Clifton Voice March 2024

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Stabbing tragedies prompt new knife crime campaign

BRISTOL Mayor Marvin

Rees and police commander Superintendent Mark Runacres have written to parents in Clifton and across the city in the wake of three fatal stabbings.

In a joint letter distributed via schools, they explain the actions being taken to help keep children and young people safe.

They say extra police patrols will take place near schools and a new campaign on youth knife crime has been launched.

The letter, issued after the killing of Darrian Williams, 16, says: “We fully appreciate you may have significant concerns about the safety of your child, and this is something which we do not underestimate.

“Avon and Somerset Police is working closely with Bristol City Council and together we are supporting schools across the city to manage the aftermath of this horrific incident.

Darrian's death came three weeks after two boys, Max Dixon, 16, and Mason Rist, 15, were killed in Knowle West.

Report: Page 3

Our wildlife wonders

SCHOOLCHILDREN in Bristol will soon be able to test a new free multimedia resource created by the conservation charity Wildscreen.

Launched in the city last

month, Wildscreen ARK includes high quality images, videos and authenticated factual information on natural history.

More details: Page 23

Musical talent is celebrated

Musicians from Badminton School wowed the audience at their spring concert at St Georges Bristol.


Landmark site back on market

The former WH Smith site in Clifton Village is up for sale again after a bid to use part of it for the community failed.


'Petty' rules bid set for the chop

Proposed new rules for Bristol's allotments are set to be dropped after an outcry from hundreds of gardeners.


cliftonvoice Celebrating 40 years of helping Bristol move home.
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Weca's Roger Hoare with Chris Packham, Peaches Golding and Dan Norris


Bristol mourns Mason and Max

My thoughts remain with everyone affected by the tragic deaths of Mason Rist, 15, and Max Dixon, 16, following an incident on Ilminster Avenue in Knowle West in late January.

With my cabinet at our meeting last month, we shared our sincerest condolences with their families, who are going through a pain which nobody – no parent – should have to experience.

Like people across south Bristol, our whole city, and beyond, I was deeply saddened to hear of this further loss of life. As the police have said, any loss of life is devastating but this case is particularly so, as the two young victims had their entire lives ahead of them.

The murder inquiry launched by Avon & Somerset Police has, at the time of writing, arrested and charged a number of people in

relation to these horrific events. With hundreds of local people, and Filwood councillor Chris Jackson, I attended the vigil in Knowle West the evening after this double murder, and found the community’s response and mobilisation incredibly moving and powerful. People have come together to grieve, with a real resolution to do all they can.

The council, including my cabinet members, has been working in partnership with the community, schools, partner

organisations like the Robins Foundation and Youth Moves, and the police to support people affected. Our director of public health has written joint letters with the police to the community and local young people signposting everyone affected to the support which is still available.

Mental health support is on offer from Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership, Off the Record, Samaritans, and Bristol MIND. We would encourage anyone experiencing a reaction associated with trauma to call 111, contact their GP, and/or talk to someone they trust.

Max and Mason are sadly not the first young people that Bristol has lost to knife crime. As a city, we will do all we can to support their families. At Bristol City and Bristol Rovers, we saw a united

Bristol City Council 0117 922 2000

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city in two minutes’ applause in Mason and Max’s memory.

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formal complaints procedure. If you have a complaint about anything in the Clifton Voice, contact the publisher using the details below. We aspire to follow the Code of Conduct of the NUJ (National Union of Journalists), which holds journalists to a high standard of behaviour. Further details of the complaints process can be found on the Voice website here, or can be obtained by contacting the Publisher. A member of the PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Clifton Voice is independent. We cannot take responsibility for content or accuracy of adverts, and it is advertisers’ responsibility to conform to all relevant legislation. We cannot vouch for any services offered. Opinions are not necessarily those of the editor. Clifton Voice is distributed each month to Clifton residents. If for some reason you do not get a copy, please collect one from local pick-up points. Feedback is always welcomed, contact Emma Cooper on 0117 908 2121 or This month 6,500 copies copies will be distributed around Clifton. cliftonvoice Useful numbers Got news? Email: 2 cliftonvoice March, 2024 Maurice Fells Editorial 0117 921 3612 / 07771 697835
While we can likely unfortunately never totally eliminate the risk, and there is the need for real national reform, we must also continue working locally to try to prevent further tragedies. shares
his views with Voice readers

'Let's unite to prevent more knife tragedies'

TEMPORARY stop-and-search powers were given to police in Bristol for 48 hours last month following a third fatal stabbing and several other serious knife attacks.

The area involved included central Bristol, St Pauls, Easton, Eastville, Ashley Down, Temple and Fishponds.

The decision followed the death of 16-year-old Darrian Williams on February 14 after he was the victim of masked attackers in Rawnsley Park, Easton. Two 15-year-old boys have since been charged with murder and possessing a knife in a public place and were due to appear at Bristol Youth Court as the Voice went to print.

Darrian’s death came after the killing of 19-year-old Eddie Kinuthia last June and of Max Dixon, 16, and Mason Rist, 15, in Knowle West, in January. A 16-year-old boy knifed in McDonald’s in The Horsefair on February 8 remains critical in hospital while a 20-year-old

suffered knife injuries in an attack in Fishponds Road on February 14. Police are also investigating a serious assault in Mina Road park on February 4 in which a 14-year-old needed hospital treatment for stab injuries.

Police consulted the mayor Marvin Rees and other community leaders before deciding to take the short-term stop-and-search measures. They have also launched a proactive operation aimed at getting more knives off the streets – but they say what is most needed is united efforts to prevent young people carrying the knives in the first place.

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable Peter Warren said: “Children and young people are being seriously injured and killed on the streets of Bristol and this needs to stop.

“We are extremely concerned about the frequency of serious violence incidents involving young people in the city, many of

which involve knives.

“Knife crime is a national problem and not something policing can solve on its own but we recognise there is an ongoing issue in our city which we need to put significant resources into to address.

“This new operation’s focus will be on tackling immediate problems such as those we’re sadly seeing in Bristol, but it is not a long term solution.

“Working together with our colleagues in the Violence Reduction Partnership, including local authorities, education, health and social care, we are committed to understanding and addressing the root causes of serious violence, diverting young people away from becoming involved in criminality and educating them on the dangers of knife crime in particular.”

Initiatives already under way include a partnership with NHS South West and HeartSafe to install bleed control kits across Avon and Somerset, with 200


Boys’ deaths were shocking and senseless

I AM deeply saddened by the recent shocking and senseless deaths of two boys, aged only 15 and 16, at the end of January in South Bristol.

The grief being felt by the families of those boys and the impact it will have on their loved ones, as well as the wider community, is unimaginable.

Preventing knife crime and stopping young people from coming to harm must be at the forefront of all our minds.

This is an area of focus for our Violence Reduction Partnership, which provides education, mentoring, and employs a community-based approach to prevent these tragic crimes.

Additionally, to encourage people to safely discard any knives and weapons they are carrying, Avon & Somerset Police have installed weapon surrender bins across the area.

Lifesaving bleed control kits designed to provide emergency help

for someone who suffers a traumatic injury are also being installed alongside defibrillators.

I also want to focus on the process of police misconduct hearings, as this is something many people are rightly asking about this month.

I am proud to have lobbied for significant changes aimed at increasing the chief constable’s power to act on police officers who have been found guilty of misconduct.

One of the outcomes of this, which comes into effect from May, is that chief constables will be able to terminate the employment of officers found guilty of gross misconduct.

This move marks a pivotal step towards upholding the highest standards of integrity and professionalism within law enforcement.

One of the most notable adjustments is the composition of the panels responsible for adjudicating cases of misconduct.

Formerly, only one independent

panel member (IPM) was mandated to sit alongside a chief constable in a hearing.

The revamped structure now necessitates the inclusion of two IPMs, bolstering the impartiality of the decision-making process.

Consequently, my office is actively recruiting new IPMs to partake in this crucial aspect of police oversight.

The imperative for these reforms is underscored by the instances of police misconduct showcased in the Channel 4 documentary ‘To Catch A Copper’, which shines a spotlight on the need to addressing such issues decisively and transparently.

If this is an issue you are passionate about, I urge you to put yourself forward. These roles offer an invaluable opportunity to contribute to the integrity of our law enforcement system.

I am also pleased to lend my support to the government’s forthcoming ‘Stop! Think Fraud’ campaign.

expected to be in place by April 2024. These kits are designed to be used in an emergency, in the time between an incident and emergency services arriving on scene. They are not designed to be used instead of calling 999.

Weapon surrender bins have been installed across the force area, in which people can safely and anonymously discard of knives or weapons they are carrying. Find out more about bleed kits and surrender bins here - https://www. report/weapons-knives/

Operation Sceptre, a national police week of action to target knife crime, runs twice a year and sees officers focus activities on prevention, disruption, and education around knife crime.

Officers carry out targeted searches in areas where intelligence suggests weapons may be stored or hidden, as well as carrying out extra patrols, targeting those who are known to be habitual knife carriers.

With Police and Crime Commissioner Mark Shelford

As the National Association of Police and Crime Commissioners economic and cybercrime lead, I recognise the critical importance of equipping individuals with the knowledge and tools to safeguard themselves against fraudulent activities.

By fostering awareness and vigilance, we can collectively mitigate the impact of fraud and protect our communities from financial harm.

March, 2024 3 cliftonvoice n NEWS To advertise, contact Emma on 0117 9082121 or 07715 770448 or email

More children in 'school-to-prison pipeline'

MORE than twice as many Bristol children were permanently excluded last year compared to the past two previous years.

In the last academic year, 80 children were permanently excluded, 11 from primary schools and three from special schools. So far this year, 73 children have been permanently excluded, including five from primaries.

Two high schools were responsible for over a third of permanent exclusions last year, although a Bristol City Council report did not name which ones. Figures from the Department for Education will be published in the coming months on the number of exclusions per school.

Exclusion rates in Bristol are higher for ethnic minorities, particularly for children with Caribbean heritage or Gypsy, Roma and Traveller heritage. Being permanently excluded from school can often harm the life chances of children.

During a people scrutiny meeting on February 19, Labour deputy mayor Asher Craig, responsible for education, said: “This has been going on since I was a child. I don’t want to have to call [schools] out, but they are partly responsible for what I call the school-to-prison pipeline.

“I’m quite shocked about how many children we’re seeing excluded from primary

school, that never used to be a thing at all. But now we’re seeing five-year-olds being excluded permanently.

“Let’s call it what it is — racism within the education system is why we’re seeing so many black kids being excluded. And it’s the same cycle. You can go back 20, 30 years and see the exact same figures. There’s a lot of work to be done and the schools have to be part of the solution.”

The number of permanent exclusions in Bristol dipped in recent years, before rising again. In 2016, there were 87 permanent exclusions and the council set up a panel to address the issue. The Bristol Inclusion Panel brought together high schools from across the city once a fortnight, to discuss children at risk of exclusion and find alternative options for them.

This led to permanent exclusions dropping massively, as many children were instead moved into other schools or alternative learning provision. But this meant some were not getting a full education, and allowed schools a route to too easily move difficult children elsewhere. A recent review then recommended major changes to the panel, and now exclusions have gone back up.

Mark Kennedy, from the council’s alternative learning provision hub, said:

“There was a low permanent exclusion rate but significantly more children were being moved out of a full-time setting into a different setting. It was set up with the best intentions, but I don’t think necessarily what it’s done is to drive inclusive practices in schools. It’s just supported secondary schools to come to a panel and move children on somewhere else.

“My concern at the moment is that the use of part-time ALP is creating an environment where children are less likely to be able to permanently re-enter school.”

Early intervention is now planned to be offered in primary schools, to tackle issues before they escalate.

Many schools are facing a staffing shortage with an “absolute crisis of recruitment and retention”, Labour Cllr Katja Hornchen, a supply teacher, said.

She said: “We are going months and terms without teachers in specific classes. For vulnerable children it’s hugely disruptive because they’ve usually got a thing of not trusting adults, and now they’re constantly having this stream of changing adults in front of the classroom telling them what to do. And that really sets them off.”

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WHS site put up for sale again

THE former WH Smith site in the centre of Clifton Village is back on the market again.

Earlier this winter the For Sale boards were taken down as the property developer THAT Group had discussions with local councillors and various organisations about the possibility of a community buyout of part of the site.

However, it is understood that agreement could not be reached over the price.

Now ward councillors Paula O'Rourke and Katy Grant say they understand THAT Group are open to offers in the region of £6m for the whole site.

If these are not forthcoming by the end of March the developers will consider alternative uses for the site.

Detailed planning consentwas previously secured for a 27,000 square foot threestorey development including a restaurant /cafe, offices, and shops.

The two firms handling the sale, Lambert, Smith, Hampton and Burston Cook say: “We are of the opinion that the site also suits a development of residential flats above ground floor commercial for which consent has previously been granted but has since lapsed.”

THAT Group, which gained permission for a three storey

development three years ago and demolished the derelict the WH Smith and six other shops, announced last July that the project it had envisaged was no longer viable because of soaring construction costs. It said it was reconsidering how best to use the site.

Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society, which objected to THAT Group’s scheme, said: “We shall be carefully watching any new plans that come up for the site”.

The empty site is covered in weeds and bushes.

Saddle up for hospice

CYCLISTS are being encouraged to sign up for the area's biggest charity bike ride, the Tour de Bristol.

The event in aid of St Peter’s Hospice, challenges riders to take on one of three different routes –40km, 65km or 100km – across Bristol and South Gloucestershire, all starting at UWE’s Centre for Sport at the university's Frenchay campus on April 13.

Cyclists can also take on a virtual challenge by choosing a route and date to suit themselves.

People can register at

St Peter’s Hospice fundraising manager Hayley Ali said: “It's the hospice's largest event and an incredible day of fundraising, with cyclists of all ages and abilities coming together from Bristol and beyond."

5 cliftonvoice March, 2024 n NEWS Offices in: Bradley Stoke | Central Bristol | Clevedon | Henleaze | Keynsham | Nailsea Portishead | Staple Hill | Thornbury | Weston-super-Mare | Worle | Yate Get in touch: 0117 428 1999 51 Henleaze Rd, Henleaze, Bristol BS9 4JU Need legal advice? We offer expert legal services for you, your family and your business. Solving your legal problems ...locally To advertise, contact Emma on 0117 9082121 or 07715 770448 or email

A PLAQUE commemorating an author often regarded as the ‘Queen of Crime thriller writers’ is to be installed on an old church tower in Clifton.

The 110 foot high tower of Emmanuel Church is still a significant landmark although the church itself was demolished long ago.

The church in Guthrie Road had a touch of literary fame on Christmas Eve 1914 when the vicar found time to squeeze in between the festive services a wedding ceremony at short notice. It had been organised the day before when the bride and groom obtained a Special Licence from the Bishop of Bristol. The groom was on leave from the Royal Air Force at the time.

The bride was 24-yearold Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller from Torquay and her groom was Captain Archibald Christie, who gave his address as Guthrie Road, Clifton, where his stepfather lived and was a master at Clifton College.

Thus she became Mrs Agatha Christie, later Dame Agatha Christie DBE, and she went on to write more than seventy

books, featuring the Belgian detective Hercule Poirot and the village spinster Miss Jane Marple.

The plaque, donated by Clifton and Hotwells Improvement, will be dedicated on March 2 at 11am by the Lord Lieutenant of Bristol Peaches Golding and Tim Sullivan, a thriller writer who was educated locally.

Plaque commemorates Agatha Christie wedding Concern for wildlife

CHIS installs commemorative green plaques at buildings connected with notable people.

Emmanuel Churchm, which survived the Second World War bombing, was declared redundant by the Diocese of Bristol in the late 1960s. The tower was kept and incorporated into Emmanuel Court, a block of flats that stands on the exact site of the church. The flats were officially opened in 1982.

BATS, woodpeckers and owls could all suffer if an extension to the David Lloyd Leisure Club in Westbury on Trym gets the go-ahead, according to wildlife lovers.

The club on Greystoke Avenue wants to extend the building, and add an outdoor spa garden with hydro pool, sauna and plant room, with outside lighting, along a boundary with Badocks Wood.

People living nearby say the spa garden will be on an existing car park, and will mean more cars overflowing onto nearby streets.

They also say new floodlighting on two recently built padel (a form of tennis) courts is so bright, they don’t need to turn on their bedroom lights at night. In a separate application, David Lloyd has asked for retrospective planning permission for these courts and a terrace lounge area and floodlighting.

Friends of Badocks Wood and the Westbury on Trym Society (WoTSoc) are objecting to both the padel courts and the new spa garden. Both schemes will be considered by Bristol City Council planners.

The Friends say the David Lloyd site is already “the major source of pervasive industrial noise and light pollution to nature on the Badocks Wood site” and they fear the changes will make matters worse.

The plans can be viewed on the council planning portal with the references 24/00137/F and 23/03541/F.

To advertise, contact Emma on 0117 9082121 or 07715 770448 or email 6 cliftonvoice March, 2024 n NEWS

Library staff recruitment freeze ends

A RECRUITMENT freeze that has forced temporary shortnotice closures of libraries in Clifton and across the city has been lifted.

The city council’s Labour administration says it has found the cash to end a ban on casual staff to cover absences through sickness and annual leave, which has been in place since November.

But branches continue to shut their doors at times while the search for new employees begins, prompting renewed criticism from opposition councillors.

There were more than 300 full or part-day closures over two months, affecting 26 of Bristol’s 27 libraries at least once.

A motion tabled by Cllr Tim Kent (Lib Dem, Hengrove & Whitchurch Park) to full council urging Labour mayor Marvin Rees to keep them open received unanimous cross-party support.

The meeting heard that branches had been closed for a fifth of their scheduled opening


times, while Labour said ending the recruitment freeze would cost £300,000 and require cuts elsewhere.

But the ruling group now says it has allocated the money.

Cllr Kent told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that he welcomed the move but feared it would take time to turn the situation around.

He said: “A few weeks ago every councillor, and the mayor, voted to support the motion calling for the vacancy management to end and for libraries to be fully staffed and opened.

“But even more have closed and until now there appears to have been no action to reverse this policy which is undermining the branch library network.

“Libraries provide safe and warm spaces where people can access books and the internet.

“They are free social hubs. “Existing library staff are really feeling the strain of this policy. I fear it is causing such damage

Why I'm missing number 9 bus

DON Shapland may have a point about the no 8 bus route (Voice, February) but as a resident of Cotham/Redland I strongly object to his description of the defunct no 9 as never going 'anywhere in particular'. It went three times an hour within yards of my house and provided an essential service to Temple Meads, Pembroke Rd surgery, Clifton Down shopping centre and all the delights of the obviously (in his view) far superior Clifton.

We are left with the 72 once an hour, often late or cancelled. I have frequently waited for the 72 at the Triangle while three no 8s came and went.

Be grateful for your preferential treatment - or come and sample the eccentric pleasures of Gloucester Road shops and the several excellent restaurants on Chandos Road.

Ruth Webb (Dr), Redland

This service is great - use it or lose it

PLEASE can you bring your readers attention to the recently improved Stagecoach bus service 3X from Aztec West to Temple Meads. It covers part of the route previously served by the much missed First Bus No 9.

Currently there are 10 buses running hourly per day MondaySaturday. The route travels along the Gloucester Road, Zetland Road, Redland Road, Redland Hill to Blackboy Hill, Whiteladies Road, Queens Road to Temple Meads.

This service has not been advertised, to the best of my knowledge, and I fear it may be lost if it is underused. Every time I have used this service it has run to time which is impressive.

to the library network that it will not recover. I hope the mayor will now listen to council and stop the library closures.”

Cllr Richard Eddy (Conservative, Bishopsworth) said: “Whilst I welcome any, very belated recognition that normal funding for staff vacancies will be resumed in the libraries service, I am appalled that Bristolians have had to endure Third World standards of library provision.

“Bristol’s branch libraries deserve more than to be treated as a political Cinderella service.”

The worst day for temporary closures was on Saturday, January 20, when 10 branches –more than a third – were shut.

Eight had to close for at least part of the day on Wednesday, January 31.

A Bristol Labour group spokesperson said: “It’s beyond belief to hear the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats joining forces to complain about the effects of government austerity, which their parties forced on


“The city is not immune to their governments’ spending cuts. As a result, some libraries have been short on staff, leading to temporary closures – often for part-days or during lunch hours.

“Whilst a fifth of libraries across the UK have closed permanently, Mayor Rees’ Labour administration has bucked the trend and prevented any permanent closures in Bristol.

“Labour’s proud to have protected and invested in Bristol’s libraries. We have a long-term plan to invest in technology to improve accessibility, extend opening hours and deliver a library service fit for the future.

“However, we have also allocated the necessary funding to lift the council’s temporary recruitment freeze for libraries effective immediately – the recruitment process for additional staff will be under way as soon as possible.”

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Panto in March? Normal for Hotwells...

THE Hotwells Pantomime returns to the stage later this month when the curtain goes up on a local version of Treasure Island.

“This is pantomime number forty-two and all of them have been performed, written, acted and directed by local people. They all come from Hotwells, Clifton Wood and Clifton” said Bryan Mason, who is directing this year’s show.

“We have a cast of more than fifty people along with an eightpiece band working on twelve songs. There are also children and teenagers who have special parts in the panto.

“The show is always set in the Kingdom of Hotwellia and is packed with invention, colour. laughter and songs. There are also references to local people and places,” said Bryan, who has previously performed, written and edited various pantos.

Christmas is normally the

season for staging pantos but the Hotwells tradition of holding it in March began with the first one in 1981. Since then it has become a major event in the local community calendar.

“People said they were busy in December so it’s always been staged in March. It’s as truly community event,” said Bryan.

Work on each production normally starts towards the end of November when a small group of local people meets to decide which panto they want to put on. Casting and rehearsals take place in the New Year.

Treasure Island is being staged at The Hope Chapel. Hope Chapel Hill from March 13-16. After the four-night run a group of people will gather to disburse the ticket money. It always goes to support charities and organisations in the Hotwells area.

• A scene from last year's productiion of Cinderella


I'll keep fighting fossil fuels bill

Work towards a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza and Israel

The horrors of recent months in Israel and Gaza have been intolerable. We cannot become desensitised to the civilian deaths we are witnessing. There has been no let-up to the suffering in Gaza, no end to the cruelty for hostages. Millions are displaced, desperate, hungry.

Israel continues to use devastating tactics that have seen far too many innocent civilians killed, with unacceptable blocks on essential aid, nowhere safe for civilians, a humanitarian catastrophe and now warnings of a deadly famine. Meanwhile, Hamas terrorists continues to hold hostages, hide among civilians and fire rockets into Israel.

I was hugely disappointed that the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu recently repeated his

opposition to a state of Palestine. The Labour Party, and I personally, have long been committed to the idea of two states of Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace.

At the time of writing, I am deeply alarmed at reports that Israel is preparing a major military operation in Rafah. An Israeli offensive there would have catastrophic humanitarian consequences. We need an end to the fighting now.

Knife crime in the city

Like many of you, I have been shocked by the recent incidents of knife crime in Bristol.

Last week another young life taken by the cruel knife crime epidemic. My thoughts are with the young boy’s family and friends as they come to terms with this tragic loss. We need swift firm action for those carrying and early

intervention to stop people from doing so in the first place.

I’ll continue working for a targeted programme in Bristol to identify young people at risk as well as more youth workers, youth hubs and mental health support.

Voting against the Offshore Petroleum Bill

Many people have reached out to me about the Offshore Petroleum Bill. I completely agree with what my constituents are telling me about the Bill – it is unnecessary, undermines action on climate change and will not cut energy bills or increase energy security. Therefore, I joined my Labour colleagues and opposed it at its Second Reading in the House of Commons, on 31st January.

Doubling down on fossil fuels will make Britain more insecure, not less.

Unfortunately, as you may know, the Bill passed its Second Reading. I assure you that I will continue to support efforts to oppose it through its further parliamentary stages.

March, 2024 9 To advertise, contact Emma on 0117 9082121 or 07715 770448 or email
Debbonaire writes for the Voice

Council tax rises Bristol Waste £4m bailout

COUNCIL tax bills for band D households in Bristol are set to rise by more than £115 from April.

Annual charges will increase from £2,345.24 to £2,460.42, while those for band B properties are going up by £89.52, from £1,824.08 to £1,913.60.

Bristol city councillors were expected to agree the 4.99 per cent hike at budget full council on Tuesday, February 20, the maximum permitted by government without approval by a local referendum.

The bills include a £13 band D rise (4.88 per cent) for Avon & Somerset Police – from £266.20 to £279.20 – despite an initial proposed £10 increase by police & crime commissioner Mark Shelford, with Chief Constable Sarah Crew successfully arguing more resources were needed.

There will also be an uplift of £2.48 to £85.43 for Avon Fire & Rescue Service, although this will be decided at a fire authority

meeting on Monday, February 19, with members also given the option of freezing charges at £82.95.

Bristol City Council’s portion of the fee, which comprises most of it, is 4.99 per cent more than last year, with two per cent set aside for social care.

Band A bills will rise by £76.71, from £1,563.49 to £1,640.20 , while band C’s increase is £89.52 to £1,913.60.

Charges for band C households will go up by £102.31 to £2,186.96 and band E from £2,866.40 to £3,007.34, a rise of £140.94.

Band F residents will pay £3,553.80, £166.23 more than now, band G is up from £3,908.73 to £4,100.53, with people living in the highest band H forking out an extra £230.16, with bills for 2024/25 at £4,920.64.

BRISTOL City Council has given its waste company a £4million bailout, it has been revealed.

The extra annual cash injection, funded by taxpayers from April 2024, aims to keep Bristol Waste’s loss-making kerbside collection, recycling and street cleaning services at the current level.

It comes after the local authority’s Quality of Life Survey found residents were more satisfied with its services than any other provided by the council, and City Hall chiefs are determined to keep it that way.

The business will make a £2million loss in the current financial year but the additional money will see this reduced over the next two years before the firm finally breaks even with a small projected profit of £27,000 in 2026/27, a council meeting was told.

Council chief executive Stephen Peacock said: “You will see there is a £4million contribution from Bristol City Council to allow the company to basically maintain the current standard of service. “It’s fantastic news that, despite everything we are dealing with, we have been able to do what the administration was hoping to achieve which was to keep the service the way it is, recognising the Quality of Life Survey data. "

Bristol Waste interim finance director Gary Phillips said: “The current year has seen many different cost impacts.

“Drivers’ wage increases have been higher than budget, we’ve got an ageing fleet of vehicles, we’re six years into their eight-year life so we’re seeing high costs for spare parts, maintenance, and we are also beholden to fuel costs in the market.”

He said prices for recyclable materials, which the business collects and sells on, had “dropped dramatically”.

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Judge criticises council's bid to take both sides in playing fields battle

COTHAM School has vowed to fight on despite criticism over mounting legal costs in its battle with local residents over Stoke Lodge playing fields.

The High Court heard that a one-day hearing about the site, which has been designated a village green, in January had cost the school £23,500 in legal fees.

Campaigners We Love Stoke Lodge said that was equivalent to the annual wage of a teaching assistant – and called on the school to drop the legal challenge and work with local people.

Henry Michallat, a Bristol City Councillor for Stoke Bishop, said it was time for the state-funded academy to drop its “costly and senseless” legal challenge.

Cllr Michallat said: “I really hope that Cotham School thinks carefully about spending yet more education funding on this unnecessary litigation.

“The village green does not stop Cotham School using the playing fields. Other schools and clubs play sport without the need for a fence.”

But in a statement Cotham School said it would appeal against the court ruling in January that its legal costs should not be capped if it loses its legal fight to have the Town or Village Green (TVG) status overturned.

It said it was looking at “all available avenues to protect these school premises, our playing fields”. The school leases the land from Bristol City Council, although while the legal row is

going on it has moved its games lessons to Golden Hill.

Cotham School is mounting a legal challenge to a decision in August last year by BCC’s Public Rights of Way committee to grant Stoke Lodge playing fields Town or Village Green (TVG) status. That decision followed years of disagreement between the and WLSL.

The school fenced the land, saying it was necessary to allow it to safely hold PE lessons and sports – but locals said that was a restriction on many years of public use.

At the Bristol High Court hearing in January the school told HHJ Paul Matthews it could not afford more than £70,000 in costs if it lost, and so wanted him to limit their costs. He rejected that request.

Afterwards in a statement the school said: “It’s very disappointing that as a state school, Cotham School, has not received any cost protection through the courts to protect our

premises, Cotham School Playing Fields in the ongoing legal proceedings.”

A spokesperson for WLSL said the hearing had cost their group £25,000 in legal fees.

They said: “Now there are two big questions - how much will Cotham School have to pay towards our costs of that hearing, and what will they do next?”

“The court judgement said the school’s business manager had told the court they could not afford to spend more than £70,000 on the legal case.

“Most of that £70k has gone, in their own costs and the amount they will have to pay towards ours. So at what point will the governors say 'enough is enough'?

“There is no need to be spending this money at all, because as we know, as they know, as Ofsted and the Department for Education agree - they can come back and do PE on Stoke Lodge Village Green any time they want.”

The judge also rejected Bristol City Council’s application to present two opposite arguments in court – both defending its own Rights of Way Committee decision to award TVG status, AND as landlords who rent the land to Cotham School, backing the school’s opposition to the TVG.

In January BCC told the Voice it wanted the school and local people to reach a mutually agreeable solution. The council hoped asking a court to make a final decision on the TVG status would in the long run reduce costs and avoid protracted court cases.

But in his ruling HHJ

Matthews criticised BCC as “rather curious” for trying to take both sides in the dispute.

He ruled that BCC’s opposing views had to “sail under one flag” – and the council would participate in the case represented by just one legal team and funded by one set of costs.

March, 2024 11 cliftonvoice Got news? Email: n
Stoke Lodge playing fields are a haven of tranquillity in this photo taken by Bruce Quilter on February 19


News from your Green Party Clifton councillors

Paula O’Rourke and Katy Grant

We thought that this month we would focus on changes to our physical environment, using three examples of changes coming to Clifton.


Once we heard that the developer THAT Group had decided that the proposal which they have planning permission for was no longer viable due to increased construction costs, we were concerned that we may be looking at the horrid hoarding for yet more years to come.

We worked with local interest groups to see if there was a possibility of a partial community buy-out, but that didn’t work. We also tried to persuade the developer to consider a ‘meanwhile use’ but the costs of establishing such a project are quite high and they have decided that, in the first instance, they will take the site to market to “see what happens”.

We are told the site will be open for offers, in the region of £6m, until the end of March. THAT Group do not need to sell and, should the sale not proceed, they would return with a new proposal – perhaps a hotel.

We are often asked about a compulsory purchase order. We explain the site isn’t dormant as it has planning approval and demolition has taken place, so a CPO is not possible.


We all agree that the early consultations and plans for the changes to the area we knew as

Cumberland Basin got off to a rocky start and there is still much concern about the City’s aims for this historic area. Lessons have been learnt and there is now an improved appetite to ensure that residents are being ‘brought along’ and being listened to as the plans evolve.

Bristol City Council statement: “Western Harbour is an area that extends from Hotwells to Greville Smyth Park and includes Cumberland Basin and the New Cut. As the city responds to a changing climate, aging infrastructure, the increasing threat of flooding and the need to provide quality, affordable places for people to live and work, Western Harbour presents an opportunity to shape a place that meets these challenges head on, building a new community, while valuing what makes this part of Bristol so special and unique. We’re looking for a completely fresh set of members for the Western Harbour Advisory Group to build on the vision approved by Bristol City Council, bringing community perspectives and ideas to this pivotal part of the city as it evolves.”

Sixteen members will be selected in early March and will remain in place for the duration

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

HELLO again from Carla and Tom, your Green Party councillors for Clifton Down ward. We’d like to start by taking the chance to thank all of the fantastic volunteer groups in our neighbourhood, who amongst many things do brilliant work in the community cleaning streets, looking after communal gardens and connecting residents with each other. There is no understating the power of community and feeling a part of one, and we’d encourage all readers to reach out to their local groups to see if there’s something that might interest you in helping with. The Clifton half of our ward is covered by two Residents Associations: Oakfield Road Association for the street and those around it, and Clifton Down Community Association for streets from Alma Road up to the Downs. Give them a search or of course contact us to be put in touch.

This last month has been a busy one, particularly for residents writing in following a flurry of policy decisions by the Labour Mayor and his administration.

Of particular concern has been the review of allotments, with a proposal brought forward to hike rents and introduce a raft of new rules and charges for everything from fruit cages and sheds to ponds. It’s clear that the service currently provided is inadequate, with huge waiting lists and a tiny team covering allotments across the city. Poor management has meant rents haven’t kept pace with inflation, and most people appreciate that prices will need to rise. Unfortunately however these proposals have not been co-designed, and as a result have caused a lot of backlash amongst the growing community. We’re pleased that at the time of writing there appears to have been a

of the master planning period. There will be no councillor representation on the Advisory Group, however, we will stay close to it and report back to residents through this column.


We know trees have a natural lifespan, however, it is always sad to see a magnificent old tree disappear – especially one in a prominent place.

We will soon lose a sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus) that is growing as part of a group of four on the green space south of the Suspension Bridge and we know that there will be questions about the necessity to remove it.

BCC tree officers always notify us and allow us to challenge decisions. However, safety must be a primary concern and we can’t allow a tree to continue to stand if there is clear danger that it will fail. We asked for a PiCUS test to be done on the tree to give a fuller picture. Unfortunately, the test revealed that internal decay is significant and the consultant has recommended that the tree is removed as the risk of failure is unacceptable.

It will be a loss in this prominent site, but there will now be an opportunity to sponsor a new tree in place of the one being removed. To do so, go to museums-parks-sports-and-culture/parks-andopen-spaces/trees-and-meadows/trees-for-bristol

Although we’ve not lived in Clifton all our lives, we are always being told by those who have lived here for decades that ‘Clifton is always changing’ – changing it may be, but enduring it certainly is! On a sunny day in February, it’s a great place to live.

partial U-turn, with additional fees dropped, and will continue to work with growers to get their calls for our allotments to be put on a sustainable footing.

We’d also been written to about price hikes to the Residents Parking Scheme, where the administration propose to more than triple the cost of the first parking permit to and have removed the low emission car discount. Again, this comes after not reviewing the scheme once over the eight years of running Bristol. It is right that we charge for properly managed parking, and for people to store their private vehicles on our public roads. Space is at a premium, and competing with the needs of tackling the climate emergency and investing in better walking, cycling, and public transport infrastructure. However, this does seem another poorly contrived plan sprung on residents, and we wait to see if there's another partial U-turn.

In other news, Tom met with representatives of Sovereign (now Sovereign Network Group), the

housing association which bought Clifton Down Shopping Centre back at the end of 2020. There are no plans on the table yet but they are undertaking extensive surveys of the building before considering options for the future of the site, which they have expressed a desire to become more mixed use. We are very keen that any development safeguards the supermarket, and that new housing provision prioritises affordable units over those for market sale. Working on the existing structure rather than demolition would help achieve this, and it’s clear there is potential for an improvement to what is currently there. Avoiding demolition has a much lower carbon footprint too, ever more important locally as both our government and Keir Starmer race to ditch commitments towards a greening the national economy. We have offered to facilitate community engagement as the project develops and will continue to watch this space closely.

Got news? Email: March, 2024 12 cliftonvoice cliftonvoice

'Petty' allotment rules bid looks set to be dropped

BRISTOL’s deputy mayor has dropped a huge hint that some of the “petty” new rules proposed for allotment holders will be ditched.

But Cllr Craig Cheney (Labour, Hillfields) said controversial planned increases to fees for plots were likely to still go ahead because they were needed to improve the service.

Public consultation closed on January 31 into the city council’s new allotment rents and tenancy policy, which includes a raft of additional charges and changes to what is allowed on the land.

Plotholders would be forced to remove fences, hedges, most trees and large play equipment, as well as replace glass in greenhouses with twin-walled plastic and drain water from deeper ponds.

New fees include £25 for keeping bees, chickens or rabbits and £15 for a shed, greenhouse, cold frame, fruit cage, pond and to register a co-worker, while the annual cost of having an allotment would double for many.

A petition opposing the plans topped 6,000 signatures, with tenants saying they will be forced off the land.

Bristol City Council, which manages 4,000 plots, with another 1,500 run on its behalf by

five associations, has said it needs to increase rents, which were last reviewed in 2018, and that there are 8,000 people on the waiting list, so more space needs to be freed up.

The council is reviewing responses but suggested at a council budget scrutiny meeting on January 30 that although the rents would have to go up the other changes might be dropped..

Cllr Cheney said at the meeting: “Will we introduce many of the things in the consultation? I suspect not. “I’ll be kind, the document that was issued was perhaps not something that we would have approved of."

Cllr John Goulandris (Conservative, Stoke Bishop) said: “A lot of allotment holders say they are going to cancel their allotments."

Cllr Heather Mack (Green, Lockleaze) said site reps were resigning in protest.

She asked: “If we don’t have site reps or those onboard for our allotments strategy, how do we maintain allotments without then having to increase the number of staff, which will then cost more money?”

Cabinet member for transport Cllr Don Alexander (Labour, Avonmouth & Lawrence Weston), who is an allotments site rep, said: “The really important thing is that you have a clear set of rules and you have the officers to

back you up on those rules.

“It’s not that we don’t occasionally bend the rules a little bit but we do need officers to back us up when somebody has really gone and done something that’s affecting the safety of other people or affecting the ability of other plotholders to grow stuff because at the end of the day allotments are about food production.

“We’ve been short of site reps for a long time before any changes were proposed in the rules, and one of the reasons is that they’re not backed up in trying to sort out the very human problems that occur on allotments.”

Cabinet member for public health and communities Cllr Ellie King (Labour, Hillfields) said: “Site reps are volunteer posts and we try to entice people in by giving them significant discounts or free plots in some cases, but it will continue to be a challenge.

“One of the important points to raise is that it is a very open and live consultation, so nothing is set in stone yet and we are still continuing to work on it and listen.”

She said the proposed new rules “did not come out of nowhere” but were in response to requests from site reps.

March, 2024 13 cliftonvoice Got news? Email:



An Ancient Hidden Gem in Our Midst

MANY people walk past this special ancient house and garden without realising its wonderful, long history or that it is now an oasis of peace in a hectic world.

Next to the impressive Parish Church in Westbury and connected to its history, the house dates from the 15th Century and in 1976 the House was given Grade II* listed building status. Being unusually complete, it is one of a small number of surviving medieval houses in Bristol!

The House offers a programme of events such as Quiet Days, Retreat, Prayer, Meditation, Book Club, Creative Writing to name a few. All are warmly welcomed by the resident Warden, Lindsay Pelloquin. (www. thewellcentreofspirituality.

All this is thanks to the generosity of Elsie Briggs

who lived here until 1989 and bequeathed the House to the Diocese. Do drop in, look around and have a cuppa on an Open Afternoon – every Tuesday from 3 to 5pm.

n NATURE WATCH with Dawn Lawrence


Many people have never heard of the u3a. u3a officially stands for “University of the 3rd age” but we prefer “You in the 3rd age” as the first definition sounds as though we are an intellectual organisation. Whilst we do have discussion groups that can be considered intellectual e.g. political discussion, philosophy, ethics, we have many other groups such as disco dancing, social groups, walking groups, pub groups.

We are a self-help group aimed at semi-retired and retired people looking to occupy their free time and joining your local u3a is a great way to find and develop new interests and make friends in a relaxed environment. It doesn’t cost much to join the Bristol u3a –just £20 per year.

Reasons to join:

• Make a difference, stay active, keep learning and have fun.

• Get out to meet face to face –discovering together and making the most of life.

• Members can attend events and talks for free.

• Meet other people with similar interests: learn new things and share your skills.

You can find out more about the Bristol u3a by looking at the following website: https:// In particular, it is worth looking at the groups section to see all of the activities that are available and what’s more, the more our organisation grows the greater the variety of groups that will appear. Later on in 2024 we plan to have a wine tasting group. If you join, what group could you introduce?

Want to hear from people who have had interesting backgrounds? We have monthly talks, lasting about 50 minutes, on a variety of subjects. Recently we had a talk from someone who had worked in NATO – one of his jobs was to be in the negotiation team that discussed potential NATO membership for Russia. Yes, Vladimir Putin was in the room!

Close encounter with a gorgeous goldcrest

AT the allotment recently I had the task of cutting back the apple from the blackberry from the gooseberries – a Gordian knot if ever there was one. This meddlesome trio entangle themselves amongst each other as soon as my back is turned but the birds love them and I love watching them go! Their growth rate is phenomenal and after a few years even I have to admit they’ve gone too far. Both the bramble and the gooseberry are native to Britain (albeit our garden varieties are bred for extra size and flavour of fruit) and the apple is a close Asian relative of our native crab apple so all are good for wildlife, supporting a range of insects as well as providing fruit for the birds.

As I began flexing my secateurs I was amazed to see the gooseberries had scrambled around four metres into the apple tree, forming long flexible whip-like branches to do so and clinging on by their chunky spines. Botanical texts have the wild gooseberry as a small shrub up to 1.5 metres high and the Royal Horticultural Society agrees with this height limit. But then, what you learn from observing nature is that nature often surprises. The Gordian knot took longer to sever than

expected, even with my sturdy pair of vintage secateurs, so I will have to be back soon to finish the job before the sap rises much further.

As I was reaching into the apple tree a sudden tiny movement caught my eye, and it was not the robin I expected. A goldcrest was bobbing about the tree, its sharp eyes seeking tiny invertebrates and its even sharper beak probing amongst the bark and buds.

I froze and it came closer, looking me in the eye at least twice (at this point a bird will often fly away as it realises it is being observed). It finally got so close I could easily have reached out and touched it. It is rare to be that near to a wild bird and I held my breath. Fine black stripe over the eye, rakish golden head streak, plumply rounded body, very active movement… goldcrests are very distinctive. Adults weigh around 4-7g and are our smallest birds. Yet these birds survive the whole winter here and points north. Whilst the birds from the northern and eastern parts of their breeding range tend to migrate southwards in winter, individuals can survive a long winter’s night down to minus 25C by burning fat up to a fifth of their body weight! It is therefore not surprising that a prolonged period of freezing temperatures will kill a high percentage of the resident population. However, with clutch sizes being as high as 12 they are well placed to restore their numbers in the following breeding season. Their confiding nature (I love that way of expressing it) is well known so if you see one just stay still and you might be treated to a close encounter, as I was.

15 March, 2024 Got news? Email: cliftonvoice
A goldcrest Photo: Gail Hampshire

Innovation is in our region’s DNA

AS your Metro Mayor, and as a West of England resident, I am incredibly proud of our great region’s history of science and innovation.

It is a history centuries in the making, to which Europe’s largest supercomputer, focused on AI, is yet another world-beating recent addition.

There’s Brunel himself, that genius of engineering who ‘built the world’; Bathonian Caroline Herschel, the first woman to receive a salary as a scientist; Concorde, which was built and maintained in Filton; even the world’s first hollow chocolate Easter egg.

The West of England has always been, and continues to be, home to vital industries, iconic inventions and awesome achievements.

In short, innovation is in our region’s DNA. And it’s absolutely key in today’s world - to our physical health, to our region’s economic prospects, and to our place nationally and globally.

I’ve always said the West of England has the potential to be an innovation engine.

The Mayoral Combined Authority I lead has the ambition to make that a reality.

That’s why, since I was elected Mayor, a key focus of my Mayoral Combined Authority has been building the West’s innovation creden-

tials, and further putting our incredible region on the map as the place to innovate – to create the high-quality jobs locals deserve.

I am proud of all we have achieved so far.

The West of England region is an innovation leader.

Our people and firms excel at innovation, while big investments are being made towards solving regional and global challenges alike.

We’ve become the nation’s 5G logistics test bed, seen via the incredible links between Avonmouth Docks and the Gravity smart campus in Somerset - soon to be home to the biggest gigafactory in the whole country!

Or how about the fact we’ve built England’s largest wind turbine, that we’ve launched Space West - the second biggest space cluster in the UK - and we’re working hard to harness the power of the Severn Estuary to kickstart the age of tidal, right here in the West.

But with the world now in the foothills of the fourth industrial revolution, I want us to go even further.

Because I fully recognise there are some pretty big challenges we need to overcome to become the innovation engine I know we can be.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris writes for the Voice

Some of the most beautiful places to live in our rural towns and villages are let down by poor access to the online world.

And right now, not everyone in our part of the world has access to the digital skills they need which is vital for success today.

That’s why, through things like my soon-tobe-launched Innovation Prospectus, and other measures, the needs of West of England residents are at the heart of my innovation plans.

Our region is a powerhouse of scientific talent - and it’s time we realised our true potential.

My Mayoral Combined Authority will continue to provide the purpose, power, resources and leadership necessary to do just that.

Got news? Email: March, 2024 16 cliftonvoice We are looking for Foster Carers in your local area. If you are interested in a life-changing vocation and can provide a safe, loving home to a child in care, we’d love to hear from you. 0333 0603 962 Join a local social enterprise and a community of foster carers providing long and short-term care for children. Highly competitive fostering allowance of up to £28,000 a year, taxfree. 24/7 support and specialist training. Potential to combine with full or part-time work. n NEWS FROM THE METRO MAYOR


Macabre tradition – or moneymaking scam?

WHEN the parish church ruled people’s lives and determined what tax you paid. Parish boundaries were delineated by markers set at intervals, usually where the line changed direction.

A macabre tradition associated with life in old parishes was a scheme known colloquially as a ‘Tyburn Ticket’. Tyburn, the main public gallows in London became nationally synonymous with executions in the same way that Newgate had become for prisons. Bristol’s former Newgate now only marked by the road name. When most businesses were family run, for many taking time off to attend to parish matters was very difficult and hence unpopular, but Parish offices and civic duties were just that. Like jury duty today, non-attendance without

just cause could result in a hefty fine. Often people did their best to avoid office: records abound with the names of people fined for not taking up office. Particularly unpopular duties were those of Surveyor of Roadworks, Overseer of the Poor or even Sheriff.

There was a legal way of avoiding the duty without incurring any penalty. All you needed was a ‘Tyburn Ticket’. From 1699 ‘Any person convicted of burglary, horse stealing or shop theft to a value of five shillings or more, could be hanged’. However, for the person apprehending the thief, resulting in a conviction they were entitled to a reward. A certificate entitled the holder to be discharged from all manner of Parish duties for life within the parish where the offence had

A Tyburn Ticket, 11 August 1800, exempting John Norman from all parish or ward duties. It was given to him for his part in the apprehension of John Armstrong, successful conviction of stealing 6s 8d worth of lead.

been committed. The single-use ticket was transferable leading to opportunities for corruption and gross miscarriages of justice.

‘Tyburn Tickets’ were even advertised for sale.

I wonder how many innocent people were falsely accused and sent to the gallows to meet the market for Tyburn Tickets. Even worse were instances where the reluctant office holder approached someone who could arrange a convenient ‘apprehension and conviction’ to be able to buy the necessary ticket. I expect many such a deal was struck in the old Marsh Street stews.

Out of the sixty-one persons hung in Bristol between 1752 and 1800 only five were for murder, which leads one to wonder how many of the remainder had been

framed and ended up swinging from the gallows at, St Michael’s Hill, Gallows Acre Lane, (Pembroke Road), Gib Taylor, or at the ‘Three Lamps just so that someone could avoid their civic duties.

As recently as 1813 the Bristol Journal for the 4th of September ran an advertisement for two tickets, exempting the holders from Parish and Ward Offices of St Paul’s and St James’ respectively. This iniquitous system ended in 1818 but unfortunately one is reminded of Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr who wrote in 1849 “Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose”.

March, 2024 17 cliftonvoice Got news? Email:

Introducing Pharmacy First scheme

BRISTOL pharmacist Ade recently played a prominent role on TV explaining the national ‘‘Pharmacy First’’ scheme, built on a successful local pilot, enabling accessible local NHS care. Here are the details:

• Open to all

The Pharmacy First scheme now offered in Kellaway Pharmacy enables all members of our community, in fact, anyone in Bristol, to visit us as a first port of call for NHS care for various conditions. Video consultations are also available. Our service is broader than the national one and includes:

1. Sinusitis – for children and adults 12 years and over;

2. Sore throat – for children and adults 5 years and over;

3. Earache (acute otitis media and externa) –for children and adults 1 year and over;

4. Infected insect bite – for children and adults 1 year and over;

5. Impetigo – for children and adults 1 year and over;

6. Shingles – for adults 18 years and over; and

7. Uncomplicated urinary tract infections in women 16 to 64 years.

8. Infected eye treatment – for children aged

over 30 days to 2 years

As ever, we will continue offering prescriptions, over the counter treatments and childhood, Covid, seasonal and travel vaccinations.

• Free NHS treatment?

This is an NHS-funded service, so any supply will be like receiving NHS prescription items. After consultations with a pharmacist, people with symptoms suggestive of these conditions will be provided with advice, where clinically appropriate, supplied a prescription-only treatment, including antibiotics or other medicines. The consultation notes will be added to your NHS record.

If the pharmacy team cannot help with the condition the patient is presenting with, they will be referred to the appropriate healthcare access point, such as a GP surgery or A&E. We will also help to support evidence-based self-care because many conditions can be managed without needing urgent NHS care.

• Kellaway Pharmacy will not be dishing out antibiotics " willy-nilly"; this is no paid-forsupply scheme! The pharmacist will assess your needs and provide you with evidence-based

care using the same NHS guidelines and tools employed by all clinicians.

• Will this help local GP Access?

The NHS hopes this scheme will make getting the help people need easier and quicker while freeing up 10 million GP Appointments for more complicated needs. GP surgeries are also advised to refer people directly to this service.

We have long campaigned for this, and we already had prescribing clinicians who could only provide private care, so this is a most welcome development for the health of communities around the country but is just a first step in the right direction; the Welsh Pharmacy First scheme covers 26 conditions!

It's great news that people across Bristol can access more NHS care from us. For Details: Call 0117 9246579 or visit www.

• Remember: We can offer video consultations.

• Top Tip: Keep a copy of the list of conditions.


To advertise, contact Emma on 0117 9082121 or 07715 770448 or email 18 cliftonvoice March, 2024 Meet with one of our qualified estate planning consultants to discuss your needs. Protect your family's inheritance Single & joint Wills from £99.00 *Including VAT Call us today on 0117 952 0698 or email Home visits or online appointments are available. VISIT YOUR VIDEO CONSULTATION APPOINTMENTS AVAILABLE! AVAILABLE! K E L L A W A Y P H A R M A C Y N O W O F F E R S F O R A V A R I E T Y O F A I L M E N T S . ( I N C L U D I N G A N T I B I O T I C S W H E R E A P P R O P R I A T E ) QUICK, EASY & QUICK, EASY & CONVENIENT CONVENIENT LOCAL CARE! LOCAL EARACHE (adults and children aged 1 year & above) SINUSITIS (adults and children aged 12 years & above) INFECTED INSECT BITES (adults and children aged 1 year & above) SORE THROAT (adults and children aged 5 years & above) SHINGLES (adults aged 18 years & above) URINARY TRACT INFECTION
aged 16 to 64 years)
CONJUNCTIVITIS (children aged 30 days to 2 years)
(adults and children aged 1 year & above) Kellaway Pharmacy 18 Kellaway Avenue, Bristol BS6 7XR 0117 924 6579 Find us at:
www pharmacyfirstbristol com xxxx
9246579 18 Kellaway Avenue, Westbury Park, BS6 7XR

Metro Mayor defends Birthday Bus scheme

METRO mayor Dan Norris has responded to criticism that the Birthday Bus free travel scheme helps the rich, insisting it “needs to be nice for middle-class people” to get them out of cars.

A report by a taskforce last month warned that the controversial £8million project, which gives passengers free journeys throughout the month of their birthday, was “benefiting the richest 10 per cent significantly more than the poorest 10 per cent”.

The findings by scrutiny councillors at the West of England Combined Authority (Weca), which the Labour mayor heads, said the scheme was also primarily helping those who had not lost their local bus services.

They recommended replacing it with a different fares reduction system targeting residents based on age, employment or income.

But Mr Norris says the main aim is to get drivers out of cars and onto public transport, and that these people tended to be

better off because they could afford a vehicle.

He told BBC1’s Politics West: “It [the scheme] is going quite well. We are at an early stage because we are only six months into it and are looking at the early figures.

“But we are approaching half a million journeys, about five per cent of adults have signed up, so I’m hoping that will be 10


Want to help?

If you want to help, the following SusWoT activities could make use of more volunteers.

Time to get sowing, and in March many vegetables can be sown outdoors. SusWoT will be producing tomato and other vegetable plants to sell at the Community Fair on Saturday

11 May at the Westbury Parish Church. SusWoT will grow about 200 Sungold and 500 Alicante tomato plants. These two varieties usually do well in Westbury, others that have been grown before don’t seem as reliable or productive.

Runner and climbing French beans do well if thoroughly watered in hot spells and just six plants, if well cultivated, can provide enough beans to keep up with demand and can continue to crop until November. Sow in April/May or buy plants at the fair. If you are interested in raising plants for sale at the fair, SusWoT can provide you with seeds.

Cleaning up the river Trym takes place every Friday from 10:00 to 12:00, weather permitting. About 200 tonnes of rubbish, lots of

which is plastic, has been removed from the river and the surrounding land. In February work to clear the area next to Sea Mills Lane began. Most of the river system has now been cleaned at least once and Trout in the Trym are looking for volunteers to keep the land clean. If you would like to take on a section, get in touch. Trout in the Trym have a grant from the Bristol Avon Catchment Partnership to buy equipment for this work. Microplastics in the Trym have been found and measured by students at Bristol University. Students have sampled six sites on the Trym and have found roughly 40 microplastic particles in every millilitre of water on average. SusWoT will be getting a copy of the full report.

Sorting out the ponds and silt traps in Blaise has started. There are two ponds, each with a silt trap. SusWoT, working with other Trout in the Trym groups, have been involved in trying to get this feature restored. The silt traps can now be opened, and silt removed. The ponds will require lots of work to remove silt that

per cent by the time 12 months passes.

“The important thing is that it’s getting people out of cars, so they are more wealthy people by definition, but they are changing their behaviour.”

Host David Garmston said on the show: “The criticism has been that it’s just been nice for the middle classes and it’s a benefit targeted at them.”

Mr Norris replied: “It needs to be nice for middle-class people because they tend to be people who drive the most and they need to change their behaviour.

“It is targeted at a whole range of different people, and so far it’s encouraging because it’s showing that people are changing behaviour, making fewer car journeys and getting onto public transport, which is what we desperately need for the environment if you believe there is a climate emergency as I do but it also has this benefit of doing things like helping those in the cost-of-living crisis.

“There are some people who’ve made over 250 journeys in the month of their birthday.”

The Birthday Bus scheme covers Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset – as well as North Somerset. You can register for the free journeys here: https://www.birthdaybus.

has accumulated over many years. Before serious work can start the mechanisms for diverting the river around the ponds will need to be repaired so that the water does not continue to flow through the silt traps into the ponds. Due to the nature of the ponds there may be wildlife in them that means there are times of year when it is illegal to work on the ponds. This may slow progress. If you want to help with this work be in touch, lots of heavy digging may be needed. Litter in Westbury and Henleaze is always a problem, and we need more volunteers to keep it under control. There are about 70 people who help with litter picking but there are about eight routes that we need people to take on. Top quality equipment, pickers, hoops and green Bristol Waste sacks, are provided. The rubbish collected can either be put in your black bin or left in a sack by a litter bin. To offer to help with any of the above please contact Or come along to a meeting, SusWoT meets at 7:30 on the last Thursday of the month in the Westbury Village Hall.

Ducks courting on the River Trym in the middle of Westbury last month

March, 2024 19 cliftonvoice Got news? Email: n NEWS
Dan Norris, Mayor of the West of England, with his birthday bus pass

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at Badminton –an education full of adventure awaits Book
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Badminton's musical stars in the spotlight

THE musicians of Badminton School gathered at St George’s Bristol, for their annual spring concert.

Under the baton of director of music Mark Dowd, the school’s various choirs and orchestras performed pieces by Ola Gjeilo, Steinberg & Kelly’s True Colours and Consider Yourself from Oliver!

Three soloists for the concert were students in the Upper Sixth. Jasmine Wong’s rendition of O mio babbino caro, was followed by an electrifying Let the Bright Seraphim from Handel’s oratoria Samson. Yijing Ren’s virtuosic playing of the Schumann Fantasiestucke, Op12 had younger pupils hanging over the balconies of St George’s to watch. When the third soloist, Kristina Gvozdyuk was joined on stage by drums and bass, the atmosphere changed. Electrifying playing of the jazz melodies of Sasko and of Peterson filled the hall and received a rapturous reception.

Mr Dowd said: “I am

profoundly proud of what our young musicians have achieved today. For a school to perform at this level usually requires legions of professional musicians supporting the student performers, but not at Badminton. There were many remarkable performances this

evening, but the orchestra’s faultless performance of Strauss’ Emperor Waltz was made even more remarkable with the addition of only a handful of teachers.

"The lyrical and technically faultless performance was worthy of any adult orchestra.

I am overjoyed not only that the quality of our musicians was demonstrated this evening, but that their individual enjoyment of performing to over 500 people, was evident in the beaming smiles I had the pleasure of witnessing as they left the stage.”

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

Learning from their legacies

EDUCATION professionals in Bristol worked together to create a free scheme of work in response to the lack of diverse GCSE texts on diversity.

The Lit Legacies project is based on the play Princess and the Hustler by Chinonyerm Odimba. It centres on Bristol, including the Bus Boycott in 1963.

It was launched at Fairfield High School and guests from the local community were invited to share their personal experiences of fighting for racial equality. Among them was Barbara Dettering, one of the seven Saints of St Pauls, who features on the mural in the school’s atrium.

Lit Legacies’ team includes UWE Bristol lecturers Amy Saleh and Malcolm Richards, plus English teachers Cashan Campbell (Fairfield High School), Tanisha HicksBeresford (Bristol Cathedral Choir School) and DeMarco Ryans (St John The Baptist School).

Ms Campbell said: “This has been a considerably rewarding and enriching experience for me. I grew up in Bristol, came to school at Fairfield and my beloved Nanny was one of the Seven Saints of St Paul’s. Lit Legacies represents stories of global majority characters,

perspectives and life experiences.”

Tanisha Hicks-Beresford, equalities lead and English teacher at BCCS, said: “This is the first time I’ve seen myself in a piece of curriculum which will educate and inspire generations to come. Talking about race is difficult, however Lit Legacies is powerful

A wealth of wildlife wisdom

TV wildlife star Chris Packham, Metro Mayor Dan Norris and Lord lieutenant Peaches Golding joined photographers, filmmakers and teachers to officially launch a new chapter in the West of England’s natural history story.

The audience at Bristol’s The Station, got a first look at the new Wildscreen ARK created by Bristol conservation charity Wildscreen.

From the Atlantic puffin to the zebra spider, Wildscreen ARK is a free, large (and growing) multimedia resource. It documents the amazing lives of plants and animals. Aimed at secondary schools, pupils and teachers can download high quality images, videos and authenticated factual information from what will be the world's largest collection of natural world imagery and video content.

Bristol schoolchildren are among the first to test the system and benefit from all the resources, before it gets rolled out nationally.

The project is the successor to ARKive which was retired in 2019. ARKive, created by Christopher Parsons, a founding member of the BBC Natural History Unit documented the lives of 16,000+ endangered species.

Speaking at the launch Dan Norris said: “In the midst of a climate and biodiversity emergency there has never been a greater need for young people to feel connected to nature. Wildscreen ARK is a fantastic resource. It does what our region does best: care about our planet and be brilliant at recording it.”

Thirty five per cent of all natural history content globally is made in the West of England while a staggering 800 million people each month watch digital content produced in the region.

The Mayor continued: “I was blown away by some of the imagery so I’m sure students will be too. It’s also really well timed ahead of the new Natural History GCSE course, starting next year.”

Visit the website at:

and relative. I urge all secondary schools to reach out and pick this up, as part of their curriculum offering.”

The six-week scheme of work includes a set of lesson plans and resources and support to enable teachers to develop their racial literacy.

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

Ross is appointed head of QEH Juniors

QEH Junior School has appointed a new headteacher.

Ross Wolverson will replace David Kendall, who is retiring in the summer after seven years at the independent boys’ school.

Mr Wolverson is currently Head of Winsley Primary School and a member of the leadership team at Palladian Academy Trust.

He previously held senior positions in independent schools including Monkton Combe School in Bath and Shebbear College in Devon. He has had a research paper exploring boys’ literacy published by the Department for Education.

Mr Wolverson served for many years as an officer in the RAF (Reserve) and worked for several international charities and NGOs overseas where he learned valuable leadership and collaborative skills.

He is married to Melissa who works for University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Trust’s Dental Service. They have two sons Henry , 8, and Artie, 5.

Mr Wolverson said: “I am honoured and incredibly excited by the prospect of leading a school which

specialises in the holistic education and development of boys. I was extremely impressed by the young men I met when I visited the school. Their polite and friendly confidence was a joy to see. The staff are so committed to the well-being and education of the boys, and I look forward to

working with them.

“The school itself has a genuine warmth and being in a converted Georgian townhouse has a welcoming family feel. Our goal is to educate the next generation of boys who are ‘gentle- men’ rooted in a valuesbased approach to education while also continually innovating our curriculum. I am eager to contribute to QEH Junior School and ensure that it continues to provide an outstanding education for boys in Years 3 to 6.”

Rupert Heathcote, head of QEH, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Mr Wolverson to the QEH family. His leadership qualities and passion for education are outstanding. We are confident that he will build upon the exceptional leadership of Mr. Kendall and guide the Junior School into the next stage of its exciting future.”

We warmly invite boys aged 5-7 and their parents to a morning of fun activities and an opportunity to learn more about QEH Junior School.

Got news? Email: March, 2024 24 cliftonvoice
Book your place now ‘Excellent’ in all areas ISI report, 2022
16 March 2024


ACROSS Bristol and South Gloucestershire, we (Bristol North West Foodbank, North Bristol & South Glos Foodbank and South & East Bristol Foodbank) have seen the need for our services drastically increase over the past few years.

We are partnering with The Trussell Trust and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, who have launched a petition as part of the Guarantee our Essentials campaign. This campaign calls on the UK government to implement an Essentials Guarantee into Universal Credit.

Universal Credit should offer support to anyone in need of help, but here in Henleaze, Westbury and the surrounding areas, we’re seeing more and more people pushed to our doors because Universal Credit

doesn’t cover the cost of life’s essentials, such as food and bills.

This isn’t right and must change.

Will you help guarantee our essentials?

Please sign the petition: www.action.trusselltrust. org/guarantee-our-essentials-petition

Your local Trussell Trust foodbank (Henbury Outlet & Southmead Outlet) are open weekly at Emmanuel Chapel (Satchfield Crescent, Henbury, Bs10 7BN) or at The Greenway Centre (Doncaster Road, BS10 5PY) to support members of the community who need our help. We operate using a referral system. To find out more or to help support our work check out our websites:

March, 2024 25 cliftonvoice Got news? Email: n PUZZLE PAGE T 1 H Y R 2 O I D R A A S 3 P I T 4 C H O H 5 I P 6 K 7 N 8 E E 9 E A O Y A 10 C I D S E N L 11 E G S
1 6 4 4 5 3 8 9 5 6 2 9 7 3 6 4 9 5 6 7 1 5 2 Txtpert Across 1 8497643 (7) 3 7748 (4) 5 447 (3) 7 5633 (4) 10 2243 (4) 11 5347 (4) Down 1 8722432 (7) 2 7274 (4) 4 863 (3) 6 7246 (4) 8 6673 (4) 9 3937 (4) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Use the phone keypad to decode the clues. For example: 2 could be A, B or C ... and 5678 could be LOST Theme: Human body 1 3 2 4 1 Txtpert Each row, column and square (9 spaces each) needs to be filled out with the numbers 1-9, without repeating any numbers within the row, column or square. Solutions
sudoku Rules the same as the Fiend, but only four numbers in each box, row and column Find the Differences! NOTE After feedback from readers, we have made The Fiend SLIGHTLY easier! Find the differences in these pictures
For younger readers Easier
... then colour them in!
Let us know your views EMAIL US AT


Saturday March 9

n BLAISE COMMUNITY GARDEN. Behind Blaise Museum, open Wednesday and Saturday 10-2. Originally a walled kitchen garden. Free to enter. We’re looking for new volunteers. Our Café (+ homemade cakes) open 10-2.

Tuesday March 12

n ARTS SOCIETY BRISTOL: Bare holding a lecture given by Julia Musgrave entitled: Bloomsbury Group: The Art of Vanessa Bell. Venue is Redland Hall, Redmaids’ High BS9 3AW, doors open at 7.30pm. New members are most welcome and our website contains further details

Wednesday March 20

n BRISTOL FRIENDS OF WNO warmly invite you to a talk at The Apostle Room , Clifton Cathedral on Wednesday 20th March 6.45 for 7.15 start.

What I have learned since leaving WNO

Phil Gibby, now Southwest Director for Arts Council England, will reflect on the present debate about support and funding for opera.

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

Further information from Melanie David, Tel: 01934 842014 email: melaniejdavid@

March 22


Friday 22nd March, BAWA Centre, Southmead Road BS34 7RG. Tickets £17.50 rotary-club-of-bristol. Charity concert organised by Bristol Rotary Club. Don't miss it.

Saturday March 23

n BRISTOL BACH CHOIR will perform Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater and Gabriel Jackson’s Requiem in All Saints, Clifton on Saturday 23rd March 2024 at 7.30pm. Tickets £22 (reserved), £15 (unreserved), £1 students & under 18s. Tel: 0117 214 0721,

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

n DICKENS SOCIETY. 7pm, 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.



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@


n LOCAL CHOIR ACTIVELY 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.



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

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


The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born

WE start and finish on a bus.

It is April 1965 and the setting is newly independent Ghana. One of the bus passengers is an unnamed railway clerk on his way to work. Throughout the novel he will be referred to as the man. Corruption is rife in Ghana, under the leadership of President Kwame Nkrumah, but the man is determined to be an honest citizen, resisting the temptation of easy bribes.

One day at work, he is approached by a timber contractor, whose timber is rotting in the forest, awaiting transportation to the coast. He offers the man a bribe if he arranges for his timber to be allocated a goods train and conveyance to the port for


Close to Home by

export. The man refuses the bribe. When he tells his wife, Oyo, about the attempted bribe, she is angry at his refusal, dreaming of a better life, involving a new house, a new wig, expensive perfume and a shiny new Mercedes car. A few days later, he encounters an old classmate called Koomson who is now a Government minister. The man and his wife are invited to dinner at Koomson’s palatial home where Koomson offers the man and his wife, a lifetime's supply of fish in return for their signature on the purchase of a fishing boat, thus masking Koomson’s involvement in a fraudulent money making scheme.

We, the reader, follow the thoughts of the man, over the

following days, as he is forced to decide whether to stay true to his values and principles or to accept the bribe of his childhood friend to satisfy the materialistic dreams of his wife and family.

This is an enjoyable and highly readable novel with believable characters, forming part of the acclaimed African Writers Series.

You can find this novel, along with many others in your local Bishopston Library. Come in and visit us at 100 Gloucester Road. You will be assured a warm welcome and you can walk out with a brand new library card, giving you free access to the internet and over two million books via the Libraries West catalogue.

Clifton Library

opening hours

Monday 10am-2pm

Tuesday 1pm-5pm

Thursday 1pm-5pm

Friday 10am-2pm

Saturday 1pm-5pm

MICHAEL Magee’s debut novel opens with a punch, literal and literary: “There was nothing to it. I swung and hit him and he dropped.” An ambulance is called. The police are called. The narrator, Sean Maguire, thinks the ‘peelers’ seem alright: it’s just a fight, not worth getting worked up about. He goes home to the mould-ridden flat he and his friend Ryan are squatting in. The seriousness of the situation escapes him. It is one in a series of chaotic nights fuelled by alcohol, cocaine and quick rage, followed by long comedowns.

The action of the novel is told in staccato, matter-of-fact statements. The places – filthy clubs, bleak homes, poverty-stricken neighbourhoods in Belfast – are described with pinpoint accuracy, focussing on minute details to evoke their atmosphere. The many characters are observed closely and immediately pigeonholed in Sean’s eyes. In court, his barrister is “some watery-eyed weasel in a two-piece suit, who was full of the kind of useless energy I had only ever seen on a five-a-side pitch, when that one poor bastard who doesn’t want to be there is stuck in nets….”

The effect is to leave enough unsaid for the reader to feel, rather than be presented with, the constant weight on Sean’s shoulders, not to mention the ever-present trauma remaining from the Troubles. Friends, family, even people he meets in community service, pull Sean in every direction, from Ryan to whom he cannot say no even when it costs him his job, to Anthony, his brother, who might kiss someone one moment or knock him out the next, to Mairéad, an almost love interest with her sights set on getting out. Everything is casual: substance abuse, theft, violence, sex, displays of masculinity, homophobia. The joy, within visceral scenes and heartbreaking dialogue, comes from watching Sean figure out what he should take seriously and how to show his care. And while this bookseller certainly can’t advocate stealing Hunger by Knut Hamsun from a bookshop, watching Sean do so to stimulate his quiet love of literature and interest in writing offers the hope that creativity and connection will save him.

Elizabeth Moss, owner of Heron Books, Clifton Arcade

March, 2024 27 cliftonvoice Got news? Email:
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CAZ pushes cars on to roads nearby

BRISTOL Clean Air Zone is pushing more cars on to nearby roads ‘as expected’, councillors were told.

Drivers of non-compliant vehicles have been increasingly using certain residential roads more often than before the CAZ was introduced.

Despite the traffic

displacement, Bristol City Council says air quality in these areas is still improving. That’s because air pollution spreads across the city, rather than staying in one particular location where it’s been emitted from a high number of vehicles.

The Clean Air Zone was introduced in November 2022,

and the council has published a detailed report evaluating its effects so far. Councillors on the overview and scrutiny management board discussed the report during a meeting on Thursday, January 18.

Lower Ashley Road in St Pauls and St Johns Lane in Totterdown have seen higher

levels of traffic since the scheme was introduced, as drivers use these routes to avoid entering the zone. Lower Ashley Road runs off west from Junction 3 of the M32, while St Johns Lane comes off left at the end of the A37 Wells Road — both just before coming into the zone.

Adam Crowther, head of city transport, said: “The Lower Ashley Road results show what we would expect. I live in that area as well and I’ve seen that there is more traffic using that route to avoid coming into the zone from the M32. That’s what the modelling expected.”

While nitrogen dioxide has fallen on average by almost 10 per cent, higher levels of traffic in certain areas mean it’s less safe to walk or cycle there. Other parts of the city, on the edges of the zone, have also reportedly seen higher levels of traffic, including in Lockleaze.

Green Councillor David Wilcox, representing Lockleaze, said: “I’m noticing a lot more traffic on Glenfrome Road, Eastgate Road and James Street where people are actively avoiding the Clean Air Zone.”

More than half a million fines have been issued to drivers entering the CAZ without paying the fee. But the report said only half had been paid, with many cancelled or written off and many appeals upheld.

So far, the Clean Air Zone has brought in £26 million to the council, through charges and fines, after the cost of running the scheme. This will be spent on subsidised bus routes, fixing potholes, and making it easier and safer to walk and cycle.

The Clean Air Zone was introduced to tackle high levels of nitrogen dioxide, a harmful pollutant caused by petrol and diesel engines. This has reduced massively in some parts of the city, such as near the Bristol Royal Infirmary, but gone up in a few other parts.

But it remains unclear whether the Clean Air Zone has also reduced other pollutants, such as particulate matter known as PM2.5 and PM10. These can harm our heart and lungs and are linked to early death.

0117 370 1710 Got news? Email: March, 2024 28 cliftonvoice n NEWS


GCCC welcome back Alleyne as head coach

MARK Alleyne has been appointed head coach at Gloucestershire County Cricket Club on a three-year deal.

Alleyne, Shire’s most decorated player with nine trophies and a County Championship promotion to his name, will join at the beginning of March to take charge of the remainder of pre-season training.

Alleyne, 55, is hugely popular with the Shire’s fan base. A mural of him was painted on to the walls of the Seat Unique Stadium in 2019 and his career in numbers features at the ‘Legends Walkway’ area of the ground,

He said: “There is a really exciting blend of youth and experience at Gloucestershire and that’s why when the opportunity came up, I didn’t give it a second thought. I can’t wait to get started and am excited to see what the future holds.”

The club is gearing up for the new season with two major signings, Australian internationals Cameron Bancroft and Beau Webster.

Bancroft, 31, who will be available for all forms of cricket, played at Gloucestershire for a short stint in 2016 and a whole season in 2017. A top-order batter, he has amassed 14,500 domestic runs and 10 Test match appearances for his country.


Fond farewell to 'Mr Clifton'

CLIFTON Rugby Club began 2024 on a sad note with the passing of Ben Jordan who was known within rugby circles across the South West as Mr Clifton.

Formally known as Brian he changed his name to Ben at school because the school had too many Brians. He joined the club in the sixties and quickly assumed responsibility as captain of the B XV at the Eastfield Road ground. As an accountant he took on many roles over the years starting with Finance Committee but extending into many functions including Ground Chairman and Fixtures Secretary. Beyond the club he served the Bristol Rugby Combination and became the President of Gloucestershire Rugby where he became well known in both regional and national circles.

His wife, Linda, kept him in touch with club activities during his illness and his funeral attracted a large number of rugby folk from

He said: “I love playing county cricket and the opportunity to play all formats with the club is something I’m really excited about. With a new coach and a really talented playing group I’m looking forward to the season ahead.”

All-rounder Webster, 30, is eligible to play in Shire’s T20 Vitality Blast campaign. He will also be available for selection for Gloucestershire’s County Championship fixtures against Yorkshire and Glamorgan in June.

many clubs.

On the pitch the 1st XV has made a positive start to the year which included two long trips to Cornwall on successive January weekends. The year began with a significant try bonus point win at Camborne followed by a narrow defeat at Redruth and a sound home victory over Chester.

Spring fixtures at home with 1430 kick offs are one February fixture versus Hinckley and on 9th March local rivals Old Radcliffian and Bournville on the 23rd.

Full back Alex Howman has

Tasmanian Webster, who is 6' 6", excels in T20 cricket in Australia and has had recent success in the Big Bash League.

Meanwhile, GCCC is mourning one of its greatest players, Mike Procter, who died in February.

The South African played a total of 482 matches for the Shire between 1965 and 1981, scoring 20,072 runs and taking 1,113 wickets in first-class and List A cricket. At the peak of his careers, Gloucestershire was affectionately nicknamed ‘Proctershire’ in recognition of his achievements.

Procter was a regular and popular visitor to the Seat Unique Stadium in Bristol and last visited the Club during Gloucestershire’s County Championship match vs Worcestershire at Cheltenham College in July last year.

He was an avid supporter of the Gloucestershire Exiles and kept in close contact with many of his former teammates with whom he became lifelong friends.

A spokesman said: “Everyone at Gloucestershire Cricket is deeply saddened by Mike’s death and would like to send their best wishes to Mike’s family during this terribly sad time.”

returned in fine form from a long injury lay off and the club hopes to see long serving forwards Charlie Bullimore and Henry Harper back in action as we head towards the season’s end. Unfortunately, influential number 8 forward and regular try scorer Brad Talbot has been sidelined with a hand injury sustained in the Redruth game.

Some promising young players have made valuable contributions. Fly half Nathan Chamberlain has impressed since joining with a strong pedigree, which originated in the Bristol Bears Academy

followed by time with Edinburgh, Hartpury College and London Scottish. Also with us following time at Edinburgh and the seven a side circuit is GB track sprinter and local Clifton boy Freddie Owsley, whose father Dick played for the club and is the author of Rats Tales, which are memories of the Clifton Veterans' tours [Rebels against Time and Senility]. Copies are available from the club with all proceeds going to charity.

March, 2024 29 cliftonvoice Got news? Email:
Mark Alleyne returns to the Shire
Ricky Cano scoring for Clifton against Chester and Tom Ormsby in action in the same match Photos: Ian Clark


charity that was founded in Clifton has offered support to King Charles, following his cancer diagnosis.

As Prince of Wales, Charles became patron of Penny Brohn UK in 1980, when it was known as the Bristol Cancer Help Centre. He opened the charity’s national centre in Pill in 2007.

Andrew Hufford, Penny Brohn UK CEO, said: “We are deeply saddened to learn that HRH The King has been diagnosed with cancer. Whenever anyone hears the news that they have cancer, they will feel a whole range of emotions – sadness, anger, confusion, worry, and more.

Cancer charity's message to King

“As The Prince of Wales, HRH became Patron of Penny Brohn UK, and became close friends with Penny and co-founder Pat Pilkington, and a supporter of our personalised cancer care approach.

“At Penny Brohn UK, we support people to live well with cancer, and offer a range of services and tools to support health and wellbeing. We know that a cancer diagnosis affects every aspect of a person’s

life, from their physical, emotional, and spiritual health to their work, family and relationships.

“Evidence shows that supporting your physical and emotional resilience during cancer can improve your outcome, and we are sure that HRH The King will be following a similar holistic approach to his care. We are offering our support to him at this difficult time.”

If you – or someone you know – is living with cancer, visit uk to find out more about the support on offer. The services are free to use, backed by evidence and many are offered online.

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