The Council announced a few weeks ago that they were going ‘back to the drawing board’ on Cumberland Basin development plans and are offering a new consultation in the autumn. Mayor Rees is once again trying to kick a difficult electoral issue into the long grass, and conveniently past the May Local and Mayoral elections.
While we welcome the Council’s decision to rethink the process, all trust from local residents has been lost in the consultation process, especially when the Mayor chose to repeatedly ignore their concerns. Although people have differing opinions on the eventual outcome for Cumberland Basin, the entire process of consultation of local residents has been rotten. It is clear that Mayor Rees wanted to force his plan onto local residents, just as he did over the City Centre Arena.
In order to make sure that the Council properly listens to local residents, the Hotwells & Harbourside Lib Dems are launching the ‘Our Three Demands’ petition, which will communicate local anger about the consultation process in a way that Mayor Rees cannot ignore. The three demands are;
1) The dreaded 'Eastern Option' would result in the demolition of houses on Ashton Avenue, the likely closure of Riverside Garden Centre, and a dual carriageway going through the historic area around the Nova Scotia and Underfall Yard. Although universally derided among local residents, this seems to be the preferred position of Bristol City Council Cabinet. This option must be taken off the table immediately.
2) The name 'Western Harbour' means nothing to local people, and was likely made up by some marketeer in order to sell expensive flats to foreign investors. If the council is serious about engaging with the local community in a meaningful way, they should revert to the name used by local people; Cumberland Basin.
3) The 'Western Harbour Advisory Body', which is supposed to be consulting on the project, has been secretive from the start, and no local councillors have been invited to join it. Only by inviting the accountable locally elected councillors of Hotwells & Harbourside, Bedminster, Clifton & Southville to join can local people be represented properly.
Cllr Mark Wright, Lib Dem Cllr for Hotwells & Harbourside said ‘Our ‘Demand a Forth Option’ petition pushed the Council to reveal all the options for the development, and our ‘Our Three Demands petition can help fix the broken process.’
Lib Dem candidate for Hotwells & Harbourside, Alex Hartley said 'The anger from local residents over the poor consultation process is clear. We need the council to reflect the views of local citizens, not force a development onto them. I am fighting for the Piazza to be made a protected green space, and for the consultation process to be fixed once and for all.'
You can sign the petition here.
Four more wooden planters will shortly be installed on Sandy Park Road, courtesy of SPRING (Sandy Park Road Improvement Neighbourhood Group). Together with local residents, we set up SPRING in early 2017 and since then, the group has run several popular community events including the annual SPRINGfest and SPRING Into Christmas.
Today Labour and Green councillors joined forces to save the Mayor from the people of Bristol. The Liberal Democrat motion, to give the people of Bristol a referendum on the Mayoral system that was voted on today lost by 11 votes, after Labour & Green councillors voted against it (with some Green councillors abstaining), meaning the motion didn't pass.
The Liberal Democrats have been listening to local people, whose frustration is clear with the Mayor, his failures, and the lack of accountability and democracy in the Mayoral system. 77% of the people of Bristol feel the elected Mayor isn't improving the leadership of the city, and we feel they deserve the chance to scrap the Mayor if they want to.
While we want to offer a special thanks to the two Labour rebels that broke the Labour whip to vote for democracy and their residents, we are disappointed that Green councillors chose to vote against or abstain on the motion, even though their national party policy is to scrap directly elected mayors.