Tag Archives: Hengrove Park

The Country Diary of an Edwardian Mayor

The Country Diary

Words on the Development of Hengrove Park

As I sit here taking air at the enervating window of my oak-panelled study and surveying the natural majesty before me, I can only express utter joy and no small sense of wonder at the good news just arrived. Nay, this is more than mere good news. It is a tumult of the most joyous news. For soon these green and pleasant tree-lined fields of west England, which impart the form of my current panorama, shall be better moulded by enlightened man’s industry into the spectacle of a housing estate.

This finest of aspects, alas, currently despoiled by no peasant ever toiling hard under the hot sun as God intended, will receive, by God’s grace, the best of human enrichment and utility. Gone from our land will be the idlers, chokers, hawkers and show men with dog, child, bicycle, car boot or ball perambulating aimlessly upon fruitless, lazy, unprofitable soil and revealing a sordid disposition toward non-labouring activity.

Instead let us rejoice as these loafers are swept beyond view to dwell in chipboard slums of their own making. In their place the hard working peasant and the labouring man will toil, sweat, struggle and overcome upon our imperial soil to yield the finest fruits for the most deserving. Oh how my heart yearns to see 850 trees uprooted and nature’s roughly arranged bounty better diminished to make way for man’s ingenious scheme of road, concrete, congestion and poison fumes.

If you’re a middle class wanker who hates south Bristol and would like Avonmouth to continue to be poisoned, you can vote for ‘Green’ Sandy in the Mayoral Election on 6 May 2020

NO CLIMATE EMERGENCY IN SOUTH BRISTOL?

NO CLIMATE EMERGENCY IN SOUTH BRISTOL?

An alliance of LABOUR and GREEN councillors – taking a break from pre-election climate emergency PR fisticuffs for the benefit of the gullible Guardian-readers of Bristol West – have granted planning permission for 1,400 homes on Hengrove Park, THE LARGEST PUBLIC OPEN SPACE IN SOUTH BRISTOL. Their reason for this crap decision is that old chestnut for foisting sub-standard shite on us – “THE HOUSING CRISIS”.

The development means the LOSS, not only, of a huge amount of PUBLIC OPEN SPACE and PLAYING FIELDS but of 850 TREES on the land. The poorly connected new housing estate is also likely to bring TRAFFIC CHAOS to local residential roads as more car users are poured into a working class suburb where a rapid transit system isn’t even AN UNLIKELY PROMISE from the Reverend Rees.

This is also the suburb already earmarked by the same climate emergency obsessed councillors as an ideal location for a NEW RING ROAD designed to CHOKE CHILDREN in south Bristol in order to get traffic out of the city centre to improve air quality there. The new road will also help get punters to an EXPANDED AIRPORT at Lulsgate.

Residents in Whitchurch and Hengrove are “LIVID” at the loss of their park and the planned destruction of their neighbourhood and local social media pages are full of lively chat about THE SELL-OUT COUNCILLORS and the scheme’s political architect, the Reverend Rees. The usually quiet and undersubscribed pages have leaped to life and are full of RIPE LANGUAGE on the subject of the city’s politicians. Popular terms include “wankers”; “arseholes”; “hypocrites” and “tossers”.

Hengrove and Whitchurch are unlikely to be returning any Labour or Green politicians to power any time soon, then.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING NEWS

Urban Quarter

The first tranche of new housing at HENGROVE PARK, courtesy of corporate developer Kier, has appeared next to Hengrove Park Leisure Centre. Despite being obviously located in SUBURBAN SOUTH BRISTOL, it’s called ‘Urban Quarter’ and is being marketed with the tired strapline “Modern living in Bristol”. Meanwhile, Kier’s website illustrates its Hengrove Park location with photos of, er, COLLEGE GREEN and the WILLS BUILDING.

It also says here, “Urban Quarter is an EXCITING DEVELOPMENT of 261 new homes. The development offers a variety of bespoke 2, 3 & 4 bedroom homes. Ideal for FIRST-TIME BUYERS, THOSE LOOKING TO MOVE UP THE PROPERTY LADDER along with GROWING FAMILIES looking for their forever home.”

Although any first time buyers or Bristolians with a growing family may be interested to hear that prices for a 3-bed home start at £310,000 and for a 4-bed at £410,000. This means any property available in this “attractive urban living environment” is, at least, TEN TIMES MORE than the average salary in south Bristol.

Don’t all rush at once.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING CRISIS CRISIS

As it emerges that they’re going to miss their affordable housing target of 800 homes by 2020, the Reverend and his housing sidekick, Paul “Wolfie” Smith are now resorting to DESPERATE MEASURES and cheerleading some pretty shabby development proposals through the planning system.

In June a Bristol City Council planning committee waved through permission for a 15 storey tower block on the Bath Road at Totterdown. THE HUGE AMOUNT OF CONCERN in the local community over a development that doesn’t meet the requirements for tall buildings outlined in the Local Plan – a policy revised just months before by the Reverend’s administration – was overlooked by a Labour majority Planning Committee, apparently IN A HURRY TO JUST GET SHIT BUILT.

The Reverend’s Housing Czar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith took to social media before the planning meeting to give the development a PR BOOST, announcing, “Great to see Hadley group commit to at least 30% affordable housing and up to 50% for their proposed development on the old garage site on the Bath Road”.

Although developers, Hadley, had actually committed to just 20 per cent affordable housing and the council had agreed to SUBSIDISE a further 10 per cent (with possibly a bigger bung to come) with public money. This is despite the development being unsuitable for families and children, not least because it’s on one of Bristol’s busiest roads and has NO OUTDOOR PLAY AREA.

Meanwhile over at Hengrove Park – where the council’s vision of 1,500 homes on a public park was thrown out by planners just a few months ago because it didn’t comply with the Neighbourhood Plan – A NEW PLAN has appeared proposing just 50 houses less, which still doesn’t comply with the Neighbourhood Plan.

Residents in Hengrove and Whitchurch are UP IN ARMS at the poorly revised plans, which look set to be forced through by another Labour majority planning committee seeking affordable housing numbers rather than decent development. However, if the committee passes the plans, the community are promising a messy Judicial Review. And we all know Bristol City Council’s record at Judicial Review is ABYSMAL.

Watch this space.

JOINED UP GOVERNMENT: THE BOTTLE YARD

Boyyleyard

Having spunked £1.2million in 2016 on a new roof and buying the freehold of the Bottle Yard Studios in Hengrove, the Reverend’s cabinet, urged on by finance chief Craig “Crapita” Cheney, has come up with an entirely NEW PLAN for their film studios in 2018.

They’ve now decided to spunk further MILLIONS moving the studios half a mile down the road to Hawkfield Business Park, which they intend to buy some time in the next month. The cost of this substantial piece of real estate is, currently, a closely guarded “commercially confidential” SECRET.

Four of the Bottle Yard studios will move to Hawkfield in late 2020 and then the last two will move there after the Reverend has SPUNKED more money building two purpose-built studios on the site by 2022.

The official reason supplied by the Reverend and his cabinet for this EXPENSIVE MOVE is that “the lack of soundproofing in older, unadapted buildings will render three (possibly four) of the current studios inoperable” once housing at the proposed Hengrove Park development is built.

However, insiders tell us that the current Bottle Yard site is simply “NOT FIT FOR PURPOSE“, which raises the question of why did the Reverend invest £1.2million into the site in 2016? Especially as the council claims the business only generates £100k a year so has little chance of ever paying back this huge PUBLIC HANDOUT.

Meanwhile at Hawkfield, the Reverend’s cabinet report breezily informs us that the COST of repairs alone, will be £520k and “this may have a direct impact on the Bottle Yard Studios overall operating position if they are to pick up these costs.”

In other words, we’ll be picking up the BILL for the purchase of the Hawkfield site and its repairs so that the Bottle Yard Studios can continue to pretend – for PR purposes – to “generate” money for the public purse.

It doesn’t. It runs at a loss and will run at a bigger one now.

HENGROVE PARK LATEST

Labour housing czar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith’s efforts to “build communities not just houses” on Hengrove Park continue to go badly awry as his planning team persist in their attempt to dump 1,400 homes in a field in south Bristol and call it “planning”.

Some progress was made when Wolfie’s planners caught up with the rest of the sentient universe and agreed that a public road access to their development was REQUIRED from Hengrove Way, the only major arterial route to the site.

However, planners then decided that this route must STOP one third of the way into the development to prevent “rat-running” between Hengrove Way and Whitchurch Lane. However, this will also PREVENT vehicle access to two thirds of the proposed homes from the road with the best capacity to handle the traffic. Planners, when asked where they think they are preventing rat-runners going, deliver the BLANK LOOK of someone who’s spent about as much time in south Bristol as the average Japanese Puffer Fish.

Concern for rat running then DISPELS less than a mile away where an existing residential road and ‘rat-run’, Bamfield, will provide vehicle access for two thirds of the development. Is the plan to prioritise the quality of life in the NEW DEVELOPMENT by reducing traffic there at the expense of an EXISTING residential area already handling supermarket traffic for Asda, school run traffic for Perry Court Primary School and existing “rat-runners” going home to Hengrove and Whitchurch?

How Bamfield, a residential road, is supposed to cope with even more traffic is NOT EXPLAINED. While enquiries regarding how many vehicle movements the new development might generate go UNANSWERED by planners who are, apparently, near the end of their “masterplanning” with NO CLUE how much traffic their development might generate.

Throughout this process, planners have remained DEAF to concerns regarding traffic issues in the area. Instead, the council’s mantra is that the new housing is a major benefit that residents have been calling for. A view CONTRADICTED by the council’s own Quality of Life Survey, where concern over traffic and transport dwarfs housing issues by about four to one.

So far, planners’ only real response to impending TRAFFIC HELL, reduced air quality and increased pollution is to enthusiastically draw little blue lines all over their plans indicating where their cycle lanes will go. This is for an area where their own data shows ZERO PER CENT of people cycle to work and any new roads will be cycle-friendly 20mph anyway.

Another “benefit” planners are keen to highlight is the £10MILLION proposed spend on park facilities and landscaping for the open space they haven’t concreted over. Although the reality is that residents are losing huge amounts of open space to housing and roads while any benefit from more park facilities is QUESTIONABLE while the council is proposing to close the existing Hengrove Play Park on Mondays and Tuesdays.

It also appears that there will actually be £10million worth of landscaped PSEUDO PUBLIC SPACE as the land will be turned over to a dodgy Carillion-style private management firm, procured by a skint council, to run. The level of maintenance and upkeep of this space is therefore likely to be LOW with ZERO community or democratic oversight once the council signs our land away to the private sector to manage.

The latest highlight of this public-private pseudo public space LANDSCAPING BONANZA is an optimistically named “village green”, planned to be built over the popular Family Cycling Centre. However, any traditional sound of leather on willow may be a little subdued by the main road into the development running DIRECTLY THROUGH this village green.

It’s obvious that this development is being pursued at a RAMPANT PACE by Wolfie in order to chase numbers for a manifesto pledge on housing numbers. While it might – if we’re lucky – support the housing needs of the rest of the city, it provides little that’s much use to locals who’ll have to live with the predictably DISASTROUS CONSEQUENCES of it all.

Wolfie needs to get back to the drawing board or accept responsibility as the architect of a new Hartcliffe (another public housing development full of bold promises where there was never any money for the services and facilities to fulfil them).

HENGROVE HOUSING HORROR

Reverend Rees’s housing tsar, Paul “Wolfie” Smith’s promises to “build communities not just houses” on Hengrove Park have collapsed on first contact with the public.

The recent first round of public consultation in Hengrove found Wolfie’s Major Projects Team openly admit they will be providing NO FACILITIES as part of the development because “THEY ARE ALREADY HERE“. So don’t move there expecting anything other than McDonalds, KFC and Premier Inn to service your needs.

The only public investment planners are agreeing to will be a GP surgery – somewhere – which is already urgently required in the Whitchurch/Hengrove area due to CHRONIC over-subscription of the existing GP service – and more primary school places.

 However, there will be NO NEW SCHOOLS. Instead, existing primary schools in the working class area – highly regarded for their leafy and spacious grounds – will be extended and expanded. Conveniently REMOVING playing fields and open space from the schools and leaving more prime development land for corporate developers to transform into high density rabbit hutches (surely exciting sustainable housing in the ‘Bristol Vernacular’ style? Ed.).

The highlight of this major development shambles, mainly designed to place large sums of cash into corporate developers coffers, however, is the plan to SHUT the recently opened Family Cycling Centre on the old Whitchurch Athletics Track and build a main access road over it!

Not only does this plan DEMOLISH one of the few public facilities still allowed in the area, it also demonstrates Bristol City Council’s real level of commitment to so-called “sustainable transport” and “active travel” once the hard cash for corporates is on the table.

 The council’s current Quality of Life Survey lists the number of commuters cycling to work in the area as ZERO PER CENT while 60 per cent use their car. And car use will only increase once Wolfie throws up 2,000 extra homes with car parking spaces. Why would anyone want to promote cycling here?

Residents in and around Bamfield in Whitchurch are especially up in arms since their residential road is set to become the MAIN VEHICLE ACCESS to all this new housing. Thousands of vehicles will be encouraged to drive down Bamfield every day and then drive directly over the ex-running track to access Wolfie’s new “community”. Locals predict traffic chaos and say the level of congestion and pollution likely to be generated by this plan is “HUGE“.

 Meanwhile, the obvious road access to the development, directly off Hengrove Way – a MAIN TRUNK ROAD specifically designed for heavy traffic – will be buses only and blocked to private cars!

 Who thinks this shit up?

BRISTOL (EX) LABOUR WEEKEND FASHION WATCH

pickup

Should this man be running a city?

Web ExclusiveFormer Labour councillor Derek Pickup – who ‘sensationally’ quit the Party in October – stepped out in, er, style to Saturday’s  Hengove Park protest.

Displaying a thoroughly independent approach to wardrobe and fashion issues, Derek was sporting a Guantanamo Bay meets Cbeebies’ Mr Tumble combo, tastefully offset with a very classy anorak – Something Special indeed!

Where’s Derek getting his amazing style tips from? Councillor Mark Brain?

Well, it’s certainly bringing Mayor George’s dream of a ‘City of Circuses’ a step closer…