Central Ward Team

Your candidates Zac and Jen

The Labour Council have been letting Central ward down. There are many issues that have not been fixed; cleaning up our air; helping the homeless and sorting out the issue with rubbish. While, we would make this our priority.

- Zac and Jen, Bristol Liberal Democrats Central Ward Candidate

About The Candidates

Jen Smith

I’ve lived in Bristol all my life and for the last five have been living at the edge of St Jude’s, which makes central Bristol my local area. I’ve come to local politics through several years of campaigning for improvement in statutory services for children and young people with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities in the city. I also volunteer for Bristol Parent Carers, co-running a parent carer support group and taking part in co-production with Bristol City Council to feedback into service improvement. Getting things done properly first time to make Bristol a fair and inclusive city for everyone, where accountability and scrutiny is properly held in the public eye is why I am running for Central ward councillor.

We need more Liberal Democrat councillors in City hall and Central is one of the areas we can win as we held Cabot ward for many years!

Jen Smith
[email protected]

Zac Barker

I have lived in Bristol for nearly 16 years. I came to Bristol in 2004 to study at the University of the West of England (UWE). Upon graduation chose to make this city my home.

I now work as a Medical Records Administrator. I re-joined the Liberal Democrats in 2016, inspired by the party’s opposition to Brexit and it’s vision for Bristol.

I want to be a Bristol City Councillor because I want to give something back to the city that has given me years of happy memories, good friends and a loving wife.

I want to help Bristol Liberal Democrats hold to account a Mayor and Labour Administration that is getting more aloof and unaccountable to the electorate. I also believe in Bristol Liberal Democrats vision of Bristol being a sustainable, safe, innovative and culturally confident city.

Zac Barker
[email protected]

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Local Campaigns

Bristol Lib Dems for Hydrogen Buses

Like many, the Bristol Central Liberal Democrats are extremely concerned about the issue of air quality in our ward.  Particle pollution within Central has often exceeded safety levels outlined by both the European Union and the World Health Organisation.  While the powers and services of local government to mitigate this kind of pollution caused by private transport are modest, it has far more scope to do so in terms of public transport.

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Bristol Liberal Democrats call for Action on Public Toilet Access

Under the current Labour administration, we have seen a dramatic cut in the council’s provision of public toilets citywide.  There are now more former public toilets in Bristol than open public toilets.  Central Ward has been disproportionately hit by this wave of cuts.  In response to criticism of the scale of these cuts, Bristol City Council introduced the Community Toilets Scheme (CTS).  This is a voluntary initiative for local businesses (namely bars and restaurants), to provide the public with access to their toilet facilities.

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St Mary Le Port Development

Castle Park is an important Green space in our city.  The upcoming development of the site around the St Mary Le Port Church will be very consequential to the park and surrounding area.  For many years, this site has become a magnet for anti-social behaviour and many of the buildings have fallen into disrepair, tainting the natural environment of the park.

     On speaking with local residents, it is clear that a passionate debate about what the new development should bring to the park has already started.  The Bristol Central Liberal Democrats feel that what is included in the new development should be dictated by the needs of the wider community.  With this mind we do have priorities for features this development should include and how it should be implemented.

     First and foremost, we advocate this development being multi-purpose and built with accessibility in mind.  A multi-purpose development will broaden its scope for enjoyment by all Bristolians.  In addition, it would reduce the chance that what should be built will become a source of political contention.

     When it comes to possible options for what a multipurpose development could look like, we have a few ideas.  A number of residents have raised frustrations that Castle Park does not currently have play equipment for children.  Because of this we would support the addition of this to the development site.  An improvement in lighting in this side of the park would have to accompany this to make sure the play equipment is safe and stays in good order from vandalism and antisocial behaviour.

     We would also like to entertain the idea of creating a facility for the extension of St Nicholas Market within the development.  St Nicholas Market is an icon for local businesses, who have suffered much hardship of late due to the onset of COVID-19.  Such a facility will help give local businesses a vital boost out of the post-pandemic recession in a way befitting of Bristol’s unique character.

     We believe it is imperative that any development on this site is in harmony with the rest of the park, and not merely a continuation of the urban city.  To make it clear we do not believe that Castle Park can be improved by another ubiquitous office block.

     As important to the above conditions is our wish that the development makes a special effort to restore and preserve the St Mary Le Port Church building and wider ruins.  The uniquely historic nature of Castle Park is a source of civic pride and genuine curiosity for Bristolians and visitors.  Indeed, we are lucky that after the carnage and strife caused by the Blitz air raids that two church towers still stand in the park.

Addressing Bristol’s Slavery Legacy

The toppling of Colston’s Statue represents a watershed moment in our city’s history.  In recent years the statue, which sat in Central Ward, had been the focus of several community campaigns and petitions to either move the statue or remove it completely.  The Bristol Liberal Democrats believe it is wrong for Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees to take credit over this issue, while his term has been marked by silence and inactivity with regards to it up to now.


Bristol Central Ward bares many marks from Bristol’s Slavery legacy.  From the former docks where human cargo was traded to the Seven Stars Inn where abolitionists plotted the trade’s demise.  Compared to other Wards in Bristol a disproportionately high number of street names in Central are named after slaves and slave traders.   It is the position of Bristol Liberal Democrats that if we are to avoid unilateral public actions such as the forcible removal of Colston’s Statue, we as a city need to address this broad question with an open and inclusive political process that takes account


The Bristol Liberal Democrats have been vocal in advocating a Citizens Assembly, to draw on a broad spectrum of Bristolian citizen’s opinions and expertise to address this issue.  However, after initially hopeful responses from Bristol Liberal Democrat Councillors, the Mayor released plans for a commission that seems to have advocated the use of an largely academic and political panel over citizens engagement.


Of course, academic expertise on this subject is needed and welcome.  We are pleased to see the inclusion of David Olusoga, a local historian who has done much through his work in broadcasting to broaden the discussion of the slavery of legacy locally and nationally.  However shunning community engagement comes with potentially great costs.  Without a broad participation by Bristolians in this process, they may lose faith in it and whatever conclusions it may reach.

Active travel for Pedestrians and Cyclists must not exclude the less mobile

Bristol City Centre has seen recent road closures to provide a more peaceful environment for pedestrians and cyclists.  However, we would hope that any further changes will give greater consideration to accessibility for less able citizens of Bristol.  Keeping the city centre air clean, must not come at the exclusion of those with less physical mobility.  


Bristol City Council must also keep aware of the danger of disproportionately affecting parts of Central Ward with air pollution just by displacing it with such road measures elsewhere.  The welfare of all residents of Central Ward needs to be safeguarded.  We encourage the council to look into supporting biodiversity infrastructure, such as the planting of vertical gardens, moss walls and parklet planters to provide a natural mitigations against air pollution.  Such initiatives would complement the many trees which contribute to cleaner air and create a pleasant environment for all.


The enforcement of the new system, especially around Bristol Bridge, also requires more consistency.  Strategically minded road closures in the City Centre have the potential to give local businesses a much-needed boost COVID lockdown.  However, such measures should only be done while keeping in mind the overall quality of life of those living and working in Central Bristol.


The upcoming lengthy closure to the Redcliffe Bascule Bridge will undoubtedly present an obstacle to the flow of pedestrian and cycle traffic in the area.  To alleviate this, we advise that Bristol City Council look into revisiting the project of a bridge from King Street and across the Harbour in Welsh Back.  This project could change the layout of the centre in a way that would be beneficial to both local residents and businesses on Kings Street.


Furthermore, we back the proposal by Lib Dem Metro Mayor Candidate Stephen Williams to allow provision within multi-story car parks in Central to also provide safe bicycle storage.  Recent surges in bicycle theft in our city highlights the provision of this facility as a pressing issue.


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