevin, on the left, with Hazel and his fellow firefighters Chris Jackson and Jeff Lovell, both of whom are already Labour councillors. At this rate, we'll soon have enough for a calendar.

19 comments:

Mrs Blogs said...

Kevin on the Left -sounds like a good blog title to me. Good Luck to him.

Ashley Fox said...

Is it true that Kevin lives in Chippenham ? Does this suggest a lack of talent in the Bristol labour Party ?

Glenn Vowles said...

Nick Foster has been selected as the Green Party candidate for St George West. He's local but not a firefighter!

Glenn Vowles said...

What is Kevin's view (and your's for that matter Kerry) on the sell-off of green space owned by the public on the Bristol to Bath Railway Path without public consultation? See Keep the Bank Green Blog, Green Bristol Blog, the Bristol Blogger and my blog for details and developments on the issue.

thebristolblogger said...

Yeah Ker. Are you and Kev for the people or the toenail worshippers?

And why while we're at it, the burning question, wot's Kev's top 10?

(And while we're at it Vowlsie wot's your candidates top 10?)

Kerry said...

Nice try but rules are rules, Glenn. Actually, haven't yet discussed the cycle path with Kevin, but he did tell me that he used to cycle from Speedwell to Avonmouth for work, and from St George to Bath. But I'm not going to use this blog to answer for him. And my bet would be he's a Northern Soul man. If you don't hear back from me it's because I've asked and he's said Dire Straits and Celine Dion.

Glenn Vowles said...

Kerry, rules are rules of course but you dont want to be accused of hiding behind them out of convenience do you?? Will you talk to Kevin, think through this issue of great concern within Bristol East and post on your blog your conclusions and views??

Chris Hutt said...

Glenn, I suspect Kerry may not be up to speed yet on developments in her constituency since she took her doubtless well earned holiday.

Kerry, the Railway Path issue is not the one of old but a new one that has surfaced in the week or so. It concerns the clandestine sell off by the Council of a chunk of the Path land to the developers of the Chocolate Factory at Greenbank (and other related shenanigans).

It's a tricky one for you because public opinion will be divided between those who want to preserve the rural character of the Path and those who are willing to sacrifice it for the sake of allowing the development to proceed as planned.

You'll probably want to sit it out on the fence until it's clearer which way the public mood will swing. As Glenn says my blog and BB will give you some background.

Kerry said...

Chris - have you taken a crash course in being patronising since I've been away?

I've been back a week now and have obviously made it my business to look into this issue. I've seen the Bloggers site, the Green Bristol site and others. I've looked at Square Peg's plans for the 'cycle houses' and am now following it up with various people (although I think I'm right in saying that no constituent has contacted me directly).

I just haven't chosen to blog about it, and I'm not going to let other people dictate to me what I do and don't blog about. My initial view is that it doesn't look as if very much land is involved, but I want to see for myself how the land is currently being used and whether the development would have a detrimental effect on the enjoyment/ use of the cycle path, or mean a significant loss of green space. From the plans, it doesn't look as if that would be the case, but I take on board people's comments that the plans may be misleading.

As for Kevin - several campaign leaflets have gone out to everyone in SGW and he's replying to everyone who has written back. If anyone raises this issue - and it hasn't come up on the doorsteps so far, not that I know - I'm sure he'll respond to them with his views.

The Tories, incidentally, are trying to campaign in SGW on the basis that there are plans to sell off parts of St Georges Park to developers - which is complete and utter nonsense.

Chris Hutt said...

It wasn't meant to be patronising. I honestly thought you'd only been back a few of days that you might not realise Glenn was referring to new developments. I admit the last comment was a bit cheeky though.

There's well over 100 metres of mature hedgerow and a designated wildlife area due to be destroyed to allow some very intensive development on the Railway Path embankment, including a 4 storey block of flats and a 7 storey tower block as well as 12 houses.

If the developer is allowed to do this in Greenbank it sets a precedent that could be repeated in many other locations along the Path. The slopes of many of the embankments and cuttings could be sold off to property developers and the character of the Path transformed.

thebristolblogger said...

I must admit I've not heard of plans to sell off parts of St Georges Park to developers.
It is not complete and utter nonsense, however, as it's now perfectly clear that the Parks and Open Spaces Strategy that your party forced through earlier this year that's supposed to protect the city's high-quality green spaces is doing no such thing.
Until the council's Labour leadership starts reining in unelected senior officers who are openly selling off high quality green space without reference to their own democratically agreed policy then I think many people will rightly believe the city's green spaces are not safe in Labour hands.
If you will sell-off sections of the Railway Path and sections of Castle Park, why not St George Park?
I for one do not believe Labour Party denials on land sales any more.You simply cannot be trusted with our green spaces. It's anything goes if it makes a fast buck with you lot isn't it?

Kerry said...

I've had confirmation in writing from various people at the Council that there are no plans to build on or sell off any of St George's Park. The Tory leaflet says 'it is totally wrong of the Council to even consider [it]' - when it's not being considered. As for Castle Park, it needs development; the existing buildings are an eyesore. And as for the railway path, as I've said it's a very small section (100 metres acc to Chris) and I'm not opposed either to building upwards (I think it's overstating it a bit to call it a tower block) - how else would you suggest we find space for homes for the 19,000 people on the council waiting list? Obviously brownfield sites must be the priority, but it's not the entire solution. I'm also concerned about the number of houses being turned into flats, with associated problems re parking, and often anti-social behaviour from the people who rent them. We need family homes - but they've got to be built somewhere. Where do you suggest?

Chris Hutt said...

The develop is hoping that the houses along the Railway Path are going to sell for £200k. Is that going to help the homeless?

What else would you call a 7 storey tower block? Even the developers call it a tower, albeit an eco-tower (because it's supposed to have a bike shop at ground level).

I understand that the upper storeys of the tower block - sorry, eco-tower - may be a hostel of some sort, so maybe that's their answer for the homeless.

If you accept the loss of "well over" 100 metres of hedgerow now, how can you say no the next time and the time after that? Where is the end to it? Please don't allow Easton to be robbed of what little green space it has.

thebristolblogger said...

How else would you suggest we find space for homes for the 19,000 people on the council waiting list?

As someone who has persistently fought, campaigned and argued against the developer-led luxury flat building frenzy across Harbourside and choice brownfield locations across the city for the last ten years that's created a buy-to-let desert and a huge waiting list for family housing in the city, I find it a bit rich that I'm now asked to identify space for the affordable family housing I've advocated for the last ten years.

Had it been left to me, we would have built 5-10,000 of these places already...

But to answer your question Kerry, I'd identify low quality green space for building on by applying your own party's Parks and Open Spaces Strategy, which sets out a reasonable set of procedures for assessing the value of public park land and its suitability for disposal.

Indeed, I'm so satisfied with the quality of this strategy I'd like to see it applied immediately to the proposed disposals on the Railway Path and Castle Park.

I can only conclude that you don't wish to apply your own policy at these locations because you know that the strategy specifically rejects disposing of high quality green space, which both the Railway Path and Castle Park are.

It's a pretty dismal state of affairs when the party running the city is too scared of wealthy business interests to impose their own democratically agreed policy isn't it?

Or am I missing something?

Glenn Vowles said...

I see I've triggered a bit of debate here! I'm with most of what the Bristol Blogger and Vhris Hutt have said here.

I'm glad to see Kerry take the issue up - the blogosphere at least has some public debate on the future of publicly owned land due to be flogged off. Kerry said 'no constituent has contacted me directly' by which I guess she means write/email since I'm a constituent of Bristol East and have posted a comment here.

Labour run Bristol City Council 'stringent procedures' on land selling apparently mean that public consultation on selling the strip of land in question is not required!! I've asked for clarification from Cabinet member Cllr Rosalie Walker but still await a reply.

There are nature conservation, environmental and amenity value issues that cant simply be dismissed here Kerry (otherwise why not just build anywhere eg The Downs, Leigh Woods, Ashton Court...). Scaling back and/or modifying the plans a bit in the eastern portion would address some of these issues whilst not impacting the development as a whole that much. Is this too much to ask??

As for Castle Park its only the existing buildings that are ugly, so develop only where they are and keep all existing green space.

The Bristol Blogger said...

What's interesting is how no one will actually come forward and explain why the Parks and OS Strategy is not relevant to this case.

The silence is incredible. We've all been led to believe that the strategy is not relevant but, mysteriously, we're never given the reason why.

This might satisfy the uninquisitive like Kerry and the rest of her party but it doesn't satisfy me.

It's almost as if the people in favour of the scheme are still scrabbling around trying to identify a loophole in their own strategy .

Adam said...

I am a constituent of Kerry's.

I have contacted her about the cycle-path sell off, and have been told that others have done so too.

This constituent awaits her response with interest.

Kerry said...

Yep, Adam, I've got yours now - but have just checked with the office and you're the only one. We record everything as it comes in on our Caseworker system. Are you sure the people you've spoken to haven't contacted councillors instead? Or tell them to email me again. I will reply soon, but I need some answers to questions from people first.

Glenn Vowles said...

Adam cant be the only one Kerry. I've written to you as well.