How times flies! Since my last report there were two Neighbourhood Partnership meetings (in June and October).This will be an update on a variety of issues: the spending of the Wellbeing Budget and other expenditure by the Council which will benefit the community, managing traffic, consultation on the 20mph speed limit, how the Partnership wants to extend participation in what it does, trees (The Partnership tree champion, Clive Stevens spoke at our AGM about trees in September), and much more...
The following four projects have been funded by the Wellbeing Fund since April 2012:
• Bishopston, Cotham and Redland Street Scene Subgroup - £4,600
The intention is to improve the visual effect of Cheltenham, Gloucester and Ashley Down Roads by removing on a permanent basis illegal fly- posting on street furniture and domestic and commercial waste receptacles before the beginning of the new academic year.
• Bristol Storytelling Festival - £500
The North Bristol Story Trail is to be part of the Bristol Storytelling Festival in early 2013. 10-12 shops on the Gloucester Rd have been linked to local writers who will write a story about the local shop/environment and incorporate local history into the storyline. The funding would cover the costs of local events.
• Friends of St Andrews Park - £460
To supply wildflowers to an area near the pond which currently is mown grass, and install fencing around the area.
• Cllr Bev Knott - £1,170 (Horfield Common Wildlife Pond)
The wildlife pond was created some time ago from an ancient drainage ditch which forms part of the Horfield Common boundary. The Council Woodland and Wildlife Team would undertake renovation work and provide a 15 year maintenance overview, working alongside local volunteers to ensure the site is properly maintained. NOTE: This work is to be completed in November 2012!
This has left us with just £37,000 to dispose of before next April! At the beginning of November I had been concerned that we would not have enough applications to fund – but by November 26th , the deadline for 2012/13, we received over 20 applications! The applications totalled over £90,000...a quick review showed that they all meet the criteria and are worthy of funding. At the time of writing the Grants Sub Group had not met to make their recommendations to the Councillors on January 21st, but without doubt it will be a tough job to make recommendations which are fair and offer the best long term value for money. The successful applicants will be announced on the website in February.
The Bishopston area also benefited from funding in other areas:
• St Andrews Park, Redland Green Park and Horfield Common have all benefitted from over £200,000 from the Capital Stimulus Fund, money which Bristol City Council has put into the “Investing in Bristol’s Future” programme. This has been organised through a “bottom-up” approach: the money will be spent on projects which Friends of these parks have put forward to the local councillors.
• In addition The Scout Hut in Williamson Road has received over £64,000 through Section 106 money – this is money which developers pay to the council towards social or environmental costs incurred due to the new development. The Scout Hut provides activity for over 300 children each week, some of whom come from the neighbouring Ashley Ward as well as from Bishopston and Redland. It is a facility used by other local groups during the week and hired by residents for parties at the weekend. It is the only multi-purpose building available to hire in this densely populated part of Bishopston and Redland.
• After some prolonged discusion the Council has agreed to refurbish and maintain the public toilets at the Ardagh on Horfield Common. This is great news for the many users of this open space, and will encourage further usage of the Common for more community activities in the future.
Our area is very densely populated so managing traffic is always a difficulty. At Neighbourhood Forums in September local residents came up with 30 suggestions for local traffic schemes throughout the Partnership area, to be funded in 2013/14. It had been hoped to agree a list of works at the January Partnership meeting, but time has run out. It is a long process for the Partnership and Council officers to assess the viability of the proposals and cost them, and then to shortlist them for consultation. It is hoped that the shortlist will be available for discussion at the February Neighbourhood Forums – do not forget to come and have your say.
You probably have heard that the City Council wants to bring in a 20 mph speed limit across the city from next year. At the time of writing this report, it is expected that this will be discussed at the December Neighbourhood Forums. The roll-out will happen in 2013 – I hope I can put more details on the website as they emerge.
I reported on the Speedwatch campaign in the Bishopston Newsletter this summer. Through the police, local residents are trained to use speedguns to record the speed of cars in our streets. The police then sent out warning letters to drivers who are breaking the 30mph speed limit. Ashley Down Road, Kings Drive, Cairns Road and Muller Road have been the only roads in our area to have been surveyed, though roads are nominated for Speedwatch by local people.
If you would like to be trained to use the speedgun then contact:
the Southmead Police Station or
The Neighbourhood Partnership has spent some money asking the Highways Department to do an assessment of the pedestrian crossing at the Longmead Avenue/Gloucester Road site. It is a complex junction which concerns local people. This has now been completed and there are various options which all have pros and cons. However the Neighbourhood Partnership has now discovered that there are no central budget funds for minor traffic works...and the cost of any of the options would be at least £50,000, which is double the amount of the Partnership’s annual budget for minor traffic works! Our Councillors are hoping to discuss this issue within the Council, as it seems to us that it is unfair that a Neighbourhood Partnership should be financially responsible for traffic management of a major arterial road running through its area. Perhaps our new Mayor will have a view on this...
Since its inception in 2010, the Neighbourhood Partnership has always struggled with how best to involve and communicate with the 30,000 people who live within the Partnership area. We are in the process of thinking how to improve the format of the Neighbourhood Forums and some of the ideas include:
o A special topic of interest to start the meeting
o Report back on what was agreed at the last Forum
o “breakout sessions”/topic tables so that residents can go to specific Council officers to raise particular issues directly. We would also like to run a Facebook page but the Partnership members themselves do not have the time or 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
Bishopston Ward has only one Street Champion – it needs more!
BE A STREET CHAMPION!
Contact Lynn Parfitt, Neighbourhood Development Officer
Tel: 0117 9036978
Being a Street Champion is not an onerous task: it is merely about keeping your eyes open in your street for things which detract from a pleasant environment e.g. a dead street tree, fallen leaves not being cleared up, epicormic growth on trees, other obstructions to the pavement, graffiti etc. and then reporting it to the Council.
I went to a meeting for Street Champions on November 29th to find out more. We were given our own handbooks which specify how and who to contact for specific problems by phone and on-line, and it was encouraging that there were positive reports from some of those present of the quick and appropriate response from Council staff. But if we have a problem which we are struggling to get fixed, we only have to contact our Neighbourhood Development Officer by phone or email to get advice and support. There are some resources available to residents: laminated anti-dog-fouling posters; the University has a Community Fund to which residents can apply for up to £250 for an activity to enhance the relationship between residents and students (the police present said that in Clifton one such activity has significantly reduced anti-social behaviour- there are other examples of projects funded on the Bristol University website: http://www.bristol.ac.uk/accommodation/prs/community/comm-fund/).
I was impressed that the Waste Services and Streetscene Officer, Trudy Feeney, was inviting us to contact her directly with any ideas to improve our local street scene, and that Council Departments are being monitored over their response standards to the public. It does feel that at last the Council is trying to make itself far more accessible to us Council tax payers! I must say I thought that May Gurney did a good job clearing up the autumn leaves in my street this year – what did you think about your street?
Finally, trees! Our Partnership Tree Subgroup has found that finding suitable sites for street trees is a long process. As far as Bishopston is concerned, the proposal for trees outside Sainsbury's at the Longmead Avenue/Gloucester Rd site is on hold as is that for the Muller Road site, whilst there are further discussions with local businesses. Altogether a funding application for planting eight new street trees in the Partnership area has been submitted, and its success will be known in late January.
If you can spot a site for a street tree please get in touch - either to the Bishopston Society website, or to Andrew Mcgrath (see above), or to a councillor of council officer at a Neighbourhood Forum.
Jenny Hoadley, Representative on the Neighbourhood Partnership for the Bishopston Society
Dates of the Public Forums: March 2013-September 2013
These are public meetings open to all local residents. Check the website www.bristolpartnership.org/neighbourhood-partnerships/bishopston-cotham-redland for the venue.
Tuesday 12th February
Ashley Down Primary school, Downend Road, Bishopston 7.00pm
Thursday 14th February
Venue tbc Cotham 7.00pm
Thursday 21st February
Redland Green Bowling Club, Redland 7.00pm
Tuesday 14th May
Venue tbc Bishopston 7.00pm
Thursday 23rd May
Venue tbc Cotham 7.00pm
Monday 20th May
Venue tbc Redland 7.00pm
Tuesday 10th Sept
Venue tbc Bishopston 7.00pm
Thursday 5th Sept
Venue tbc Cotham 7.00pm
Thursday 12th Sept
Venue tbc Redland 7.00pm
Dates for the Neighbourhood Partnerships Meetings 2013
These are public meetings open to all local residents at 7pm. If possible have a look at the agenda and reports beforehand on the Council website (see above for the web address) and check the venue.
Monday 21st January 2013
Monday 25th March 2013
Monday 24th June 2013
Monday14th October 2013