This is the FEBRUARY 2013 report, for which, apologies for its lateness! “My Neighbourhood Week” running from May 4th to May 11th 2013, is being co-ordinated by the Communication and Engagement Subgroup of the Neighbourhood Partnership.

 The aim is to enable and encourage people to get actively involved in improving our local area, to give us all a chance to meet new people and to celebrate our neighbourhood. The week begins on Saturday 4th May at the Whiteladies Farmers Market and at the Redland May Fair on the following Bank Holiday Monday 6th May. On Saturday May 11th from 12-5pm there will be a Super Forum in Horfield Baptist Church on the Gloucester Rd.  At this event, the Mayor will speak about communities and neighbourhoods, we will discuss the challenges facing our local high streets and there will be an interactive session for local people to tell us which issues should be the next set of priorities for the Neighbourhood Partnership. So keep an eye open for what is going on and you may find something which grabs your imagination.

Residents Parking Zones (RPZ’s) were a large part of the agenda of the last Neighbourhood Partnership committee meeting of this current financial year on January 21st. The Zones rolled out in Kingsdown and Cotham South have had a mixed response from local people. One of the issues has been that commuter parking tends to get displaced to adjoining residential area where there are no parking restrictions. The mayor is yet to say how far the RPZ programme is to extend, though officers would favour an inner ring of restricted parking right around the centre of Bristol. Our councillors have been asked to be briefed on the plans for the future so more information will be available soon.The point was made that commuter parking and traffic congestion, one of the main reasons behind RPZ’s, cannot be solved without improving local public transport. So it is positive that First Bus has agreed to review its fares and service over the next six months and the mayor was also present at the press conference (reported on Points West on 29/1/13).

You may recall that in a previous “News from the Neighbourhood Partnership” I was inviting applications for the Wellbeing Fund: we had £38,000 to spend and at that point I was unsure whether we could roll over any surplus into 2013/14. Well, the answer is that “yes we can” but we received an unprecedented number of applications: over £100,000 requested through 25 applications! The Grant Sub group met three times to make our recommendations and our first draft was the subject of an informal pre-meeting of Partnership members in early January. All the applications bar one met the criteria so we felt that we might be seeing the beginning of the impact of a more restricted City Council due to the “austerity” required by the present Coalition Government. Not all the applications got money and many only got part of what they were asking for. Three were singled out for support from Council officers over the next few months to review their applications to increase the value-for-money aspect, with a view of re-submitting later this year.

The following organisations were successful in receiving all or part of their funding:
a) Horfield and District Allotment Association £500: Build 2 accessible pond dipping forms over community pond
b) Sefton Park Scorpions Football Club £1360: Set-up costs for children’s football club to include cost of pitch hire, coaches etc
c) Pied Piper Pre-school Play group £490: Improve an outside space to provide outside play area
d) Redland and Cotham Amenities Society £7842: Cotham Gardens Play Equipment
e) Horfield Organic Community Orchard £1100: Development of a small garden orchard as demonstration plot
f) Redland Green School £1,000: Young People’s Project to raise engagement with young people
 through a website to encourage consultation
g) Phoenix Films Bristol £1890: Young children’s film making project and public event in St Andrews Park
h) Ashley Down School PTFA £500: Purchase of musical instruments to enable all key stage 2 children to learn an instrument
i) Ashley Down School PTFA Infants School £180: Costs to help run and purchase equipment for school’s Gardening Club
j) BCR NP Street Scene Group £2000: Reduce illegal fly-posting by coating surfaces with anti-graffiti coating
k) Gloucester Road Traders Association £500: Collection boxes to encourage donations for hanging baskets on Gloucester Road
l) Friends of St Andrew’s Park £4000: Drama and performance events in St Andrew’s Park
m) 63rd Bristol Scouts Sefton Park £300: Costs for preparing for the new build of the scout hut, e.g. architects fees, legal fees etc
n) Westbury Park Foxes Junior Football Club £670: Football kit and coaches costs for junior football team
o) Bristol Rovers Football in the Community £1670: “Extra time”:  a weekly club for local older people (including dementia) to take part in social and physical activity
p) BCR NP Street Trees £4630: Plant 6 high impact street trees in BCR area
q) Metford Rd Allotment Assoc: Community Orchard site £1725: Replace old steps on sloping site to improve access and safely

We now have a surplus of about £9000 to carry over to 2013/14 to which will be added a further £30,000. The next deadline for grant applications is May 1st (to be decided in mid June) and the second and last one for 2013/14 on September 6th. Go the Council website: www.bristolpartnership.org/neighbourhood-partnerships for details of the criteria and application form and Guidance Notes. Despite the Mayor’s support of the Neighbourhood Partnership structure, I do not know at this stage whether the Wellbeing Fund will survive the expected budget cuts into 2014/15.

If you have attended a Public Forum in Redland you will be familiar with the format of a main topic, a feedback session from the police and council officers about the issues they agreed to pick up last time, followed by “break-out tables” where you can discuss particular issues with your councillor or a council officer present. This format seems to be popular. On January 21st the Partnership resolved to use a similar format across all the Public Forums and from time to time have a Partnership-wide Forum about an issue of common interest. As I have said above, the Cotham Public Forum on February 14th will be looking at Resident Parking Zones. Note the dates below and come along! We would also like to run a Facebook page but the Partnership members themselves do not have the time resources to do that. If you, as a volunteer, would be interested in helping the Partnership be more social media-minded or assist with our website (www.bcrnp.org.uk) we would be pleased to meet you. Please either contact this website or approach our Co-ordinator at: 

Despite the efforts of our councillors, the Partnership and numerous local residents and traders who sent in their objections, and the rather gloomy retail impact assessment carried out on behalf of the Council, the Council has consented to the build of a Sainsbury superstore on the Filton Avenue Rovers site. The mitigation package offered by the developers was attractive to the councillors: £700,000 + for a retail support manager for the Gloucester Rd for 3 years and measures to improve traffic flow, cut pollution etc as well as 45% of the proposed housing to be designated social housing.

Even if there were not to be a superstore on our doorstep, shopping habits are changing and nothing ever stays the same. However if we want to have a vibrant Gloucester Road then we all need to use it and support the local shops and businesses. This means the Gloucester Road must physically look an inviting area to encourage sufficient footfall so businesses feel it is worth their while investing locally. The new library near the Berkeley Road/Somerville Rd intersection is a step in the right direction. In addition, this is what the Partnership has been doing:
•    The Wellbeing Fund has been supporting the Gloucester Rd Streetscene Group over the last two years to clear the graffiti on a permanent basis by ensuring street furniture etc is painted with an anti-graffiti paint, and try to reduce street clutter and find a solution to the bins on eh pavement. The group has also encouraged the Gloucester Rd traders association to come together to work for the good of the whole of the Gloucester Road
•    It is supporting the traders to submit an application to the Wellbeing Fund for a support person to help them make bids to access external funds to support small businesses until the developers’ money becomes available
•    It has allocated a grant to supply 6 hanging baskets for the Gloucester Rd for 2013/14. These will be supplied and maintained by the Council nursery. This is a one-off grant which is why the Partnership  also granted £500 for collection boxes this year to raise money from local people (the traders are also providing money) now and in the future. There is space for 38 hanging baskets along the Gloucester Road....

Financial resources from the Council are unlikely to materialise in the foreseeable future. So what can you, the local resident or local community organisation, do? The Henleaze and Westbury-on-Trym have been raising money for their hanging baskets, so can you help the Gloucester Road?
The Bishopston Society has granted £90 towards more hanging baskets – if you would like to donate, then please get in touch with the Bishopston Sociey or attend our next Public Meeting on March 25th   when the Mayor will be the main speaker. Could your organisation donate money or have a collection tin at meetings/events for individuals to donate? If you see a collection tin in a shop then please put in whatever you can afford. Or you might have other ideas for keeping the Gloucester Rd vibrant – whatever they are please get in touch with your councillor or come and see them at a Public Forum, or email the Partnership co-ordinator . Without your support the Gloucester Road could fade away...

Jenny Hoadley
Neighbourhood Partnership representative for the Bishopston Society
If you want to read more about items in the article then please refer to the Committee papers on the Council website: www.bristolpartnership.org/neighbourhood-partnerships

PUBLIC FORUM DATES
Nearer the time the main topics at each Forum will be advertised. If you are interested in the main topic at any of the Forums you can still attend and leave after that topic - you do not have to stay for the whole meeting!

Bishopston Tuesday 14th May  7-9pm
Cotham Thursday 23rd May
Redland Monday 20th May
Venues and topics to be confirmed

NEIGHBOURHOOD PARTNERSHIP MEETINGS
Monday 25th March 2013 at 7pm at Colston’s Primary School
Monday 24th June at 7pm Venue to be confirmed

 

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