A sneaky item put to the vote at the end of this year’s council budget meeting may have caught a lot of councillors napping. Our politicians were asked to approve the seemingly innocuous proposal “For the West of England Combined Authority Mayor to submit an application to the Housing Infrastructure Fund to facilitate housing growth.”
However, this £250million application has fuck all to do with building any actual houses but does include funds that will go directly towards the detailed planning of two new controversial road schemes – the Callington Road Link in Brislington and South Bristol Ring Road around Stockwood and through Whitchurch.
Councillors voted 58 – 7 to approve the submission of the bid to the government and kick-start a new road building programme in the city for the first time in a generation. Obviously, most Tory and Labour councillors who love retrograde crap voted for the idea. The Lib Dems voted against and most Greens, as usual, confused about what they’re here for, abstained.
However two Greens voted for renewed road building, Ashley Ward’s Jude Brew and Clifton Down’s Clive Stevens. What were they thinking? Here at the Bristolian, we don’t parade much in the way of green credentials but even we know building roads is the height of Thatcherite bollocks.
The vote may prove embarrassing – and hopefully career threatening – for some other councillors south of the city too. Barry Clark “Son”, Labour councillor for Hengrove and Whitchurch had told his constituents prior to the vote, “I live near to Asda Whitchurch and like you understand the issues that this road development would cause. I am also against it and actively doing what I can to get it stopped.”
Except actively voting against it when given the opportunity to get it stopped?
The Reverend Rees’s latest deranged ROAD UPGRADE PLAN, rolled out to a disbelieving public by his new cabinet transport supremo, The Former Socialist known as Kye Dudd, are some so-called “improvements” to the A4018 in North Bristol.
The road connects Cribbs Causeway and Filton to the Centre via Westbury-on-Trym and will become an important road link from the south and west of the city for the Reverend’s corporate friend’s FILTON SHED arena.
To accommodate large traffic flows to and from the proposed venue’s huge car park, The Former Socialist Known as Dudd is proposing to virtually SHUT Westbury-on-Trym to cars altogether while creating a MAZE of no left and right hand turns along the length of the A4018.
Much of the road will also be NARROWED to make way for 24 hours bus lanes and the usual ragbag of non user-friendly, deeply unpopular shared use cycle schemes. While these improvements might be a small benefit for through traffic and First buses heading to the Reverend’s corporate shed and the M5 from the centre, they will be a NIGHTMARE for local traffic, residents and businesses.
Residents, who are actual council tax payers, have pointed out that getting to their homes from this ‘improved’ A4018 will involve LONG and TORTUOUS journeys puffing out extra vehicle pollution into their neighbourhoods and children’s lungs.
Quiet residential streets will be transformed into BUSY RAT RUNS as locals endeavour to negotiate the council-designed maze to get to places such as Brentry and Henbury. Neighbourhoods that Dudd intends to DEPRIVE of direct access to the A4018 to facilitate faster through traffic to the Filton shed and the M5.
Meanwhile, businesses in Westbury-on-Trym predict the DEATH of the village once traffic is BANNED and customers from further afield abandon the shops there. The council has held a number of consultations on the plans in the area that have variously been described as “a farce”; “a fiasco”; “a shambles”; “pointless” and much else besides.
One reader describes a visit to Westbury Library where after a long wait he got to speak to a council officer “STRAIGHT OUT OF SCHOOL“.
“How long have you lived here?” he enquired.
“Nearly a year… I’m from the region though,” came the reply.
“Wait! So you’re not from Bristol and have no idea about past schemes?”
“I don’t feel comfortable answering that,” came the brave and honest reply.”
And off the officer scurried. Consultation presumably complete
News reaches us that Massive Attack member Robert ‘3D’ Del Naja is seriously considering running for Bristol Mayor as an independent next year. In 2012 Del Naja publicly backed George Ferguson for mayor but was reputed to be less than impressed with George’s performance. However, our source tells us Del Naja is “absolutely livid” at the Reverend Rees, particularly with his attack on the Bearpit and Bristol’s graffiti culture as well as the failure to deliver an arena.
It’s thought Del Naja will run on a ticket demanding freedom for Palestine; an arena for central Bristol and the decriminalisation of weed. We understand Del Naja will be supported in this bold bid by fellow Bristol Sound pioneer, Portishead’s Geoff Barrow. He’s been penciled in to become Del Naja’s political assistant, replacing “Slo” Kevin Slocombe, on £95k a year, should Del Naja scoop the big prize next year. Sources close to Del Naja say, “Geoff’s undoubtedly a people person who oozes diplomacy. He’s the perfect fit for a role bringing our divided city back together.”
Our source assures us Del Naja is “very serious about this. He’s even shelved an exciting new world music project happening later this year with Damon from Blur and has got Banksy working on some ideas for flyers.”
“Let’s just say a mayoral run is much more likely than a new Massive Attack album next year.”