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January 2019 January 2019


No. 44



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Are high-rise developers breaking their own rules? At last, a masterplan for Bedminster Green – but two developers seem to be dodging the guidelines AFTER years of waiting, a Framework plan from the four developers hoping to build up to 1,500 homes on Bedminster Green came under attack as soon as it was published. The developers had to revise their timetable after protests that the time allowed for consultation was far too short. Meanwhile, it seems at least two of the developers are proposing buildings taller than allowed by their own guidelines. Last month, the Voice argued for consultation that gave the public a genuine chance to influence the plans. Yet the four developers announced, with just one week’s notice, two public events on December 3 and 8, followed by a consultation that would end on December 21. Windmill Hill community planning group WHaM, which has led the opposition to the



• SOUTH BRISTOL WAKES UP TO CLIMATE FEARS  8-9 • THE WICKED WITCH Student homes and flats by A2 Dominion: Blocks of 15 and 11 storeys on a plot that the developers’ own plan says should be mainly 6-9 floors plans, called the move “cynical” and “a travesty”. “It’s brutal the way that they have restricted consultation,” said Nick Townsend, chair of Windmill Hill community planning group WHaM.“This is happening just before Christmas when people will have other things on their minds.” After protests, the consultation

was extended twice, first to January 7 and then to January 13. The new end date allows for a public meeting called by Action Greater Bedminster (AGB) on January 8, from 6-9pm at Windmill Hill City Farm in Philip Street. Its title is “Developing a Bedminster Green manifesto, with people, place and prosperity Continued on page 10

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January 2019


2 Paul Breeden Editor & publisher 07811 766072 paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk Ruth Drury Sales executive 07590 527664 sales@southbristolvoice.co.uk Editorial team: Beccy Golding, Alex Morss, Martin Powell & The Wicked Witch. Deliveries: Greg Champion

Intro HAVING A SAY AFTER the Voice went to press last month it was finally revealed how local people could have their say on a masterplan for the Bedminster Green development. Except it wasn’t what was hoped for. The Framework plan, prepared by the four developers hoping to build up to 1,500 homes, was to be unveiled twice, at events in early December, and then put online for comments for just 11 days, ending on December 21. That just wasn’t good enough, and after protests the consultation was extended. It now runs until January 13. Let’s hope the developers

Independent Community News Network member Twitter: @sbristolvoice Facebook: southbristolvoice Next deadline for editorial and advertising: January 23rd listen now. It’s pretty clear that residents don’t want the collection of 15-storey-plus towers that seems likely. Indeed, consultation shows up to 80 per cent rejection of tall bulidings across Bristol. Yet some developers don’t appear to respect even their own limits on building heights, contained in their Framework. They argue that their height limits allow exceptions for “framing” and better design. In that case, what’s the point of setting limits? Our city design chief, Cllr Nicola Beech, says she won’t pay attention to any “speculative” plans put in before the talks are over. She wants the Framework to be a meaningful set of guidelines, and urges people to make their views known by January 13. Good advice.


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n BRIEFLY and Andy’s Haven nursery at The Park centre. The allotment run by Bristol Sunshine Pre-School was given a Thriving rating.

n SEVERAL of South Bristol’s green spaces have collectively been awarded a gold pennant by South West in Bloom. In addition most of them have been judged Outstanding as individual spaces, including Northern Slopes, Bramble Farm near Stockwood Crescent, Redcatch Park, Redcatch Community Garden

n WINDMILL Hill councillor Lucy Whittle is taking maternity leave after the happy arrival of her third child, Alfie, on December 3. He weighed 7lb 9oz, and Lucy says staff at St Michael’s hospital “were absolutely amazing. I had so much care and support – I love the NHS!”

n CHEQUES totalling £5,250 have been presented to 19 charities and organisations from funds raised at the Whitchurch Village Fete on August Bank Holiday. The recipients include Freewheelers Blood Bikes, Enchante Baton Twirlers, the 107th Bristol (Whitchurch) Scout Group, St Peter’s Hospice, Marmalade Trust and Holly Hedge animal rescue.

Lucy and new arrival Alfie


My councillor? Post: You can write to all councillors at City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR. Christopher Davies

Lib Dem, Knowle Email: Cllr.Christopher.Davies@ bristol.gov.uk Gary Hopkins Lib Dem, Knowle (Lib Dem deputy leader) Email: Cllr.Gary.Hopkins@bristol.gov.uk Phone: 07977 512159 Lucy Whittle Labour, Windmill Hill On maternity leave Jon Wellington Labour, Windmill Hill Phone: 07392 108804 Email: Cllr.Jon.Wellington@bristol.gov.uk

USEFUL NUMBERS Bristol City Council www.bristol.gov.uk   0117 922 2000 Waste, roads 0117 922 2100 Pests, dog wardens 0117 922 2500 Council tax 0117 922 2900 Housing benefit 0117 922 2300

Social services  0117 922 2900 Police Inquiries 101 Emergency 999 NEIGHBOURHOOD MEETINGS Knowle Community Forum: 7pm, Wednesday January 16, Knowle Park Centre, The Square.





n ANOTHER musical film evening is planned for the Old Picture House in Totterdown after the first event was a sellout. The former cinema, above the Patco store in Wells Road, will host a showing of St Louis Blues on March 1, a 1958 film based on the life of WC Handy, known as the Father of the Blues. It stars jazz and blues greats Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald and Eartha Kitt. Organiser and blues guitarist Dave Merrick will give a short musical introduction with singing partner Natalie Davis. Details from dmerr9226@aol.com. A showing of Stormy Weather in October sold out within days.

My MP? Karin Smyth MP By email: karin.smyth.mp@ parliament.uk By post: Karin Smyth MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA By phone: 0117 953 3575 In person: Call 0117 953 3575 for an appointment.

January 2019


Despite our best efforts, we sometimes get things wrong. We always try to resolve issues informally at first but we also have a formal complaints procedure. If you have a complaint about anything in the South Bristol Voice, contact the Editor using the details below. We aspire to follow the the Code of Conduct of the NUJ (National Union of Journalists), nuj.org.uk/about/nuj-code. Further details of the complaints process can be found on our website (below) or can be obtained by contacting the Editor by email: paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk or by post: 18 Lilymead Avenue, Bristol BS4 2BX or by phone: 07811 766072. southbristolvoice.co.uk/complaints-procedure All stories and pictures are ©South Bristol Voice (unless otherwise stated) and may not be reproduced without permission in this or any other plane of the multiverse. South Bristol Voice Ltd | Co. no. 09522608 | VAT no. 211 0801 76

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Pensioner doesn’t fall for fake workmen POLICE are appealing for witnesses after an elderly woman was the target of an attempted distraction burglary. The victim, a woman in her eighties, answered a knock at the door of her home in County Street at about 2.45pm on Saturday December 15. A man, dressed in work boots and a hi-vis jacket and trousers, claimed he was there to repair a leaking roof. The woman let him

in, and the offender then let in a second man. Both men looked around the property and asked the victim for £250 for a de-humidifier. However, the woman didn’t hand over any money and they left the property empty-handed. The men were described as 5ft 9in and 5ft 11in both aged between 40 and 50 and of medium build. A police spokesperson said:

“If you saw these men in the Totterdown area, or if they also called at your property, please call us on 101 and give the reference 5218278025.” • Police are also seeking witnesses after a PCSO was racially abused in Knowle. The PCSO was dealing with an unspecified incident at 7pm on November 28 in Ravenhill Avenue, near Perrett’s Park, when he was subjected to racial abuse.

Thunderbolt Steps expected to be shut until the spring TOTTERDOWN’S Thunderbolt Steps will be closed for at least three months, the Voice has learned, after it was found that they have become unstable. The steep stone steps, which lead from Bath Road near Totterdown bridge up to Upper Street, were closed abruptly on November 23. Wooden barriers were placed across the top and bottom of the steps, with signs saying Danger and Strictly No Admittance, but with no indication what had caused the closure or how long it would last. Inquiries by the Voice prompted Bristol city council to explain that the steps were potentially dangerous. Work to build two flats on an empty plot of land on Bath Road had apparently undermined the wall next to the steps. A council spokesperson said: “The Thunderbolt Steps have been closed on safety grounds after excavations on a nearby development in Bath Road undermined the supporting walls connected to them. We are in contact with the developer who has agreed to start stabilisation work next week. The steps will remain closed until this work is complete, which could be until the new year.” Residents on Twitter expressed their frustration, pointing out that the steps are a “well-used route, and makes it hard for people to get to the bus stops on Bath Road”. A spokesman for Robert Brooke, owner of the building

Contractor is blamed – though the council has neglected steps for several years

Pupils raise money for Asian orphans CHILDREN at Cleve House school in Knowle collected clothes and shoes for two orphanages in Vietnam, inspired by ex-CBBC star Emma Weaver. Emma, who is also a visiting speech and drama teacher at the Wells Road school, told pupils about her work with parentless children in Hoh Chi Min City. She has set up a charity, Saigon Kidz, with her husband Hugh. Pupils rummaged at home for items of clothing and shoes that they no longer needed. Children in Form 5 also held a bring and buy sale and gave half the takings – £80 – to the Vietnamese children. Emma wrote to Cleve House, telling the children their money had been used to buy “lots of clothes, shoes and vast quantities of much needed food” – as well as Christmas presents.

No way: The boarded-off steps plot next to 162 Bath Road, said the work would take until at least March. Mr Brooke bought the plot early in 2018 and intends to build two two-bedroom flats in a three-storey building next to 162 Bath Road – the former Three Lamps pub, built some time around the late 1870s. Mr Brooke has agreed to stabilise and rebuild the wall next to the bottom of the steps although it is not clear that the contractors are responsible for its unstable condition. A planning application for the new flats, made in 2014, points out that the Thunderbolt Steps – which are owned by the council and are an adopted highway – were even then in “a bad state of repair”. The application adds: “Although not structurally unsound, there is evidence that continued plant growth will cause some problems with the construction and stability of the wall.”

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January 2019


n NEWS Museum shows story of first test tube baby

SOUTH Bristol’s Louise Brown, the world’s first IVF baby, has unveiled a new museum display about her birth at Bristol’s M Shed museum.  There are now eight million people in the world born through IVF, but Louise’s birth to Bristol couple Lesley and John Brown caused a sensation around the world 40 years ago. The breakthrough made it possible for millions of people to have babies. Louise, who lives in Knowle, has donated objects including presents from the Brazilian Embassy, hate mail from America, and a letter telling Lesley Brown she is in the early stages of pregnancy. 

‘By dint of their very existence they erect barriers for kids in South Bristol’ SOUTH Bristol’s Labour MP is unrepentant after stirring up a row about private schooling by saying that their very existence is putting barriers in the way of her young constituents. Karin Smyth wrote an article for the left-leaning Fabian Society after taking part in a debate at the Oxford Union in November, when she spoke in favour of the motion: “Private schools are a public disaster”. Her argument was centred on the statistic of which her Bristol South constituency can be least proud: it sends fewer than 20 per

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Private schools damage state education, says MP

Louise Brown: Display at M Shed

January 2019

cent of its young people to university, less than anywhere else in the country. “This is a shameful situation, and one I am committed to reversing,” Ms Smyth wrote. “It is also, in large part at least, a problem caused by the multiple private schools in and around Bristol; they damage state provision, and by dint of their very existence erect barriers that kids in South Bristol struggle to overcome.” Ms Smyth called for a national debate on the issue, saying the seven per cent of Britons who are privatelyeducated have too much influence. “Seventy five per cent of top judges, 45 per cent of Conservative MPs, one third of FTSE 100 CEOs, more than 50 per cent of leading journalists and more than half of British Oscar winners attended private schools. This imbalance is not just wrong; it’s really unsettling,” she wrote. She suggested that options should include “taxing [private schools] fairly and looking towards introducing quotas for state school students in those universities or employment sectors where private school students are most dominant.” Bristol’s state schools have improved their performance in the last 15 years. In the past, it was common to hear middleclass parents in South Bristol talking about private secondary schools as “the only option”. That view is heard less often now. Yet Bristol still has 16 private


Karin Smyth

schools – a higher proportion than most cities. Isabel Tobias, head of Redmaids high school in Westbury-on-Trym, denied the MP’s claims. “Ms Smyth’s opinions of the independent sector are somewhat outdated and misguided,” she wrote in a letter to parents. She said Redmaids offers a number of paid places to state pupils, and denied that private schools are exclusively for the rich, saying Redmaids has parents from all backgrounds. Ms Smyth was unrepentant. She told the Voice: “My focus as an MP has always been, and continues to be, early years and post-16 education, which is where you can help people the most – it’s why I organise my apprenticeships fairs and continue to push parliament on investment into local schools, colleges and training.   “Anything which highlights the shocking decline in funding to schools is a good thing and I’m pleased that so many people are talking about this now. The majority of people living in Bristol South do not benefit from the hidden networks available to those who can afford a private school education, networks which set them up for life.   “The 93 per cent who rely on underfunded state schools do not have that privilege. A couple of token scholarships to private school for people who cannot afford it does not address this inherent inequality.”


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Builder takes on Win tickets failed Guinness to the Little & Large reunion social housing plan in Totterdown F THE CONSTRUCTION of new homes on a much-debated corner site in Totterdown is expected to start in February. Bath-based builder Crossman Homes wants to begin work, not only on the seven homes for which it controversially won planning permission in May, but a neighbouring site too. Crossman will build five flats and two houses on the corner of Goolden Street and Bathwell Road. It also hopes to take on the next-door plot on Goolden Street, sold off by Holy Nativity church, which was to be developed by the Guinness Trust as six town houses for shared ownership. Guinness pulled out after costs rose and it decided the homes would be too expensive. Both developments were planned by the same architect with the intention that they would harmonise with each other – though neighbours objected vehemently to the Crossman plan. Many said the three-storey flats would overwhelm the smaller houses opposite on Bathwell Road, and would harm the iconic view of Holy Nativity, which can be seen from afar. Guinness had contracted out its building work to Helm Construction – the Pilning-based

One builder: The Goolden St site firm which fell into administration in December and has left new flats unfinished at 1 Redcatch Road, Knowle. Crossman Homes director Brad Hughes told the Voice his firm would not face the same cost issues as Guinness, because it keeps all construction in-house. “We have an agreement with Guinness to buy the land,” he said, “and we hope to partner with Yarlington, a social housing provider.” It’s thought Yarlington could rent out all 13 homes at affordable rents. Crossman has a similar deal with Yarlington to redevelop the former Speedwell swimming pool for housing. The Totterdown work will involve shifting huge quantities of earth as the sites are to be levelled to the line of the road. Bathwell Road will be shut for up to six months, meaning trucks will use Summer Hill or Stanley Hill, both very steep and narrow.

Extra buses may be repeated AN EXTRA 20 buses laid on during December on the four most congested routes in Bristol – the 1, 2, 75 and 76 – may be retained if the experiment is judged a success. First Bus’s Bristol boss James Freeman wants eventually to add 150 buses, doubling frequencies to some routes to every 10 minutes. But Bristol’s chronic traffic jams mean the plan is not viable yet, he told Bristol Live. Bristol South MP Karin Smyth

has told the House of Commons Transport Committee that Bristol should be able to set bus routes, timetables and fares, as in London. “This would mean buses run for passengers, not profit,” she said. Metro mayor Tim Bowles, who would be in line to have the new powers, has not said if he backs the idea. City mayor Marvin Rees wants to double bus usage and is working with First to give buses priority at more junctions.

ROM the 1970s to the 90s comedy duo Eddie Large and Sid Little were among the nation’s biggest stars, pulling TV audiences of up to 25 million. Their career was cut short when Bristol resident Eddie fell ill. But after a triumphant reunion on Ant & Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway in 2018, they take to the stage for the Slapstick Festival at Bristol Old Vic on January 18, 2019, to talk about their career. It’s their first stage appearance for decades, and we have three pairs of tickets to the evening, compered by Matthew Sweet, worth £36 a pair. To win, just tell us: Who is the director of Bristol’s annual Slapstick Festival? (To find the answer, you may

Reunited: Little and Large need to read our Slapstick feature on page 28.) Email your answer to paul@ southbristolvoice. co.uk, or post to Little & Large Competition, 18 Tim Vine: Lilymead Avenue, another star Bristol BS4 2BX, by at Slapstick January 13. • SLAPSTICK OUTTAKES: Behind the scenes at the comedy fest p28

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January 2019

January 2019




Claimants being forced to use food banks, says MP

Broadwalk battle hots up as time for decision gets near

THE ROLLOUT of Universal Credit to benefit claimants in South Bristol is causing increasing hardship, according to the area’s MP. Karin Smyth says she has seen “a notable increase” in the number of constituents seeking help since families in Bristol South started to claim the benefit this summer. “Universal Credit has been plagued with issues since its implementation and we’re starting to see it having a real impact on families in Bristol South,” the Labour MP said. “There are lots of elements which leave people worse off – particularly people already

struggling with poor health and care duties. The Government has simply failed to ensure people can get by on this new, supposedly simpler benefit.”  Ms Smyth shared with the Voice some cases of constituents who have come to her for help. One disabled claimant, who is unable to work, was rejected for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) under the old system. Later, the claimant won an appeal that they were entitled to ESA. But the ESA payment can’t be added to Universal Credit (UC) – and they are now £330 a month worse off. Another disabled claimant

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with severe mental health issues, saw their UC reduced to £5 for a month after a “sanction” by the Department for Work and Pensions. Sanctions can be imposed when claimants fail to keep appointments or apply for jobs. The claimant was left without money – and had to go to a food bank. Another claimant received some back pay from a previous job. But this took them over a strict monthly limit for UC – meaning they lost at least £198. The MP has seen many other problems with the UC system. Some severely-disabled claimants were getting an extra premium of

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CONFUSION surrounds the future of South Bristol’s libraries after the council declined to explain what might be the results of a new consultation exercise. Meetings have been announced for the new year where residents can discuss their local libraries and changes they would like to see. In South Bristol, two meetings will be held at the Park Centre in Daventry Road, Knowle, on Tuesday February 26 and Saturday March 2, both from 10am-12noon. The libraries discussed will be Knowle, Filwood, Stockwood, Marksbury Road, Bedminster and Wick Road. The council says it wants to “bring local people and organisations together to look for opportunities for community-led activities and partnerships to create a library service for the future”. The aim seems to be to attract community groups to find new uses for libraries and perhaps

At risk? Marksbury Road library volunteers to help run them. But it is unclear whether some libraries might be at risk if they don’t attract this extra support. Cllr Gary Hopkins said the consultation was a “farce”. The Labour-led council has not accepted the view of the full council, that there needs to be a professionally-managed service bolstered by volunteers, he said. A spokesperson for the new Bristol Libraries Forum, which aims to represent library users in all parts of Bristol, called on the council to present an “inspirational” vision for the future of libraries across Bristol. “Without this city-wide direction, the engagement promises to be an ad hoc series of meetings with little prospect of generating an adequate long-

£70 a week under the old ESA system. If they move on to UC, they get this sum temporarily protected for the next year or so. But new claimants won’t get the severe disability premium at all. “Self-employed people aren’t really catered for by UC. If they earn less than the equivalent of full-time minimum wage from self-employment, they won’t be entitled to any UC support unless they prove that they are seeking additional employment,” said a spokesperson for the MP. “This particularly impacts working mums, self-employed so their work fits in around childcare commitments.”

term model for a sustainable library service,” they said. The forum wants to promote a Friends group in each library. To find out more, email BristolLibrariesForum@gmail.com. Marksbury Road library looks particularly at risk, with low use and opening only three days a week. Sarah Murch, chair of the library’s Friends group, has previously told the Voice that the Friends want a fully councilfunded service to continue. Two years ago, the council proposed closing 17 of the city’s 27 libraries to save £1.4 million. Bedminster library and probably Knowle would have been safe. But Marksbury Road, Wick Road, Bishopsworth, Whitchurch, Filwood and Stockwood were all at risk under most options. The plans provoked three petitions totalling 13,000 signatures, and the closures were eventually halted in 2018. However, funding to keep all 27 libraries open is only guaranteed until the end of the financial year in April 2019. The council would not say if the consultation might lead to library closures or if the library budget might be cut after April.

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THE DEBATE over proposals to rebuild Knowle’s Broadwalk shopping centre with 420 flats in up to 11 storeys is heating up. While objections to the plan continue to be made to the council, so too do letters of support. As the Voice went to press, 229 objections and 122 favourable statements had been made. Knowle’s two Lib Dem councillors have issued a detailed statement warning that if the plan from owner Moorfields isn’t accepted, the future of the shopping centre is at stake. Traders in the Broadwalk area have started a petition in favour of the plan. It has also emerged that Moorfields may not carry out the scheme – the firm may sell the centre to another developer if it wins planning permission. The objectors have created a series of computer-generated (CGI) images which they say show the huge visual impact of the proposed blocks. Laura Chapman, the Ryde Road resident who set up the Broadwalk Redevelopment Community Group, said: “It confirms what we have always feared, that having the highest part of the building stepped back doesn’t really change how imposing it feels.” Laura also takes issue with

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the daylight study carried out for Moorfields. The new CGI images show that the effect on neighbours will be much worse: gardens in Ryde Road and part of Redcatch Road won’t get sunlight for three months of the year, she said. Knowle councillors Gary Hopkins and Chris Davies say that the entire shopping centre is at risk if the plan, or something very similar, is not allowed. Cllr Hopkins told the Voice he accepted that some residents had genuine concerns – such as those closest to the centre in Ryde Road and Broad Walk. “These things need looking at and more adjustments made,” he said. But he denied some of the claims being made, such as local GPs and dentists being swamped by the new residents. The Priory GP surgery has written in support of the plan, and can cope comfortably with all the new inhabitants, he said. A major investment is essential, he warned. The multi-storey car park is cracking up, and it may not be safe for more than two years. It would cost £10 million to replace. “A car park closure would be the death knell for the centre,” said Cllr Hopkins. In addition, the shopping centre is losing money “month by month and is teetering on the


New views: CGI images created for objectors to the Broadwalk plan show how they believe it would look: above, from the far side of Redcatch Park. Right, the developer’s view from the park edge of collapse. A few more shops closing will have a domino effect,” he said. The 2:1 ratio of negative and positive opinions shows how far the community is divided by the scheme. A typical supporter, writing from Redcatch Road, said: “Broadwalk is going to fall apart soon if not redeveloped. Let’s get this rebuilt ASAP and bring some new life into the community.” Objections focus mainly on the height of the new flats. Many residents called for the development to be capped at six storeys. “We will lose all our privacy – surely a five or six storey building would be more suitable for the area,” wrote a resident of Kingshill Road, opposite the centre. Other complaints concern the impact on Redcatch park, where the stone boundary wall will be removed, and a piazza with a bar or restaurant will open onto the park. One Wells Road resident

wrote: “The removal of the wall will drastically alter the park’s character, as it will no longer be an enclosed green space for public recreation but a mixed use space with businesses using the space.” The plan will also have to overcome an objection from Bristol Waste, which says it won’t be able to collect residents’ refuse from the shopping centre loading area. Bins must be “within 5m of a safe vehicle stopping location”, the firm said. A spokesman for the developer said that Moorfields stands by its daylight study, and the council has rised no objections, but if it is shown to be wrong, changes will be made. He also confirmed that Moorfields has no plan to sell the centre, but a sale is possible. The planning application is for outline permission only and will be considered by councillors on January 30 at the earliest. To comment go to: tinyurl.com/broadwalkplan

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January 2019



n NEWS Bristol has become the first city in the UK to vote to become carbon-neutral by 2030. Alex Morss meets a group who are trying to make this ambitious target a reality SCIENTISTS tell us that Bristol – and the rest of the world – will see permanent effects from climate change by 2030. That’s the date by which Bristol city council has now pledged to make the city carbon-neutral – meaning we no longer add any more carbon to the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. But what will we have to do to achieve this goal, and what does it mean? I met the new BS3 Climate Emergency Group, a bunch of residents who aim to find some of the answers. All four political parties, and


Climate activists plan local action to change the world mayor Marvin Rees, unanimously supported the 2030 proposal at a full council meeting on November 30, amid cheers from campaigners. The mayor appealed to Bristol to help him find ways to achieve it, warning it would be an incredibly challenging target. In response, Southville Green councillor Stephen Clarke helped set up the first meeting of the Bedminster residents’ group on December 10, at the Hen and Chicken pub on North Street. The group includes residents, environmental researcher Nikki

Jones and members of community groups Rising Up, Extinction Rebellion, Bedminster Energy Group, Action Greater Bedminster, One by One Bristol and Bristol Greenpeace. The latest International Panel on Climate Change report, compiled from the work of thousands of scientists, warned we only have 12 years left to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, if we are to save the world from catastrophic climate warming beyond 1.5C. Above this temperature rise, scientists warn we face

permanent world-changing impacts and mass deaths from floods, drought, extreme heat, poverty, loss of crop land, famine and the collapse of ecosystems that we depend upon. At the UN Climate Conference in Poland in December, 190 nations agreed ways to measure emissions and track progress – but three decades of such agreements have so far brought no decline in carbon pollution. Campaigners believe faster action is needed. On December 15, more than 100 Extinction Rebellion activists




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IDEAS FROM BS3 TO HELP SAVE BRISTOL FROM DISASTER • A Citizens’ Climate Assembly; • A city Climate Tzar; • Banning non-essential private cars in the city; • Funding to help people make energy-saving choices; • Carbon reduction in every council decision; • Make all council vehicles electric; • More electric car power points.


YOUR FIRST CHOICE Emma Vincent and Lisa Pearson

January 2019

Standstill: No news from the council on tackling traffic pollution lay down in Cabot Circus shopping centre in a mock “die-in” to symbolise the danger. Later, five activists were arrested after climate symbols were sprayed on the Bristol offices of the Environment Agency. Nikki Jones warned the Bedminster meeting: “We have a finite window of time to act, otherwise we are eyeballing our own extinction. The next five years are critical. Bristol must peak our carbon use at 2020 and then drop rapidly. The UK and Bristol need to cut by 10 per cent per year. “Dangerous climate change is already coming – the question now is can we avoid catastrophic change above 1.5C? We waste so much carbon at present, that these changes do not have to send us back to the Stone Age. “In Bristol, there is a big risk inland of heavier rain combined with more floods because we are at the bottom of a whole confluence of rivers. “There will be extreme weather whatever we do now. Hot spells will last longer, water shortages are very likely, sooner than 2030. This will creep into our major food producing areas.” Bedminster resident Mary Rose Clarke said it was easy to become overwhelmed by the scale of the problem. “We have to move away from business as usual, to a climate emergency – significant and collective action

to prevent extinction.” Psychotherapist Tarisha Finnegan-Clarke said: “I have worked in mental health for a long time and noticed growing distress in people over climate change. There is not a fit between how people want the world, and how they see the world running in the opposite direction.” Ellie Freeman, who chairs the Action Greater Bedminster community group, agreed: “As a mother, I worry about what my kids’ future is going to look like.” Lisa Stone, a Greenpeace member, said: “I’d like to see system change. On a practical level, one thing I’d like is funding to be spent on creating an urban forest in Bristol.’’ Several people at the meeting said they had started getting involved in action – taking to the streets, door-knocking, staging road blocks, talks and more. One 70-year-old Bristolian, Fi Radford, said that (like Cllr Clarke) she’d been lying on London’s Lambeth Bridge during the Extinction Rebellion protests that closed central London in November. “The older you are, the more you should put yourself up for that kind of direct action, whereas young people still have to think about their jobs.” She added: “But now Bristol’s mayor has asked us for help. We’ve got to give it to him.” Cllr Stephen Clarke said

SOME would say, worryingly little. The council was unable to give the Voice a response to our queries on what it will do to start making progress on the 2030 goal of a carbon-neutral city. Bristol had already committed to being carbon-free by 2050. More surprisingly, the council has gone quiet on what it is doing to reduce air pollution – something that is directly related to climate change, as it involves reducing vehicle emissions. The council’s Clean Air For Bristol website states that an

Outline Business Case for changes (such as a Clean Air Zone) “will report later in 2018”. This clearly isn’t correct. The council has been unable to tell the Voice when the issue will next be discussed by councillors, despite being given several weeks to answer. The council had previously said it was obliged by a Whitehall directive to come up with a Clean Air plan by December 31, 2018. It can’t – or won’t– tell the Voice why that is not happening. In December councillors voted in a Lib Dem motion to introduce no-idling zones, forcing drivers to switch off their engines. Four pilot zones are planned in 2019.

afterwards: ‘‘There was a great passion and knowledge in the meeting. I personally found it inspiring and learnt a lot. If we are going to reach this challenging carbon target, politicians need to really listen to local groups such as this.” The BS3 Climate Emergency Group plans to meet regularly and take

their best ideas to the mayor (see panel). Cllr Clarke has asked Mr Rees to report back with an action list by May 2019. “We know that 2030 is a big commitment for the city and to meet this target an awareness of carbon emissions will have to factor in every decision the council takes,” he said.

VOICE OPINION THE VOICE doesn’t take a stand on many issues, but this one is too important. Climate change is happening, and the need to take action is urgent. The scientific evidence is overwhelming: 97 per cent of actively publishing climate


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Revealed: Plans that breach developers’ Continued from Page 1 at its heart”. Though many residents are opposed to the plans, many traders in Bedminster believe thousands of new residents could save the ailing shopping area of East Street. Cllr Nicola Beech, cabinet member for city design, is anxious for as many people as possible to comment on the Framework. It sets guidelines to help shape proposals from the four developers, and “create a high quality urban quarter and a balanced community”. The Framework aims to show “how a range of new homes and space for community uses, enterprise and health can be provided” and how it can “support the regeneration of East Street”. If the council adopts it as a planning document, it can be used to help refuse plans which fall short of its standards, Cllr

Student blocks and flats in up to 15 storeys A DEVELOPER which says it aims for “profit with a social purpose” is proposing five blocks of up to 15 storeys on Malago Road containing 573 student rooms – plus another building containing 64 homes. The plan by A2 Dominion, which manages 750 rental homes in Bristol and many more in London, is much taller than the previous plan for the same site by Bedminster developer Rollo Homes.

objections, and four statements in favour. Two others, Dandara and A2 Dominion, had said they want to make applications as early as December. The fourth developer, Deeley Freed, which wants to build on and around the NCP car park at Dalby Avenue, has not revealed any proposals yet. Cllr Beech said she had had

Rollo waited almost two years for a decision on its planning application for 215 flats on the plot, which used to be the Pring & St Hill steel factory, before giving up and selling its interest. The Rollo plan was reduced from 10 storeys to a maximum of nine but still attracted around 500 objections to the council (though some may be updates from the same objectors, as the plan changed several times). The A2 Dominion drawings show a building of up to 15 storeys next to Hereford Street – this will have 35 flats for affordable rent and 29 for shared ownership. Next to them are three

11-storey towers linked by two eight-floor gable-fronted blocks, forming the student homes. A2 Dominion showed the plans at a consultation event at the Steam Crane pub on December 5. Windmill Hill resident Robert Edwards gave his verdict to the Voice after seeing the exhibition: “Too many students in too small a space. The buildings are too high, and there’s not going to be enough social housing.” The bulk and design would fit in with Bristol city centre, but not with Bedminster. “It’s just not appropriate,” said Mr Edwards, of Cotswold Road North. The developer says the design

“builds on an analysis of local industrial vernacular.” The taller, brick framed buildings reflect elements of Bedminster’s Victorian warehouses. The plan appears to breach the developer’s own Framework in terms of height. The Framework – which A2 Dominion has signed up to – maps the Malago Road plot as suitable for 6-9 storeys. Yet the developer proposes blocks of 15 and 11 floors. The firm also spoke of submitting a planning application in December – before the public consultation on the Framework was over. tinyurl.com/A2DominionMalago



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Beech told the Voice. She hopes it can be agreed in time to be presented to the council’s cabinet in March – though some developers are itchy to proceed. One, Firmstone made a planning application for a 22-storey tower and a cinema at St Catherine’s Place before the Framework was even published. That plan has drawn 210

“very open conversations” with everyone involved. “My priority is to have acceptable schemes by local consent,” she said. She did not hide her astonishment that Firmstone had already submitted its plan – though it will not be considered until the council has debated the Framework. “I’m not going to be distracted by any speculative applications that are being put in,” she said. Two of the proposals already seem to breach the Framework. Developer A2 Dominion wants to build one block of 15 storeys and three of 11 storeys on the former Pring & St Hill factory site on Malago Road. Yet the Framework – drawn up for the developers by Nash Partnership, and to which all the developers are signed up – shows the Pring plot as “Mid-High – between 6-9 floors.” The Firmstone plan at St

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January 2019



The Framework height guide. Yellow is 2-5 floors, orange 6-9 floors, red 10 floors; a star is 10 floors+. The numbers – placed by the Voice – show the actual heights proposed. Other plots have no plans yet.


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Block plan: An artist’s view by Firmstone of the towers seen from Bedminster station

Catherine’s Place has a 13-storey portion in an area that also seems to be zoned for 6-9 floors. The Framework says Mid-High blocks can have “additional floors where set back from streets, for elements above to create a varied roofline, and/or step up towards framing the Green.” Firmstone pointed to this clause as the reason for the height of its building. Director Francis Firmstone said: “We have worked closely with Nash Partnership, who have prepared the Framework, to ensure our scheme is consistent with overarching objectives of the Framework. The narrative for ‘mid-high’ allows for some additional height, to create a varied roofline. The proposals for St Catherine’s Place include a stepped design, whereby the height varies, increasing towards the taller element.” The A2 Dominion plan, however, presents 15 storeys at one end and is mainly 11 storeys across its width. The firm was unable to answer the Voice’s query before our press time. Also zoned as “Mid-High” is most of the area between Stafford Street and Little Paradise Street. It’s unclear how high Dandara wants to build here – early drawings appear to show 10 and 11 storeys, but these may have been revised. Dandara was unable to comment. Nick Townsend of WHaM was scathing about the student blocks by A2 Dominion. Windmill Hill residents “are going to be presented with a wall of glass in front of us,” he said. The former nine-floor Rollo plan protruded into the Windmill Hill skyline, meaning the taller A2 Dominion plan will be more intrusive. Mr Townsend also questioned the disruption likely to be caused

‘Bristol marches back to the 60s’ Former mayor George Ferguson believes the drive for tall buildings is a return to the bad old days

W when hundreds of parents try to drop their student offspring off at the beginning of term. The site would have disabled parking only, with two drop-off zones at the student blocks. A2 Dominion told the Voice it would issue parents with time slots to arrive in their cars. The same system works well elsewhere, the firm said. Many Windmill Hill and Bedminster residents are angry that their objections to high-rises were not properly reflected in the council’s new Urban Living policy, which covers tall buildings. But Cllr Beech said the new policy gives more protection because it demands high standards of design. A plan for a 12-storey block at Redcliffe has been thrown out on planners’ recommendation, she said [see panel, right]. “It’s not a manifesto on height,” she said. “It’s a design guide.” The aim is to have incremental increases in height across the whole city. “It’s not to do with huge towers – it’s about how we address our need for affordable housing,” she said. Bristol has a target of finding 33,000 new homes by 2036 – about 19,000 of them affordable. The Framework stresses the importance of good design and “active frontages” at street level. It also seeks to provide safe and easy routes to East Street to link the new community to the old. Mel Clinton of architects Nash Partnership, who is managing the Framework consultation, said that tall buildings do not have to be concrete blocks surrounded by grass – with good design, in cities such as Vancouver, they can create good communities. Comments on the Framework can be made until January 13 at tinyurl.com/BedsFramework

HEN I arrived in Bristol in 1965, the city council was building high blocks of flats in Kingsdown, Easton, Bedminster and in the new council suburbs, that few politicians would deign to live in. It was a deeply patronising attitude and, as a young city councillor in the 70s, most of the ward problems that I encountered were with these blocks – an invaluable addition to my seven years of architectural education! We are still plagued by these post-war monsters, looming over the popular Victorian and Edwardian streets that make Bristol what it is. Over the past three decades or so we have mercifully turned our backs on this crass form of development that has confused high-rise with high density. We need high density in the city to house all those who need to be housed – and I am as one with Cllr Paul Smith, who is building on the start we made with the first council housing to be built in this city for over 30 years, with the formation of a housing company, and encouraging the delivery of a greater proportion of affordable housing in new developments. The danger lies with the current mayor’s simplistic assertion that we should build high – a sad misunderstanding of what makes good community and a good city. The best European


BEDMINSTER GREEN George Ferguson: ‘High-rise buildings should be a rare exception’

cities have high densities, but they are achieved with good streets of three, four, five and maybe six stories – not with blocks of eight storeys or more! The new development on Wapping Wharf is an excellent example of such traditional planning at a scale that is appropriate to Bristol. It produces good community around intimate streets and spaces.   When we entered an agreement with a local developer to produce a masterplan for Bedminster Green it was with this scale of development in mind. Unfortunately, more recent signals coming from City Hall have encouraged developers towards a megalomaniac approach that is alien to the area and to our ‘city of urban villages’. I am delighted to see that the agreement I entered with Kevin McCloud’s HAB and United Communities in Southmead is producing the exemplary streetbased scheme that we sought. High-rise buildings should be a rare exception, but sadly this retrogressive mayoral policy, that seems to learn nothing from the disaster that was 60s planning, is in grave danger of making them the rule. It was my intention to work with WHaM & BS3 Planning, who have the local knowledge and professional skills that should be valued, not snubbed. George Ferguson Twitter: People & Cities


Street, 150 metres from the Grade I-listed church of St Mary Redcliffe. N A MOVE that may bring hope Committee members agreed to those opposed to high-rise with council officers that the buildings in South Bristol, building was so big and so close to councillors have rejected a existing flats that 12-storey block in residents would not get nearby Redcliffe. enough daylight. The 196-home plan Council cabinet is smaller than many of housing chief Paul the towers proposed for Smith, who is also Bedminster Green but councillor for Central was branded a Axed: Redcliffe plan ward, which includes “monstrosity” and Redcliffe, backed the rejected by six votes to scheme. Cllr Smith three at a development control accused council officials of writing committee on November 28. a report biased against the plan. Developer Urban Tranquillity • Report by Amanda Cameron, had wanted to build at the corner Local Democracy Reporter of Somerset Street and Prewett


Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk

January 2019





Make 2019 the year you make a positive change Whether you want to lose weight, try some new entertainment, get fitter or pursue a new career, our advertisers have some great suggestions for the new year Beasty Baby


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IAN Fletcher, who runs Feel Good Fitness, aims not only to take you through your exercise class and sessions but also find ways of replicating these movements in ‘real life’. After all, what is the point in just doing one class a week if you then forget what you have practiced the rest of the week?   Fitting in exercise can be as easy as doing a few squats as you sit or stand from a chair or while waiting for the kettle, and doing push-ups on the worktop. Sian says: “In Pilates we don’t always lay on the floor with our legs in the air and focus around the core muscles. For example, in a class we might look at when and how you can fit an upper back mobility movement  into your day. “I often teach this little gem to new mums and desk workers. Finally, don’t feel you have to do it all in one go; rather move throughout the day.”

Classes teach you how to keep up exercise throughout the week Sian has some other ideas to build exercise into your routine: “If you’re hanging the washing out – do side lunge lunges to get the clothes out the basket. “Get the kids involved and maybe strike a few yoga poses or see who can balance the longest on tip toes? “If you don’t have time to follow a full exercise programme, try breaking it down into smaller 10-15 minute chunks spread throughout the day.”



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OTTERDOWN local Hazel Crimmins teaches a joyful cardio workout incorporating vintage vibes and street dances. As a SwingTrain Pioneer, Hazel made sure that Bristol was one of the first places in the country to offer this new cardio fitness workout, which was born from a BBC Dragons Den success. SwingTrain is the little fitness brother of Swing Patrol, one of the leading Swing Dance schools in the UK. It is an enjoyable and effective dance cardio workout inspired by the uplifting, energetic sounds of Charleston, swing, gospel, electro swing and hot jazz. Qualified personal trainer and avid Swing Dance fan Hazel leads participants through a series of

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January 2019




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NatWest bank, 290 Wells Road, Knowle BS4 2QA Removal of one ATM and marketing surround and infilling of aperture with stonework.

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HILDREN can begin their exciting journey of learning at Bridge Learning Campus’ wonderful nursery provision. Nursery places are available for children aged three and four. BLC’s nursery – based in South Bristol – prides itself on its dedicated, caring and highly skilled staff, as well as the encouragement given to children to achieve the very best they can. Children are encouraged to explore and learn through play-based activities, including art and craft, recognition of their name and letters, songs, rhymes and stories.  Outdoor learning also helps children to develop gross motor skills as well as the life skills of sharing and taking turns. Parents and carers are kept informed about their child’s learning and progress through

Nursery: Learning through play daily contact with families, Stay and Plays, online observations, and parents and carers meetings. Laura Cox, BLC’s nursery teacher, said: “The nursery is a great, vibrant place to bring your child. We ensure that learning matches needs and, most importantly, we provide a safe, secure and stimulating environment. The children are engaged with their learning and happy, which is lovely to see.” Bridge Learning Campus, in William Jessop Way, provides education and learning for children from nursery through to secondary.

APPLY FOR YOUR NURSERY PLACE at Bridge Learning Campus

Stimulating: Sunshine Pre-School offers lots of learning opportunities

Eating healthily needn’t cost a fortune, as Alive ’n’ Kicking can show

Sunshine Pre-School

Alive’n’ Kicking

sunshinepreschool.org.uk Email: sunshinepreschool@ hotmail.co.uk


UNSHINE Pre-school is a family run business that has been offering high quality care and education in the Knowle area since 1994. Led by qualified teachers, its well-established team of highly-experienced staff are dedicated to the education and development of confident, happy and successful children. Sunshine’s philosophy puts the needs of individual children at the centre of everything they do. Both the school’s Knowle settings are rated as Outstanding

by Ofsted, partly due to the wide range of stimulating learning opportunities that supports each child to flourish in their critical early years and reach their full potential. A high priority is placed on outdoor learning. Each setting has a dedicated garden, and offers regular forest school experiences and visits to the school’s allotment. With effective links with Redcatch Community Garden, Talbot Road allotments, St Martin’s church and various community groups, Sunshine Pre-school truly is an outstanding provision at the heart of the local community.

g a Brighter Fu din l tur i e Bu



For families with children aged 5-16 who are above a healthy weight everyonehealth.co.uk Email: hollybuckingham@ everyonehealth.co.uk Facebook: Everyone_Health Twitter: everyone_health


LIVE ’n’ Kicking is a weight management   programme with a difference – it’s aimed at the whole family. Many families find it difficult to look after their weight and stay healthy, and sometimes this affects the children as well as the adults. Alive ’n’ Kicking is a new approach which is completely

free and is open to families with children aged 5-16 who are above a healthy weight. There are group programmes all across Bristol – in South Bristol they are held at Hengrove Leisure Centre and The Park Centre in Knowle. Every member of the family can learn about healthy eating and nutrition, how to eat healthily on a budget, and take part in physical activity sessions too. A new nine-week programme starts in January – just as think about healthy lifestyle changes for the new year. many families will be starting to think about healthy lifestyle changes for the new year.

Do you have children above a healthy weight? Do you need help to eat more healthily on a budget?

Quality care and education for children aged 2 ½ to 5 years Places available during term time at: St Gerard’s Hall, Buller Road, Knowle BS4 2LN St Martin’s Hall, St Martin’s Road, Knowle BS4 2ND Our pre-schools are led by qualified teachers and have dedicated outdoor learning spaces. We provide regular Forest School experiences, visits to our allotment and around the local community.

Both our settings are rated Outstanding by Ofsted www.sunshinepreschool.org.uk sunshinepreschool@hotmail.co.uk Bridge Learning Campus, William Jessop Way, Hartcliffe, BS13 0RL Tel: 0117 353 4472 Email: enquiries@bridgelearningcampus.com

To advertise, contact sales@southbristolvoice.co.uk or Ruth on 07590 527664

ALIVE ’N’ KICKING can help.

We’re running a free, 9-week course for eligible families in South Bristol with children aged 5-16. Sessions start in January 2019 – why not contact us to find out more?

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65 Wingfield Road BS3 5EG Hip to gable loft conversion with rear flat roof dormer. 47 Norton Road BS4 2EZ Loft conversion with flat roof rear dormer. 22 Calcott Road BS4 2HD Alteration to single storey rear extension, including new roof. 120 Broadfield Road BS4 2UU Single storey granny annex in rear garden.  Knowle ward: Decided 77 Wingfield Road BS3 5EG Part two storey and part single storey side extension; demolition of rear shed structure. Granted subject to conditions Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road BS4 3EW Creation of a new area for use as a community garden. Granted subject to conditions Land between 10 Priory Road and garages, Talbot Road, Knowle Replacement of garages with two storey dwelling with parking, bike spaces and refuse storage. Granted subject to conditions 62 Melbury Road BS4 2RP Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear by 6m, of maximum height 3.7m with eaves of 2.6m. Refused 280 Wells Road, Knowle BS4 2PU First floor extension. Granted subj. to conditions 117 Somerset Road BS4 2HX Conversion from hipped to gable roof, with rear dormer roof extension. Granted subject to conditions 8 Glena Avenue BS4 2LB Single storey rear extension. Granted subj. to conditions Windmill Hill ward: Awaiting decision 11 Almorah Road BS3 4QQ Single storey ground floor side infill extension. 

Knowle, Totterdown, Windmill Hill

58 Ravenhill Road BS3 5BT Wooden pergola with solar panels. 36 Almorah Road BS3 4QQ Single storey infill extension.  13 Mendip Road BS3 4PB Rear dormer roof extension and three front roof lights; two roof lights to ground floor extension.  24 Haverstock Road BS4 2BZ Roof alteration with hip to gable extension, glazed central side panel, rear dormer roof extension and rooflights to front and rear.  41 St John’s Crescent BS3 5EL Two bedroom detached house.  36 Kensal Road BS3 4QU Flat roof dormer extensions to rear, with two roof lights to front.  Land to rear of 13 & 14 Eldon Terrace Details of conditions 2 (Construction management), 3 (Contamination), 4 (Remediation), 5 (Implementation remediation) and 7 (SUDS) of 18/01023/F: Two 3-bedroom dwellings. 10 Eldon Terrace BS3 4NZ Conversion of garage to house, with roof terrace.  Windmill Hill ward: Decided 2 Windsor Terrace BS3 4UF Conversion of basement into 2-bedroom flat. Granted subject to conditions 37 Brecknock Road BS4 2DE Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear by 6m, of maximum height 3.1m with eaves of 2.5m. Granted 38 Raymend Road BS3 4QP Rear dormer roof extension. Granted 137 St John’s Lane BS3 5AE Single storey rear extension to ground floor flat and loft conversion with rear dormer to first floor flat. Refused 48 Nutgrove Avenue BS3 4QF Replacement of single storey rear extension. Granted subject to conditions 18 Lilymead Avenue BS4 2BX Side and rear dormer roof extensions. Granted • The status of these applications may have changed since we went to press. Check for updates at planningonline.bristol.gov.uk

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk

January 2019



LETTERS and provide your postal address.

Please keep letters as short as possible,

Write to paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk or to 18 Lilymead Avenue, BS4 2BX

January 2019


LETTERS and provide your postal address.

Please keep letters as short as possible,

It’s cars that we need to restrict


ERALD Gannaway’s letter in the last South Bristol Voice (“Don’t blame the motorist”) displays a remarkable level of ignorance as to the causes of different types of air pollution. While there is some transboundary air pollution (ie between countries), this has almost no effect on local air pollution. Historically, manufacturing industry and coal fires in urban areas were the causes, but this is now thankfully a thing of the past and certainly in Bristol there is little industry which causes significant air pollution. By far the largest contributor is the burning of fossil fuels (petrol, diesel) in motor vehicles, of which cars are by far the most numerous.  To make matters worse the air pollution caused by motor vehicles is very damaging to human health, in particular nitrogen dioxide,

sulphur oxides and particulate matter. Nitrogen dioxide alone is estimated to cause more than 20,000 premature deaths in the UK per year, including an estimated 300 in Bristol.*  This is a staggering impact on human lives, and the sad fact is that the vast majority of this pollution is generated locally by motorists.   Gerald is right in one sense: we do indeed need to take global action to tackle climate change.  But this has very little to do with day-to-day air quality in Bristol. If he would like cleaner air in Bristol the only way this will be achieved will be by removing the main cause, which means reducing the number of cars on our roads and replacing them with cleaner transport choices, especially walking and cycling. Owen White William Street, Totterdown * tinyurl.com/BrisAirReport • AIR POLLUTION is certainly caused in part by motor vehicle emissions. There is no doubt about that. Diesel vehicles

19 Write to paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk or to 18 Lilymead Avenue, BS4 2BX

especially spew out toxic pollution, which is often invisible and harmful to children’s lungs and to vulnerable elderly people. And drivers shouldn’t think they are safe in their cars – studies have shown that drivers are exposed to high levels of toxic vehicle fumes as well! This is why South Bristol will benefit from measures to curb air pollution at source. Make the polluting drivers pay for it – they caused it, after all! Cycling and walking are zero pollution, so we should do everything we can to encourage this. The city centre is easily within safe cycling distance now we have the new cycle route through Victoria Park and Whitehouse Street. Buses emit pollution, but because they carry so many people the total per passenger is far less than petrol or diesel cars. So yes, we do need to restrict polluting vehicles and encourage healthy, zero pollution travel. It’s great to see that South Bristol is getting a reputation for this! Address supplied, Knowle

Standing traffic is choking us I AM CONCERNED about the levels of pollution caused by the standing traffic on Talbot Road, Knowle, at rush hour twice a day. I have sent an email to the BCC Air Quality team asking them to install monitoring equipment. Text of email: “I am seriously concerned about CO2 emission levels on Talbot Road BS4 2NN, particularly at the top of the hill where the pavements are very narrow and close to the road and front doors are less than three metres from the road. There is standing traffic there MondayFriday through the rush hours. “This is a minor road being used as a major thoroughfare which it was never intended for. The narrow pavements are used by parents with children on their school/nursery route and going to Jubilee Pool.” Concerned resident, Talbot Road

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Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk




REASONS TO GO TO DUSSELDORF • More fashion houses than you can wave a fancy scarf at; • More bars than you can visit; • More Christmas markets than seems feasible; • First-rate shopping • Excellent, good-value hotels • Easy to walk around • Great public transport • Only an hour from Bristol



LYBMI flies to Dusseldorf six times a week from Bristol Airport. December was mostly sold out because of the lure of those Christmas markets, but you could have a weekend return in March for under £170 (at time of writing). Flybmi operates small, 49-seat Embraer RJ-135 and RJ-145 jets, with just two seats one side of the aisle and one the other. Everyone gets a free snack and drink and there’s a generous 23kg hold baggage included. It’s a cut above budget airlines.

Generous rooms at the Maritim

THE CARBON COST LYING is a big contributor to carbon emissions. You may ask why the Voice can print a feature on the global climate emergency, and then swan off for the weekend on a jet plane. I’m trying to balance the major contribution that Bristol Airport makes to our economy with the impact on the planet, so I used carbonfootprint.com to pay £12.90 to plant trees in South West England. This offsets one tonne of CO2, more than the 0.11 tonne of carbon emitted as my share of the flight. Paul Breeden

Josef Hinkel, city’s dynastic baker

Konigsallee, lined with fashion

The Engelchen, or Angel Market

Dusseldorf, a city of surprises Paul Breeden travelled to Dusseldorf and found far too much to occupy him for a mere weekend


’M GUESSING that, like me, most readers won’t have thought of Dusseldorf as a weekend destination. It’s not got the bohemian appeal of Berlin, the architecture or climate of Barcelona, or the cultural fame of other places within a short flight of Bristol such as Pisa or Paris. Well, think again. If you enjoy exploring a historic city, are a fan of visual arts or opera, or you just like shopping, “The Dorf” will have its appeal. From our oh-so-comfortable modern hotel at the airport it’s a 15-minute journey to the city centre where there is far more than a weekend’s worth of attractions to explore. In December the streets are packed for not one but seven Christmas markets. You’ll find Grimm fairytale characters and Santa at the Marchen-Markt, while the Handwerker Markt is full of artisans making wood carvings, glass, paintings and pewter. The variety of Christmas tree decorations must be a world record and displays of intricate lit-up house ornaments, figurines



STAYED at the Maritim, a giant but stylish 500-room hotel right next to the airport. That shouldn’t put you off: the rooms are absolutely soundproof. There are Classic, Comfort and Superior

January 2019



Historic Aldstadt, or Old Town


January 2019

and fairy lights is dazzling, Mulled wine and pastries are on sale everywhere, along with endless street food stalls. Try the reibekuchen, a potato pancake with apple sauce, or a variety of wurst (sausage). Germans love Currywurst, but our German guide was unimpressed with the wurst at a stall we found near the Big Wheel: we got a much better, meatier wurst in an ordinary cafe the next day. The city is the birthplace of Krautrock pioneers Kraftwerk, one of Germany’s biggest musical exports, with hits such as Autobahn and The Model. There’s little visible sign of the band’s heritage, but there is an online guide to Dusseldorf’s significant pop places at nrw-tourismus.de/ soundofurbanana. Better promoted are the fine arts: there are 21 museums, from film to ceramics, but the most famous is the Kunstmuseum, with works by Dali, Warhol, Carravaggio and El Greco. Fashion’s biggest names are here too: the Konigsallee, or King Street, has every big name from Dior to Prada. If partying is your thing, the Bolkerstrasse area has 260 bars in half a sq km, more than anywhere else in the world. Local drinks include the Alter – literally, old-style beer, dark and with more flavour than Pils – and Killepitsch herb liqueur, a sweet and reviving concoction. Service in the crowded taverns can be famously rude: a

waitress bringing our soups got fed up asking who was having what, dumped the whole lot on the table, said, “I haven’t got time for this!” and stomped off. The food was superb, if served in killer portions: my pork knuckle fell off the bone, but was too much to eat. Green vegetables are not much in evidence, sauerkraut (flavoured cabbage) being preferred, but vegetarians will survive if they scrutinise menus. Something that may make Bristolians weep is the public transport. Residents of the Dorf have it all: a compact, walkable city centre, accessible by local trains (the S Bahn), underground (U Bahn), buses and trams. You can even drive into the city centre and park underground, out of sight. Even this relative ease of access isn’t enough. The city is thinking of encouraging more people out of their cars by making public transport free. There’s too much else to tempt you. The stunning architecture, from Frank Gehry’s undulating, reflective offices to stark glass blocks slashed with green balconies. The edgy street art; the sweeping Rhine; the Kaiser’s palace. Just don’t dwell too much on comparing their public transport to ours. • Paul Breeden travelled to Dusseldorf as a guest of Maritim Hotels and FlyBMI. visitdusseldorf.de

rooms, but all are 30 sq m – that’s big – and very comfortable. Superior has a higher ceiling and the minibar is free. Rooms are available online for £80 or less on some dates, and I found late availability for a 50 sq m Junior

Suite for £158. This gives you a separate living room and makes a longer stay more homely – worth thinking about. There’s also a classy pool and wellness centre with sauna and steam room, open 6am-11pm.

MARVIN REES Mayor of Bristol

I want Bristol employers to join me in paying a proper Living Wage to all


WAS delighted that Bristol city council has recently been accredited as a Living Wage employer, joining more than 220 South West employers officially committed to paying the voluntary rate. This means every employee and contractor earns a decent living wage and we are now rolling it out to all our suppliers too. The Living Wage is an independently-set hourly rate of pay for everyone over 18, calculated according to the basic costs of living, and is higher than the current minimum wage for those aged over 25 set by the Government. The Living Wage recently increased by 25p to £9 due to rising living costs. I am proud to be championing the real

Bristol Libraries new ideas created together


Living Wage and I am pleased we can lead by example in promoting employee economic and social wellbeing. I hope that other large employers in the region follow suit and do the right thing. A living wage is part of developing an economy based on inclusive economic growth and ensuring everyone shares in Bristol’s success. Now, working with unions and businesses in the city, we have started the conversation

about making Bristol the first real Living Wage city. This could include a Bristolspecific living wage (probably somewhere between the national real Living Wage and the London weighting). I am writing to chief execs across Bristol to join us in this ambition. I want to make it the benchmark for the employers in our city, not the aspiration. So, because of this commitment, I am concerned about the Post Office’s proposals to close our only Crown Post Office in Bristol, at the Galleries shopping centre, and relocate it to the nearby WH Smith. This will leave Bristol with no flagship Post Office, having a significant impact on services we receive, and also a loss of decent jobs which will likely be replaced by minimum wage roles. It is unacceptable not to have a major Post Office serving our citizens and economy when Bristol has the fastest growing population of any core city, with three quarters of a million people in the city region, and a strong economy which contributes £14.3 billion to the UK economy. I spoke at the recent day of action organised by the Communications Workers Union (CWU) to campaign against this proposal and for decent jobs, and for the services Bristolians rely on. I encourage people to sign the online petition at saveourpostoffice.co.uk

Come and join the conversation! Have you got ideas for your library and its building? Can you or your community help make these happen?

Events take place across the city January to March 2019, to work together to create community-led activities and partnerships. To find out more and book, visit www.bristol.gov.uk/libraryideas or visit your local library. BD11037

To advertise, contact sales@southbristolvoice.co.uk or Ruth on 07590 527664

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk

January 2019



January 2019




In witch I feel guilty


WAS the responsible adult when Mum had her stroke and instantly thought it was my fault. I had to whisper to a doctor recently to ask whether it had happened because we were sitting next to the speakers at my brother Rock God’s gig? He assured me that it would have happened wherever we were – although it has not stopped me feeling guilty. I now feel even more guilty as I watch her struggle along. I did have thoughts of wishing it had been a big stroke and she had popped off quickly without any suffering – how dare I think it. She is still here and

Who is the Wicked Witch? She’s the one sending you death stares if you look oddly at her mum bits of her sneak out to see us now and then. We still laugh, although I’m not sure Mum really knows why she is laughing, and I try not to laugh at her. I drove to see them the other day and found Mum was adorned with some rather unusual earrings. A brown hairgrip had been carefully placed onto each lobe. “Oh Mum,” said I gently, “go take those grips off your ears, they must hurt”. She glared at me with her


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THE METEORIC growth in South Bristol property prices has slowed considerably, estate agents have told the Voice. But despite the Brexit effect, which is depressing house sales and consumer confidence across the country, the local housing market is bearing up surprisingly well, the agents say. Phil Marsh, branch manager at Greenwoods Property Centre in Totterdown, said: “We are not noticing a drop in prices, in fact we are still seeing properties sell quickly, within two weeks.” This is because South Bristol has plenty of properties which are in high demand, particularly well-presented Victorian properties. More “average” homes take a bit longer to sell, he said. George Offer, who with Kalan Smith runs branches of Hunters in Bedminster and Knowle, thinks some homes have risen in price by 10 per cent in 2018 – but these are the high-demand ones, family Victorian properties and good-value ex-council homes. “We cannot get enough ex-local authority properties,” he said. “It’s very specific, it varies road by road, but some have increased from £260,000 to £280,000 this year.” Hunters could also sell more

MARKET WATCH Land Registry sales figures for 6 months to Sept 2018, compiled by Propdex

BS4 Av price rise 8.6%, £257,748 No. of sales down 26.6% to 391 BS3 Av price rise 6.3%, £291,864 No. of sales down 10.3% to 409


empty eyes, frowning crossly, and stated: “I. Will. Not.” She shuffled upstairs to put on her fluffy slippers as we were going shopping. We went to the supermarket. I linked arms with her as we wandered aimlessly around the aisles where Mum wanted to carefully examine EVERYTHING. I gave death stares to anyone who did a double take at her unusual look and tried desperately to remember how she used to be. I went for a look around a care home as I really think Mum needs more help than Dad can give her. Oh my. How expensive are these places? The one I looked round was relatively cheap at £820 a week. Dinner was being served – definitely involving cabbage, but it

was nice, clean and bright. They took couples so I could stick Dad in there too, but we would have to sell their house and use all their savings to pay for it, then hope they popped off after two years as that’s when the money would run out! My Mum was originally from Eastbourne and Dad, while flicking through the care home brochure, said sadly, “Maybe the best thing me and Mum could do would be to hold hands and jump off Beachy Head.” “How romantically horrific,” said I. He chuckled and added “Knowing my luck we’d get snagged on a tree half way down.” Thankfully he can’t remember how to get to Beachy Head, so this scenario will never be tested.

No dip yet in homes market South Bristol properties still in strong demand, say agents Victorian houses, like those around Victoria Park, near the £500,000 mark. But the largest homes, and those in average condition, are fetching no more than they did a year ago. At Greenwoods, Phil Marsh believes that prices will stay flat for the first half of 2019, against an overall rise of 3-5 per cent during the past year. “The property market is confidence-driven,” he said. “It could start to come up sooner if a Brexit deal makes the outlook more certain. “South Bristol will probably have a better market than other parts of Bristol, particularly North Bristol. We are seeing a lot of people who have been looking the other side of the river and they see South Bristol as a great place to live, with good links to the city centre and a good range of Victorian property,” he said. George Offer agrees that while the coming months may not see prices rise, sales will continue even through the festive period. “We are still selling [in mid-December] and we have viewings booked for the first week of January,” he said. “Mortgages are still arguably estates.co.uk the cheapest they have ever been. I think the market will stay much the same – we might see a rise at the tail end of the year.”

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Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk

January 2019





E HAVE been having discussions with planning officers and speaking to developers Gary regarding the Hopkins outline planning Lib Dem application for the Knowle redevelopment of the Broadwalk shopping centre. As we have previously reported, the developers have already responded to our call for improvements in design and have had a series of meetings with near neighbours, and details may yet change further. Ironically practically everybody, including those trying to kill the scheme, want the new shops, a new car park (which would cost more than £10 million), the supermarket and the new design at the rear with the piazza. Trying to kill the scheme, and making completely unrealistic demands, is the same thing. It would be highly damaging to our area and it is noticeable that


large numbers of customers are signing the traders’ petition to demand that the scheme go ahead. They know how much pressure there is on shops around the country and do not want our vital shopping centre further damaged. We have read the many comments on the planning website, both for and against, and it is noticeable that some of the objections are against things that are not happening, but others need to be looked at with sympathy. It is expected that, after a recommendation from planning officers, the planning committee will decide whether to proceed to the details stage, or kill the scheme at the end of January. The developers have offered to pay the set-up costs of a resident parking scheme, which suggests they are confident that their parking spaces and car club provision will prevent any overspill from the new residents. They are also sticking to the offer of 20 per cent affordable housing, even though it seems the council will probably demand less.


How to contact your councillor: p2

VER recent years the building site at 1 Redcatch Road has caused major problems to drivers and Chris pedestrians. Davies Deliveries to the Lib Dem shopping centre Knowle were prevented and pedestrians forced to walk in the road without safety barriers. With the workforce abandoning the site, and no effort to complete the work, we contacted the council’s highways department to enforce clearance. The developers made little attempt to consider the safety of the public on a blind corner. It is sheer luck no one has been injured. Highways have now cleared the site – developers will be charged for the work. New crossing or many years we have supported the idea of a crossing on Wells Road between Somerset and Redcatch roads. It is on a list of schemes



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that are desirable, but others are designated as more urgent. With both this and the previous mayor taking away local budgets and decision-making we have not been able to deliver as quickly as we would like. Funding for the Woodbridge Road traffic scheme was taken away and we had to fight to have this agreed as a priority by the new six-ward “local committee” created by the mayor. It was agreed for 2018, but staff shortages mean we now have to chase again for it to commence. We put the Wells Road crossing as our next bid for “local” planning levy money. Again we have to compete with five other wards, so it is vital to raise the profile. We have been contacted by parents Rebecca and Ben from Somerset Road whose son Finn recently suffered a broken collar bone after an RTA on that stretch of Wells Road. Finn is recovering but to prevent other accidents they have organised a petition. Please sign: tinyurl.com/SafeWells-Rd

January 2019




HIS seems like a good time to review 2018 and the many things that have affected Bristol Jon and Windmill Hill Wellington ward. This year, Labour much like the Windmill Hill year before, has been dominated by the ongoing sagas of the now-cancelled arena at Temple Meads and the major housing development at Bedminster Green, between Bedminster railway station and East Street. The cancellation of the arena at Temple Meads was, I feel, regrettable, and while I respect the mayor’s decision and understand the rationale, I cannot agree with it, and the lost once-in-a-generation opportunity for the city. We now have to consider what a ‘mixed-use development’ will look like and what impact this will have on nearby communities. The development at

Windmill Hill

Bedminster Green is another once-in-a-generation opportunity to build a new housing area in Bedminster with the required density to regenerate the area and to go some way towards building the number of homes needed to address the housing crisis in our city. The current political administration will be judged for decades to come on the quality of its housing projects and this is one of the most important in the city. The last couple of years have seen a developer free-for-all as they each propose ever more outlandish and inappropriate sized buildings for the area. We have been pressing for a developers’ framework for the area for several years now, and finally we have a draft version available. The documents are available on the Nash Partnership website and the consultation on this draft framework is open until January 13. While I appreciate the difficulties in getting four developers to agree on how to


 How to contact your councillor: p2

work with the others, and I commend Cllr Nicola Beech, the cabinet member for planning for this, I cannot help but be disappointed by its contents. Aside from some good stuff about the use of ground level properties and a new entrance to Bedminster railway station (which we knew about anyway), I am concerned that if the framework in its current form is adopted by the council at cabinet in March, it could be used to justify the building of tower blocks on Bedminster Green, through its identification of “opportunities” for buildings higher than 10 storeys that are built into the plan on four of the five sites. Therefore we need to make sure that as many people that have concerns respond before the January 13 deadline so that the developers and the council are aware of concerns. That said, I am aware that if a framework is rejected, then we could see developers submit applications with no reference to the others, leading to a

completely unplanned development. The whole thing is a real mess and really demonstrates a weakness in national planning policies and the power that large developers have over local authorities. Of course these are just two of the issues I have been dealing with. The developments on Bath Road will also impact on residents, as will cuts to local government funding which mean the mayor and cabinet have had to make some difficult choices around services such as libraries and parks. On top of that there are the perennial problems in our area with parking and traffic congestion, and individual casework involving housing, crime or anti-social behaviour. I can’t claim to be able to solve everything, and with the loss of officers at the council it is ever harder to get anything done, but I always do my best to help people and to ensure that your views are represented. • Lucy Whittle is on maternity leave


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January 2019



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HAT a year 2018 has been! We kicked it off with our rebrand in January, officially launching our new name and logo: Bristol Animal Rescue Centre. We were amazed with the response we received and we would like to thank every individual who shared our Facebook posts, retweeted our tweets and told their friends about our change of name. You all made it such a huge success. Thank you. As of the middle of December, 422 animals had been adopted from our centre in St Philip’s. We match every animal to their potential adopters to ensure that

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We try to give our animals the best of care but we can only do this if you keep up your support for us they can offer them the correct home, based on their needs and personality. This year we rehomed several long-stay dogs including staffies Spuddy and Molly, who took part in the Gromit Unleashed 2 trail. We were thrilled to wave them goodbye as they started their new lives. This year, we also introduced our direct debit facility – making

it really easy for our supporters to arrange a monthly donation. You can set up a direct debit from as little as £2.50 a month – could you consider doing this to help our animals through 2019? A huge thank you to you all for reading our column throughout 2018 and here’s to a happy and successful 2019. bristolarc.org.uk


n NEWS Acting students can join in masterclasses IN A new first for South Bristol, the Tobacco Factory theatre is to begin weekly acting classes for adults. The theatre’s artistic director, Mike Tweddle, will lead the new group, assisted by Jenny Davies, assistant director on the current production of The Borrowers and the spring showing of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Anyone over 19 is welcome to join Tuesday sessions at 8-10pm from January 22. Those taking part need a passion for acting, curiosity about the process of creating a performance, and not to be a professional performer or in training. Students will attend acting masterclasses with the cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The cost for two terms is £180; some bursaries are available. tobaccofactorytheatres.com


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n FEATURES January’s annual Slapstick Festival is largely organised by a stalwart team of South Bristol folk. They tell Voice readers exclusively of their favourite mishaps in 15 years of comic adventure Bristol’s Slapstick Festival of silent and classic screen comedy presents its 15th annual edition from January 16 to 20, offering more than 30 laugh-out-loud events and a celebrity guest list which includes all three of The Goodies, Richard Herring, an exclusive reunion of Little and Large, Dad’s Army veteran Frank Williams, Jimmy ‘and there’s more’ Cricket, Sally Phillips, Lucy Porter and Tim Vine.


HE FESTIVAL’S founder and director is Chris Daniels, of Somerset Road, Knowle. We put it to him: “Presumably a festival featuring so many pratfalls, custard pies, comedy chases and banana skins hasn’t escaped some slapstick moments of its own?” Here are his confessions. “In the festival’s very early days I was meeting a musician due to play live to a silent film. I greeted him at the station saying “I’ve put the back seat down in the car. Where’s your keyboard?” to which he replied: “I think the question is ‘Where’s the piano you’re hiring for me?’” It was a useful lesson. This year we’ll be welcoming pianists, a harpist, a four-piece band and the Bristol Ensemble, and I guarantee we’ll know exactly which instruments are needed where and when! “We’ve always been incredibly lucky at wooing big name comedians to host our annual gala (moving this year to Sunday February 10 and to the Hippodrome, with Marcus Brigstocke as MC). We were delighted when Dara O’Briain agreed to do it. Then

January 2019


Barry Cryer: National treasure and expert aimer of custard pies Alice Howell: One of the few female stars of the 1920s silent comedies, recalled for Slapstick on January 17 by Lucy Porter, left


A festival of banana skins and comedy pratfalls – what could possibly go wrong? Well, since you ask ... disaster – his filming schedule for Comic Relief shifted at the last minute and he had to withdraw. Amazingly, the beloved Victoria Wood volunteered to step in, prompting Dara to tweet “I see you’ve substituted upwards”. “Slipknot/Slapstick? It’s easy to see how the two can get confused – if you don’t know that one is a low budget Bristol festival and the other is a mighty US heavy metal band. And that’s why we once received a consignment of huge Slipknot posters while Slapstick’s more modest order went to Newcastle! It all turned out OK in the end

though, as the ad agency responsible retrieved our order AND gave us a prime billboard site at the London end of the M4 – the kind of exposure it’s unlikely we’ll ever be able to afford. “Screening old films can be tricky and we’re blessed with a brilliant team of technicians. But even their know-how was put to the test when we discovered we’d been sent the wrong lens, just as more than 1,500 people were arriving to watch Charlie Chaplin’s 1931 film City Lights. But, to the team’s credit, they devised a solution and the screening went ahead after only a short delay.

The Goodies: Reunited on January 19. Right, festival director Chris Daniels “Every year, we make big efforts to attract new audiences but our publicist, another South Bristol member of the team, Pam Beddard, went beyond the call of duty after she tumbled, badly breaking her wrist, while on her way to meet a BBC Points West crew, then used the four hours or so she spent in A&E at the BRI handing out brochures and persuading staff to come along to find out how comedians like Buster Keaton perform perfect falls! As further encouragement, we’re making a special offer this year to NHS staff on three of our shows at Bristol Old Vic, with details available via UBHT and North Bristol NHS Trust internal bulletins. “It wasn’t a boob, as such, but very funny, when national treasure Barry Cryer interrupted the tribute Lee Mack was paying to his favourite silent comedy clowns, Laurel and Hardy, to splat Lee in the face with a custard pie.” Slapstick 2019 opens on Wednesday January 16 and continues until Sunday 20. Two extra events – an afternoon show for children with CBeebies star Andy Day, and a Silent Comedy Gala, hosted by Marcus Brigstocke – take place at the Hippodrome on Sunday February 10. For details and bookings, look out for the free brochure or see slapstick.org.uk

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January 2019


n HISTORY A single street that tells the story of Totterdown – and what does it teach us for the future?


F YOU are not too strict about the dates, we are at a series of important anniversaries for Totterdown. It’s roughly 150 years since the large-scale building of Victorian terraces established Totterdown as an important suburb of Bristol. It’s 100 years since the end of World War I, which was the beginning of a sea change for the area’s fortunes. And it’s 50 years since Totterdown was afflicted by an almost unique event in Bristol’s history – the clearance of 600 houses and businesses, and 5,000 residents, to make way for a giant ring road. The road was never built. The city council had failed to consult Bristol people about whether they wanted or needed it, and they certainly didn’t listen to what the people of Totterdown said. Worse, even after the plans were abandoned, Totterdown was not restored to its former glory. It had been one of Bristol’s most popular shopping centres, a high street in its own right, with a department store and scores of shops including national chains such as Boots. From the Three Lamps junction at Bath Road, up to St John’s Lane and beyond, was a thriving assortment of shops, pubs and other businesses. People used to say that they rarely needed to go “into town” – they could get everything they needed in Totterdown. But it wasn’t only the shops that disappeared. Whole streets of houses did too. Between Bath Road and Wells Road, homes on New Walls Road, Kingstree Street, Angers Road and Highgrove Street were flattened. Scores more houses were razed

It’s 150 years since Totterdown became a Victorian suburb – and 50 years since planners tore this “charmingly picturesque” place apart. Paul Breeden looks back on Bath Road – there was once a terrace on the river side of the road, from Three Lamps to beyond Totterdown bridge. Everything was demolished on both sides of Wells Road from Three Lamps up to Firfield Street. The busy crossroads lined with shops and pubs at the St John’s Lane junction was wiped out, as was Bush Street, which led across what is now Totterdown Square in front of Tesco. Here the new Outer Circuit road was to take a curve towards Victoria Park, and so half of Bushy Park, and half of Oxford Street, were destroyed. Houses on the park side of St Luke’s Road had been flattened in 1962, in advance of the main demolition which started in 1968. The destruction left a wasteland in the middle of Totterdown for more than a decade. But there was another aspect to this blight – the human cost. Five thousand people had lost not only their homes but their community. What was the effect on them, when they were moved to new suburbs such as Stockwood and Hartcliffe? How well did they survive, wrenched away from their friends and extended families? The



Long gone: The Falcon House off-licence on Cambridge Street, one of 30 pubs and licensed premises on Pylle Hill in Victorian times. Visitors to the Front Row art trail saw historic images projected onto modern locations in The Missing Numbers project PHOTO: Steve Gear Totterdown Road Project was set up to keep alive these memories and to record them before it is too late. The project urges us all to look at the history of our own home and our own street, and to reflect how the lessons of Totterdown’s past might help inform our future. South Bristol is on the brink of the biggest changes to its built environment in at least 50 years. Major developments are planned at Bedminster Green, Bath Road, Knowle Broadwalk, and on our doorstep at Temple Meads and St Philip’s. Tall buildings are planned at each of these locations on a scale never seen before in Bristol. Is there anything about our past that might help us decide what we want for the future?



HE TOTTERDOWN Road Project has been gathering facts and reminiscences about the 1960s clearances since the summer of 2018. In November, members presented an exhibition in the revitalised Totterdown Centre, showing pictures and stories. Much of the exhibition

concentrated on the story of just one road – Oxford Street. Road Project co-organiser John O’Connor explained why: “We realised how massive a subject the whole demolition was, and the thousands of people that were affected by it. It was almost too big subject to get your head around and it was better to focus on one street.” Fellow organiser Jeremy Routledge added: “It’s also a metaphor for the whole of Totterdown, because half the street was taken away.” We see the street today as two rows of facing terraced houses from Cambridge Street to the modern shopping precinct, from where a single terrace curves down the hill to end in a cul-de-sac off St John’s Lane. But this isn’t how it was built. It was one of the first roads in the new Victorian Totterdown, and had houses all the way down both sides. It was far from a dead end: it was the main route from Wells Road to Bedminster, hence was wider than the roads around it. Today we think of Totterdown as mainly composed of modestlysized, two-storey terraces with narrow frontages and two or Continued overleaf

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n HISTORY Continued from page 29 three bedrooms. But before the 1960s clearances, our view might have been different. The missing houses on the other side of Oxford Street were larger, and some were taller, more like the grander homes in Montpelier. They also had a back entrance onto St John’s Lane, which gave access for a horse and carriage. To try to reconnect the current inhabitants of Oxford Street with their forebears, in late November a series of unusual blue plaques went up along the road during Totterdown’s Front Room art trail. Painted on blue paper plates were the names of people living in each house when the census was taken in 1871. At No 20, for example, lived Isabella Davis, aged 38, occupation grocer. Living at 23 was George Veale, a wheelwright aged 47. Given that the homes were built around 1868, the names on the plaques are probably the homes’ first inhabitants, so the project, called The Missing Numbers and backed by the University of Bristol and film company Calling the Shots, provided a poignant link to the earliest days of the new suburb. Also taking place on the art trail weekend was a night-time tour of the streets, where the Missing Numbers team projected Victorian photos of homes, tradespeople and families onto the same addresses (see page 29).



N NOVEMBER 2, 1865, an advertisement appeared in the Bristol Times and Mirror: “Pile Hill Estate. To be let or sold, building land.” The advert offered “large



January 2019



OTTERDOWN was a quiet place before the Victorian building boom. The main roads to Bath and Wells passed through what was mainly farmland, though each had a toll gate. The one on Bath Road was near Totterdown Bridge – the Thunderbolt inn is a listed building of 1834, built as the tollhouse and previously known as the Turnpike. The Knowle tollgate was at St John’s Lane and survived until at least 1828. Pylle Hill, spelled in various


or small portions” of the 30 acre estate – previously farmland – for rent or sale. “The whole or a portion of the estate is admirably adapted for a noble Park or Pleasure Grounds for the Citizens of Bristol,” it said – so it is, but those who did buy the land saw more profit in houses than a green open space. “It commands a Southerly aspect and one of the finest Views imaginable over Ashton Vale, Dundry, Failand Hills and surrounding Country,” continued the advert. The seller was Henry William Green, one of the city’s betterknown gentlemen, a Liberal councillor for St Philip’s and a trustee for several charities. His involvement in the development may have been minimal, but he lives on in Henry, William and Green Streets, all named after him. It appears the land was parcelled out to builders to develop in plots of as few as two houses at a time. This may be

why Oxford Street jumps from No. 13 to No 16. Builders sometimes missed out 13, thought to be an unlucky number – but why 14 and 15? Perhaps the builder who had bought the right to build this pair defaulted, and the next builder jumped in to construct his two, using the numbers on his deed. Between 1866 and 1868 a small army of builders made rapid progress, laying out the first four streets – Oxford Street east and west, plus Hampton Terrace, which faced Wells Road, and Osborne Terrace, which was later renamed Henry Street. Who were the first inhabitants? John O’Connor says: “The picture we get from the 1871 census is of a kind of immigrant community. There was a large number of young couples aged 25-30, coming in from the shires around Bristol – Somerset, Wiltshire, Dorset, Devon, and further afield.

“They were more radicalised in the country than in the city. They were bringing in the non-conformist religions – a lot of Wesleyan Methodists, Baptists and congregationalist chapels. “You get a sense that it is comparable to the immigrant community in Brooklyn, USA – they are young, and trying to set up a new life and business and family.” Wells Road was not yet built up, and Oxford Street was the centre of the new community. An astonishing 25 of its 135-odd addresses were shops. On top of this, there were another 20 or so people trading from their front rooms – people such as haberdashers, tailors, milliners (hatmakers), coat makers, dress makers, smiths and barbers. “It would have been a very busy, thriving thoroughfare – you can imagine a lot of coming and going,” says John. That’s an understatement – the Road Project has found records that Oxford Street also housed an actress, a sculptor, a piano teacher, plus two boarding houses, a private school, nine grocers, two tobacconists, a newsagent, a baker, a dairyman, an ironmonger and two blacksmiths – plus a large United Free Methodist church on the corner of Bush Street. The ambitious young couples were drawn by the healthy location of Totterdown – high on a hill, well away from the crowded and disease-ridden slums only a few hundred yards away in the Temple quarter and Redcliffe. There, families lived crowded into single rooms set in narrow, dank “courts” where cholera spread easily. The new Victorian terraces were relatively spacious and they had running water and a toilet

ways, was farmland, though its elevated view gave it a potential military advantage. On the website of Tresa, the Totterdown community group, Simon Hobeck says that a charter of 1188 calls it Aldebury which may mean ‘old fort’ – an Ancient British hill fort. Alternatively ‘Alde’ could refer to alder trees, and ‘bury’ to its other meaning of settlement. Pylle Hill certainly did play a part in the English Civil War. In 1645 Parliamentary forces, under a Colonel Walden, camped here, overlooking the city, putting the

Royalists who held Bristol into a panic. Prince Rupert was so alarmed that he set Bedminster – then a thriving small town – on fire and razed it to the ground (as told in the Voice of February 2018). Proof that there was fighting in the area came in January 1850, when railway workmen were digging into the base of the hill. A labourer named Oswick discovered three skeletons. Two had been buried doubled up, as if that was how they fell. A month earlier, the bones of a horse and two human skulls had been found nearby. An

inquest returned a verdict of “found dead,” with the assumption that they had died during one of the Civil War sieges. The name of Totterdown came later. Simon Hobeck believes it “comes from the old English term for Traders Rest. Totter is the old English term for a trader, whilst down refers to a camp, rest or stop. So it is where traders would rest before reaching the city centre the next day for trading.” An alternative is offered by other sources who reckon it means you “totter down” the steep hill.

Simmons the butchers: Possibly the only photo surviving of one of Totterdown’s orgininal traders in the 1960s. The shop was on the corner of Cheapside and Oxford Street, where Baked bakery was

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January 2019




Shops on Wells Road, seen from Bushy Park, in a postcard of about 1904. The 87 tram is heading into town. Beyond it is the Phoenix PHOTO: Bristol Archives 43207/9/5/166 Hotel, on the corner of Bush Street – even if it was in the back yard. A letter writer in Western Daily Press in May 1867 could hardly contain himself in his praise for the new suburb. “Not having been that way for many months, I could scarcely recognise the place, some hundreds of houses having been lately built,” he wrote – indicating that progress had been rapid in less than two years since the land was sold for building. “In fact, hill and vale are being rapidly converted into a considerable town, charmingly picturesque, and most certainly exceedingly salubrious.” It sounds like a press release from a housebuilder, though the letter was signed Salus Populi – Latin for “the good of the people”. Salubrious and picturesque the new suburb may have been, but it didn’t stop the new inhabitants from being very thirsty. Oxford Street alone contained four pubs and three off-licences – which usually kept a barrel of beer. As it happens, it’s about 150 years since some of the pubs we have today were first licensed in 1868 – the Shakespeare, the Oxford (then called the Oxford Hotel), plus the King William (the present Thali), the defunct Cambridge Inn at 1 Oxford Street, and the Bell in Hampton Terrace. The Raglan in Cambridge Street followed in 1869, the Robin Hood and the Three Elms in Oxford Street in 1870 and the Builders Arms in 1871 – now known as the New Found Out. In all Pylle Hill was to host 18 pubs, plus another 12 off-


licences. Railway workers formed a large part of the population, being manual workers but relatively well paid. Only men could take these jobs – and the temptation was mighty to take their weekly wage packet straight into one of the many pubs. To combat this some pubs, such as the King William (where the Thali restaurant is today) and the now-gone Robin Hood in Oxford Street issued their own tokens. These could be bought in advance – perhaps they offered a discount on the beer – and wives could dish out a few to their husbands while safeguarding the rest of the housekeeping money. Of course not every breadwinner was a man. Many jobs were barred to women, but if they were widowed or their husband was sick they had to earn. Emily Wellington appears on the 1871 census as the head of one Oxford Street household with her seven daughters. She worked hard to support them as a coat maker, tailoress and dressmaker.



he new suburb grew rapidly – Stevens Crescent, Windsor Terrace, Green Street, William Street, Hill Street and Richmond Terrace were built from the top of the hill down. An 1874 map shows each street almost complete, with only the crossways roads of Pylle Hill and St Luke’s Crescent yet to be begun. Cambridge Street, Belle Vue Road, Dunmore Street, Vernon Street and Higham Street were also in place. At the top of Belle Vue still stood two large 1820s

The Bowly grocers shop on the corner of Summer Hill and Bath Road in 1937. The flags are for the coronation of King George VI. The family ran the shop until the 1950s. PHOTO: Hartley collection © Bristol Culture villas with large landscaped gardens – one of them, Bellevue House, was the home of William Brock, the rich engineer after whom the new bridge to Arena Island was named in 2016. (Brock’s story was in the Voice in March 2017.) In the 1880s the Bristol & Exeter railway built a new line which cut into the hill, and the two grand villas had to be demolished. Bellevue Crescent (later named Bellevue Terrace) replaced them, and new streets were built on the east side of Wells Road – Angers Road, County Street, and the rest, right up to Clyde Road. There were as yet no streets on the west side of Wells Road beyond Knowle Road. These roads formed the boundary of Totterdown – every street that came later was classed as Knowle. As the decades turned, the young couples became families. Five or more children was not uncommon in a two-bedroom house. For many of the traders, times were good as the suburb grew. James Simmons opened his butchers shop in the mid1860s on the corner of Cheapside and Oxford Street (where Baked was until it closed recently). He thrived despite there being eight butchers nearby – it was common at the time to keep similar trades together. Butchers did well in the days before refrigeration, when meat had to be sold fresh. Many families kept a pig in the back yard to eat leftovers; sometimes it was shared with a neighbour and would be taken to the

butcher to be killed in time for Christmas. The owners couldn’t eat it all at once, so the butcher might pay them for the rest of the meat, or keep them supplied with cuts from other animals for months to come. Also doing well were Philip and Sarah Carr, whose greengrocers was at 118 Oxford Street, where the Just Ryte takeaway is today. A photo taken in 1903 shows the wedding of their daughter Adelaide, with everyone dressed in their Edwardian finery. Totterdown then looked very upmarket, reckons John O’Connor. But both the Carrs and the Simmons were to meet tough times. Both fathers passed the business to their sons – and both sons fell into debt and went bankrupt, Simmons in 1900 and Carr in 1905. Frank Carr, Philip’s son, blamed people selling him bad stock and being undercut by costermongers – people selling vegetables cheaply off barrows. The 1901 and 1911 censuses show a changing population. More people were taking in lodgers – even when they had eight children of their own. The 1921 census will not be made public for another two years, but it is bound to show the terrible effect of World War I on the male population. With peace came economic peaks and troughs. The 1939 register, made in a hurry before World War II broke out, shows a different, poorer Totterdown. There were far fewer self-made traders and craftspeople: instead Continued overleaf

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January 2019





HE ORIGINAL 1960s concept for an inner ring road would have devastated South Bristol had it been completed. The plan foresaw a multi-multilevel flyover and interchange near the Three Lamps junction, from where the road would have swept up the hill to swing over St John’s Lane. It might then have cut through Victoria Park – requiring more homes to be lost on the south side of the park – before crashing through Bedminster. An alternative plan had the dual carriageway more or less following St John’s Lane to another major interchange in the vicinity of the roundabout that meets Bedminster Road. From here one new road would have piled

through Bedminster to Bedminster bridge, while another would have sliced into Southville to cross the river in the Allington Road area. The road would then have joined a new interchange at the Anchor Road junction before charging up the hill, across Clifton Triangle, and around the city crossing Clifton, Cotham and Stokes Croft. Any observer of Bristol politics will not be surprised to hear that the destruction halted long before it reached the elegant streets of Clifton. The legacy was the M32, rising on stilts outside bedroom windows in Stapleton and Eastville, and St Philips Causeway marching past Lawrence Hill and Barton Hill. Totterdown was the last place the bulldozers were allowed to savage before the mid-1970s economic crisis – and rising protests by Bristol residents – forced a rethink.

there was lots of unemployment, and most of those with work were in low-earning jobs such as factory work and cleaning. After the war came a nationwide desire for renewal. The 1945 Labour government founded the National Health Service and nationalised industries like the mines and railways. But in Bristol the late 1940s saw the first plans for a new road network. The new age of the car was supposed to bring freedom and prosperity – no one thought about traffic pollution then. There was also a widespread desire to sweep away “unhealthy” old Victorian homes and build new suburbs, with broad streets, bigger gardens and indoor bathrooms. Many people wanted these advances, it is true – but none of the planners calculated the human cost of demolishing entire communities and forcing people into new lives away from their friends and neighbours. It was simply assumed that people in Totterdown would see the new dual carriageways and flyovers as “progress”, and be grateful. Yet the homes in Angers Road, County Street and elsewhere which were demolished were the same kind of homes which now sell so readily 150 years after they were built. Totterdown’s colourful terraces are a famous feature of Bristol; those modest houses in Oxford Street can sell for £330,000. The planners told residents

that they were removing them from a slum, but as Jeremy Routledge says: “The response of Totterdown residents was to say, ‘You have turned it into a slum!’” The empty prairie left by the demolitions stretched from Bath Road to Firfield Street. It attracted travellers and flytippers and was a scar for more than a decade. But it isn’t just the physical scars – there were mental ones too. A BBC film shows a woman pointing to the site of her former house and saying her brother was never the same after he left it – he had a stroke soon after. Another woman, from Bath Road, saw her mother shipped out to Hartcliffe, away from her home with its tin bath and outdoor toilet. But she fell into a depression, finding no sense of community on the austere new estate, and only recovered when she moved to Brislington. “I have spoken to people who say that others went into a suicidal despair,” says John O’Connor. The ruin would have been borne better if the road had actually been built. But when it wasn’t, Totterdowners at least hoped for new homes and shops to replace the old. They didn’t get it. In John’s opinion the new shared-ownership housing at New Walls, the new flats on Wells Road and the tiny shopping precinct did not replace what was lost. “The steps they took added insult to injury,” he says. “The whole shopping site on Wells


Flyover: The 1960s proposal at Three Lamps, with a multi-storey car park, top. Bath Road is on the left and Totterdown Bridge front centre Road was turned inwards. There was the suburban, inwardlooking housing development of New Walls, then the flats next to Patco, then the hideous Bush pub – a Bavarian skiing lodge completely out of context with Totterdown.” Jeremy Routledge agrees: “People were looking forward to getting their community and shops back, and what happened was that they got houses looking inward and shops that turned away from the community.”



otterdown is emblematic of what happens when council thinks it knows best on behalf of its constituents, and in fact it can have devastating consequences,” says John O’Connor. Jeremy Routledge says: “The project shows what happened when a local council ignored local people and their concerns and thought they knew what was best for the community as far as the road was concerned. There are definite parallels in the current plans for more high-rise buildings. It seems to be a historical problem with councils. Local people’s views can be inconvenient but they need to be listened to.” Now Totterdown faces new challenges, as does much of South Bristol. A 16-storey tower is planned by developer Hadley next to Totterdown bridge, as tall as the hill next to it. The council

is expected to propose a similar-sized tower on its own plot leading up from Three Lamps. Says John: “You are talking about 16-storey tower blocks as real estate, with apartments that will have valuable and scenic views over picturesque Totterdown. That’s not a reciprocated relationship with the people of Totterdown, who will be looking back at these concrete monoliths.” More towers are proposed in Bedminster Green, near Temple Meads and elsewhere. What lessons should we learn from the long history of Totterdown – its foundation by entrepreneurial “immigrants” 150 years ago, its depression after a brutal war 100 years ago, and its devastation at the hands of the council 50 years ago? That, dear reader, is for you to decide. • With thanks to Jeremy Routledge and John O’Connor of the Totterdown Road Project Sources • The Totterdown Road Project Facebook: The Totterdown Road Project • Totterdown Rising: A Story of Endurance and Survival Kate Pollard, Tangent Books, 2006 • Growing Up in Totterdown 1922-36 Elsie Lawrence, Redcliffe Press, 1979 • tresa.org.uk/category/abouttotterdown • Bristol Times and Mirror January 19, 1850 • Western Daily Press May 9, 1867

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January 2019



n WHAT’S ON Until January 6 n Beasty Baby Spielman theatre, Tobacco Factory, North Street. A seasonal show for the whole family – a 50-minute performance that can be enjoyed by anyone three years and over. “Deep in the forest, in a wintry land, lives a gorgeously grizzly Beasty Baby. Mayhem and laughter wait around every corner as three people embark on a wild adventure to bring up this mischievous and totally loveable child.” £12. tobaccofactorytheatres.com Until January 20 n The Borrowers Tobacco Factory theatre, North Street. Mary Norton’s timeless children’s classic adapted for the stage by Bea Roberts. Reviewed opposite. Tickets from £12 (limited availability). tobaccofactorytheatres.com Your event could be highlighted like this for just £5. Email sales@southbristolvoice.co.uk Monday December 31 n New Year’s Eve 80s party Tobacco Factory, North Street. With break dancers, roller skaters, jugglers and acrobats, and heaps of 80s hits. The £40 ticket includes street food voucher, photo booth, face painting and entertainment galore. tobaccofactorytheatres.com n Retro Electro The Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. Top UK five-piece 80s covers band playing classics from Depeche Mode, Prince, David Bowie, Simple Minds, Human League and the Style Council among others, to see in

You’ll wonder who’s living in your walls! n Review The Borrowers Until January 20 Tobacco Factory theatre, North Street


RRIETTY Clock is a normal 13-year-old. She loves her mum and dad but also wants some independence, and to see the world. Normal except for one thing – Arrietty is a Borrower, about as tall as a crayon, and lives with her mum and dad – Pod and Homily – under the floorboards, hiding from the gigantic Human Beans. Until one day Arrietty meets 10-year-old Human Bean Eddie, and they become friends. This is a beautiful, warm and kind-hearted show, narrated by grown-up Eddie, looking back at what happened to him when his mum was ill and he was shipped out, lonely and unwelcome, to his auntie and uncle. His auntie, Mrs Driver, is cleaning-obsessed and just the right side of nasty – there’s a great bit of audience play with a giant feather duster, and an

interval cliff-hanger involving a vacuum cleaner. The Borrowers borrow objects – never steal them – giant cotton wool buds, sardine tins to hide in, a sugar cube that lasts months. A dolls house chair is the height of luxury: “I can sit on it like the queen!” Clever lighting flickers above us, so we feel we are under the creaking floorboards too, as enormous Beans walk back and forth above. When giant Eddie talks to little Arrietty, he is seen as a giant pair of glasses, balanced on the shoulders of two cast members, who bob and tilt with feeling. Ladders are suspended high up, and the Borrowers climb and dangle off them as they clamber

the new year. 8pm-late, £20 on the door, £15 in advance. thethunderbolt.net n Circo Bizerko Loco Klub, Temple Meads. See the New Year in with sounds of electronica and block rocking beats with The Invisible Circus and Wonka-Vision. Dancers, circus acts, cocktails and more. 9pm4.30am, tickets £20-£30. locobristol.com/shows

January 2-March 5 n Torn: Lauren Curl Tobacco Factory bar, North Street. An exhibition of original screen prints, inspired by torn billboard posters, from artist-printmaker Lauren Curl. 10am-11pm, free. tobaccofactory.com/whats-on Friday January 4 n The Detective Project Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. Join former police officer Jenny on

Kids heal the BS4 squabbles n Review Marvellous Mythchief Totterdown Baptist Church THE ADULTS of Totterdown can’t seem to stop arguing about petty things like the value of the houses on Greenwoods’ display screen, and what to do with the space where we were going to put an arena – and the children are fed up. So when evil Rex the Roofer (high-energy David Lane) decides to steal the Totterdown Treasure, the supposed grown-ups don’t even notice. Cue a singalong

Tiny world: Jessica Hayles and Craig Edwards as Arrietty and Pod in the classic children’s tale

Great fun: The multi-mayor panto adventure in true panto style as the children (led by the capable Abigail Beek and Isaac Warren) enlist the help of brainy Statman (booming Peter Irwin) – and Uni the Unicorn (Abby Warren). They trace Rex and his smelly sidekicks, Blew and Stinkerbell (Will Piggot and Frankie Guy

Taylor) to their hideaway in Totterillo – guess what song they sang to find their way there? While back home the three mayors of Bristol are arguing that they are making real progress on building an arena, it’s the children and their helpers who identify that what Rex and his stinky crew really want is a decent toilet – and persaude them to give the treasure back in return for a decent WC. Elaine Spencer’s scripts are always full of original local humour and the songs – including versions of Another One Bites the Dust and I Want It All – are great fun and get the audience joining in. The TBC shows deserve a bigger audience. Paul Breeden

about the house. When Arrietty finally bursts out into the garden, she flies inside Eddie’s folded paper aeroplane. The two lonely youngsters find friendship and happiness, fighting for each other in their own big and little ways. The changing perspectives are beautifully done, creating a world out of very little – just like the Borrowers themselves. It’s impossible to highlight individual cast members – they are all just perfect in the roles they play – human, tender, enchanting. And the live musicians, also very much part of the whole thing, create the perfect soundtrack – a rhythmic argument rapped out between Pod and Homily is a good example of how sounds and voice and characters entwine. Our fellow audience members were wide-ranging – from little children to teenagers, grownups and the grey-haired. We were all pulled in. My companion and I had both had long hard days, our minds full, but within minutes we were transported into this little and large world, and left with our hearts fully warmed – my friend said she went home and found herself wondering who was living inside her walls. Beccy Golding a realistic CSI quest for 8-12 year olds to become an expert in crime scene investigation. Learn detective skills, and keep your CSI suit at the end. 1-3.30pm, tickets £11.37-£16.76. arnosvale.org.uk/events January 4-January 5 n Circus Of Marvels Acta theatre, Gladstone Street, Bedminster. “Roll up, roll up for a magical, mysterious adventure as a rag-tag band of useless acts take on a desperate quest to save the world’s worst circus!” Tickets £5 for 7pm shows on January 4 Continued overleaf


£7 drop-in

Block bookings

Starts 17th January Thursdays 7-8.30pm St Michael & All Angels Church, Windmill Hill BS3 4LW



Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk

January 2019



LOSER Each Day is the longest-running improvised soap opera in the world – meaning this lot have been making it up as they go along for eight years and more than 100 episodes at the Wardrobe theatre in Old Market. The skills that go

into an improvised show are many – setting up a variety of scenarios, using audience suggestions, riffing off other cast members, belting out music hall numbers when you don’t know the next line, quick costume changes – the cast are also juggling created-in-themoment roles – remembering the made-up names, and somehow bringing it all to a resolution where the loose ends get tied off and everyone lives happily ever after. Now add into the mix a new venue – the grand dining room in the belly of the SS Great Britain. We’re in a different era too – befitting the season, our narrator is

Dickens himself, writing the story as we see it enacted before us – costumes are bonnets and top hats, bustles and tailcoats, and the language is… well… Victorian with a modern twang. Every time you see this show, of course, it will be different, so the plot twists, involving silly rich meanies, thieves and bedraggled peasants, not-quite orphans, loves

lost and won, and long-lost families reunited, don’t really matter. But they are played with gusto, and there are a lot of laughs. Special mention should go to cast member and costume sorcerer Alice Lamb – she is an alumni of Hillcrest Primary School in Knowle – along with many others, I watched her play Puck in Midsummer Night’s Dream back when she was around eight years old. Even then we all knew she’d end up on the stage – it was super to see her as part of this very funny, fun, unique experience in an unusual and beautiful setting. Beccy Golding

Continued from page 33 and 5, £7 for 2.30pm matinée on Saturday January 5. acta-bristol.com Sunday January 6 n Pinocchio the Panto Zion, Bishopsworth Road. A traditional family panto from JDJB Productions. Gepetto the carpenter makes a wish on a star and is rewarded with a son, Pinocchio – but what are they to make of all the new arrivals in the village? Adults £6, children £4, family (up to five) £20. zionbristol.co.uk Monday January 7 n Theatre groups Acta theatre, Gladstone Street, Bedminster. Sessions for families, young people, adults, schools and adults in communities all take place at Acta from January 7. acta-bristol.com/take-part Tuesday January 8 n John Myers Talk and Signing Martin Parr Foundation, Paintworks, Bath Road. John Myers will discuss his new publication Looking at the Overlooked, which documents the claustrophobia of the suburban landscape in the 1970s. £8/£6, 7pm. martinparrfoundation.org/events Thursday January 10 n LGBT Café Zion, Bishopsworth Road. Zion hosts a pop-up café for the LGBT community, talking about ageing and being lesbian, gay or transgender+. Free tea, coffee and cake, 2.30-4.30pm. zionbristol.co.uk Friday January 11 n The Lizzy Legacy Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. Thin Lizzy tribute act who “don’t worry about costumes or gimmicks; instead focusing on playing the music

authentically”. 7.30-11.30pm, £10 in advance. thethunderbolt.net Saturday January 12 n Viniyoga for Life Arnos Vale cemetery. First New Year gathering for monthly yoga workshops with John. From 10am–1.30pm. Designed for all levels of experience, with time for a few yoga practices, and reflection for future direction and learning. £30. arnosvale.org.uk/events Sunday January 13 n Athea Tobacco Factory bar, North Street. Paul Bradley, exOrganelles, Bradley Bros, and Three Cane Whale presents his new improvisational duo with drummer/percussionist Emma Holbrook. Free, 8-10pm. tobaccofactory.com/whats-on Monday January 14 n Pablo Escobar – The Real Story Loco Klub, Temple Meads. Escobar was the Columbian drugs lord who gave millions to the poor, but tortured his enemies and lived in a $100 million house with its own zoo. Shaun Attwood, author of bestseller Pablo Escobar: Beyond Narcos, tells his story in this Funzing Talk. 7-9pm, £12. locobristol.com/shows Saturday January 19 n Scaravelli Yoga Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. Join Kate Fox and Jessica Adams for a monthly yoga session inspired by Scaravelli principles, which focus on the health of the spine. £20, or three for £50, 9.30-11.30am. arnosvale.org.uk/events n Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade Rearranged after being rained off in December. Entertainment starts along the North Street route at 5pm followed by Parade from

Ashton end of North Street at 5.30pm. Ends with fireworks in South Street park. Facebook: Bedminster Winter Lanterns n Vinyl Brunch Zion, Bishopsworth Road. Browse vinyl records and books, to a soundtrack from JamesBoy Records. Café, 10am-1pm, free entry. zionbristol.co.uk January 19-January 20 n Martin Parr Portraits Martin Parr Foundation, Paintworks, Bath Road. Have your photo taken, with cats, dogs, family, partner or friends, by the acclaimed South Bristol-based photographer. Price £250. martinparrfoundation.org/events Sunday January 20 n Hypnobirthing Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bedminster. A two-day course (also on January 27) to help mums-to-be overcome any fears about childbirth, and focus on building positivity and confidence. Run by Little Passengers, it’s taught by an experienced midwife and hypnobirthing mum. Cost: £260. 10am-4.30pm each day. windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk n Olga Koch: Fight Spielman theatre, Tobacco Factory, North Street. Chuckle Busters presents Olga Koch as she retells the most surreal year of her life – when her father was stopped while crossing the Russian border, pitching her family into a real-life spy drama. £12, 8pm. tobaccofactorytheatres.com n Jazz night Windmill Hill community centre, Vivian Street. Jazz with Mark Randall Six on the third Sunday of every month, 8.30-10.30pm. whca.org.uk/whats-on

January 21-January 22 n Young Theatre Makers Tobacco Factory theatre, North Street. Start of a new term for young people to learn skills from movement to clowning, storytelling to script work. Sessions for 7-10 year-olds are Monday or Tuesday, 4.305.45pm. For 11-13s, it’s Mondays 6-7.30pm, and for 14-19s, Tuesdays 6-8pm. Fees are £65 or £80 per term depending on age, but help may be available. tobaccofactorytheatres.com Tuesday January 22 n Acting Classes for Adults Tobacco Factory theatre, North Street. The theatre’s first weekly acting company for over-19s is led by artistic director Mike Tweddle and Jenny Davies, assistant director on The Borrowers, and will lead to a performance in the Spielman theatre. Tuesdays 8-10pm until May, £180, bursaries available.  tobaccofactorytheatres.com January 24-27 n The Paper Man Tobacco Factory theatre, North Street. “An intriguing true story of political protest, power and football.” The anarchic Improbable troupe take as their backdrop the story of an Austrian football star who, in 1938, refused to throw a match, humiliating the Nazis. Months later, he was dead. Now a middle-aged football addict wants to explore the story in a part-impro show that promises to unsettle and entertain. Tickets from £12, 7.30pm, Saturday matinée 2.30pm. tobaccofactorytheatres.com Friday January 25 n Networking with Freelance Mum Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street,

n Review Steamed Brunel’s SS Great Britain





n WHAT’S ON A festive soap opera set in Brunel’s marvel

January 2019

All made up: The Steamed show is a festive impro

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South Bristol proves it’s got talent aplenty

HIS evening of entertainment is the equivalent of “South Bristol’s Got Talent”, quipped organiser Kevin Lindegaard, and how right he was. Who knew there was such a variety of first-first-rate

entertainers on our doorstep? First off were talented young guitarists of Hillcrest primary school, who tackled Deep Purple’s Smoke On The Water and won, to the delight of the audience. The players are led by local guitar hero Hazel Winter, formerly of the Blue Aeroplanes, who also showed her latest band The Jesus Bolt, a duo with Gerard Starkie. Many in Knowle and Totterdown are familiar with the vocal skills of Mattie Reynolds, whose powerful voice has amazed the crowds at the open air Totterdown Music Festival. You can see a clip of Mattie’s performance

on our YouTube channel, along with most of the other performers. Trevor Carter, aka the Bard of Windmill Hill, bemoaned an African wildlife shortage in a poem called Has Anyone Seen The Elephants? The 100-strong crowd showed they were not afraid to join in. Then the piano was wheeled on for Rustom Battiwalla, a Guildhall school of music graduate pianist, who gave a passionate introduction to the music of Scott Joplin. Gypsy folk duo Razzomo are festival favourites and it’s easy to see why. Lucy Razz and James Tomlinson kick up an unfeasible amount of energy. But pride of

place on the bill was given to Allan Schiller, Knowle’s international concert pianist, who gave a virtuoso performance which included Debussy’s Clair de Lune and his own arrangement of Haydn’s Gypsy Rondo. The house was brought down by the finale, a duet between Allan Schiller and Rustom Battiwalla of Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No 1. More than £600 was raised for COPP. Kevin Lindegaard is making plans for another concert and is recruiting acts. Paul Breeden • Videos of most of the performers: tinyurl.com/coppconcert • A longer review is on the website.

Bedminster. Guest speaker Lisa Cadd, The Fuss Free Foodie, talks about her business “helping you shop, cook and eat delicious food without the fuss”. £15 members, £20 non-members, 10am to 12 noon, children free. windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk n Mindful photography Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. A day of learning to look at the world around you, with professional photographer Ruth Davey, who has uses mindfulness techniques to improve mental health. 10.30am-3.30pm, £80. arnosvale.org.uk/events n Battlemoose charity gig The Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. The Bristol rock covers band perform in aid of Paul’s Place, the centre for disabled adults in Coalpit Heath. 7pm, tickets £2.50 in advance. thethunderbolt.net Saturday January 26 n Zion Bake-off Zion, Bishopsworth Road. If you fancy yourself as the next Nadiya, enter your best cupcakes, favourite cake or party piece. Classes for adults, under 7s and 7-16s.

11am-1pm. In aid of the Freya Foundation, which raises funds to fight the rare childhood disease PDH, or pyruvate dehydrogenase deficiency. zionbristol.co.uk Wednesday January 30 n Graham Fellows: Completely Out of Character Comedy Box at the Tobacco Factory theatre, North Street. Graham Fellows has performed as hapless musician John Shuttleworth for more than 25 years (and before that he was Jilted John, for those with long memories). Now he’s singing his own story, from the time he bought a packet of bread sauce with a Hollywood actor, to the time jazz legend George Melly broke into his bedsit. £16, 7.30pm. thecomedybox.co.uk n Pamper Night Zion, Bishopsworth Road. Treatments include reiki, Indian head massage, reflexology, and nails and hand massage. Treatments from £5 upwards, women only. Entry £3 includes glass of bubbly, bar, 6.30-9.30pm. zionbristol.co.uk

January 29-30 n Dragonbird: Theatre for 0-5 year-olds Spielman theatre, Tobacco Factory, North Street. DragonBird Theatre return with another story session for even the youngest children, featuring puppets Dragon and Bird and home-made sets, which inspire children to make their own stories at home. £3.50, 10.30am and 1pm. tobaccofactorytheatres.com January 30-31 n A Hundred Different Words For Love Spielman theatre, Tobacco Factory, North Street. Live music, heartache and belly laughs feature in this story of romance and despair from the Team Viking company. “Three years ago, James met the love of his life. A year ago, they broke up. This is James’s story of falling in love and landing broken hearted. It’s also about him being Best Man of Honour at Sarah and Emma’s wedding. And it’s the story of a quest to find the right words to make sense of love.” Tickets from £12, 8.15pm. tobaccofactorytheatres.com

Regular events

happy throng, they said it was the only pregnancy choir they could find in the country. Rosie believes singing has many benefits for mums-to-be – in fact the BBC featured the choir to help show how it can help with post-natal depression too. Womb Sisters starts again on January 17 at St Michael’s church, Windmill Hill. One mum, Ellie, said she found the choir “enormously helpful” when she was diagnosed with pre-natal depression and anxiety. “I would highly recommend it,” she said. Another mum, Adriana,

said singing helped her stay active towards the end of her pregnancy. “It made the last weeks’ wait a lot less stressful. I think they also helped me bond with my baby. I am convinced he recognised the tunes once he was born!” she said. A third new mother, Isabel, is pleased that last year’s group have stayed in touch. “We have formed a strong, supportive bond which I have found invaluable, particularly through the tough times,” she said. “These women have become firm friends and we have more than just our babies in common.” • wombsisters.co.uk

n Review Concert of Music and Spoken Word in aid of the Community of Perretts Park Totterdown Baptist Church


Mums sing along with their bumps


HERE are lots of activities that that expectant mums can join in with – but there’s only one choir where they can sing their hearts out. When South Bristol mum Rosie Sleightholme set up Womb Sisters last year, she had no idea it was a unique idea. But when a team from BBC Breakfast arrived to film her

n Womb Sisters pregnancy choir Thursday, 7-8.30pm. £7 drop-in or block bookings. Starts January 17. St Michael & All Angels church, Windmill Hill. Email wombsisterspregnancy choir@gmail.com to find out more or visit wombsisters.co.uk n Folks & Bairns parent and baby choir Wednesday, 1-2pm. £5 drop in or block bookings. Starts January 16. The Milk Shed, Southville. Email folksandbairns@ gmail.com n Walking Netball Wednesday 12.30-1.30pm at The Park centre, Daventry Road, Knowle, £4.50; Dance Fit fun fitness class for over 50s £4, Monday 11am-12 noon, Park centre, £4.50, also Wednesday 10.30-11.30am at United Reformed Church, Wick Road, Brislington. Also Dance Variety at The Park centre: learn dances from waltz to Bollywood! Basic steps. No partner needed. Over 50s, £5, Monday 1-2pm. Details from Cressida on 07808 581739 or 0117 939 1672. n Danceblast “Bristol’s most exciting dance school.” Every Saturday and Sunday. Saturday: juniors, 3-4 years 10-11am, 5-6 years 11am-12 noon, 7-9 years 12 noon-1.30pm, 10-11 years 1.303pm, 12-13 years 2.15-4.15pm at St Francis Church Hall, North Street, Southville. Sunday: seniors 14-18 years 1.30-4.30pm, Tobacco Factory studio. For details call Anne on 07984 069485. danceblast.co.uk

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk



HOPE that you enjoyed Christmas and that you found time to celebrate and acknowledge Jesus, who is the real reason for the season – God loving the world so much that he chose to come amongst us as a small defenceless human being in order to bring each one of us back into a good relationship with God. Just as you can’t have mince pies without mince meat so you cannot have Christmas

Thought for the month

Regular Services



January 2019



Bedminster Church of Christ

298 St John’s Lane BS3 5AY Minister: Jason Snethen 07795 560990 churchofchristbristol.org Sunday 10am Bible Hour for all ages; 11am Worship; 5pm Worship; Tuesday 7.30pm Bible study; Thursday 10am Coffee morning; Friday 3.45-5pm After-school; 7-9.30pm Youth group.


Bedminster Quaker Meeting House Wedmore Vale BS3 5HX

Clerk: Chrissie Williams 0117 923 0020 bristolquakers.org.uk Sunday Worship 10.45am; 2nd & 4th Sunday Children’s meeting; 2nd Sunday Shared lunch.

without Christ. All you have is winter and a Mass – a mass of debt and worry about how you are going to pay for it all! I wish you all a happy and

peaceful new year. New year is a time to make resolutions and promises to ourselves and to others to be different. Your resolution might be to lose weight or to make new friends or something else along those lines, but what about a new year’s resolution to keep Christ at the very centre of things and keep him part of our lives? Imagine the difference that could make to have the Emmanuel, God with

us, living and walking with us in everyday situations. Did you know that God is Dog spelt backwards? It reminds me of an anonymous poem about this and of trying to make a resolution we have difficulty keeping – it ends “A God is for life, not just for Christmas.” And so I pray God’s richest blessing to be upon you as we journey into this new year together.

Church of the Nazarene

Church (Minnows for pre-school children).


Totterdown Baptist Church

2NG Rev Becky Waring 0117 977 6275 Facebook: stmartinschurchknowle Sunday 8.30am Holy Communion; 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays 10.30am Holy Communion; 2nd Sunday 9.30am Rise and Shine: informal service, breakfast; 6pm Holy Communion; 4th Sunday 10.30am Family Communion.


Totterdown Methodist Church

St Michael & All Angels Vivian


Victoria Park Baptist Church

With Rev Andrew Orton, Totterdown and Knowle Methodist churches

Broad Walk, Knowle BS4 2RD Pastor: Matthew Norris 07967 199995 bristolnazarene.com Sunday 10.30am Sunday Service; Wednesday 6pm Kids Klub; Thursday 7pm Youth club.


Holy Nativity Church Wells

Road, Knowle BS4 2AG Fr Steve Hawkins 07834 462054 Facebook: Holy Nativity Knowle Sunday 10am Parish Mass; Friday 10am Weekday Mass.



St Martin’s Wells Road, Knowle BS4

Wells Road BS4 2AD tbc.org.uk Sunday 10.30am Morning Service; 2nd Sunday All-age Service; 6.30pm Evening Service (entrance Sydenham Road). Bushy Park, Totterdown BS4 2AD Rev Andrew Orton Facebook: SBMCT Sunday Family Worship 10.30am; 1st Sunday Sunday School.

Sylvia Avenue BS3 5DA Rev Brendan Street, Windmill Hill BS3 4LW Rev Bassett 0117 977 2484 victoriapark.org.uk Andrew Doarks 0117 977 6132 Knowle Methodist Church Sunday 10.30am Service with groups stmikechurch.co.uk Redcatch Road, Knowle BS4 2EP for all ages; coffee 11.30am. 2nd Right at Home is one of the UK’s most Right at Home is one of the UK’s most Rev Andrew Orton Facebook: SBMCT Sunday 10am Family Service; Wednesday Sunday Parade Service; 3rd Sunday Sunday 10.30am Worship trusted and Juniorcare companies. trusted carelocal companies. Our localCommunion. 10am FamilyOur Communion


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BRISTOL CITY ROUND-UP Supporting City and the best in building

Now it’s time for City to show more drive for the top


T IS time for Bristol City fans to take stock and realise just how far things have progressed at their club. But it is also time for the club to realise it is mission accomplished as far as getting established in the Championship, and to press on to greater things. A fortuitous away win at Ipswich in November brought a welcome three points but also demonstrated what’s been achieved at Ashton Gate. Once a top flight side, Ipswich are anchored at the bottom of the table and have a run-down ground and poor prospects. For years they were seen as a bigger club than City – not any more. A hard-fought win away to Birmingham was also a milestone – the first time City have won at St Andrew’s for 25 years, against a team boasting months unbeaten at home.

MARTIN’S SHORTS n CITY’S FA Cup game against Premier League Huddersfield Town has been selected to be shown live on television ... everywhere except the UK. Anyone who wants to catch the game on January 5 can take a flight from Bristol Airport and tune in live. The match has been moved to 5.30pm for the inconvenience of Huddersfield fans, who love driving up the motorway in the dark. Such is the craziness of television’s hold on football.

A few new faces could make all the difference, says MARTIN POWELL On January 19, City travel to Nottingham Forest. The former European Champions are one of the sides within hailing distance of City and on today’s rankings they are on a par with their Bristol rivals in that game. Sunderland – for years a bigger club than City – are a division below, fighting to hold on to their players as they attempt to get into the Championship. City are well-established in mid-table. But fans are never going to settle for mid-table obscurity and that is why the club now needs to be bold in the transfer market and take things to the next level. It has been fantastic to see Lloyd Kelly develop into a top class player and it would be even better if he realises his ambitions of playing in the Premier League with Bristol City. With more players coming through, such as Joe Morrell, and a first team squad full of fast developing talent, it is time for some strategic purchases – and strong resistance when so-called richer

Lloyd Kelly: A developing talent City must hold on to PHOTO: JMPUK/BCFC and bigger sides come knocking for players. Aston Villa, with former City strikers Abraham and Kodjia, have real ambitions for the top flight. The fact they are only a few points better off than City at the half-way stage of the season – despite spending millions of pounds on their line-up – shows the progress being made at City. There has been a slow and careful building of the current side over recent years but it is frustrating when promising young players go elsewhere, and when players who City fans perceive have a passion for the club ply their trade elsewhere. The best goalkeeper in the division is Bristolian Jack Butland, playing for Stoke; Abraham and Albert Adomah clearly have love for Bristol City but can earn more at Villa.

Liverpool have loaned another talented young Bristolian, Herbie Kane, to Doncaster not City. Just a few carefully selected new faces could make all the difference to this season, lift the mood among fans and see City challenging at the top. This season has seen some dreadful runs followed by purple patches of good results – well, more mauve if we are honest. Some fans have blamed Lee Johnson for the bad results and put the away wins at Ipswich and Birmingham down to wearing white shirts and a robin badge. In truth the current Bristol City side are a work in progress, but the January transfer window is the opportunity to show fans – and the rest of the league – that the club mean business and are ready to seriously compete for a top six finish.

CITY GAMES: Dec 29 H Rotherham Utd; Jan 1 A Stoke City; Jan12 H Bolton Wanderers; Jan19 A Nottingham Forest; Jan 26 A Middlesbrough


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KARIN SMYTH Labour MP for Bristol South

I won’t support a Brexit deal that makes South Bristol worse off


HOPE you all will have, or have had, a good Christmas and a Happy New Year, depending on when you are reading this. 2019 will be busy, with Brexit continuing to dominate proceedings in Westminster. It features heavily among the phone calls, emails and letters I get and the conversations I have with people. With only weeks to go until March 29, when we are due to leave the EU, people – regardless of which way they voted in the referendum – are understandably anxious about what this means for them. Many people are holding off on moving home, buying a car, booking a holiday or changing jobs. We don’t yet know how Brexit will impact us but neither the Prime Minister or the Chancellor has said we’ll be better off; and I cannot

support anything which makes people in Bristol South worse off. Brexit was just one of the concerns that came up in my survey last summer. Other issues you raised were housing, transport, education and the environment. Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill in the survey – it’s really helpful to know what matters to you. This year (2019) will see more homes built in Bristol South. This will inevitably affect the need for better local services – from regular and affordable public transport to access to



GPs and other healthcare provision, nurseries and schools. I’ll be working with the relevant organisations to ensure that communities have what they need to live and work in Bristol South. As mentioned in last month’s column, I’m seeing more people coming to me for help with Universal Credit issues – something which I expect will continue into 2019 as more families are migrated onto the new single benefit. Once again, I’ll be organising more Money Entitlement events across the constituency to help people make sense of the changes and access funds owed to them. I’ll be hosting another South Bristol Jobs and Apprenticeships Fair at the South Bristol Skills Academy in Hengrove from 11am-3pm on Thursday February 28. Working with City of Bristol College, Bristol city council and the Department for Work and Pensions, I’ll be welcoming local businesses and organisations which help people secure quality apprenticeships. Post-16 education and training continues to be a key focus for me and quality apprenticeships have a big role to play in creating opportunities which lead to well-paid, reliable work. As always, you can reach me via the contact details given on page 2 if you need help with anything.

January 2019




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January 2019

Profile for South Bristol Voice

South Bristol Voice January 2019  

South Bristol Voice January 2019