Clifton Voice April 2024

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Treasuring our bridge

A major refurbishment of the bridge's wrought iron chains is getting under way and the scheme will include bringing in new, more sustainable lighting for Brunel's landmark.

The project, funded by bridge tolls, should preserve the chains for a quarter of a century.

At the same time, a team of hard-hatted volunteers who show visitors around the bridge vaults have won a Heritage Heroes Award.

Report: Pages 2 & 3

Sinkhole work gets under way

Canynge Square open space is closed while work is carried out to fill in the sinkhole that appeared at Christmas 2020.


An estimated 800 people in Bristol are now living in vehicles, prompting concerns about lack of action to move them on, particularly from The Downs.


End of term for councillors

The four Green councillors for Clifton and Clifton Down give farewell messages at the end of their term of office.


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Gordon Young and Simon Robinson, pictured in the bridge vaults, are part of a team that's won an award The bridge chains will be refurbished THIS is a momentous month for the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Major work on bridge chains

A MAJOR refurbishment and maintenance programme of the Clifton Suspension Bridge starts this month.

It involves painting the wrought iron chains with a protective material that will keep them in top condition for the next 20-25 years.

At the same time the bridge trustees will install “a cutting edge, environmentally friendly and sustainable lighting system” which will replace the present lights.

Although the work will take two years to complete, the Grade 1 listed bridge will stay open throughout.

Revealing the landmark scheme, Trish Johnson, bridgemaster, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime project that will safeguard important original features designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel as well as updating the bridge’s illuminations to ensure we are reaching the highest standards for

sustainability whilst minimising light pollution.

“The project has been entirely funded through the collection of bridge tolls, and as a charity, we thank bridge users for helping us to finance these important works. We will be sharing regular updates across our website and social media so that all who are interested can see exactly how we are tackling this vital conservation work.”

A large number of the bridge’s chain links are 180 years old, having been made for Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s Hungerford Footbridge in London which opened in 1845. When the footbridge was demolished to make way for the Charing Cross Railway Bridge, the engineer John Hawkshaw recycled the parts to complete the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Engineering firm Taziker has

been awarded the extensive multimillion pound refurbishment contract for the bridge. A protective paint system will be used across the chains and parapet girder latticework and stanchions which run along the outer side of the bridge’s footways.

Neil Harrison, CEO for Taziker said: “We are delighted to be awarded such a prestigious project which will see this outstanding heritage structure continue to be enjoyed by future generations to come. It is a true testament of our reputation as conservation specialists to be trusted with a landmark that means so much to the public.”

Clifton Suspension Bridge was opened on 8 December 1864.

Further information and updates about the project can be found at uk/refurbishment-works.

Bristol City Council 0117 922 2000

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Enthusiasts rewarded

FOURTEEN volunteer guides who take visitors on an hour-long tour of the vaults on the Leigh Woods side of the Clifton Suspension Bridge have won a Heritage Heroes award.

The guides have researched and created props to bring the story of Brunel and his bridge to life. Their enthusiasm and dedication led to visitor numbers doubling last year.

Visitors, who also have to wear protective clothing, hear about the discovery in 2002 of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s forgotten vaults which support the structure of the bridge.

Sponsored by specialist insurer The Ecclesiastical, the Heritage Heroes awards are the Heritage Alliance’s celebration of the outstanding contribution Britain’s heritage volunteers make to society.

A spokesperson for the Clifton Suspension Bridge Volunteer Hard Hat Tour Guides said: “”The volunteer team put a lot of time and effort into developing their knowledge of the bridge’s history, engineering and geology and work hard to share the vaults with a wide range of people. The team do everything from helping visitors to overcome their vertigo to explaining how stalactites are formed and answering technical questions from professional engineers!

"This kind recognition is a celebration of the work of our incredible team and all of the individual achievements which led to a record breaking 2023 season.”

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Knowing that surgery was always an option we discussed my recent set of results using MBST for nerve healing which had been outstanding. He decided to go for it, having his discs and nerves treated and the results in this case were o the scale.

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Work to fill in sinkhole gets under way

WORK has finally begun to fill in a sinkhole that suddenly appeared in Canynge Square gardens.

Two large trees collapsed into a hole after their roots penetrated through the roof of a vault, the existence of which was unknown.

A section of the green and surrounding road has been cordoned off since Christmas Day 2020 when the hole first appeared.

An inspection found that a network of cellars under the green space had failed, resulting in a hole opening up measuring roughly 9 metres by 5.5 metres, with a depth of around 5 metres.

Bristol City Council contractors expect to take up to three months to fill in the Georgian vaults under the green with foam concrete. They will also carry out landscaping works to restore the affected area.

While the stabilisation work is going on the whole of Canynge

Square open space will be closed. Parking along the western side of the square will be suspended from Monday to Friday between 8am and 5pm. Councillor Paula O’Rourke, one of the two outgoing Green Party councillors for Clifton,

said: "We all know the pressures on the council’s budget, so, with closed bridges and paths all over the city, it was going to be hard to get this project onto any work programme for several years.

“An alternative option needed to be explored. Using

the model of the way we funded the repair to the children’s playground on Observatory Hill, I approached the residents in the square and suggested that, if they could contribute to the cost, the council might be persuaded to progress the work if they only have to find half of the funding for it.

“I know many people will think that we pay enough in council tax not to have to pay directly to have work done, and I can see that point of view. However, with 70% of the council budget required for adult and children’s social care (which is statutory) in this case, we had the choice of waiting for years to have the restoration of the gardens or helping.

“I am grateful to the residents of Canynge Square for organising the crowd funder that got the project off the ground and delighted they can enjoy the garden this summer”

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The sinkhole in Canynge Square gardens is about to be filled in


Our money could be better spent

TO my utter astonishment and concern I understand that £600,000 funded by the West of England Mayor is to be spent ‘tarting up’ the 80 metres or so of Princess Victoria Street at a cost of £7,500 per metre which have already been closed off with signage and flower boxes. This was at a substantial cost and to the detriment of local residents to become a so called amenity area. It was rejected by 67% of the local community and was forced through against their wishes by the Green councillors.

A similar £600,000 project has already been carried out on Cotham Hill, but it is very difficult to see exactly what this very large sum of money has been spent on. The roadway was re-surfaced in red for the use of pedestrians and bicycles only, lots of new signage and new flower boxes (at £1,000 each) being exactly the same model as are in Princess Victoria Street now.

In comparison, in Waterloo Street adjacent to the proposed Princess Victoria Street scheme, the road surface has now all but totally broken up and to my certain knowledge it has not been re-surfaced for over 40 years only being patched up from time to time. The One Way signs and road markings are now largely missing and the road has become a death trap due to regular two-way traffic.

£50,000 was extracted from the residents of Canynge Square in addition to the supposed £100,000 from council funds to fill in a comparatively small hole which appeared three years ago in the square gardens. These gardens are owned by the council after acquiring them gratis during WWII for a water tank, the council having previously refused to return the garden to the residents who currently pay for its upkeep. At the local playground, again council owned, it was refurbished (badly I understand, needing extra remedial work) largely from public crowdfunding and from a charity at a cost of over £100,000. The spoil heaps from the playground refurbishment need yet more money to remove. These to me are eye-watering sums of money.

I therefore do wonder and have great concern on what is really going on regarding allocation and control of spending in Clifton.

It is not difficult to find other projects in Clifton and nearby on which over a million pounds could be better spent. Closer scrutiny and tighter financial control of public and other funding being allocated to current projects to the neglect of others more needy is urgently needed.

Have you lost some cash?

SHORTLY after midday on Monday February 19, I found a sum of money on the pavement near the junction of Whiteladies Rd and Cotham Hill, presumably dropped without intent.

I would of course be happy to return this to the rightful owner, but, to make sure the claimant is genuine, ask them to specify the sum, the permutated denominations of notes and/or coins, and the condition thereof.

Support on offer for unpaid carers

DO you look after someone? Or perhaps you know someone who does?

Families, friends and neighbours often provide crucial care for someone who couldn’t manage without their help.

You could be caring for a relative, partne or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems.

Carers Support Centre runs monthly carers support groups for unpaid carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

The groups are safe, confidential spaces to meet with other carers to share information and provide support for each other.

We also run an online group for those who can't make it in person.

If you would like to join one of our groups, please contact CarersLine on 0117 965 2200 from Monday to Friday, 10am-1pm or Monday to Thursday, 2-4pm, or email

To advertise, contact Emma on 0117 9082121 or 07715 770448 or email 6 cliftonvoice April, 2024

Concern as van-dweller numbers rise

BRISTOL now has the highest number of people living in vehicles across all council areas in Britain after a sharp rise since 2020.

An estimated 800 people are living inside between 600 and 650 vehicles in Bristol, with the city struggling to balance their needs and neighbours living nearby.

Many van dwellers are living on the Downs, causing frequent complaints from much wealthier people living in houses and flats in Clifton and Stoke Bishop. Complaints include litter and public urination, although Bristol City Council recently closed many public toilets, adding to the problem.

Numbers have shot up from between 100 and 150 before the pandemic, according to a new council report addressing the complex issue. But Conservative councillors accused the mayor of “kicking the can down the road” during a member forum meeting on Tuesday, March 12.

Councillor Geoff Gollop, representing Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze, said: “We’re getting very confusing messages. You’re telling us that the area on the Downs is a low impact area, and yet your own waste officers are saying that they will not collect fly tipping from that area because they do not feel safe in doing so.

“That worries me. Who is kicking the can down the road? It feels very much like you are by not taking action on this critical issue. Residents are reporting significant troubles arising from that encampment.”

According to the report, other council areas have a smaller number of vehicle dwellers but a higher proportion, when taking into account the total population of the area. Brighton and Hove have an estimated 300 people living in vehicles, representing 0.1 per cent of the local population, slightly less than the 0.14 per cent in Bristol.

Glastonbury and Falmouth, while smaller areas, have a much higher proportion of people living in vehicles. Glastonbury has a population of 7,000, with 150 vehicle dwellers making up 0.22 per cent of the population. And many councils don’t count the number of vehicle dwellers, making it difficult to compare the scale of the issue across different areas.

Marvin Rees, the Labour mayor, said: “Nobody’s kicking the can down the road. The demographic of people living in vehicles and caravans is switching, from people who may have made it as a lifestyle choice to people who are living in there as a last resort because of poverty.

Spot the Easter bunny

AN Easter bunny trail for children is taking place in Clifton Village this month.

Thirty-five handmade felt bunnies will be hidden in shops and businesses that take part in the trail.

It is being organised by Clifton Business Improvement District (BID).

“Children will complete an entry form and once they have found twenty bunnies they will win a chocolate Easter egg” said Lucy Shaw, manager of Clifton BID.

“If a child finds all thirty-five bunnies, not only will they win an Easter egg but their name will be entered into a prize draw to win a hamper of chocolate” she said.

Each bunny will have a name and children will write it on an entry form. The bunny trail and hamper competition will run from April 1-12 with the winner’s name being announced a few days later.

“We’ll do what we can to bring forward meanwhile sites, we’re bringing forward one in Sea Mills. They’re not always easy to bring forward because you have to put facilities on them as well.

“We want to treat people in vehicles with the same due care that we treat everyone else in the city with. That means striking a balance between punitive action, that is very limited what’s available to us, and supportive action that we may take with physical and mental health, and also into permanent housing.

“This comes in the context of a housing crisis. One of the things the housing crisis looks like — on top of a cost of living crisis, and the driving down of local government resources, and the failure to support local government to build homes over the last 14 years — is people living in caravans and vehicles, where they can’t afford to be part of our housing stock.”

Reasons for living in vehicles vary, but a common concern is the exorbitant cost of renting or buying a flat or house in Bristol, compared to the relatively cheap cost of a van.

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Understated Elegance at Fears Watch Company’s New Clifton Boutique

As one of Britain’s oldest and youngest familyrun watch brands, Fears Watch Company, is delighted to announce the grand opening of its Clifton boutique, a momentous occasion in their rich history. Established on Redcliff Street in 1846 by Edwin Fear, the company faced a brief hiatus from the late 1970s until being reestablished in 2016.

Located at No. 4 Clifton Arcade the new boutique builds on the success of their first showroom which was located within their Bristol HQ in 2022 . Ready to warmly welcome customers from the 2nd April Fears invite you to join them in-store Tuesday through Saturday for a calm sense of luxury in the Clifton boutique while exploring the collection of British built watches.

Nicholas Bowman-Scargill, the (4th) Managing Director and great-great-great-grandson of Edwin Fear, has brought the company back to its original and historic home city of Bristol where their watches are designed.

Nestled in the historic Clifton Arcade within the charming Clifton Village, the boutique finds its perfect home amidst surroundings steeped in mid-late 19th-century heritage. Within a stone’s throw of one of the original Fears locations, Richmond Terrace, the arcade mirrors seamlessly with Fears’ commitment to tradition and craftsmanship.

The opening of the Bristol boutique signifies not just the continuation of Fears’ legacy but a harmonious blend of traditional craftsmanship and contemporary design. As they take this significant step forward, Fears remains devoted to its roots in Bristol while embracing

the timeless allure of British horology and watchmaking.

Fears’ mantra of ‘Elegantly Understated’ can be seen throughout their watches that are still proudly hand-built in Britain. The Fears collection is a sophisticated, yet contemporary range of watches that retain inspiration from their vast archive and collections are named after historic Bristol locations the company once inhabited. The collection showcases the evolution of what Nicholas Bowman-Scargill envisions his family would’ve created if the company had continued through the late 70s

until present day.

To celebrate this significant occasion, Fears extends a special invitation: bring in a copy of this publication to the boutique and receive a complimentary glass of English sparkling wine as you view the Fears collection and learn about its historical ties to the area. Nicholas BowmanScargill expresses his heartfelt acknowledgment of this milestone, stating, “We are proud to share the beauty of Fears with watch enthusiasts and the Bristol community, offering a unique and sophisticated experience at our new boutique. This step is a homage to our heritage. This move symbolises not merely a physical presence but a profound connection to our origins, perpetuating the legacy of Fears Watch Company in the heart of beautiful Clifton. We look forward to welcoming customers old and new.”

For additional information, please explore the Fears website at or contact us through the following channels:

Phone: 0117 427 1846


the Fears boutique at: No. 4 Clifton Arcade, Bristol BS8 4AA
No. 4 Clifton Arcade, Bristol BS8 4AA t: 0117 427 1846 Nestled in the historic Clifton Arcade within the charming Clifton Village, the boutique finds its perfect home amidst surroundings steeped in mid-late 19th-century heritage n ADVERTORIAL CLIFTON ARCADE BOUTIQUE OPENING APRIL 2024


Fighting and suffering must stop

Voting for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza

IN February I tabled a motion in Parliament with my Labour colleagues calling for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Gaza, one that lasts and is observed by all sides. It was unanimously agreed and passed. You and I have found the events in Gaza horrifying.

The fighting and unimaginable suffering of the Palestinian people must stop, aid must get in urgently and the hostages kidnapped by Hamas returned to their families. Most importantly there needs to be a path to long term sustainable peace in the region.

This is why our Parliamentary motion called for rapid and unimpeded humanitarian relief, an end to settlement expansion and settler violence and a political process towards a two-state

solution. A safe and secure Israel alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state is the only path to a just and lasting peace. A ceasefire needs a process to peace if it is to be sustainable.

You can read more about the ceasefire motion on my website.

More tragic knife crimes in Bristol

Bristol has seen a series of knife attacks in the last few months, leading to tragic loss of life. My heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims and I always make sure they are aware I’m here for any practical support they may need from me. Our city is not an anomaly. Knife crime is up by 70% across the UK since 2015. Labour has a plan to end knife crime.

Prevention comes first: we need to tackle the causes of knife crime early. A Labour government will have a targeted programme in every area to identify the young

people most at risk with support tailored to their needs – including youth workers, youth hubs and mental support in schools. We will also bring in stronger laws to crack down on knife sales.

I have been in regular contact with the local police after each incident and support their plan for “much more high-profile proactive operation”.

Presenting the girls football team at Hotwells Primary with their new Premier League kit

It was a pleasure to visit Hotwells Primary School and present the Year 6 girls’ team with their new kit, sponsored by the Premier League as part of their initiative to provide support for grassroots women’s football.

If I become the next Secretary of State for Media, Culture and Sport, I will be a champion to get more girls’ team sports like

football as well as all kinds of physical activity. I brought with me representatives of the Premier League and the actual Premier League trophy – an exciting moment for all!

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Thangam Debbonaire writes for the Voice

The story behind the Clifton Arcade

IT was the day everyone in Clifton was waiting for - the grand opening of King’s Bazaar.

Self -taught architect Joseph King had designed what we would now describe as an early version of a luxury shopping mall.

His two-storey project, variously known at the time as Bristol and Clifton Bazaar or King’s Bazaar, in Boyce’s Avenue was an arcade of shops linked by a sweeping staircase, graced by neo-classical columns.

King had thought of everything including providing a glass roof to protect shoppers from inclement weather.

Each shop would be let to different traders and King would act as overall general manager.

The arcade had cost him cost him £10,500 and it was ready for opening on 7 April 1878.

However, potential customers were disappointed for no businesspeople had come forward to take on running a shop. King’s

project was described as an instant flop.

Three months later, King who had run into financial problems, saw his arcade going up for sale at the Bristol Auction Rooms in the centre of Bristol.

Also going up for Sale was the Winter Gardens that King designed for outside the arcade. The gardens covered some 20,000 feet on the site recently

occupied by W H Smith and half a dozen independent traders.

King seems to have disappeared from all records but we do know that his building was taken over by the Bristol firm of Knee Brothers and used as a storehouse. Knees shut up the shops and used them as a storehouse for furniture which had been left in their depository.

In 1989 a developer set about restoring the arcade as a shopping

centre. Five years later and opened as such. It is believed to be the only Victorian arcade in its original condition. One of its architectural features is the ornate rose window that King carved in stone.

Now known as the Clifton Arcade, the shopping centre is home to a range of traders from a bookseller to a long established cafe. 01934 830 111 *Join Chris Yeo and Izzie Balmer, as seen on BBC's Antiques Roadshow and Antiques Road Trip, along with our valuation team.
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To advertise, contact Emma on 0117 9082121 or 07715 770448 or email 11 cliftonvoice April, 2024 n NEWS
Extensive collection of Spode ‘Stafford Flowers’ dinner and tea wares Sold for
The Clifton Arcade in Boyces Avenue, which flopped in Victorian times, has been popular since it reopened

Hospice superstore

A “NEW concept” superstore has been opened in Bristol by St Peter’s Hospice to help the charity raise funds.

Two-thirds of the store is given over to displaying furniture both new and up-cycled. Shoppers will also find pre-loved clothing, small electrical items, and homeware in the rest of the store.

It is also offering house clearance, furniture collection and delivery services as well as having a donation station within the shop.

John Broomhead, St Peter’s Hospice retail director, said: “We believe this will provide a really exciting shopping experience with quality sustainable products at great prices that our local supporters will love.

“With the hospice’s costs continually rising it’s important for us to identify new ways of raising money. All the profits

generated from this store will go towards supporting the Hospice, offering important end of life care to all communities in Bristol.

“This store is the first of its kind for St Peter’s. We are looking at this as a one-stop shop for customers and we hope it will be the first of many”.

Television presenter

Izzie Balmer, known for her appearances on programmes such as

Antiques Road Trip and Bargain Hunt, said at the store’s official launch: “This store provides a fantastic way of helping an important charity. People can save things from being thrown away by donating them to this store, and of course by buying here”.

The shop is on street level beneath the West End multistorey car park on the edge of Clifton Triangle.



EVERY year in the last week of April and first days of May, the Bristol 1904 Arts Society hold their Annual Paintings Exhibition. Over the 9 day event around 100 new paintings for 2024 will be on view together with occasional grand piano music and demonstrations of artists at work on the easel.

The paintings on show in the exhibition are the fruits of sketching excursions and many hours of arduous work during the year. Every day at least one of our skilled artists will be available to talk about the medium and complex techniques that go into each painting. All the original paintings are, of course, available to purchase.

Bristol 1904 Arts is a friendly society with over 200 members that have common interests in the visual and performing arts as well as in good fun and fellowship. There are members who draw and paint, others who play fine music, perform entertaining magic or read poetry and many who simply enjoy the creative talents of their artistic and musical colleagues. The society has a number of organised groups covering classic cars, country walking, city history, weekly painting skills workshops, photography club, bird watching and ornithology - and much more.

We meet during the winter months on Wednesday evenings in the large performance hall built in the style of an old tithe barn, situated in the grounds of The Red Lodge in Park Row. Each week we enjoy piano recitals often accompanied by violin, cello, clarinet or flute – and singing performances.

Everyone is cordially invited to our paintings exhibition, a significant part of Bristol’s art scene. Please visit the Bristol 1904 Arts Society website for further details.

Got news? Email: April, 2024 12 cliftonvoice


News from your Green Party Clifton Down councillors Carla Denyer and Tom Hathway

HELLO again from Tom and Carla, your councillors for Clifton Down ward. You may be aware by now that it’s the last instalment from us. Local elections are taking place across Bristol on May 2, and we are both stepping back this year –Carla to focus on her campaign to become your next MP for the newly formed Bristol Central, and Tom to support his partner with a move to work abroad (with an assurance of coming back before too long to his hometown of Bristol!)

From transforming Cotham Hill and tackling housing issues, to dealing with flooded streets, and representing your views in City Hall, serving Clifton Down has been a privilege for us both. Carla was first elected in 2016 with Tom joining in 2021. Between us we can point to someone on every street in the ward we have helped, and we will have spoken to many of you on the doorstep or at residents' meetings over that time. We are pleased to have fantastic

local candidates standing for the Greens in our place and will remain on hand initially to support which ever candidates are elected by answering questions and passing on ongoing casework.

The final meeting of Full Council under the Mayoral system had just taken place in March at the time of writing, where among other things we heard a public petition debate on the botched allotments consultation and a motion from the Labour group on supporting those in the caring economy, which passed with a successful Green group amendment. In this general election year, we hope that the outgoing Labour group on the council are lobbying their national leadership hard for the funding local authorities need to deliver essential services fit for the 21st century, as there is still clearly a gap

News from your Green Party

Clifton councillors

Paula O’Rourke and Katy Grant

Hello from your Clifton councillors - although this month, this column is being written by me, Katy, for reasons that will soon be apparent! As the days lengthen, we are now looking towards the 2024 elections for our city councillors, less than two months away now, which will be taking place on 2nd May. Fantastic news for Clifton is that Paula will be standing again, providing continuity and a sustained green vision for the ward, after her eight years as a hard-working, highly visible, fearless councillor. She will be joined by Jerome Thomas, a former long-term Clifton Green councillor, much admired during his two terms of office for his expertise and dedication in all aspects of councillor life. They both have reputations for leadership, integrity and persistence. The two of them worked very effectively together between 2016 and 2021, and will no doubt do so once again.

If elected, they will be representing the good people of Clifton in a committee system at the council, now that the Mayor – and the mayoral governance system – are on the way out. There will be much to learn about this more democratic system, which will ask a lot from what we hope will be the majority Green group in the new Bristol administration. Both Paula and Jerome are really looking forward to getting into

between promises and reality.

There was a rare bit of good news from First Bus this month, with the introduction of a new 77 bus route from 7th April, connecting Henleaze to Gloucester Road via Whiteladies Road and the city centre. This means another service through the ward and one which connects us to Stokes Croft and Gloucester Road without having to change buses – a small victory in the wider context of bus cuts and the lack of drive from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to deliver the bus franchising that would allow us to set the routes instead of First. Other positive public transport news includes funding from WECA to investigate more frequent trains on the Severn Beach line to three per hour. Ridership has increased significantly since the doubling of frequency to half hourly at the end of 2021, and it’s great to see the expansion of our local rail services through the MetroWest project. A third of Bristol’s carbon emissions come from transport alone, and Greens have always recognised that cheap, frequent and reliable public transport is essential for

the vital and challenging job of running the city!

I will not be standing again as councillor in the ward, so this column is a chance for me to say a heartfelt and warm goodbye and thank you to all residents of Clifton, for a truly enjoyable three years as your councillor. Though there have definitely been some challenging moments in the past few years, I have met some great and interesting people with a dedication to the city and to Clifton, and it has been a pleasure to try to solve problems great and small. There are lots of issues I will stay involved in as a Clifton ward resident, and I hope to see many of you in the months to come.

You may be interested to know that I will be the Green Party candidate for Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, also up for election in May 2024. The Avon and Somerset Police force has come into the public eye recently with the Channel 4 documentary ‘To Catch a Copper’, showing some shocking instances of abuse by members of the force; but also showing the dedication of the majority, and

getting fewer cars on the road.

Tom met with the council’s service lead for landlord licensing last month, and covered a range of issues from where enforcement of licence conditions lies to delays in licence processing, and how applicants are reminded of the need for planning permission in our area. As licensing for HMOs (Houses in Multiple Occupation) expands further across the city later this year, the team are recruiting additional staff and digitising the process. We hope to feel the benefit of the additional capacity here too, where HMOs have been licensed since 2019. Converting a family home into an HMO across most of Bristol also requires planning permission –itself a department we’ve heard much about since the government put the Bristol planning service into special measures.

This, SEND issues, climate goals, and strained finances are all challenges for the new committees to grapple with after 2nd May. We are confident of change in the air – let’s hope they work together to confront them head on!

the commitment of the senior management inside the force to change culture and root out prejudice.

Greens feel that it is urgent that the police in our region (as everywhere in the UK) re-gain the trust of the community and do more to work with local organisations and leaders to prevent crime and protect the most vulnerable, particularly women and children. In Bristol, this will mean working with schools and service providers to reach young people and their families, to stop the scourge of knife crime in the city. So my top priority will be reforms for a transformed relationship between the police and people of the city and the region.

All this will be happening in the context of shrinking national, regional and local authority budgets, so we will also need to be ready for delays in some aspect of the council’s delivery. In response Green councillors will need to find inventive solutions to shared problems, as well as shine a spotlight on the council’s processes, to ensure we are getting efficiency and value for money in terms of its recruitment, procurement, administration and partnerships. Finally it will be vital to keep pushing for a whole-of-city approach to our Net Zero targets, so that the council feels supported by the private sector, universities, and WECA, as well as by you the voters. Greens will be advocating for carbon accounting for all big city projects in Bristol, alongside the regular financial budget, so we can make sure the city’s decisions reflect their early calling of the climate and ecological emergency.

April, 2024 13 cliftonvoice Got news? Email:
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New bus service

A NEW bus service starting next month will increase options for bus users in Clifton.

The number 5 bus will run between St Anne’s and Clifton. Replacing the 36 St Anne’s to city centre route, it will be extended to take in the Bristol Hippodrome and Park Street, before heading on to Clifton. It will operate every day and provide journeys into the evening, runnuing alongside service 8 (Temple Meads to Clifton) to provide extra capacity on this busy route.

It's one of three cross-city connections being introduced by operator First from April 7.

The others are the 41, linking East Bristol with Sea Mills, Shirehampton and Avonmouth, and the 77, which will connect Henleaze to Gloucester Road via the city centre, running every 30 minutes at peak times to relieve pressure on other nearby routes.

George Burton, head of network for First West of England, said: “All the changes

we’re introducing in April are as a result of listening to our customers, local residents and working with local councils. We’ve also been able to work closely with the West of England Combined Authority to consider introducing new routes without the need for public funding.

“Introducing new cross-city routes, adding capacity, creating faster, express journeys and connecting more parts of the West of England, coupled with single ticket prices frozen and our Tap On, Tap Off technology making it quicker to travel and ensuring you pay the cheapest fares, shows we’re doing all we can to encourage more people to make bus the travel of choice.

“We’re now firmly in a post-pandemic recovery, and following a successful recruitment campaign our driver numbers have increased, and we’re seeing great signs that people are returning to bus travel and new people are using the bus.”

n NATURE WATCH with Dawn Lawrence

Allotments rethink call

PROPOSED hefty increases in Bristol’s allotment rents and charges look set to be a major issue in the run-up to the Bristol City Council elections next month.

There was a huge row earlier this year after plans were put forward to raise the fees for the first time since 2018 and introduce new rules.

Thousands of people raised objections, which led to most of the rule changes being dropped, although the rent rises were still said to be needed.

As part of the negotiations over the council’s budget for 2024-25, the Conservatives persuaded the Labour-led administration to delay the increases, which would see the cost of a medium plot rising from £70 currently to £113 in 2025, and then £156 in 2026, until next year.

Now the Green Party, which says it was excluded from those discussions, has “called in” the decision made at the Labour

cabinet meeting on March 5 to bring in the rent rises from 2025. The call-in was being discussed at a meeting made up of councillors of all parties on March 27, after the Voice went to print. But whatever the outcome, it’s likely the issue will be revisited after the elections on May 2, when Bristol will be returning to a committee system rather than a cabinet one.

Councillor Emma Edwards (Bishopston and Ashley Down), leader of the Green group, said, “When the city finally gets balanced committees representing all parties elected by residents, the Greens will make sure the committees pick up the pieces and start to listen to the concerns, wisdom, and insight of allotment communities.

“Sadly, the furore created by these ill-judged proposals means it will be a more difficult task to ensure a collaborative debate that develops a better way to manage this service.”

Birdsong chorus is well worth the early start

COME mid-April the dawn chorus is amplified by the voices of returning migrants joining in with our resident birds. The singing begins in the gloaming, the sun still below the horizon, and the full concerto usually persists for an hour or so after sunrise. The world is quieter at dawn and the air often still, allowing the songs to carry up to 20 times as far, giving the singers a greater reward for their efforts. Listening, as colour seeps back into the world, is a joyous experience and worth the effort (even I admit it).

For those of us who find getting up at sunrise an unwelcome prospect (I was poorly named) we can listen out for the dusk chorus as sunset encourages the birds to sing again. Singing in low light levels attracts less attention from predators and it is too dark to search for food, so it makes sense to use the twilight to proclaim your territory and try to attract a mate.

Identifying birds from their song is a challenging art but people have been doing it forever, and, consequently, there are many little mnemonics. The best ones emphasize the rhythm of the song as well as the sounds.

My parents taught me “Did he do it, did he do it? Who can tell?” which is an age-old transliteration of the song thrush’s refrain. Incredibly, an individual can have 100 of these phrases, usually repeating each one a couple of times and varying his choices to produce his own unique composition: “did he do it” remains one of the most well-used lyrics.

The song of the chaffinch is written as “H, E, B, R, E, W, S, Hebrews!” with the last few

syllables speeding up as they go. Great tits flutily chant “teacher, teacher, teacher” though it is also a big joke in our family that any puzzling bird call is invariably a great tit. Their extensive range of vocalisations may help to explain how great tits, widespread in Europe and a sedentary species, have evolved different accents in different regions, rather like people.

The coal tit is one of our less common garden birds but listen out for “see saw, see saw” and you might see him. The wren, tiny as he is, has an explosive warbling song which always contains a rasping section, like a tiny stick being quickly dragged along a fence “tttrrrrrrrrr”. But best of all is the wood pigeon, whose rich, throaty tones offer the seductive suggestion to “take twoooooo cows, Taffy”. The chiffchaff, like the cuckoo (who is desperately hard to find nowadays, though a few pairs still breed in the Bristol region) sings his name and he is normally the first of the migrants to start singing, usually in March. That first irregular “chiff, chiff, chaff, chiff”, perhaps on a chilly day, coming defiantly from a high perch on a naked tree-top, really sends the heart a-leaping like almost nothing else.

15 April, 2024 Got news? Email: cliftonvoice
A chiff chaff singing Photo: Edwin Anderton


Time for action to end loss of young lives

THE recent loss of young lives across the West of England is a huge concern.

At my annual Schools Summit, students pitch ideas to me for new policies.

Sometimes it’s the environment, transport, or about skills. This year’s big theme turned out to be how to tackle knife crime.

Many young people are currently worried, anxious and unclear about what they can do to best avoid knife violence. But they know the awful toll of young lives only too well.

Mason Rist and Max Dixon – aged just 15 and 16 respectively – were stabbed in Knowle West back in January.

Darrian Williams, also just 16, was killed in Easton in February.

Another 16-year-old, Mikey Roynon, was stabbed and killed at a birthday party in Bath last June.

In 2022, Radstock teenager Charley Bates was another young victim. His killer was prosecuted last August.

Knife crime is impacting young people, who are changing their behaviour from fear, for example staying in more and not seeing their friends so frequently.

There is no single answer – far from it. But I do know we must act.

We need to invest in young people and the resources that help them. Real-terms reductions to local council budgets for the past 14 years have hit youth services very badly.

There is also a lack of mental health support for youngsters growing up in an ever more complex and fast-changing world. As a former NSPCC-trained child protection officer, this is something close to my heart.

Young people need mentors, to take part in activities that build their self-esteem. They also need access to first rate support from qualified professionals.

Sadly, young people are staying away from youth clubs and youth provision because they and their parents are frightened. That’s a vicious circle we need to break.

We also need to smash the myth that carrying a knife makes you safer. It doesn’t.

However secure it makes you feel, you’re actually more likely to be stabbed with your own knife than anyone else’s. By carrying a knife, you’re potentially arming your attacker.

The police are right to hold knife amnesties. But the fall in police numbers and prosecutions under this government is unacceptable. I also can’t fathom the reason to wait until the autumn to ban dangerous ‘zombie knives’ and

Metro Mayor Dan Norris writes for the Voice

machetes. And when the worst happens, we need people trained to react.

At my schools summit, youngsters learnt from the brilliant anti-knife crime campaigner Leanne Reynolds how to use ‘bleed kits’, which contain everything needed to give first aid to someone rapidly losing blood.

So, here’s the deal: to tackle knife crime head-on, we need to get everyone on board – community groups, charities, businesses, police and especially young people.

It also requires political parties to work together, something as West of England Mayor I’m keen to encourage.

The senseless loss of young life is an utter and total tragedy. It’s time for action, so we can beat it – together.

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Mystery of the writing on the wall

ARE you aware that there is a 19th century wall in central Bristol which contains a mystifying inscription: “Half this wall is the property of the Corporation of Bristol”? No explanation as to the ‘whys or wherefores’ or even which half, top bottom, or side. A covert property deal?

Intrigued, I made inquiries and was told the inscription originally accompanied a strange set of marks. Although not understood, these were copied and lodged with the City Archives. I had a fruitless search, but I wasn’t sure what I was looking for and didn’t know where it was filed.

After another two days in the archives I found the strange set of marks. Baffled, I consulted a friend who said it could be a Transpositional Cypher. Months went by, I’d forgotten all about it, when out of the blue he called. He thought it a ‘pigpen cypher’, and if correct was about an underground meeting and the message included the name Wadipam.

I could only find one person of that name in Bristol in 1808. A John Wadipam trading as a glazier, (very surprising considering the venue for his clandestine meeting), perhaps he had a secret fear of defenestration? Was he also responsible for another underground room

The stone in the cellar

off Bath Road which had a window blocked by earth?

So what was the venue of John Wadipam’s meeting, and what merited such extreme secrecy? When I was given a full transcription of the cypher, it was a very short message, “meet at Wadipam’s cellar”. I then discovered that John Wadipam had called upon Frederick Charles Husenbeth, a well-respected Bristol merchant with premises on St Nicholas Street, for his help resolve a long running property dispute. He was trading as Husenbeath and Co, of St Nicholas Street in 1795, and by 1806 the business expanded to Husenbeath and

Son with a further business beneath the New Market in Baldwin Street, beside the ‘Market Steps’ leading to St Nicholas Street from Baldwin Street.

But where was the meeting to take place? Bristol still has thousands of cellars. At last, after newspaper publicity, a person who remained anonymous came forward with a faded photograph of a lettered stone in a cellar, explaining the outcome but not the dispute. We were then told of yet another mysterious inscription that had been recorded, this time in Fulthark Runes - a Scandi red herring to put people off the trail?

A runic message in Bristol, surely not! However Bristol did once have an exclusive Royal Licence to trade with Baltic States. We had it translated, hoping it would throw light on our riddle, but it merely read: “Man is but a heap of mouldering dust”. We finally gave up. However we did find another Scandinavian message on an iron plate set in the pavement near Lloyds Greengrocer’s on Henleaze Road, it memorialised the Danish invasion of the Southwest. It reads ‘Danelaw CATV’. Which obviously stands for: Conquerors Always Thinking of Valhalla.

April, 2024 17 cliftonvoice Got news? Email:


Flights booked, passport ready – don't forget your travel jabs!

BOOKED your foreign trip? Do you need travel jabs or Antimalarials? After a particularly wet and damp winter, travelling can offer - escape, adventure and much needed relaxation plus discovering local food and culture. No surprise that many people will make plans - ticking off bucket-list foreign destinations, head off to exotic destinations, whether for a Gap Year travel , Volunteering or a Career break. Also work travel. Whatever the inspiration reason for the trip, it is vital to do so safely.

Discovering your another country's health system is not usually on your wish list or a memory to cherish. Remember those Channel 4 documentaries, the ones… where "Unfortunate person stranded on a hospital bed in Paradise", …travel

insurance was not taken out ("I knew I had forgotten something") or cover invalidated ("I did not know they required me to have travel jabs!"). The unplanned additional cost and anxiety becoming an endless expensive nightmare.

Many countries will have health risks that require vaccinations for protection. First thing is to contact your local GP to find out about availability for NHS travel health appointment and also obtain records of your previous vaccinations. Many people will now have those available on their NHS App. Getting all the information together saves time and ensures you only obtain the required private vaccinations. The recommended time to seek health advice is eight weeks before your trip. Last-minute? Don't

0117 9246579

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panic, just get in touch with Bristol Travel Clinic on 0800 7723575.

Our prices reflect our ethos that money should not be a barrier to accessing health services. We also offer treatment to delay menstraul periods while on holiday and to prevent altitude sickness. Not travelling but need vaccinations to protect you from Chicken-Pox, Meningitis B or any other work-related risks, we can help.

To get advice or book an appointment, Call Bristol Travel Clinic on 0800 7723575, Complete the online query form : www. or visit Kellaway Pharmacy today. We'll get you ready for wherever your journey takes you.



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Start the journey

Discover Reception at Badminton –an education full of adventure awaits Book a private visit at a time that is best for you

Spring Open Day

Friday 26th April 2024

Preschool to Year 8

Ages 3 - 13

Come and discover life at Clifton College Pre-Preparatory and Preparatory School. You will have the chance to meet staff, tour the classrooms and explore the wider facilities. Children encouraged to come along!

If you can’t attend our open day, book a personal tour at a time convenient to you at:

£10m refurb creates a very special school

ELMFIELD School for Deaf Children celebrated the official opening of its £10m primary premises in Sheridan Road, Horfield.

Among the guests were the Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, cabinet councillors Ellie King and Tom Renhard, governors, pupils and families.

The children gave a poetry reading with all performances in both BSL signing and spoken English.

Writing on his blog after the visit, the

Mayor said: “Elmfield School for Deaf Children’s primary site is an inspirational learning environment which has a fantastic, bespoke acoustic design and a layout which we know promotes best practice in deaf education. This new school means Elmfield can double its numbers to 48 pupils, and provide a world-class, specialist learning environment.

“This specially designed school will provide pupils from Bristol, the surrounds –

and as far away as Wales, with an inclusive learning environment that meets pupils’ needs. It was a pleasure to tour the school and to see the students clearly already making the most of their wonderful new facilities, after £10 million investment.”

The school now has eight classrooms, sensory rooms, a green screen filming room, an open plan library in the heart of the building, alongside a fabulous life skills and creative arts area.

21 April, 2024 Got news? Email: cliftonvoice Visit our website to find out more | 0117 933 9087 n EDUCATION

S etting the stage for sustainable fashion

CLIFTON Clothes Swap has chosen The Brightwell in Bradley Stoke as its nominated charity for its event on April 21.

The Brightwell is a centre supporting people affected by neurological conditions including MS.

Nicola Clarke, who works at the Redgrave theatre in Clifton, started running regular charity clothes swaps in 2022, and set up a supporting Facebook page ‘Clifton Clothes Swap’ in January 2023, followed by an instagram page @cliftonclothesswap. The theatre allows her to use its stage for her events, from which all proceeds are given to local charities. There is also a raffle where you can win a gift voucher for theatre tickets.

During the cost-of-living crisis, the opportunity to swap good quality, no longer needed clothes for new-to-you outfits in excellent condition is likely to benefit many residents. In addition to being budget-friendly, clothes swaps decrease waste going to landfill.

Entry to the April event, which runs from 10.30am to 12.30pm, is £3. Each visitor can take up to 10 good condition men or women’s clean clothes (no stains or holes) or as-new adults’ shoes or accessories in exchange for tokens to ‘buy’ the same number of items from the clothes swap. If you wish to take more clothes than you brought, you can pay £1 per additional item.

Nicola said “Our February event raised much-needed funds for the Blonde Angels, who help the street homeless in and around Bristol. In April I am delighted to be helping The Brightwell.”


Nurseries needed

COUNCILLORS have called for new nurseries in Bristol as extra hours of free childcare is rolled out to thousands of new parents. Money from property developers could soon be used to set up new nurseries and help meet rising demand for places amid a dire national shortage.

Labour won cross-party support for their motion on using money raised from the community infrastructure levy, charged to developers, to help pay the capital cost of new childcare facilities. This follows a campaign on the issue backed by many Bristol-based organisations.

The plans include recognising childcare as key infrastructure, protecting funding for early years and maintained nurseries, and asking the West of England Combined Authority to give grants to new childcare providers. The motion was carried in a full council meeting on Tuesday, March 12.

Labour Councillor Amal Ali, who put forward the motion, said: “As a Labour councillor and a mother, I want to play my part in helping Bristol’s children get the best start in life. We’ve done a lot on this so far. Marvin Rees’s administration has protected children’s centres and nurseries from Tory austerity. I’m proud of this — other cities have not been so fortunate.

“As with any issue this big, there’s of course more to do. We want this to be at the forefront of everybody’s mind as we move to the committee system.”

Greens successfully tabled an amendment to the motion, with requests to lobby national political party leaders, rather than just the government.

From this month, working parents of two-year-olds can access 15 hours of free childcare. More changes will come this September and a year later.

Flocking to enjoy our new wines ...

I’M sure you don’t need reminding that February and March have been very wet. This isn’t causing the vines too much stress at the moment because they are dormant but they won’t like it if it continues into the growing season. The vines usually start to produce shoots and growth around the middle of April. Just like a person, they feel stressed in extreme conditions and can often get fungal diseases if the ground is extremely wet or dry. I have been meaning to make a rainwater collection system all winter and have joked that as soon as I finally get round to building it, we’ll probably have a drought and I’ll have missed all the rain collection opportunities!

Now the pruning of the vines is over, I’ve switched to pruning the willow windbreak. It’s quite a different process to vine pruning and involves sawing rather than snipping with secateurs. At the vineyard edge, we now have huge piles of 20 foot long, thin willow branches that we’ll chip for mulch as soon as the ground dries out enough for vehicles to drive across it.

For the last two weeks, I’ve been sharing the vineyard field with around 25 sheep. We

have a couple of rams but mainly pregnant ewes who are due to give birth around the end of March. They’ve been doing a great job, nibbling all the grass down to ground level which will give me a headstart keeping things clear and giving the vines some space to grow. They especially love nibbling the fresh, young leaves off the willow branches I’ve just chopped down.

On the wine front, our new sparkling white has been released and is proving very popular. We should have a new sparkling red in a week or so as well. @DYvineyards (X/Twitter) dunleavy vineyards (Facebook & Instagram)

Got news? Email: n NEWS April, 2024 22 cliftonvoice
April, 2024 23
– Sixth Form Open Morning
Watch them grow Reception
Monday 6th May

It's our city, we voted committee ...

IN under two months, the mayor of Bristol will be gone. Two years ago, in a local referendum Bristol citizens voted on a three to two basis to remove the role of directly elected mayor. This was a year after the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives ran candidates for Bristol mayor on ‘Scrap the Mayor’ campaigns. Councillors of all parties were increasingly concerned that the position of executive mayor led to a lack of democracy and representation, as all decisions were centralised.

At the start in 2012 when the first mayor had a rainbow cabinet, the concentration of power wasn’t so obvious, as multiple views were represented at the top table.

After mayor Rees was elected and sacked the other parties from his

Cabinet, Labour took full control despite not having a majority.

The Liberal Democrats then twice tabled a council motion to hold a referendum on the way our city is run. The first time was unsuccessful, but on the second attempt, politicians from all five parties on the council supported the motion to have a referendum on the governance of Bristol.

Outside of the council, the ‘It’s Our City Bristol’ group formed. Local politicians and activists from all five Bristol political parties, as well as independents, worked together to run the ‘It’s Our City, Vote Committee’ campaign.

It was an honour and a pleasure to work cross party on this campaign, and we achieved a 59%-41% split in favour of moving to a committee system of governance. The turnout of almost 95,000 voters was higher than at the 2012 referendum in which just under 77,000 people voted, and


which had only narrowly backed the mayoral system, 53%-47%.

On May 2nd Bristol will vote once again for the councillors who will run the new committee system. There will be eight committees composed of councillors allocated in proportion to the number of council seats held across the city. It’s not proportional representation, but it will ensure that views across the city, and the political spectrum, are heard across every aspect of council decision making and that someone who represents your values is in the room. The current six local area committees who decide how to spend public funds locally, will become nine so that they are each smaller and more representative of each community’s needs. The whole structure should be more democratic and grass roots than under the mayoral system, and more empowering and inclusive

Investing in Bristol: building a City of Hope

Household budgets remain under pressure during the continuing national cost-ofliving crisis. We continue to treat your money with respect, while leading Bristol in a way that is compassionate and unapologetically ambitious.

We have retained our Council Tax Reduction Scheme, supporting 32,000 households with up to 100% discounts. Our Local Crisis Prevention Fund continues, after helping around 5,000 households this year with essentials like food and fuel.

Working as One City, more than 70 Welcoming Spaces have helped people stay warm and connected.

Bristol’s budget this year is again led by building homes.

Ensuring people have a safe, secure, and affordable home is the biggest contribution we can make to tackle poverty and climate change, improve health, and drive ambition. We have got Bristol building: more than 12,500 new homes were completed between 2016 and 2023, including the first from Goram Homes, our councilowned housing company. 86% of these homes are built on previously developed land; 3,000 more homes were under construction in April 2023; and we will deliver another 3,000 council homes by 2029.

Despite 14 years of national austerity, increased need in our city, and rising inflation, we have protected your frontline

services. This year we have again safeguarded all of our children’s centres and libraries, and also opened our new £10 million Elmfield School for Deaf Children. And we keep investing in early intervention, with our world-class £15 million south Bristol Youth Zone opening in 2025.

At Portway Park & Ride, we opened Bristol’s first new train station in almost a century, with work well underway on another at Ashley Down. 2024 saw our 100,000th One Tree Per Child tree planted and a 10% drop in nitrogen dioxide pollution across Bristol – with Clean Air Zone help still on offer. And, by 2029, Bristol City Leap will have invested £771 million in clean energy:

for the citizens of Bristol.

To make this system work, we need to elect councillors who are prepared to work together to reach a consensus. Many people are tired of the behaviour of politicians who disrespect each other and the public. We need meetings to be productive, and as professional as in any other workplace. Compromise should not be a dirty word, and collaborative politics should be welcomed. We need to include everyone in discussion to achieve the best result for the most people.

We want you to have your say so please register to vote by 11:59pm Tuesday April 16 on

If you are voting in person on May 2, then please remember you will need photo ID.

creating 1,000 new jobs and cutting around 150,000 tonnes of emissions.

We have faced huge challenges. Many are still with us. But, together, we have made real progress in building a better Bristol: our City of Hope.

Got news? Email: April, 2024 24 cliftonvoice
Marvin Rees shares his views with the Voice


Meet the candidates for police and crime commissioner

VOTERS are being asked to decide who sets the priorities and appoints the chief constable of Avon & Somerset police.

On May 2, elections will be held to vote for the next Avon & Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, or PCC.

Coming with a salary of £88,600, the PCC's role is to oversee the force, ensuring it is "efficient and effective"

The PCC's powers include:

• Hiring and firing the chief constable, and holding them to account for running the force

Benet Allen

Liberal Democrats

Born in Taunton, has worked in TV news and for a coach company. Former deputy leader of Somerset West and Taunton Council, male voice choir singer and hospital charity fundraiser.

THE Lib Dem plan for the police:

• Make policing more visible and community-orientated

• Increase prosecution rates for serious and violent crime

• Help police to work with integrity and without discrimination

• Focus on ‘broken windows’ - small crimes that damage confidence and trust

• Predict and provide policing to help tackle rural crime as well as urban crime

• Help make sure offenders don’t do it again – most want to ‘go straight

• Setting objectives for the area through a police and crime plan

• Setting the budget and determining the precept charge paid by council tax payers

• Contributing to national and international policing capabilities

• Bringing together community safety and criminal justice partners, to 'join up' local priorities.

• Funding crime prevention services

The current PCC is Conservative Mark Sheldon, who was elected to the role in 2021,

Katy Grant Green

I am a councillor in Bristol, and an Avon and Somerset Magistrate. Before that, I worked for twenty years overseas with the UN on child protection and violence against women.

AS ASPCC, I will prioritise preventing crime, working with community to support youth services and tackle the social causes of crime. Knife crime in cities will be a focus, with more visible neighbourhood policing and greater services to victims and families. To address poor performance and prejudice within the force, I will enhance the independence of misconduct panels, while recognising of the integrity of the vast majority of officers. Above all, we will police by consent; and I will work tirelessly with the Avon and Somerset Police to get closer to and re-gain the trust of the communities we serve.

in an election postponed from 2020 because of the pandemic.

He took over from independent Sue Mountstevens, who stepped down after being in the post since it was created in 2012.

Nominations for the PCC opened on March 18 and will close at 4pm on April 5.

So far three of the main political parties have announced candidates. The Voice has asked them to send a short biography and manifesto to outline their priorities.

They appear below in alphabetical order:

Clare Moody Labour

Clare brings rich experience, from her current role as CEO of a charity to her time spent working in No 10. She previously represented our region as an MEP.

INVESTING in neighbourhood policing – to build safer communities and help prevent and solve crime.

Supporting victims of crime –making sure victims are properly listened to, and get the help they need when they need it.

Prioritising reducing violent crime – The scale of violent crime, including knife crime and violence against women and girls, isn't inevitable but it needs focus and commitment to fix it.

Preventing crime – work with agencies across the public sector and civil society to prevent crime and build safer communities.

Restoring trust and confidence in the police –enabling the police to take pride in high standards.

Mark Shelford Conservative

Mark has over 35 years of experience of serving our country in the military and local government and has been your PCC since 2021. Resides in Bath with his family.

WHEN elected, Mark pledged more police, a focus on tackling serious crime and to represent every community when holding the police to account. He has delivered. The constabulary has trained over 1,500 new officers, is the best force for illegal drug disruptions and has seen a 300% increase in rape cases reaching court by designing a nationally acclaimed investigation model. He appointed a courageous Chief Constable determined to restore trust in policing.

Mark will prioritise crime prevention, tackling anti-social behaviour and violence against women. He remains committed to reducing re-offending, supporting skills programmes for prisoners and ensuring victims get support.

April, 2024 25 cliftonvoice Got news? Email:


Wednesday April 17


warmly invite you to a talk at The Apostle Room , Clifton Cathedral on Wednesday 17th April 6.45 for 7.15 start.

Britten's Death in Venice

Ahead of WNO's critically acclaimed production, writer, and broadcaster Nigel Simeone, explores Britten's extraordinary score, its close relationship with Thomas Mann's original story and the extent to which the opera can be seen as a kind of musical biography.

Easy parking, bar, Friends £8, Visitors £10

Further information from Melanie David, Tel: 01934 842014 email

Wednesday April 24

n THE FILTONES CHOIR is, as a one off event, holding a choir open rehearsal at St Andrew’s Methodist Church, Elm Park between 1.45 and 3.45. It is FREE for all to drop in and listen to how we prepare for our concerts, and you can even join in if you feel inclined. Meet the choir for free tea and biscuits during their break. You are assured of a very warm welcome. Sundays

Saturday April 27 to Sunday May 5


daily 10 - 5 (Sundays 12 – 5) Victoria Methodist Church, 1a Whiteladies Road BS8 1NU, Next to the RWA To apply for membership of this vibrant body of artists, and enjoy Painting Days, Workshops and ltalks, visit:

Regular events

Various days

n WEST OF ENGLAND BRIDGE CLUB based at RAFA Club, 38 Eastfield, Henleaze. Five sessions every week, catering for different standards. Thursday afternoon is Improvers. Monday and Friday afternoon is for more capable players; this is an EBU recognised session. You may come alone to any afternoon session; a partner will be found. The evening sessions are on Wednesdays and Fridays, and are open to pairs. www. or contact Secretary, Chris Frew, on 0117 962 5281.


n PLAY BOWLS at Canford Park in a friendly, social atmosphere. Qualified coaches and equipment provided. Contact: Les on 07305695579


at Leonard Hall, Henleaze URC, Waterford Rd, Bristol BS9 4BT. Talks, costumed readings, book club and social events. New members welcome. See or phone Roma on 0117 9279875 for further details.

n WESTBURY AND CLIFTON AREA DISCUSSION GROUP meet at Westbury on Trym Baptist Church every Monday 9.45am to challenge ourselves with topical debate on what’s happening in the world. If you would like to help to solve some of today's challenging issues with good company, tea and biscuits - contact James Ball 01454 415165 or Ian Viney 0117 9501628.

n WESTBURY ON TRYM WOMEN'S INSTITUTE meets on the third Monday of the month in the Westbury Village Hall, Eastfield Road, BS9 4AG, from 2-4 pm. Interesting speakers, crafts, lunch club, skittles and outings. Our lively, friendly and inclusive group welcomes visitors at any meeting. Call Sascha on 07961619806 or Traci on 07766073917


n WESTBURY PARK WOMEN’S INSTITUTE meets on the first Tuesday of every month in the Girl Guide Hut on Westmorland Road from 7.00 - 9.30pm. We are an active and friendly group with a varied programme plus extra sessions for craft, coffee, book clubs, walks etc. Visitors are always welcome and for more information do call Sue on 07813795936 or email

n COMPANION VOICES BRISTOL is recruiting new members We are a 'threshold choir' actively looking for new people to join us. We meet in Easton on the 3rd Tuesday of the month from 7 to 9 pm to learn soothing and uplifting songs by ear and build skills in sensitivity/compassion/ loving presence to sing at the bedsides of people nearing the end of life. To join or support us in this work, contact Valerie on bristol@companionvoices. org. Visit CompanionVoicesBristol and www.

n BRISTOL BRANCH OF THE KNITTING AND CROCHET GUILD meet on the third Tuesday of the month, 10am-12pm, usually in the function room at the Boston Tea Party on Whiteladies Road. Free to attend, all welcome (members and non-members). We cater for beginners through to experienced makers. Email BristolKCG@gmail. com for more info.


n HENLEAZE CHORAL SOCIETY We are a thriving, non- audition

choir performing mainly classical repertoire.

Rehearsals take place at Henleaze Bowling Club, Grange Court Road on Wednesdays 7.30-9.00pm New members welcome. Go to www. for more information and contact details.


We all have craft items we started and are now lurking in a drawer unloved – dig them out and come and share with us a morning of knitting, crochet, tapestry, rag rugs or whatever you would love to resurrect or mend. Clifton Library every Wednesday 10-30 -12-30


GARDEN, behind Blaise Museum, open Wednesday and Saturday 10-2. Originally a walled kitchen garden. Free to enter. We’re looking for volunteers. Our Café (+ homemade cakes) open 10-2, 18 March and 8 April.


Friendly and free coffee afternoon on the last Wednesday of the month, 2-3.30pm at The Beehive Pub, Wellington Hill West, BS9 4QY. Meet new people, have fun, and find out what’s happening in your area. Call 0117 435 0063.

n CLIFTON CRAFTERS We all have craft items we started and are now lurking in a drawer unloved –dig them out and come and share a morning of knitting, crochet, tapestry, rag rugs or whatever you would love to resurrect or mend! Every Wednesday in October at Clifton Library 10 30-12 30pm.

n GOLDEN HILL WI Meets the first Wednesday of every month. 1-3pm. Golden Hill Sports Ground, Wimbledon Rd, BS6 7YA A vibrant, lively new afternoon WI in BS6. We have an exciting and varied programme to offer to members. Visitors and new members will be given a warm welcome. For more information contact Pam Scull at goldenhillwi@


We are a friendly bunch who meet on the last Wednesday of the month at Alma Church, Alma Road, Clifton BS8 2HG, from7.30pm. Anyone interested in coming to a meeting as a visitor is most welcome (£5). It’s not all Jam and Jerusalem, and we’re particularly keen to welcome members, young and not so young, who would like to meet like-minded women, mingle with a glass of wine and enjoy some varied and interesting talks. It would be good to see you, no obligation to join – just come along and see what we get up to. Visit our blog cliftonwi.blogspot.

com for forthcoming events. For more information about us please contact



RECRUITING NEW MEMBERS. We meet at Stoke Bishop CE Primary School, BS9 1BW on Thursday, 7.45 - 9.15pm. We are a well-established mixed choir performing both sacred and secular music. See website contact secretary at secretary@


Come and join us as we fill St Peter’s Church Hall in Henleaze with a diverse selection of music. We are a friendly choir and meet on Thursday afternoons in term time from 1.45 to 3.45. There are no auditions, and the ability to read music is not necessary. Contact Jeanette on 9685409 or Jane on 07752 332278.


Feeling stressed? Come and try our drop in sessions run by trained volunteers. Healing/Reiki is a gentle, relaxing, complementary therapy that helps restore balance and vitality. Used in healthcare to reduce stress. Donation basis. Venue: Redland Meeting House, 126 Hampton Road, BS6 6JE. s 3.30 pm to 4.45 pm. For information and dates, contact Selina at Bristol Healing Group: T:0117 9466434 or

n BRISTOL BACH CHOIR are now recruiting new members. We are a friendly auditioned choir of between 30 and 40 singers. All voice parts are welcome. We rehearse on a Thursday evening at Bristol Grammar School from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. If interested please contact Julie at membership@


For those interested in developing their spiritual awareness and mediumistic ability. 7.15 for 7.30pm start at Westbury Park Spiritualist Church, Cairns Road BS6 7TH. Just turn up, contact Marian Bishop 0117 9771629 or visit www.


n HENLEAZE BOWLING CLUB. 5.45pm Grange Court Rd, by Newman Hall. Call 0117 962 1669 or email hbcsec@

n U3A SCRABBLE GROUP meets at the Black Swan, Stoke Lane from 2 to 4pm. For more information, contact Anne on

To advertise, contact Emma on 0117 9082121 or 07715 770448 or email 26 cliftonvoice April, 2024


Pugilistica 54 by Jack Allen

JACK Allen was born in Westonsuper-Mare and grew up in Bristol. A local rugby player and teacher, Jack has written an ITV drama and a book about Bristol’s nineteenth century bare knuckle fighters which provided the inspiration for Pugilistica 54. We find ourselves in the year 2054. Bristol is part of the Kingdom of England & Wales following Scottish independence and the unification of Ireland. Terrorists have destroyed the Nord Stream pipeline and Dogger Bank windfarm causing energy prices to soar. A new killer virus has decimated the population leaving the NHS overwhelmed. Millions are out of work and hundreds of homeless people are dying on the streets from hunger. The nation is run as a one party state by President Zebec, a firebrand preacher from Texas who is the leader of the Progressive Christian Party. Competitive sport is outlawed, newspapers and magazines banned and internet access blocked. However at secret


sites around the city, an annual competition named Pugilistica is held to find the next World Heavyweight boxing champion. We follow the life of Jason Lee, a 20-year-old boxer who dreams of becoming world champion. When he was young, his parents were killed in a car crash and he was adopted by his trainer Mickey Rossiter. The regime exercises control in the city via Chief Superintendent Crilly. Anyone caught out during curfew receives a ten point penalty and if you reach thirty points your brain is lobotomized. Justice is administered by Judge Keeling, who oversees trials, fixed in advance by bribing witnesses and packing juries with people close to achieving thirty penalty points. Micky takes Jason to an illegal bout in a disused quarry at Ashton Court. The fight is broken up by Crilly and his thugs. Jason is arrested and sentenced to three years detention , on the evidence of Kathryn Hart, whose partner was murdered by the police and whose son David was put into

THINK of a word. Indicate the number of letters it contains with underscores. Let your audience guess until either the word is spelt out or a stick figure hangs from the gallows. The main character in Maya Binyam’s debut is the hangman, the hanged man, the blank spaces and the hapless participant.

He is on a journey from the unnamed country where he has become a citizen – the US, it seems – to the unnamed country of his birth – in sub-Saharan Africa, the blurb announces, though there are only clues in the book as to its identity, no answers. On the plane the man is more affected by the question of whether he would prefer coffee or tea than he is by the passenger next to him dying. On landing, he finds himself forced to pay for a visa and for the pleasure of retrieving his own luggage. In the terminal, he is eventually picked up by someone who calls him brother. The reader is sucked into a nightmarish journey, following a man who seems to have no agency, searching for anything that might offer certainty. Slowly he loses or abandons his belongings. Belatedly he recognises people – his son’s mother, his son’s mother’s brother. He believes he is there to help his sick brother or to mourn his dead brother – which, he does not know.

In a book that questions the nature of going home, everything is both alien and quotidian: he reaches his old house but finds it taken over, the sofas rearranged. In a story where no person or place is defined by a name, vivid description is paramount: a white woman trying to ‘save’ him, “had a squished-up nose and no torso. Her legs just stretched up to her face, and at the end of her face, her yellow hair pulled her back down.” In a narrative about refuge, there is no safety in language, food or place: people repeatedly switch language, meals are invariably disgusting and a soldier refuses him entry to a church.

The delight in reading Hangman is in the puzzle, woven in tight sentences and full of negatives. Things are what they are not; if you catch sight of yourself in a mirror, you’ll see what isn’t there.

Elizabeth Moss, owner of Heron Books, Clifton Arcade

care. Jason is taken to a boot camp, full of boxers, imprisoned after illegal bouts, including the current undefeated World Champion, Carl Straffen, who is backed by Crilly and a group of rich businessmen. Although boxing is officially illegal there are a number of lucrative fights sanctioned by the regime. Jason is goaded into a fight with Straffen and floors the current World champion. The fight is watched by Keeling and Crilly’s business guests. They see Jason’s potential, purchasing him for five hundred million pounds and they appoint Mickey as his trainer. We discover that Kathryn is secreting helping the rebel cause, by trading sex with Keeling for information that she passes on to John Nicholson, the rebel leader. She meets Jason and they develop a close relationship whilst she maintains her liaison with Keeling. Will Jason realise his dream of becoming World Champion, will this be a catalyst for the overthrow of the regime, will Kathryn continue her double life, supporting the

rebel cause without Keeling finding out and what is the family secret that Mickey is withholding from Jason? You will need to read the book to find out. This is a gripping dystopian thriller, with believable characters and dialogue, realistic fight sequences and firmly embedded in the city of Bristol including a safe house in Gloucester Road and public hangings on The Downs.

Review by Bob Deacon of Bishopston Library

Clifton Library opening hours

Monday 10am-2pm

Tuesday 1pm-5pm

Thursday 1pm-5pm

Friday 10am-2pm

Saturday 1pm-5pm

07572 412 600

April, 2024 27 cliftonvoice Got news? Email:
We pride ourselves on being professional, with excellent customer service, fully insured and competively priced. ● Regular domestic & commercial cleaning ● Short stay Airbnb management & cleaning ● End of tenanacy cleaning, one-off deep cleans, carpet cleaning, communal area cleaning
All cleaning products supplied and included in price NO FEES OR CONTRACTS! Management &servicecleaning

Bristol is for recycling* No.1

We saved

52,000 items from going to waste via our three reuse shops, including 410 mobility aids and 3.3 tonnes of paint.

Last year, we collected


4,000 bags of litter collected through community litter picks we supported.

2,000 homes were powered by biogas produced from the recycled food waste we collected.

Gave back over £30 million in social value.**

Thank you for recycling! Read the full 2023 Bristol Waste impact report *Number 1 core English city for recycling rates according to DEFRA stats 2022-23 **Calculated using the independent National Social Value Portal value added metrics
tonnes of recycling and garden waste saving the city £5.2 million in disposal costs.


MAYOR Marvin Rees thanked litterpickers from SusWoT, Henleaze and other groups at a presentation evening at City Hall for litterpickers. Cabinet Members and Bristol Waste Managers expressed their appreciation too. These litterpicking groups work hard to keep our streets clean, and it was marvellous to meet so many fellow litterpickers.

SusWoT have agreed to meet Bristol Waste to discuss how some of the techniques and technology used by SusWoT might be adopted across the city by other groups to improve their effectiveness. In Henleaze and Westbury litterpickers are given a few local streets to look after and keep their picker, hoop, and bags at home. This means they can litterpick when they like. Many groups meet only once a month or week for a communal session which means that kit might only be used for a couple of hours a month. SusWoT has its routes mapped on its website so that people can see exactly where they are expected to work. SusWoT also has a phone app ‘WoTPlot’ that people can use to photograph serious litter issues so


that they are stored on the app’s map, so that they can be reported to Bristol Waste or dealt with by another litterpicker using the app to find the problem.

SusWoT has signed up to be part of Retrofit West. The West of England Combined Authority have set up this project with the mission to help support householders make their homes more energy-efficient and comfortable by reducing heat loss. SusWoT will endeavour to provide advice and guidance to help local householders find the easy and most cost-effective improvements they can. Many people are daunted by long lists

of improvements that ‘should’ be made, following a survey. They so are overwhelmed by the amount of well-meaning advice that they end up doing nothing. SusWoT want to help householders get started. Retrofit West have sources of expertise and are building an effective supply chain, finding expert installers and suitable suppliers. Retrofit simply means fitting something in your house to reduce heat loss. Keep it Clean is a project to keep the river Trym and Hazel Brook and their surroundings clean. SusWoT is looking for volunteers to keep small sections by the river clean. All kit would be provided.

Himalayan Balsam is a nonnative invasive plant found on or near the banks of rivers that starts to appear in April. Recently it has been hugely reduced along the Trym and Hazel Brook. To stop it spreading it must be pulled up before it flowers. The flowers can propel the seeds 10m which is how it spreads.

Get growing: April is the best month to sow many vegetables and salad crops so now is the time to get growing. SusWoT plans to have some vegetable plants for sale at the Westbury Parish Church Community Fair on Saturday 11 May. If you would like to help grow some seedlings, mainly tomato, to sell please get in touch. The Community Garden between Stoke Lane and Reedley Road is looking smart and is a great place to sit quietly and rest. The Library Garden now has broad beans growing quite well as well as onions, garlic, and herbs. The more people who can help look after these the better.

To offer to help with any of the above contact suswot2050@gmail. com. Or come to a meeting, 7.30 on the last Thursday of the month in the Westbury Village Hall.

Clifton emerge victorious over Old Reds

THE Rugby Football Union’s National 2 West league features local sides Clifton, Dings Crusaders, Old Redclffians and Weston Hornets, who compete against opponents stretching from Camborne in the far South West to Chester in the North West.

It is however the local derby games which create competitive and sometimes feisty occasions with partisan support !

Clifton 38 Old Redcliffians 24

By half time Clifton looked to be coasting to a comfortable win having secured a try bonus point and scored twenty-six unanswered points. They made good use of a strong wind to maximise possession and territory, forcing the visitors to incur a high penalty count.

The return of popular second row Henry Harper after a lengthy absence through injury was welcomed by the lavender and blacks. There was a strong

comeback by a revitalised Redcliffians after the interval which began to challenge Clifton in an encounter that had its feisty moments, which were well controlled by the referee. However, the home team had more than sufficient reserves to counter any real threat.

Clifton’s early dominance led to powerful number eight Brad Talbot scoring with fly half Luke Cozens landing the first of four successful conversions. Soon after, scrum half Mitch Spencer scampered through a gap from a five-metre scrum to go under the posts. Following a similar scrum, centre Will Owen,

whose strong runs were a feature all game, ran through tackles to touch down. A clever kick ahead by AJ Kilbane led to a chase by fellow winger Zak Hamid who sped into the corner to claim the try bonus point.

Improved accuracy and control after the break by Old Reds led to two tries with firstly replacement Charlie Brabham scoring followed by more pressure sending flanker Jalen Curry in with Jack Gapper converting both efforts.

A strong run by full back Alex Howman, who had gained ground throughout the encounter, found space to run in a fine try. A further trademark Talbot try endorsed the Clifton victory.

Player coach Luke Cozens, pleased to get the win, commented : “We controlled the first half, did the basic stuff well and just needed to keep doing it. We survived their comeback in the second half and completed the job with two good tries."

April, 2024 29 cliftonvoice Got news? Email:
Will Owen on the charge for Clifton in the local derby The community garden in Westbury-on-Trym

ACTRESS Stephanie Beacham has a new partnership with Bristol charity BRACE Dementia Research, as part of her new film, Grey Matter. The small charity is based at Southmead Hospital and funds Alzheimer’s and dementia research in Bristol and across the West Country.

The role of ‘Peg’ in Grey Matter, is played by Stephanie and heartwarmingly shows the challenges and triumphs of living with Alzheimer’s, while being supported by her teenage granddaughter, Chloe.

Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia, which is well known for its memory loss symptoms. The disease causes permanent damage to the brain.

Star supporter

BRACE is currently funding research into earlier Alzheimer’s and dementia diagnosis at UWE and the University of Bath.

Stephanie Beacham said: “Having witnessed my father’s descent into Alzheimer’s, this film is very personal to me.”

“It's one in two of us who will be affected by dementia, and last year it was the leading fatal disease in the UK over anything else. We need to change that, and that can only be done through more research. Please support BRACE Dementia Research, visit

their website, sign up to their emails and watch the film. Together we can defeat dementia.”

Chris Williams, CEO of charity BRACE Dementia Research says “We’re delighted to be in partnership with Stephanie Beacham and the film Grey Matter. BRACE welcomes Stephanie’s support to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s and dementia; and the charity’s mission to find a cure for dementia. If you can, please join us on the 28th April and help raise funds for local research.”

The film can be watched on Sunday April 28, 3pm, at the IMAX cinema (next door to the aquarium), Anchor Road, Bristol, BS1 5TT.

ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS From as little as Per month +VAT £22.50 E-MAIL: Call Nick on 07970 529787 Email: ● TV Aerials & Satellites ● Extra Points ● Repairs ● Sky Work Undertaken ● Telephone Extensions ● TV Wall Mounting ● CCTV ● Data Points & Wi-Fi Extensions ● TV/DAB/FM Multi Point Systems The Aerial Co. Est.2004 AERIAL SPECIALISTS       AERIAL SERVICES BUILDING SERVICES Kevin Gapper Roofing We cover all aspects of roofing work • Tiled roofs • Flat roofs • Lead roofs • Installation of Velux Windows • Timber works 10 year guarantee with all new roofs Local Bristol family run roofing business with over 20 years experience From planning to end product T: 01179 510319 or 07872 484994 W: To advertise, contact Emma on 0117 9082121 or 07715 770448 or email CLEANING BATHROOMS & KITCHENS Blue Flame Services 0117 960 0296 0797 0122137 BEAUTIFUL, CONTEMPORARY, KITCHENS, BATHROOMS & WETROOMS, ALSO CLOAKROOMS & UNDER STAIRS TOILETS We install Wren, Magnet, Howdens and Wickes Kitchens As one of the most used areas in the home, fitted kitchens need to be a flexible space while being able to stand up to daily wear and tear. A new fitted kitchen can be customised to suit any layout and lifestyle. Give your bathroom or wetroom the look it deserves with a beautiful range of traditional and modern styles. We take great pride in our work and we respect clients homes and belongings. All works are fully insured. To discuss your needs or to arrange a free, no-obligation quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us. 0117 960 0296 0797 0122137 blueflame_a6leaflet.indd 2 15/03/2022 16:34 We install Wren, Magnet, Howdens and Wickes Kitchens As one of the most used areas in the home, fitted kitchens need to be a flexible space while being up to daily wear and tear. A new fitted kitchen can be customised to suit any layout and lifestyle. Give your bathroom or wetroom the look it deserves with a beautiful range of traditional and modern styles. We take great pride in our work and we respect clients homes and belongings. All works are fully insured. To discuss your needs or to arrange a free, no obligation quotation, please do not hesitate to contact us Beautiful contemporary kitchens, bathrooms & wetrooms, also cloakrooms & understair toilets ADVERTISE YOUR BUSINESS 30 cliftonvoice April, 2024 n NEWS
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