Pocket Parks and Play Areas


Pocket Parks & Play Areas

 

2020 has shown all of us just how important our local, green, recreational spaces are for both our physical and mental health and wellbeing. During the first, long, sunny, national lockdown, our parks and play areas proved to be absolutely invaluable, especially for people living in flats with little or no access to outside spaces. And even during this current, cold and wintry third national lockdown, our green spaces are a vital and wonderfully-uplifting resource for local people.

2020 has shown all of us just how important our local, green, recreational spaces are for both our physical and mental health and wellbeing. During the first, long, sunny, national lockdown, our parks and play areas proved to be absolutely invaluable, especially for people living in flats with little or no access to outside spaces. And even during this current, cold and wintry third national lockdown, our green spaces are a vital and wonderfully-uplifting resource for local people. 

 

Across Bristol as a whole, we are well-blessed with beautiful parks, with around 400 in total. That’s more than one for every day of the year! However, in my part of Bristol, Brislington West, a densely-populated residential area with a population of over 11,000 people, we have just two public green spaces of any significance. One is Arnos Court Park, adjacent to the busy A4 Bath Road, and the other is Stockwood Open Space, which straddles the two wards of Brislington West and Stockwood. 

 

This year, My fellow Brislington Liberal Democrats and I have been working hard to promote and protect our local parks. For example, we set up a new Friends Group for Arnos Court Park, which currently has over 280 members. We organised litter picks and met with council officers to discuss new tree and hedge-planting schemes to promote biodiversity and improve air quality. We also planted 20 oak saplings donated by the Bristol Tree Forum. Over in Stockwood Open Space, we worked with the local police and Stockwood councillors to deal with the problem of motorbike scrambling, a real danger for other park users and a serious noise nuisance for neighbours. We also spoke to council officers to make sure repairs to play equipment were undertaken as speedily as possible. 

 

However, in such a crowded ward we do not believe we have enough recreational spaces. We believe everyone should have access to pleasant, green spaces within a short walk from their homes. Of course, it is not possible to create new, large, urban parks. However, there are many neglected corners dotted across the ward, and indeed Bristol as a whole, which could easily be converted into beautiful pocket parks, with attractive planting, seating and perhaps play equipment for local children. We have been busy identifying potential sites and hope to work with local residents and council officers to make this a reality. 

 

Brislington West Local Councillor, Cllr. Jos Clark, said, ‘I have spoken to hundreds of local residents over the year and know how well-loved and well-used our local parks and play areas are. That’s why Andrew and I have been working so hard to improve them. This year, the Bristol Liberal Democrats will be submitting a budget amendment calling on Bristol City Council to commit to £500,000 over 5 years to create more pocket parks and children’s play areas. The current budget is far too low and Bristol City Council has one of the worst records in the country for repairs and improvements to play equipment’. 

 

By Andrew Varney, Liberal Democrat Councillor Candidate for Brislington West. 






A potential site for a pocket park or children’s play area in Brislington West. 




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