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Bristol’s Greenspace under Attack

October 14, 2010

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day,
he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer.  But if he spends
his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making
the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an
industrious and enterprising citizen.
–  Henry David Thoreau

Battle lines have been drawn up by Bristol CC area green-space strategy, with communities across the city faced with a document proposing massive land sales of council green space. This would be to fund ‘improvements and investment’ in the remaining green space. The expensive well illustrated documents are worth a look to see what is proposed by the council. You may then see your favourite spot of grassy open space being readied for whatever dodgy deal or trade they can rustle up. If they can give away the equivalent of £11million + of allotments and car parks at Ashton Gate and Ashton Vale who knows what surprises are in store for your local fields or greenbelt. Parks and green space network bean-counters think it will cost £87million in capital funding for their citywide proposals.

http://www.bristol.gov.uk/ccm/content/Environment-Planning/Parks-and-open-spaces/information-and-advice/area-green-space-plans/area-green-space-plans—ideas-and-options-consultation.en

I’d like to know how much of the city’s green-space is earmarked for disposal to the builder vultures and real estate greed merchants rubbing their hands with glee. Someone got the time to add up all the hectares up for grabs?

No area of Bristol is safe, apart from the Downs, Ashton Court and the big other formal gardens/parks. Its open season on Greenbelt for the Greed Merchants if you look at whats been happening at Ashton Vale and Whitchurch. WHAT THE HELL is going on in this city-we campaign over environmental damage and destruction all over the world but can’t stop the creeping destruction and assault on our doorsteps.

Small or large these greenspaces as a important as the built environment. Otherwise we may as well all live in a concrete jungle hemmed in by motorcars. The bean counters and mercenary land dealers ripping off our green-space couldn’t care less-as long as they get their bonuses and dividends.

Have your say on the strategy now-closing date 29th oct.

 

Ashton-Vale Greenbelt. The fields and meadows that the greed merchants describe as a 'landfill tip'

Ashton-Vale Greenbelt 2010. The fields and meadows that the greed merchants describe as a 'landfill tip'

 

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13 Comments
  1. Lance Hardman permalink
    October 14, 2010 10:46 am

    Ok – I’ll let them know that I agree in capitalising on any appropriate land. Ta muchly.

  2. bsk permalink
    October 14, 2010 6:24 pm

    Just to stop anyone sending in stuff late, BCC’s website says “The public consultation will run until Friday, 29 October 2010. “

  3. October 14, 2010 10:03 pm

    Thanks. 29th Oct is correct.

  4. October 14, 2010 10:04 pm

    Bean-counter or greed merchant?

  5. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    October 15, 2010 1:22 pm

    After the officers have made their recommendations, Cabinet will make its binding decision. This will then be passed to Neighbourhood Partnerships to decide which parcels of land to sacrifice, almost certainly meaning a fight to protect ones own area. The NP can also disregard any consultation findings if it so wishes. Basically, if you want to save your own green space, use numbers to take over your own NP. It’s the new democracy!

  6. Lance Hardman permalink
    October 15, 2010 1:34 pm

    Employed realist.

  7. thebristolblogger permalink
    October 15, 2010 6:51 pm

    That’s a very good tip.

    Can I suggest you write that up in to an article and post far and wide?

  8. Richard Lane permalink
    October 17, 2010 7:30 pm

    The pressures on greenspace within the boundaries of Bristol can only increase with the population increases predicted.
    The Nimby’s of places like Long Ashton, Failand, Shortwood green etc would have no housing built near them and pressurise the government to build on brown field sites.
    You support these people and their cause quoting the loss of greenbelt, you also fight plans for development within the city boundaries, again quoting loss of green spaces.
    Do you propose lowering the lifestyle of city dwellers by over development of already densely populated areas, in order to satisfy the demand for housing that the population increases have caused?
    As it is, you want everything your way, now can you tell me and everyone else how we can house these people. Or, is this just a war against development at Ashton Vale, because the headline and initial content is about the council selling green spaces.
    Please explain what the council can do with a plot of land that has an 80+ year lease owned by BCFC.
    When these developments go through it will be a fantastic thing for Bristol.
    BobS
    The reason there is a lot of dog shit at the tip is because, there are a lot of dogs shitting there, not that there are a lot of people there. Nobody clears it up so it stays there for weeks until the rain washes it away, my dog regularly shits three times when we’re out.
    I have heard that one woman dog walker has twelve dogs that she takes to shit there, as part of her commercial practice. I’m not claiming that’s true, so I’m not lying, again.

  9. harryT permalink
    October 18, 2010 7:39 am

    First, if you recognise that lots of dogs shit at Ashton Vale you must be accepting that lots of people walk their dogs there every day. Those dogs don’t walk themselves, At least we are getting somewhere Richard. You are now close to supporting Town Green status on the land.

    Second, Bristol is filled with empty brown field sites and empty commercial spaces. These must be the first target for housing development, not the green land. Developers like green land because (a) it is cheap to develop and (b) you buy it cheap and the price increases when you get planning permission – free money.

    Third, it is densely populated areas that are tagreted for development. By removing the places where they play and take their dogs to shit, you are grossly reducing their standard of living. Redevelop brown field and the empty commercial space and you expand the space available.

    Fourth, did you know there is over 1,500,000 sq ft of empty commercial space just in Bristol city centre. Its not just the 60s and 70s places that can’t be let. Its the stuff that was built in then 80s and 90s. The council has fed a huge development boom in office space in the last 10 years and there is now no use for the all the old space.

  10. Paul Bemmy Down permalink
    October 18, 2010 11:25 am

    Hi Rich Whats happening at Ashton Vale is not linked to the AGP. The AGP are plots belonging to the Council which it claims can be disposed of to partly finance the improvement of others of its green spaces. As for population increase, this takes us back tO the RSS and the last government who famously said they would lose no sleep over prospects of a population of 70 million and therefore forced upon local authorities housing numbers that were unobtainable. Things have now changed and our council can decide how many new homes can be built and where, and brown field sites were supposedly their first choice although the AGP does through this into doubt. Also your concerns about density of population. Clifton, Southville and Windmill Hill are some of our most popular areas and these would be decribed as pretty dense. It seems that governments both local and national say one thing and do another. The AGP falls into the same category as “we will protect the Green Belt”. Its this hypocracy that keeps me involved!

  11. Richard Lane permalink
    October 18, 2010 9:15 pm

    Paul Hi, I know what is happening at Ashton vale is not linked, I said Sacredspring has made the link to further his cause.
    The AGP does throw into doubt brownfield developments and puts more emphasis on developing these areas first. I believe that in Bristol we don’t have sufficient land within our boundaries to cater for the population increases expected.
    My concerns about the density of population are not about the popular areas like you mention but areas like Barton Hill, lawrence Hill, Bedminster, St Pauls, Redcliffe and other inner city areas that are generally quite poor and already overcrowded, they then have a knock on effect to neighbouring areas, reducing the quality of life through overcrowding.

    Harry, sorry, read my post again where I refer to the amount of shit one dog produces and the length of time it takes to break down. I will never support Town green status on that site.
    Perhaps you are on the way to becoming a realist whenlooking into the commercial property available. Your wrong about the last ten years as well. Most office building has been built for clients and speculative developments have been rare.
    For a real town green I suggest you take a look at Cofton town green (near Dawlish), the area is for residents to use at their own risk, with dogs, bikes and glasses banned to create a safe environment for children to play. This is not how you could describe the area of Ashton vale where the stadium is planned.
    As for brownfield sites, I agree they should be developed first for housing, I always have.
    We have a situation though, where there are depressed commercial and domestic property markets and there is little chance that unused existing office blocks will be turned into housing in the present climate, when it is considerably cheaper to develop other sites as you say. What would you do as an investor? (hypothetical I know).

  12. StillWaters permalink
    October 18, 2010 11:04 pm

    Hi Richard, it’s Not-Tony here (will you ever Believe?), disseminating your post – just my opinions, no facts, per se.

    “The AGP does throw into doubt brownfield developments and puts more emphasis on developing these areas first. I believe that in Bristol we don’t have sufficient land within our boundaries to cater for the population increases expected.”

    I thought we were trying to cut down (not literally of course) the population? This might be cause for a different argument, but I was hoping common sense was leading to a stabilised population. Can I ask where these extra bodies are coming from? (please don’t say ‘students’ – the new fees system will effectively knock about 25% off Bristol’s current student numbers in the years to come). Is this a reference to an earlier post about immigrants having bigger families in the short term?

    “My concerns about the density of population are not about the popular areas like you mention but areas like Barton Hill, lawrence Hill, Bedminster, St Pauls, Redcliffe and other inner city areas that are generally quite poor and already overcrowded”

    Yes, I have lived in some, and still work in all these areas. There are still problems, but also fenced-off concrete wasteland in equal proportions that could be carefully (I hope) developed into decent housing with suitable green space.

    “I refer to the amount of shit one dog produces and the length of time it takes to break down.”

    (Couldn’t resist this one, sorry) But, as a caring and forward-thinking adult, you clean up after your dog, surely? Are you implying that Ashton Vale residents aren’t as caring as yourself for the environment? More personally, I walk my dog on that land, and I’m damn sure to pick up after him.

    “the area is for residents to use at their own risk, with dogs, bikes and glasses banned to create a safe environment for children to play. This is not how you could describe the area of Ashton vale”

    *sigh* Ashton Vale community cannot ban anything on the area yet, because it hasn’t been formally registered. Cart/Horse, Stable/Door, etc.

    “As for brownfield sites, I agree they should be developed first for housing, I always have.
    We have a situation though, where there are depressed commercial and domestic property markets and there is little chance that unused existing office blocks will be turned into housing in the present climate, when it is considerably cheaper to develop other sites as you say. What would you do as an investor? (hypothetical I know).”

    AT LAST! We agree! (pops champagne)

    Classic example: the old Clerical Medical site at Old Market.

    Big signs quoting ‘NEW OFFICES! HERE!, BUY NOW!’ Nothing built. Build houses instead?

    Let’s face it, even the new housing developments aren’t selling. Stuff that was empty pre-crash is still mostly empty.

    What ‘the population’ is crying out for is Social Housing – something that the people can rent, but the Council can’t foot the bill to build. Most developers have no interest in social housing, unless they’re given ‘land sweeteners’ in advance (like Bovis at Ashton Vale and other areas – successfully, imho).

    Unfortunately, that’s too much of a fact for a lot of people to accept.

  13. StillWaters permalink
    October 18, 2010 11:13 pm

    I hasten to point out that Bovis have been given Brownfield sites, not Green Belt.

Comments are closed.