Friday, 30 April 2010

Community and youth facilities in east Bristol

One of the issues I've flagged up on my latest leaflet is the lack of community and youth facilities in some parts of east Bristol. There's never space to go into much detail about what is in the pipeline, but there are positive things at the planning stage, and I hope that we can deliver on these over the coming year or so. Councillor Ron Stone is chair of the St George Neighbourhood Partnership, and, having been the driving force behind getting a new play park in St George's Park and securing funding for Meadowvale Community Centre, he's now involved in a deal where the Kingswood Foundation will take over the running of the Kingsway Youth Centre and invest in youth provision there, which will be fantastic when it happens.

Ron has also been leading the charge on Bristol City Council, trying to pin the Lib Dems down on the future of the Speedwell pool. This dates back to 2005, when the pool was closed down. There was meant to be an all-party agreement that ageing pools would be replaced before they were shut, but when the Liberals took over, they reneged on this. They're now promising a new pool for Speedwell, but questions from Cllr Stone have revealed there's no money in the capital programme for this... they're funding some sort of feasibility study, but as Ron says, you can't swim in that! At the moment it just looks as if they're promising pie-in-the-sky.

As for other parts of east Bristol, in Brislington we need to make more of Wicklea Youth Centre, but people have quite rightly said that there's also a need for better facilities elsewhere. And in Stockwood, there are suggestions that the site of Stockwood Green school could be used for a community centre, which the area desperately needs. As I mentioned in a blogpost not so long ago, Ron has identified millions of pounds of unspent s.106 money sitting in the Council's coffers. It's time some of that was spent in the community.

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