Farcical claptrap from council managers is destroying our playing fields and open spaces while running up massive bills

That ‘No Trespassing’ sign - helpfully sited TWO MILES from Wellington Hill at Stoke Lodge!

That ‘No Trespassing’ sign – helpfully sited TWO MILES from Wellington Hill at Stoke Lodge!

For two years the Friends of Horfield Common have been fighting to get the WELLINGTON HILL PLAYING FIELDS protected and declared a TOWN GREEN. Ever since the landowners, Bristol City Council, included the fields in their notorious Green spaces strategy as a site FOR SALE to developers.

The playing fields meet all the requirements of a Town Green and all that’s needed is a rubber stamp from the registration authority, er … Bristol City Council! But Bristol City Council, the landowner, has other ideas. Why take a cheap, efficient, legal route supported by a whole community when you can engage in an expensive argument based on liEs and DoDGy interpretations of the law backed by a few shadowy managers at the Counts louse?

The fun and games started last autumn when BOB ‘THE BORING ONE’ HOSKINS, a council landscape manager, presented to the Public Rights of Way Committee some photos of “individual signs which were installed in Wellington Hill Playing Fields” that warned people not to trespass. All well and good – except the signs weren’t from Wellington Hill but from STOKE LODGE PLAYING FIELDS…Two miles away!

With this scam exposed, the council then decided to spend lots of money employing an expensive lawyer to present their ‘evidence’ about the land to a PUBLIC INQUIRY run by an independent inspector. The hearing is due soon. So step forward another council manager – this time area Parks manager, PETE ‘PANTS ON FIRE’ CLARK, who is presenting ‘evidence’ that the fields were gated and fenced in the 1990s, ‘proving’ the public hasn’t used the land ‘as of right’ for twenty years.

Unfortunately for Clark his claims are contradicted by his council’s own paperwork. A letter dated 1980 from Avon County Council Property to the Director of Education clearly states:

…the boundary fencing and gate which used to be along the public footpath in Wellington Hill has now disappeared which has the effect of opening up the playing field to the general public.

This confirms that any gates or fences, which may have once been there, were not there in 1980, while ‘Pants On Fire’ Clark’s ‘evidence’ says that both were still there a decade later!

This has caused anger among local residents. Says one:

We don’t know how Pete Clark has got the front to submit this. He grew up in the area and he knows as well as we do that this is TOTAL RUBBISH!

But when it comes to making up “total rubbish” and presenting it to inspectors at great expense, Hoskins and Clark are but mere beginners. During the seven year fight to get land at Whitchurch declared a Town Green, City Council Property Manager JAN ‘THIRD’ REICHEL gave no fewer than FOUR different explanations at different times for the legal status of this land! All of which, incidentally, turned out to be total bollocks. The cost of that particular pointless exercise went into six figures.

So why are big sums of our cash being forked out to back the doomed and pathetic efforts of COUNCIL MANAGER LIARS to block Town Greens?

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