After 16 years as your councillor, Mark Wright is retiring. Over the last 6 months, Mark has been showing our new candidate, Alex Hartley, the ins and outs of the council and the ward, and showing him how to be a good councillor. They have already had success together, with Alex's campaign on the cladding scandal being widely publicised in the local news, and Mark's motion to full council being approved unanimously. They have been working together on a new campaign to fight the Mayors destructive plan for Cumberland Basin, and have been working hard to protect and clean up our green spaces on Brandon Hill & Cumberland Piazza.
This May you have the chance to continue the strong local Liberal Democrat tradition in the ward by voting for Alex Hartley to succeed Mark Wright.
Will you be voting for Alex on May 6th?
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.
News broke this morning that the Council owned housing company Goram Homes has plans to develop the two Grade II listed bonded warehouses on Spike Island into a new 200 home development. Details are currently scarce barring the fact that it will be a ‘mix’ of affordable and market value apartments developed as part of the ‘Western Harbour Regeneration Area’.
200 new apartments coming, but can the local infrastructure support it?
Pero’s Bridge, the busy pedestrian bridge crossing the harbour, was opened in 1999 and named after Pero Jones - an enslaved African who lived in Bristol. There is a small plaque dedicating the bridge to Pero, but hidden behind bike stands, it is barely visible to passers-by.
We think that Pero’s memory, and the rest of Bristol’s slave trading past, should be properly highlighted at the site, and are calling for a proper noticeboard detailing the history of the slave trade, including Pero’s story, and the recent story of the Colston statue being taken down and thrown into the Harbour not 30 feet from the bridge.
In recent years the bridge has been adorned with thousands of 'love-locks', meant to symbolise the love of the couples that place them. While this love is admirable, the symbolism of covering a bridge dedicated to a slave in padlocks is not acceptable. The locks should be removed, and a different site should be suggested for any future shows of love.
Lib Dem candidate for Hotwells & Harbourside, Alex Hartley, examining the 'love-locks'
Alex Hartley, Lib Dem Candidate for Hotwells & Harbourside said "Bristol has a difficult relationship with it's past as a centre of slavery, but this is not something we can forget. We need to educate all about our collective history. What is the point in naming a bridge after a slave if you don't eduacte Bristolians about that slave or the slave trade in general. To add insult to injury, the symbolism of hundreds of padlocks being attached to a bridge named after a slave is frankly shocking. We need to respect Pero's memory by removing the love-locks and putting up a proper noticeboard highlighting our past"
Please sign the petition to Respect Pero's Memory below;
Committed community campaigner, Alex Hartley, has been selected as the Lib Dem candidate for Hotwells & Harbourside for the May 2021 local election. Alex, who is already working hard in our area is formerly a pub manager, who then worked in IT recruitment, he now works in local politics and is determined to carry on the of work of Cllr Mark Wright now that is retiring.
Alex says "I'm really pleased to be selected to follow Mark in Hotwells & Harbourside. H&H is an area of contrasts - high rise penthouses sit alongside homelessness; beautiful views next to areas of deprivation; where active communities often end up fighting an out of touch Mayor's office. It's a ward that needs strong representation in the Council, and as former parish councillor, I know how vital strong representation can be. I want to be your voice in City Hall - championing your causes and our area"
His priorities for the ward are:
- Fighting the Mayor's plan for Cumberland Basin, which rides roughshod over the local community's views
- Combating illegally high air-pollution levels along our busy main roads
- Being the voice for residents affected by the cladding scandal
- Improving the green spaces such as Brandon Hill
- Trying to fix recycling and waste services across the ward
- Working with the Police to try to reduce crime
- Ensuring the Council properly fixes the Chocolate Path, which has now been shut for 2 years and 11 months
- Championing liberal & environmental values across our city
Cllr Mark Wright said "It is great to welcome Alex to the Hotwells & Harbourside team. His energy and drive will allow him to be a great voice for the community that I had the pleasure of representing for the last 15 years. I have no doubt that his experience on campaigning on local issues will mean that he will be elected next May"
Lib Dem candidate for the West of England Mayor, Stephen Williams said "While I had been immensely looking forward to representing the community of Hotwells & Harbourside again, unfortunately the delay to the local election has changed the situation. I feel I can best help the local community by improving public transport, encouraging investment in jobs & skills and building more affordable housing, all things I will be able to do as Regional Mayor. I have every confidence that Alex will continue our fight against a Mayor that ignores the community's views."
Although Alex can't meet local residents at the moment due to lock-down, you can contact him to talk about his priorities for the ward, or your local issues by calling him on 07767 058857 or emailing him at [email protected]
It is thought that hundreds of residents in Hotwells and Harbourside may be affected by the Government's poor handling of the cladding scandal.
Fire safety is essential, yet the current system in place to identify and remediate cladding and fire safety issues including dangerous cladding is not only perilously slow, presenting significant safety risks but is also leaving thousands of leaseholders facing financial ruin.
The complete lack of urgency and comprehensive action by the Government on this matter is unacceptable.
The Elipse Tower in the town centre has Grenfell like cladding
The Hotwells & Harbourside Liberal Democrats support the 10 demands of the End Our Cladding Scandal campaign and are calling on both the Government and the Mayor of Bristol to work together to immediately ensure properties are made safe and none of the remediation or associated costs are passed on to leaseholders or residents in Bristol.
Lib Dem Candidate for Hotwells & Harbourside Alex Hartley said 'It is scandalous that residents are facing potential bankruptcy to make their homes safe to live in.There is suspicion that multiple building around the Harbourside may be affected. It has been three years since the Grenfell Fire Disaster, which was such a tragic loss of life. We need action now to protect the residents of Hotwells & Harbourside from the same fate, whilst not allowing them to fall into financial ruin covering remediation costs."
You can sign our petition at https://www.bristollibdems.org/end_our_cladding_scandal