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southbristolvoice February 2018 No. 33

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Shock decision: Vital parts of the frontage on Wells Road will be sold on February 27

Ross, who bought 142 and 144 Wells Road – the takeaway and the shop unit next door – only last August. They are selling because they say there is too much work needed on the building to achieve their ambitions. They had hoped to turn No. 144 into an upmarket restaurant, and make No. 142 available for some kind of community use. Now it’s unclear who will buy the premises – and what they will want to do with them. Vera Harhat, who runs the


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TOTTERDOWN CENTRE AT RISK Appeal for funds as part of site for auction THE TOTTERDOWN Centre faces the toughest test in its near-40-year history. One of the owners of the building has put two sections – including the former Chinese takeaway – up for auction with only a few weeks’ notice. Supporters of the Bristol Womens Workshop and Floriography, who want to keep the building for community use, have launched an urgent appeal to try to raise the £147,000 needed to buy the units. The sellers are Jon and Mary

without a fine? Page 3

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Floriography flower business and the Healing Courtyard at the rear of the centre, and Anne Harding, one of the founders of the Bristol Women’s workshop, have led the recent revival in activity at the centre. They are both anxious not to see it lost to a developer. “This is the last possible community resource [in Totterdown] said Anne. “There is no other community space in this area, and once it’s gone, it’s gone.” “We are extremely concerned about the auction, as we have no Continued on page 5

• Mayor drops in to gather views  Page 6

SPECIAL REPORT Alex’s plastic protest goes viral Pages 10-11 • Hundreds of homes for Knowle Page 17 • New name for the Dogs Home Page 23


• Prince who razed Bedminster to the ground Pages 36-40

We’re truly local & proudly independent…


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


A PLACE FOR EVERYONE THE TOTTERDOWN Centre has a tangled history. You would have to have lived here for more than 30 years to remember it in its heydey, when it was thronging with people, busy with stalls, shops, a cycle workshop, a café and much more. To anyone who has moved to the area in the present century, it has looked much less appealing. From Wells Road, it’s an eyesore: a row of blank and decrepit shopfronts, with fading paint and tatty wood. But appearances can be deceptive. Behind the scenes, a lot has changed since last summer, largely due (though she does not like to admit it) to

You can find South Bristol Voice on Facebook and Twitter southbristolvoice Twitter: @sbristolvoice Next month’s deadline for editorial and advertising is February 14th the energy of Beks Vera Harhat. Vera moved her flower business into the courtyard behind the Centre last summer and, with the help of a very dedicated band of supporters, has (literally) swept out decades of neglect from large parts of the building. Vera was also the catalyst that brought in Knowle couple Jon and Mary Ross to invest in part of the centre. It’s Jon and Mary’s decision to sell that has raised new concerns about the future of the building. Let’s not waste time on casting blame. This is a building with special needs, and has a special place in Totterdown history. It’s one of very few community assets in the area. If you care about it, join the debate on what should happen next.

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February 2018


n YOUNG riders can gain confidence on their bikes at Bristol Family Cycling Centre. The centre in Bamfield, Hengrove, starts a series of six cycling skills sessions for 7-12 year-olds on February 3 from 9-10am. The cost is £30 or less. There are lots more sessions for children of all ages during half term. • n TWO to five year-olds are invited into Mr Got-a-lot’s Pop-up Shop when the erratic shopkeeper visits the Zion centre in Bishopsworth Road on February 21. The interactive adventure for pre-schoolers involves puppets, singing, and games, presented by Monkey Trousers Theatre. It’s at 11am, costs £2-£4, and lasts 45 minutes. •

Council reins in dog patrols – but owners still face fines Cemetery is offlimits unless dogs are on leads

Where you CAN walk your dog off the lead in South Bristol* Full list at: ARNOS VALE • Arno’s Court park. KNOWLE • Newquay Road park; • Redcatch park; • ‘Jungle’ recreation ground off Queenshill Road, Salcombe Road; • Callington Road nature reserve; • Perretts park; • Northern Slopes. WINDMILL HILL • St John’s burial ground off St John’s Lane, Cotswold Road;

My MP? Karin Smyth MP By email: By post: Karin Smyth MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA By phone: 0117 953 3575 In person: A surgery will be held on Friday February 2 and 16. Call 0117 953 3575 for an appointment. My councillor? Post: You can write to all councillors at Brunel House, St George’s Road, Bristol BS1 5UY Christopher Davies Lib Dem, Knowle

Email: Cllr.Christopher.Davies@ Gary Hopkins Lib Dem, Knowle (Lib Dem leader) Email: Phone: 0117 985 1491 or 07977 512159 Lucy Whittle Labour, Windmill Hill Phone: 07392 108805 Email: Jon Wellington Labour, Windmill Hill Phone: 07392 108804 Email:

ENFORCEMENT officers are on the lookout for dog owners misbehaving in public spaces in South Bristol – with a special focus on Arnos Vale cemetery. The 45 acres of woodland at Arnos Vale might look the ideal place to let a dog roam free. But walking a dog off-lead in the cemetery is illegal, the council has warned. South Bristol’s dog warden, Mark Coombs – properly known as an animal health enforcement officer – told the Voice: “Bristol city council has recently received several reports regarding dogs being walked off lead, dogs being out of control and dog owners failing to clean up after their dogs within the grounds of Arnos Vale cemetery. This can cause friction with responsible dog walkers and other users of the cemetery.” Enforcement officers from private firm Kingdom visit the cemetery regularly. They can fine an owner who hasn’t picked up their dog’s mess, or whose dog isn’t on a lead, £100 – reduced to £60 if paid within 10 days. The owner can contest the fixed penalty in court, but if convicted the fine could rise to a maximum of £1,000. The Kingdom enforcers started work in the city centre

USEFUL NUMBERS Bristol City Council   0117 922 2000 Waste, roads 0117 922 2100 Pest control and dog wardens 0117 922 2500 Council tax 0117 922 2900 Housing benefit 0117 922 2300 Social services  0117 922 2900

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n THE FORMER Tuckers electricians’ premises at 412 Wells Road, Knowle, has been granted planning permission to be turned into two flats. No objections were received. n THE Bristol Wood Recycling project has a new home at William Street in St Philip’s, near the council recycling depot, where it is due to open on February 2. The centre, which uses wood which would otherwise go to landfill, had to leave its premises in Cattle Market Road as the site is being cleared for a campus for Bristol university.



n BRIEFLY n CAMPAIGNERS who fought to save Jubilee swimming pool in Knowle from closure last year were due to meet again as the Voice went to press. The Voice revealed last month that the council is considering closure of the pool at the end of a fiveyear contract with Parkwood Leisure. The Save Jubilee Pool campaigners were set to meet on January 31. • Facebook: Save Jubilee Pool from Closure

February 2018

n WINNER of the Madama Butterfly opera tickets at Bristol Hippodrome in the last Voice was Mercedes Fernandez of Bedminster. Winner of the winter Sparkle Box of plants from Bloominster was Bess Manley of Totterdown.

How do I get in touch with ...

NEIGHBOURHOOD FORUMS Knowle and Windmill Hill neighbourhood meetings No dates yet available.

EDITOR’S NOTE: South Bristol Voice is independent. We cannot take responsibility for content or accuracy of adverts, and it is advertisers’ responsibility to conform to all relevant legislation. We strive to conform to the NUJ Code of Conduct for journalists: • Feedback is welcomed: call editor Paul Breeden on 07811 766072 or email All stories and pictures are copyright of 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 | 18 Lilymead Avenue, Bristol BS4 2BX

To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664

RESIDENTS in Bristol are being offered the chance to get gigabit broadband – faster than anything commercially available, and said to be quick enough to download a movie in seconds. Grants of up to £500 for homes and £3,000 for businesses and charities are available. The scheme is governmentbacked, but grants for residents are only available in Bristol and Bath. Four suppliers are offering the services to Bristol homes: Gigaclear, Hyperoptic,

last November and have issued more than 2,000 fixed penalty notices, mainly for dropping litter (for which the fine is £75, reduced to £50 if paid quickly). The move is part of mayor Marvin Rees’s Clean Streets campaign to make Bristol a visibly cleaner city by 2020. The Kingdom team have attracted criticism. There have been claims they have misled members of the public about their rights and even that they accused a non-smoker of dropping a cigarette butt. Their no-tolerance approach to litter was contested by one Voice reader, who wrote in last month’s issue that Kingdom should turn their fire on council

• Victoria Park. TOTTERDOWN • School Road recreation ground. BEDMINSTER • Playing field off South Liberty Lane, Ashton Drive; • South Street playing fields, park; • Gores Marsh recreation ground; • Dame Emily park; • St John’s churchyard, off Malago Road, St John’s Road. * This list covers the core Voice delivery area; for a full list, see the council website

Where you CAN’T walk a dog off-lead • ARNOS VALE Cemetery • Any other public space not on the list on the web link above waste collectors, who often leave rubbish on the streets. In January the council had to cancel several fines Kingdom issued to dog owners for having pets off leads in areas such as Redland Green – where it’s actually legal for dogs to run free. Deputy mayor Asher Craig apologised for the lapse, but said: “Our contractors will continue to enforce the order in areas where dogs are not permitted to be off their leads.” In practice, dogs must be kept on leads everywhere except in certain listed open spaces. Dog owners must always clear up after their pets if they foul any open space or highway to which the public has free access.

Club is offering unique beer in bid to fix roof KNOWLE’s historic Constitutional Club is brewing its own ale and starting a series of events to raise money for vital repairs. The ornate domed roof of the club’s spectacular snooker room has been collapsing for years and will cost £15,000 to fix. Now the club, at 162 Wells Road (yes, it’s technically in Totterdown) is appealing for more people to get involved. If the roof can be fixed, it will make further investment worthwhile on the toilets, the floor, and elsewhere. Already planned is a jumble sale on March 10 from 2-5pm. Also expected are more quiz nights. The first was a sellout and the second happened just after the Voice went to press on January 31; more are expected. A Bangers and Mash night with Totterdown sausage maker Sausagenius is also planned. The club is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. It’s members only but new members are welcome, and drinks are much cheaper than pub prices. • Facebook: Knowle Constitutional Club

Knowle Constitutional Club

Openreach and Spectrum Internet. The Voice understands you have to contact one of the suppliers to find out if you are eligible. Only the four listed above offer the service to Bristol households – there is a much longer list who will work with businesses. It’s not clear if the many Bristol residents who have a Virgin Media cable will be eligible, though Virgin is on the list of business suppliers. • ultrafast-broadband

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email



February 2018

n NEWS School praise Half term can be full of fun activities this February A KNOWLE school came second in the Primary Real Schools Guide 2018 for Bristol. Ilminster Avenue E-Act academy rose from fifth place last year in a project by publisher Trinity Mirror to combine 44 measures of performance. Victoria Park primary school in St John’s Lane, which came top last year, was 4th.

THERE’S lots for children to do to while away the hours this half term in South Bristol. Creative Workspace in Queens Road, Withywood, has events every day from February 12 to 16, including a film show, Valentine’s crafts and costume making. Activities at Knowle West

Media Centre in Leinster Avenue include a puppet-making session on February 13 which will end with everyone making a film show with puppets as the stars. Children can learn drama skills in two sessions at the Tobacco Factory theatre on February 14 and 15. There’s outdoor fun to be had

Windows light up as Bristol habit spreads overseas SOUTH Bristol will be lit up as never before on the weekend of February 23-25 in the biggestever Window Wanderland event. Hundreds of residents are already busy designing weird, beautiful and humourous displays, and thousands are expected to be seeking out the best windows over the weekend. For the first time, homes in Arnos Vale will be taking part, joining hundreds more across Windmill Hill, Southville, Bedminster and Ashton. If you fancy taking part, in Arnos Vale or elsewhere, visit the website (below), find your area and click ‘take part’ to add your location. As the Voice went to press 34 locations had signed up in Arnos Vale – the area also includes Sandy Park and St Anne’s. In BS3, where the event is in

its third year, there will be hundreds of participants. In some roads there is already intense competition to make the most eye-catching windows. Gathorne Road in Southville is becoming famous for its many ambitious displays – last year featuring children’s stories, from Harry Potter to Dr Suess. Leaflets will be delivered to 7,000 homes across BS3 inviting more people to take part. A free map, sponsored by Bristol Waste, will be published showing the main areas to visit. Some of Bedminster’s tower blocks will be lit up. As last year, Gaywood House off North Street will be lit up from top to bottom as Jack and the Beanstalk. It’s a tribute to resident Marcus Fitzgibbons, who designed the display and whose enthusiasm for the project was captured on

at Arnos Vale cemetery and Windmill Hill City Farm. Children can pick up bushcraft skills in the woodland at the cemetery, as well as outdoor storytimes. Meanwhile at Zion in Bishopsworth kids can create their own comic. Lots more activities in our What’s On section – pages 42-44.


Eyes bright: A tiger prowls in Windmill Hill in last year’s event BBC’s The One Show. Sadly, Marcus passed away in April. On the same weekend 12 other areas are taking part, from Bishopston to Portishead to Frome, and for the first time in Scotland and even in Canada. Lucy Reeves-Khan, the Bishopston resident who started the idea just four years ago, is overwhelmed by the success. “From Mary Poppins, bicycles going to the moon and the Queen on holiday in her caravan, the range of ideas is mind-blowing in BS3”, says Lucy. “It’s a real testament to just how amazingly creative everyone can be.” •

TO HELP kick off the Arnos Vale efforts, a stained glass workshop is being held at Arnos Vale cemetery on Friday February 16. It’s led by children’s craft group Colourful Minds but is open to all ages. Participants can make two windows – one to display at home and one to go on show at the Kate’s Kitchen café in the cemetery. The cost is £5 per child – booking is essential. There’s also a community workshop on Saturday February 10 at St Anne’s infants school from 10.30am-12.30pm. •

TOO HOT TO HANDLE WINDOW Wanderland has become so popular that founder Lucy Reeves-Khan is struggling to cope. Though local groups raise money to sponsor their own efforts, running publicity campaigns and a complex website is costing Lucy too much in money and time to be sustainable much longer. She’s appealing for a kindhearted business to sponsor Window Wanderland and help celebrate its success as a great Bristol idea. Email Lucy at

February 2018



WHY DOES IT LOOK SUCH A MESS? FROM the front, the Totterdown Centre has looked rundown for many years. But since last summer, the Healing Courtyard and the Floriography flower business have been active in the open space and rooms behind the former Chinese takeaway. Some afternoons and evenings Fanny Tingle’s restaurant opens for teas and candlelit suppers in the courtyard, while other activities have included healing workshops,

To celebrate we are offering local residents a FREE PUDDING with every main meal that is purchased at lunchtime or a FREE CAKE with every hot drink in the morning and afternoon.

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Glory days: The centre was opened in 1979 by Tony Benn MP and was for years home to a host of traders, run by a co-operative 142, to the left of the takeaway, was used by the owners of the takeaway, partly as a Chinese temple and for Chinese dancing. The buildings facing Wells Road appear to be sound. But it’s clear that substantial repairs are needed to various parts of the roof and some areas – not open to the public – are unsafe.

Bid to register centre as an asset of community value Continued from page 1 influence, and no protection around who buys it, and for what purpose they intend,” said Vera. “Depending on what kind of developer they are, they will likely have the power of money to achieve their aims; which could, in the worst case, lead to the loss of the whole building and the people within it being forced out.” The building is a warren of different areas, divided between five owners, each of them having a vote in the management company that owns the freehold. The Totterdown Centre Ltd was set up in 1981, after the destruction of parts of Totterdown to make way for a road system that was never built. The company articles of association say that the building is to be maintained for community benefits, including shops. The vacant units are being


The Café at The Park offers delicious, good value hot and cold food all day. It has recently been refurbished with a new seating and eating area plus comfortable sofas and armchairs.

storytelling and poetry. Meanwhile the Bristol Women’s Workshop has been continuously active since the centre was founded in 1981, providing courses in woodwork and other skills that women traditionally haven’t learned. The shopfronts, however, have been unused for years. The greengrocers at No. 138 closed in about 2003 and the Chinese takeaway in about 2012. There are flats behind the blanked-out shopfront at No. 140, which once had a jokey sign for Mount Totterdown University. No.


TWO CENTRAL portions of the Totterdown Centre will be auctioned by Maggs & Allen at the county cricket ground in Bishopston on February 27. Described as a double fronted shop of 2,000sq ft, the guide price is put at over £147,000. But the property isn’t for the casual investor. It’s unlikely to attract a mortgage so any buyers are expected to offer cash. The two units, 142 and 144, are the former Chinese takeaway and a larger unit next door. After much work by current owners Jon and Mary Ross, the structure is sound but further

marketed by auctioneers Maggs & Allen. In theory, any new owner would need the majority backing of the other four shareholders for any plans. But some fear that a wealthy investor might find a way around the legal restrictions. An application has been made to Bristol city council to register the building as an asset of community value. This is a legal move which can stop the sale of a building (such as a pub) if it would be lost for community use. Vera is also setting up a community interest company (CIC) which could take over the management of the building. Vera and Anne face some mighty obstacles before they can see the building achieve its potential. It’s big enough for a multitude of shops or stalls, plus a café or restaurant, meeting repairs are needed. Toby Fisher, partner at Maggs & Allen, said: “I would expect it to generate a lot of interest – it’s a good frontage in quite a prominent spot,” he said. Mr Fisher said he believed no-one could buy the units and turn them into flats, because there is no planning permission, because it would not appear to suit the building, and because the agreement of the other leaseholders would be needed. A shop, restaurant, or play café might be possible uses, said Mr Fisher. However, the neighbouring shop unit at No. 140 has already been turned into a flat.

spaces, rehearsal rooms and more. That’s apart from the Women’s Workshop, the activities in the courtyard and the five flats which already exist. However, parts of the building are in such bad repair that no one can enter. There’s a lot of water damage, and the management company has no buildings insurance. Turning things around could be a 25-year programme, says Vera, and will need the cooperation of a new co-owner who shares the same vision. A crowdfunding campaign has been launched, so far raising £2,340, and a fundraising meal was held at the Eating Room restaurant on January 20. • Facebook: Totterdown Centre Community Spaces •

THE RELUCTANT SELLERS TOTTERDOWN couple Jon and Mary Ross bought one of the five leases in the Centre in August 2017. Now, they say, they have come to the reluctant conclusion that they can’t achieve what they wanted to do, and are selling. They control the ground floor sections behind the shopfronts at 142 and 144 Wells Road, and a flat above. The flat is not for sale, but only because there is a tenant and they do not want her to lose her home, said Jon. “We entered into this in good faith,” said Jon. The couple spent Bristol months PILATES gutting the interior and making repairs. fitness But plans to turn 144 into a restaurant did not prove feasible. And with parts of the rest of the building needing major repairs, the Rosses have decided they can’t contribute any more. They insist they have not tried to turn a quick profit: though the £140,000 guide price for the shops is more than they paid, and they are retaining the flat, they have spent a lot in money and effort on repairs already, they said Bristol



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Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email




n NEWS Lib-Dem attack over libraries A REVIEW of Bristol’s planned £1.4 million library cuts might not save any libraries, claim the city’s Lib Dems. The council has halted plans to shut 17 out of 27 libraries – including Wick Road and Marksbury Road in South Bristol, but possibly saving Knowle. Options now being considered include community ownership, getting a third party to run libraries, and use of volunteers. Government money is being used to fund a review, which will report in the spring. The Lib Dems claim the review should have been started months before, and is ignoring many possible solutions. Bristol could still end up with only 10 libraries, claimed Cllr Arthur Negus. Deputy mayor Asher Craig responded that the study is looking at ways of running a core of libraries, but also at a wider library network, maybe using volunteers and shared buildings. Sarah Murch, who leads the Friends of Marksbury Road library, said she’d heard nothing about the review. She urged the council to keep control of libraries. “Once public assets are gone, they’re likely to be lost forever,” she told the Voice.

Toilets offered THE BROADWALK shopping centre in Knowle is among firms backing a council scheme to advertise its toilets for public use. Cuts will close 18 council public WCs, but the aim is to sign up twice as many private toilets.



February 2018

February 2018



Mayor hints at other options for Arena Island site MAYOR Marvin Rees spent a morning meeting the people of Windmill Hill and attempting to answer their concerns. He told them that he wanted to delay a decision on the arena to make sure it is the right one for the city, that he doesn’t see tall buildings as necessarily bad places to live, and that he sees good mental health as depending on the city providing good homes and jobs as well as health services. Around 50 people arrived at Victoria Park Baptist church on January 19 in response to an open invitation. The mayor spent time talking to people in small groups before taking questions from the floor. Asked what happens if the arena doesn’t come to Temple Meads, he said the site could be used for housing, for retail, or for a conference centre. The council could invest instead in other things, such as housing, he said. In any event, the city is “in a very good position” to win £200m for the Temple Meads area from the Government, half of it to be spent revamping the station, said Mr Rees. Along with plans for a £300m university campus, this makes Arena Island an “incredibly attractive” site, he said. “We have no five star hotel, we have no

‘I CAN’T JUST IGNORE AUSTERITY’ PEOPLE shouldn’t be under any illusion that Bristol city council could avoid austerity just by refusing to set a legal budget, said mayor Marvin Rees. The mayor has been told by many left-wing critics that he could avoid the £102 million in cuts the city faces over the next five years, and the closures of libraries, toilets, school crossing patrols and services to vulnerable adults and children. If Bristol and the rest of the UK’s 10 core cities stood up to the Government they could win public support and could successfully resist the cuts, groups like the Bristol Anti-Cuts Alliance claim. But Marvin Rees believes this is a dangerous delusion. At the Windmill Hill meeting, he was asked if it would be feasible to set an illegal budget. Mr Rees said firmly: “No.” It would be a mere gesture, he said. “The moment we do that, civil viable conference centre in the city,” he said. “Wouldn’t it be interesting to put a hotel and conference centre next to the university [campus] and new station?” Asked about the many plans

Rees: No to ‘gesture politics’ servants get sent down to manage our budget. “People have said we should lock them out of City Hall. But this is 2018 – it’s all online anyway!” The reputational damage to the city would be huge – it would hurt the ability of private and public bodies to win the investment that Bristol needs to create jobs. And the move would also draw heavy criticism on Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, for residential tower blocks in Bedminster Green and elsewhere, he said it was essential Bristol draws up a plan to meet its housing need, or it will be buffeted by market forces. • Bedminster Green: page 15


IXTY per cent of UK vets say that obesity is the biggest health and welfare concern, according to research carried out by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) in 2016. In addition to putting your pet on the weighing scales, we use body condition as an indicator of healthy weight. Explained simply, this involves checking for waist definition, palpable ribs and an abdominal tuck. Why not have a go at checking your pet’s body condition. Does your pet have a visible waist? Can

you easily feel their ribs when you run your fingers over them? Ribs should not be clearly visible but they should be easy to feel and have minimal fat covering them. The waist should be easily observed when viewed from above and the abdomen tucked up when viewed from the side. If the waist is not visible, the abdomen is rounded, and ribs are difficult to palpate (feel) under the skin, your pet is highly likely to be overweight. On the other hand, if your pet’s ribs are clearly visible and their

abdomen highly tucked, your pet could be underweight. Your pet’s weight can have a significant effect on their health and quality of life. In fact, obesity can lead to a number of serious health issues and significantly reduce lifespan. Therefore, understanding your pet’s ideal weight and body condition, could improve their quality of life and keep them with you for longer. It is worth asking a member of your veterinary team to show you how to check your pet’s body condition. Once you know what to




Pleas to keep arena in the city centre Bristol South needs arena, says MP Karin Smyth CALLS are growing for the Bristol arena to be built in the city centre after it became clear that the council is considering siting the venue in Filton. Mayor Marvin Rees announced last month that he is delaying a decision on the 12,000-seat venue yet again, this time to April, to allow a full assessment of how much each option would cost. Building the arena next to Temple Meads station would cost more than the £123 million budget, even though an £11m bridge to Arena Island has already been built, and the council is thought to have spent £9m on the site. Now YTL, the Malaysian firm which also owns Wessex Water, has offered to put its own money into building the arena in the Brabazon hangar at the former Filton airfield. It could be bigger than the Temple Mead plan, with a capacity of up to 15,000. This would save the council injecting up to £53m into the scheme. But transport links to Filton would have to be upgraded, and arena-goers would be a long way from the city centre with its restaurants and hotels. Karin Smyth, Labour MP for Bristol South, insisted that the arena should stay in the city. “Bristol South is home to some of the most deprived areas of the city and people desperately need decent job opportunities

and apprenticeships – the proposed arena in my constituency offers this,” she said. “I appreciate the financial confines within which the council is working, but Bristol South needs this development. Millions of pounds have already been spent on preparations for the arena in the city centre, and Bristol has already waited long enough for its own arena. I sincerely hope that we can find a way to keep the much-needed Bristol arena in the planned location and not waste any more time and money.” Windmill Hill Labour councillor Jon Wellington backed the MP’s call. “I want the arena to be in the city centre and I will be disappointed if it isn’t there,” he told the Voice. “But if the council has been made [another] offer, it has a duty to at least consider that offer.” Bristol’s Greens also called to keep the arena at Temple Meads. “It seems obvious that a city centre location for the arena would be the best choice for transport access and economic benefits to the city and local businesses,” said Southville Green councillor Charlie Bolton. “There has been a distinct lack of transparency and scrutiny around any proposed change in location, which is simply unacceptable for a building of such importance.” However, Bristol East Labour MP Kerry McCarthy is unsure which site is best: she fears more traffic congestion on Bath Road if the arena is built there, and she wants to wait for the result of the mayor’s review.

Karin Smyth: Arena will bring jobs and apprenticships Critics of the Filton plan point to potential conflicts of interest. YTL’s divisional director of design and development is Barra Mac Ruairí, who until May last year worked on the arena plans for Bristol city council, where he was strategic director for place. YTL’s auditors until last year were KMPG – the same firm which is carrying out the value for money review on the arena for the council. And YTL’s UK

chief executive is Colin Skellet, who was also head of the government-backed LEP, or Local Enterprise Partnership, which previously backed £53m in funding for the arena. Bristol’s Conservative leader, Mark Weston, called on other politicians to “stop bickering” and wait for the result of the mayor’s review. But he acknowledged that Arena Island may have undiscovered problems (such as contamination). If the arena doesn’t come to Temple Meads, the island site could be used for homes, according to Paul Smith, Bristol’s cabinet member for housing. The university of Bristol has already agreed to buy part of the island for student homes in three tower blocks of up to 25 storeys. • Consultants are still looking at a plan for a multi-storey car park to serve the arena at 1-9 Bath Road – the site of Kwik Fit, a council cabinet meeting was told on January 23.

Plea for parking zone

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WELL before it is clear whether an arena will bring extra traffic to South Bristol, one group of Totterdown residents say parking is already unbearable. Neighbours in Bellevue Terrace have started a petition on calling for a residents parking zone as soon as possible. “Commuters and shoppers use our area as a free car park. Often, if you move your car in the morning, there is nowhere to park remotely near your house when you come back. We need a

Residents’ Parking Scheme as soon as possible,” reads the petition. “We cannot wait for the developments at Temple Meads to arrive because we have the problem now.” As the Voice went to press, the petition had 17 signatures. Councillors are supposed to gauge local support for parking zones, but have been given no funds to do so. Bristol university may be asked to fund a study as part of its Temple Meads plans. • Petition:

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February 2018

February 2018


n NEWS Continued from page 7



Children march as new book tells stories of women’s Bristol triumphs THIS year is the 100th anniversary of the date when women in Britain won the vote for the first time – and South Bristol is playing its part in the celebrations. To mark the occasion, the children of Hillcrest primary school will be taking to the streets to recreate a march by the suffragettes – the women whose direct action is credited with bringing about a change in the law [see panel, right]. Meanwhile Windmill Hill author Jane Duffus has written a book about women’s often forgotten role in the history of Bristol. The Women Who Built Bristol, out at the end of February, tells the stories of 250 women – plus three “sheroic” dogs. “From pin makers to police chiefs, from workhouse inmates to lord mayors, this book shows

KIDS TO BECOME SUFFRAGETTES CHILDREN from Hillcrest primary school in Totterdown are joining in the celebrations by holding their own march on Tuesday February 6. During a day of activities to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, the children will be learning about the Suffragette movement and the long struggle for women’s voting rights. At 1pm, more than 400 children will re-create a suffrage march, complete with banners, placards, ribbons and sashes, in the roads around the school, taking in Cemetery Road, Wells Road, School Road, Fordell Place, Hawthorne Street and back via Cemetery Road. Parents are invited to join in.


Bristol’s builders: By Jane Duffus that Bristol was built by women and particularly seeks to celebrate those women whose names have fallen through the cracks of history,” Jane said. The book is published by Totterdown-based Tangent Books, one of the city’s most respected publishers. Jane said: “This book has been bubbling away in me ever since I moved to Bristol in 2008 and discovered what a rich history of wonderful women this great city has. I’ve uncovered so many fascinating stories of women’s history that I’m now really pleased to be sharing. While I have my own favourites within the book, I look forward to hearing from readers which of the women strike a chord with them.” Stories from the book will be featured in the March edition of South Bristol Voice, with thanks to Jane Duffus. Priced £12.99, the book will be available from February 26. •

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march starts at Berkeley Square, Clifton, at 6pm, and proceeds down Park Street to College Green, where there will be music, singing and celebrations. Those wanting to join in can (if they’ve received their Voice early enough) take part in a lanternmaking workshop at the Elephant House in Dean Lane, Bedminster, 2-5pm on Saturday February 3. • Facebook: Women’s Lantern Parade

WOMEN won the right to vote for Members of Parliament in 1918. Even though it was restricted to women over 30 (and not even all of them), the new law gave the vote to 8.4 million women and was an important milestone. It’s being marked in Bristol by a lantern parade on Tuesday February 6 – the day the Representation of the People Act 1918 received royal assent. The

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February 2018





A coconut doesn’t need any wrapping, How a chance sighting in a South Bristol supermarket sparked anger about unneeded packaging that reverberated around the UK


TWEET made by a frustrated shopper in a South Bristol supermarket has sparked national conversation about the unnecessary packaging that serves big companies at the expense of the environment. Alex Morss, Windmill Hill resident, naturalist and the Voice’s wildlife writer, had no

GOING SHOPPING WITHOUT PLASTIC The Voice asked readers to name South Bristol businesses which are doing their bit to cut out plastic. CHI WHOLEFOODS Unit 3, Chapel Court, Chapel Street, St Philips • Wholefood store selling food in bulk and unpackaged; • Discount for cyclists; • Some food sourced from growers; • Organic nappies, clothing, dog food and treats, and essential oils. • FOX & WEST Grocer & Deli, 171 Wells Road, Totterdown • Biodegradable bags for herbs; • Vegware compostable takeaway cups and containers; • Sell degradable dog poo bags, idea that her visit to Sainsbury’s on January 6 would have such lasting consequences. When she saw a shelf full of coconuts shrouded in




bamboo toothbrushes and activated charcoal toothpaste; • Fruit and vegetables as plasticfree as possible; • 10% off coffee if you bring a cup. • ZERO GREEN No-waste food store, opening soon, 12 North Street, Bedminster • Items from tea to washing up liquid, shampoo bars, spices, pasta, rice, in bulk/loose and plastic-free; • Fill your own container or buy one; • Plus glass jars, tea caddies, coffee cups, metal straws, cotton bags. • Facebook: Zero Green


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BAKED Bakery, 123 Oxford Street, Totterdown and HARTS Bakery, Lower Approach Road, Temple Meads • Bread sold in paper bags • • TINCAN COFFEE CO Café, 234 North Street, Southville • Compostable takeaway cups and lids. Facebook: Tincancoffeeco

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GAEL ALLAN Reuseable bags Totterdown resident makes cotton Bagga Bags. Each holds 1kg. •

transparent plastic and yet branded as a “Genuine Coconut” and a “Natural container”, she saw red – or rather green. The coconut wasn’t just wrapped in plastic – it also had with a plastic ringpull, allowing consumers to insert another piece of plastic – a straw – to drink the water inside. Alex tweeted Sainsbury’s and the coconut’s distributor, asking: “Could you please rethink your packaging @GenuineCoconut? This coconut is not sold in its natural container, without processing, as nature intended – your words. Plastic wrap / straws are not natural, sustainable or biodegradable. How can this be organic?” She

didn’t expect her words to strike such a chord. Within hours they were being widely retweeted as the apparent absurdity struck home that one of nature’s most effective packages had been so wastefully tampered with. Within two days, the story had been covered by just about every national newspaper, from the Daily Mail to the Independent, Daily Telegraph and the Metro. Mike Coupe, chief executive of Sainsbury’s, was interviewed on BBC Breakfast TV, where he agreed that the coconut’s extra wrapping sounded “daft”, and he promised to investigate. Almost every TV channel and national radio station also covered the

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straws. Takeaway boxes have always been biodegradeable. • Facebook: Totterdowncanten

The Wicked Witch tried to live without plastic for a month. Here she reflects on the experience ... MY MONTH of trying to go plastic-free with some of my neighbours back in October was very hard – although my recycling bin was half as full. Alas, it is back to overflowing and I have to sneak it out early so people cannot see what a big fat failure I am. The process was eye-opening – we definitely live in a plastic world. From toothbrushes to plastic-wrapped greeting cards. And then there’s the dog poo problem – I smugly pick up my dog’s mess in biodegradable poo bags, oh aren’t I good? But then I pop these bags into the poo bins

which are lined with a nice thick plastic bin bag – that poop will fester forever in a landfill site. I asked my fellow plastic avoiders how they got on: “It was hard but illuminating. I am still trying to avoid plastic and think about it even more when shopping, I return unwanted plastic to sender!” Katie “I think my teeth feel better for not using toothpaste as much (full of plastic beads). I use toothpaste once a week and bicarbonate the rest of the time.” Bella Of course industry is key in coming up with a more organic solution, until then I will continue to steer clear of plastics when I can and tut loudly when I can’t. * The Wicked Witch’s broomstick is 100 per cent natural and organic.

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February 2018





 so why smother it in a plastic cover? WHY I WANT TO SAY NO TO PLASTIC PLASTIC is versatile, durable, strong and flexible – but because it is so damaging to the planet we need to be more responsible with how it is made, when it is used, and recycle all of it. UK supermarkets produce one million tonnes of plastic packaging each year, but too little gets recycled. About half of the UK’s plastic bottles end up in landfill or as litter. A truckload of plastic enters our seas every minute. Once it’s in the sea, it soaks up toxins like a sponge and then gets into everything, even table salt, tap water and your stomach. It kills a million sea birds each year. I believe we need to say no to plastic packaging at every turn, because, sadly, it is human and corporate nature to put cost and convenience above conscience. Alex Morss story as the message hit home. Sainsbury’s later responded that the packaging did help keep the coconuts hygienic, and made it last longer. But the story had clearly caught the public mood. The cat was out of the plastic carrier bag and people started demanding supermarkets provide a plastic-free aisle, an end to disposable plastic cups, more water fountains to reduce the sale of water in plastic bottles, and more. Alex Morss followed up her Twitter offensive

PLASTIC FREE COASTLINES, BRISTOL THE December issue of the Voice included my letter introducing the Plastic Free Coastlines campaign and I am pleased to report that the campaign is gathering momentum. You may have seen, or heard, local and national TV news and radio programmes featuring the campaign. In short it is about encouraging local government, local businesses and the local community to ditch single use plastic. To achieve Plastic Free Coastlines status there are five objectives: 1. To persuade Bristol City Council to remove single use plastic from their premises and support plastic-free initiatives.


What rot: Alex’s tweet of the plastic-covered coconuts that went viral with an open plea to Bristol’s mayor, Marvin Rees, at a public Q&A session at Victoria Park Baptist church on January 19. Why can’t Bristol take a lead on reducing use of plastic, Alex asked? The city could look at a council tax surcharge on firms that overuse plastic packaging, and offer tax discounts to “greener” shops, she suggested, to applause. Mr Rees made no promises, but asked Ms Morss to send him her ideas. The council is already starting

to look at whether the city can do without plastic in packaging for takeaways, said Mr Rees. In December, Bristol became the first UK council to vote in a charge for using disposable cups on council premises. Meanwhile Bristol-based City to Sea is taking its Refill campaign nationwide to urge people to avoid buying bottled water. In partnership with Bristol Water, it has provided free water fountains at events like the Balloon Fiesta.

2. To persuade local businesses to remove at least three single use plastic items and replace with sustainable alternatives. 3. To gain community support for Plastic Free Coastlines. 4. To organise local events in the community for all to attend. 5. To form a local group including employees from flagship businesses, to champion the cause. Much to do! I’ve spoken to a number of local businesses and have been very encouraged by the positive reaction. (You can read about some local firms elsewhere on this page.) In April, the Plastic Free Coastlines Bristol team will be organising a beach clean in Avon Gorge, the date and time to be confirmed very soon. The Avon

Gorge Beach Cleans have been running for a number of years and are an opportunity for people to volunteer to collect waste from the banks of the Avon. All safety equipment, waste picker tools and sacks are provided. I would encourage everyone to consider removing or replacing three items of plastic from their normal shop or day-to-day life. It might be switching to milk delivered in glass bottles, carrying a water bottle instead of buying bottled water, or buying unpackaged fruit and veg in local groceries rather than the packaged supermarket produce. Graham Coburn Plastic Free Coastlines Totterdown and Knowle

• Plastics are not a renewable resource – they are made out of hydrocarbons from crude oil. • Plastics are synthetic, and virtually nothing in the living world has evolved the ability to digest them, so they don’t rot down. • Plastics are made of complex compounds which makes them difficult and costly to recycle, which takes energy too, so not all areas offer recycling for all plastics. • Alternative bioplastics and biodegradable plastics do exist, as well as sustainable sources of cardboard packaging. Much of our food comes in its own protective skin, so often no packaging is genuinely needed! • 12 million tonnes of plastic a year end up in the oceans – that’s a rubbish truck full every minute, according to Greenpeace UK. • Globally, only nine per cent of plastic is recycled.


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February 2018

n NEWS Doors to close on Eating Room ONE OF Totterdown’s biggest catering success stories, the Eating Room at 156 Wells Road, will be wound up later this year – a victim of its own success. Owner Sian Titchener said she has decided to focus on catering for events and weddings, which will give her and chef Thea Wakeling more time to travel and enjoy the lifestyle they want. “Our growth has been so amazing, but has meant we are often over-stretched,” Sian posted on Facebook. Sian will seek a buyer to take over the restaurant before announcing a date for closure. The Eating Room opened in December 2015 in one half of what used to be a run-down weighing machine shop. Sian’s former business partner Hannah Rowe ran a vintage clothing business alongside until she moved out in mid-2016, allowing the restaurant to expand and offer evening meals.


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match the 11 metre height of the partly-three-storey building. It would be more than twice the height of a 5m lamppost. And because it sits on a slope, it will feel even more overbearing to residents of the much smaller two-storey houses opposite in Bathwell Road, claim objectors. Labour councillor Jon Wellington has responded by ensuring that the application – Crossman’s fourth for the same plot – will be debated by councillors if it is recommended for approval by planning officials. “If allowed it will create a building that is out of scale, overbearing and dominant,” said Tresa member Linn Waite, who lives nearby on Stanley Hill. “This is a site surrounded by two-storey houses. On a prominent corner at the top of two steep approach roads, Summer Hill and Stanley Hill, it requires sensitive development as the impact of any development will be much greater because of the slope,” she said. “Crossman homes are consistent only in their lack of regard for residents and the local area,” she added. A report by the city design team says having three storeys on the corner of the site “is, on

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Anger as developer allowed to close street for one year

This tall: An 11m pole erected in the wind by residents to show the scale of the latest proposal balance, justified through its design, by allowing a proper focus to the corner.” Residents feel this ignores the fact that officials rejected Crossman’s previous plan, which was 9.8m high, as “overbearing” – yet the new one is 2m taller. The new homes will have two floors where they directly face Bathwell Road, but at 8.65m they will still be taller than their 7.5m neighbours, said Ms Waite. Objectors say the new homes would obscure the cherished views of Holy Nativity church, and will look out of place, being clad in brick, while most of the nearby homes are rendered. The new homes could cast so much shadow in winter that they will increase the risk of ice forming on the dangerously steep hill, said Ms Waite. The council has received 35 objections to the plans. There are also two statements of support – neither from people living in Totterdown.

Fancy a car-free street? NEIGHBOURS who would like see their children playing in a car-free street are being urged to join Bristol’s pioneering Playing Out movement. Beckington Road and Lilymead Avenue in Knowle and Stanley Hill in Totterdown are among the roads which have been allowed to shut out traffic for one afternoon a month to allow children to play in safety. In all 150 streets in Bristol have taken part in Playing Out, a



How can these homes be better even though they’re higher? RESIDENTS are worried that the latest version of a controversial Totterdown housing development may be given the green light after a planning official signalled that it might be acceptable. The plan by Crossman Homes for seven homes on the corner of Bathwell Road and Goolden Street has won qualified backing from the council’s city design team – even though the current scheme is taller than one which was rejected last year. Members of Tresa, the Totterdown residents group, took pictures of a pole they put up to

February 2018

charity based in Bedminster, and the idea has spread nationwide. The city council needs six weeks notice to process a Temporary Play Street Order, and so residents are being asked to think two months ahead. It is free to apply and cones and signs are provided by Playing Out. To find out more, contact Jo Chesterman at jo@playingout. net or 07811 816620. •

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PEOPLE living in a narrow terraced street next to Victoria park are coming to terms with the news that half their road is to be closed by a developer for up to a year. Monmouth Road is about to be blocked off at its junction with St John’s Lane to allow a contractor to start work building nine houses on the site of a derelict car sales plot. Planning officials overrode objections from nine residents in granting the plan for three four-bedroom houses and six three-bedroom houses in September 2017. Several neighbours complained that parking was already a problem and the new homes – which have no parking spaces – would make matters worse. Now they face up to a year when almost half their street is closed to them to allow the builder, SJL Property of Brislington, to manoeuvre onto the site and store materials. Highways officials would not allow access to the site from St John’s lane, considering it too dangerous. One neighbour, Jon French, called the council “supine” for agreeing to the demands of the developer and said he was thinking about applying for a reduction in council tax during the works. Jon Wellington, Labour councillor for Windmill Hill, told

No entry: Monmouth Street will be closed the length of the garage site the Voice he had knocked on every door in Monmouth Street and he would pass on the concerns he had heard to highways officials. People did not know where they would be able to park or unload, and feared having heavy construction vehicles outside their front doors, which open onto the street, he said. “Most people I spoke to accept that development will happen but do not believe a year-long closure of their road and a reduction in parking space in the order of about 12 vehicles is fair on them and their environment,” he said. They are also worried they could be disturbed by the builders as early as 7.30am. Cllr Wellington is asking officials to visit the road to

explain the closure to residents because communication has been poor, he said. It is unclear if the road will be blocked, or signed as No Entry.

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February 2018




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Council to reveal which areas most suitable for high-rises MAYOR Marvin Rees listened to concerns that tower blocks in Bedminster Green will damage the quality of life both for their neighbours and the people who live in them. But he gave no indication that he will call a halt to the councils’ encouragement of high-density, high-rise residential buildings as a way out of the city’s housing crisis. The mayor heard complaints about future tower blocks from several residents when he held a

question and answer session at Victoria Park Baptist church in Windmill Hill on January 19. “A lot of people on the hill are really concerned about their quality of life. We don’t want to see that totally ruined because of developers’ greed,” one woman told him. Several developers have told the Voice that the council is encouraging them to put forward plans for tall buildings. On Bedminster Green, Rollo Homes has reduced its plan from 10 to





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ROLLO Homes, which is so far the only developer to have made a planning application at Bedminster Green, is seeing new objections to its revised, smaller plan. The Bedminster firm reduced its Malago Road plan from 10 storeys to nine and from 206 to 183 flats. It has also withdrawn plans for a district energy centre, saying it will replace it with 30 “affordable” homes. Among 18 objectors to the new plan was a resident of Malago Road who said the flats would still overshadow his home. The Environment Agency has also objected, saying the plan doesn’t give it enough access to the River Malago. Rollo has hinted it may take more part in discussions with the other four developers on the Green. Bristol city council said: “We are in discussions with the landowners

Still drawing objections: The latest version of the Rollo plan of the different development sites in the Bedminster Green area in order to encourage them to work together on a masterplan for the wider area which would help to coordinate the individual proposals, provide the overall infrastructure that the area needs, and to maximise the amount of affordable housing delivered.” The area will also be included in a review of the city’s Local Plan.

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nine storeys, but other developers are proposing towers of 18 storeys and more. Mr Rees told residents that it is essential that Bristol comes up with a city plan it can defend, otherwise “the free market will run riot in Bristol, and we will end up with what we are given.” The council is working on a map, to be released in the spring, which will show the areas of the city which will be zoned for high-density development. Bedminster Green can expect to be on the list, along with Bath Road. Mr Rees insisted he wants developers to provide workable communities, not just places to live: “We don’t just want to provide bricks and mortar for people to live in but cities that are sustainable,” he said.

Offer to cast-off apprentices BUILDER Helm Construction has offered to take on apprentices left stranded by the collapse of construction giant Carillion. It’s thought up to 1,400 apprentices were affected when Carillion folded last month. Helm Construction chief executive Gary Sheppard said the Bristol firm is eager to help. “We already have a number of apprentices going through our training programme but we can make room for more given the scale of the calamity which has overtaken Carillion. “Any Carillion apprentices in the Greater Bristol area should give us a call to see if we can help. We can take four carpentry apprentices and two groundwork apprentices to help us on a dozen and more sites around Bristol.” Helm is building a shop and four flats at 1 Redcatch Road, Knowle, on a prominent site at the corner of Wells Road.


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February 2018

February 2018




Broadwalk centre could see hundreds of homes on top

THE BROADWALK shopping centre may be set for a dramatic transformation which would see up to 200 homes built on it and around it, the Voice can reveal. Discussions are under way with the council on what form of redevelopment might be acceptable to planners. Any planning application is still some time away. But the Voice has been told that the upper levels of the multi-storey car park and the offices above the centre could both be replaced by housing. The former Knowle library building in Redcatch Road and the garage next to it could also be replaced by homes. Both are in the same ownership as the shopping centre. Council planning officials were understood to be giving their response to initial proposals as the Voice went to press. Pre-planning applications are not normally made public. Knowle councillor Gary Hopkins supports the principle of redevelopment, as long as it is of high quality. “Our view is that it’s not very pretty as it is,” he said, referring to the view of the car park seen from one side of Redcatch park. “We think it would be significantly better with some nice flats fronting the park.” Retirement homes would be one option, he said. “If you want to buy a retirement flat, one overlooking Redcatch park, with views towards Dundry, would be quite attractive, especially with all the facilities close by,” he said. “There are quite a lot of people in the area with big houses who want to move into something smaller.” Cllr Hopkins said that he and his Lib Dem colleague Chris Davies do not want to see a mass

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Room with a view: The shopping centre might accommodate 200 homes of buildings overlooking the park, or the houses in Ryde Road. But adding “a couple of storeys” to the car park on the Broad Walk side, facing the cricket ground, might be acceptable if it didn’t match the height of the office block, he said. The old library and garage site has already been approved for development as 38 flats in three storey buildings with underground parking. Planning permission granted in 2007 has now lapsed, but a similar scheme could expect to be approved. It’s not clear who might carry out any redevelopment. The Broadwalk centre is currently run by Moorfields, the administrators

who took over after a row between previous owner Frogmore and its bankers. It may be that Moorfields will try to get planning permission for a redevelopment and then sell the centre to a new owner who will carry out the work. The centre’s car park was shut in December for what Broadwalk manager Tim Moloney called a routine examination. Last summer, there was controversy when the centre began to fine shoppers for parking over the lines of its narrow parking bays. The Voice was unable to obtain any comment from the centre or Moorfields. • Your councillors: page 34


or under offer. Holland & Barrett’s health store, opened last year, has traded much more strongly than expected and has attracted new interest to the centre from retailers. It lacks a supermarket since the Co-op (formerly Somerfield) pulled out in 2012. Its last known selling price was for £22 million in 2004.

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Reader pinpoints the schools Dame Clara attended


A READER of South Bristol Voice has answered a mystery left hanging in last month’s history article on Dame Clara Butt: where was the Bath Road Academy? Answer: it was on Bath Road, close to Three Lamps junction,

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on a rise now covered in trees, reader Nick Barlow has discovered. The school was run from Avon Villa by a Mrs and Mrs Parry for day and boarding pupils. Avon Villa survived until 1972, when it was knocked down

during the Totterdown clearances. Mr Barlow also located South Bristol High School, also attended by Dame Clara – that was at 144 Coronation Road, Southville, between Camden Road and Beauley Road.


Church asks: Help us light up the sky again AN APPEAL is being made to light up the Totterdown sky once again after the illuminated cross on Totterdown Methodist church was found to have failed. The brightly-lit cross has for many years been a familiar sight across the city – but to repair it could cost £2,000. The church doesn’t have the funds to hire scaffolding and electricians and is hoping local people will contribute to get the cross shining again. The church in Bushy Park is also planning to restart Sunday school sessions, to add to activities which include a lunch club for the elderly, parents and toddler groups, and Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, Rainbows, Brownies and Guides. Religious gatherings include a Bible study group and a book and film club. To find out more, email •

Events for Valentines THERE are several Valentinethemed events in South Bristol this February. Fox & West deli in Wells Road, Totterdown, hosts a pop-up Valentine’s market on Saturday February 10, with local designer-makers bringing gifts and cards for sale. • Facebook: foxandwest172 Arnos Vale cemetery has an alternative Valentine event on February 14 – a tour of the Victorian graveyard to find tombs that speak of hidden love. It’s followed by a screening of Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride. • A vegetarian candlelit supper will be served in the Healing Courtyard behind the Totterdown Centre by Fanny Tingle on February 14, with flowers also available from Floriography. • Facebook: Fanny Tingle Laura Mullins of Whitchurch has arranged a speed-dating night for groups of singles, where three friends can meet other groups of three. It’s on February 16 at Toto’s, off Redcliffe Street, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. • Facebook: CharitySinglesParty

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New year, new start


February 2018


Stoke Gifford Retirement Village An ExtraCare Charitable Trust Village

Retirement living for the not-so-retiring Opening this year, Stoke Gifford Retirement Village will provide 261 comfortable new one and two bedroom homes for people over 55, with options for rental, shared ownership and outright purchase. The Village is built around a superb range of social, leisure and well-being facilities including:



Playing at the altar of rock SOUTH Bristol group Rock ’n’ Roll Angels have been awarded nearly £2,000 by Arts Council England to make an album – not in a music studio, but in St Michael and All Angels church on Windmill Hill. The group – centred on songwriters Shaun McCrindle (guitar and vocal) and Jonathan Westrup (piano and vocal) – write original material, described by programmers at last year’s Stroud Festival as “experimental soul from heaven”. Shaun had played solo at the church and loved its “resonant, intimate acoustic”. The four-piece line-up is

THE LONG-running saga of whether to provide secure bicycle stores on a tightly-packed Victorian street in Knowle continues. Residents of Somerset Road are divided over whether they want the council to install two bike hangers, each capable of holding six cycles. Two hangars have already been installed in Windmill Hill – in Eldon Terrace and Almorah Road, apparently causing little dissent among neighbours. But a sizeable number of residents in Somerset Road don’t want the new hangars, saying they will take valuable parking

Here you can relax in the knowledge that if you or your partner need care, now or in the future, it can be provided by a dedicated 24/7 on-site team. The Village is a vision of The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, a registered charity pioneering the UK’s most innovative and exciting new retirement villages.

For more information please call


completed by double bass player James Anderson and drummer Jamie Hill. Students from Bristol’s dBs Music College joined the band in the church for two days in December, when together they recorded 10 songs. They were assisted by sound engineer Trevor Spinney, who has worked at Glastonbury festival, and experimental producer Jay Auborn, who is also creative project manager at dBs Music. It’s hoped the album will be completed in March, with a launch gig at St Michael and All Angels church to follow. • Blog: rocknrollangels17.blogspot.

Resonant: James Anderson and Shaun McCrindle PHOTO: Richard Edwards

Bike hangar plan is in limbo as spending deadline nears

Fitness Suite and Well-being Suite Bistro and Bar Shop Hair and Beauty Salon Village Hall Hobby and Games Room IT suite and Library Greenhouse and Landscaped Piazza

Stoke Gifford Retirement Village, Off Coldharbour Lane, Stoke Gifford, Bristol BS16 1EJ

February 2018

space and won’t help many people. Two petitions against the hangars have been sent to the council, while supporters of the idea have written individually to show their backing. The council’s suggestion to site the bike stores in Copse Road has been abandoned after a majority of residents there objected. Several complained that the consultation was inadequate. Now alternative sites are being considered – possibly outside the homes of cyclists who want to use the scheme. Cyclists who want the hangars installed before funding runs out

in March are considering their options, one resident told the Voice. Knowle councillors Chris Davies and Gary Hopkins suggested the hangars be placed near Cleeve Road, at the very top of Arnos park – but officials weren’t keen on this site, which is unlit and off the road. Each hangar takes up the same space as one car. The councillors have circulated a letter setting out the pros and cons, including pointing out that use of the hangars will not be decided by a private club, but will be a council decision. • Letters, page 25

All aboard to help Brunel Dressing up: Making it real on the SS Great Britain IF YOU’VE got spare time and you like dressing up, the SS Great Britain has some unusual opportunities for volunteers. Roles on the great steamship include the chance to dress up in Victorian costume to play the part of Brunel’s assistant. Other tasks – without a costume – include giving help to visitors. You can find out more at two taster days on February 7 from 11am-1pm and March 3, 11am-1pm. • volunteer-taster-days

Get set to retune your television


0117 321 5138

or email

or online at Charges will apply. Details of any costs associated with your home, care and village services will be provided as part of your application. The ExtraCare Charitable Trust, registered charity number 327816, is a company limited by guarantee and registered in England and Wales as company number 2205136. Its registered office is at 7 Harry Weston Road, Binley Business Park, Binley, Coventry, CV3 2SN. Copyright © 2017 - The ExtraCare Charitable Trust

To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664

MANY television viewers in South Bristol will need to retune their digital boxes at the end of the month. Work is being carried out on the Mendip transmitter, which serves the whole of Bristol, resulting in changes to some Freeview channels. Three dates have been set aside for the work, which is required by the watchdog Ofcom to allow changes in bandwidth for future mobile services. The main date for this area is February 27. The others are

February 7 and March 1. Richard McKenzie, operations manager for The Aerial Man said: “We cannot predict what the fallout of this work will be but we can say most Freeview users will have to retune. Some may have to re-position their aerial and an unfortunate few may have to have their aerials replaced.” Further changes may be made to the transmitter late next year. For information about digital changes, visit •


Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

February 2018



n SPECIAL OFFERS First lesson free in Zumba trial A FREE trial exercise class, suitable for young and old, is being offered to Voice readers. Bedminster dance fitness instructor Marie Clifford became a familiar sight on our TV screens last year when one of her classes was featured in a betweenprogrammes ident for BBC1. Now she wants to promote the benefits of Zumba Toning. Just like Zumba, the exercise takes place to music, but using toning sticks – small hand weights you shake to the music. “Maintaining our muscle mass is essential whether you are 19 or 90!” said Marie. Classes are on Thursdays at 10.30am in the United Reformed Church, West Street, Bedminster. They normally cost £5 but as a special offer to Voice readers, Marie will give the first class free to people who turn up with her advert [page 32]. •





A free book for every reader

Prizes and great ideas for your Valentine

Somerset’s most expansive bookstore, Bookbarn, is offering Voice readers a free book when they take along the advertisement below. To set the scene, we asked special reporter James Drury, 10, to visit Bookbarn and tell us what he found. This is his report …

Flowers & Co

AS YOU walk into the Bookbarn, books tower as high as skyscrapers and you smell the wonderful food. The nicest thing I enjoyed was the Paradise Slice. It’s just like a library but you can buy and take the books home! The rows go on forever! If you go you will see that at the end of each row it is in colour order with green spines, blue spines, red spines and so on. There is a plan available to carry with you. There are chairs dotted around to read in. Also there is a big sign-in book that dates back years ago and there is a sign saying ‘We give

Escape into reading: Bookbarn is hoping to tempt more young people to enjoy books with its free offer

a Warm Welcome’ in the window. The Full Stop café has a great selection of food like sandwiches, cakes, quiches and soups for kids and adults. There are lots of seats and tables plus a nice warm fire to snuggle up by. If you are going to chuck away a book, why not give it to Bookbarn? They never throw away a book but recycle it into toilet paper. Another good thing

about the Bookbarn is that it is the perfect cold and wet day out for any age. They are wheelchairfriendly and parking spaces are free. It is located just 30 minutes from Bath, Bristol and Wells. I found a good book about warplanes, boats, tanks and trucks. The best bit is that it shows you inside the vehicles, like the engine and its special features. James Drury

Come and explore...

66 Parson Street, Bedminster BS3 5QG 0117 963 4283 • FLOWERS & Co can create the perfect gift for your Valentine, from a token of love to a grand gesture of romance. Beautifully gift-wrapped bouquets and bespoke gifts are available from as little as £5. There’s lots for you to look at displayed in the shop, including gifts, cards and floral arrangements. Delivery throughout Bristol is available at a set cost of £5 (the minimum order value for delivery is £20). With more than 12 years of floristry experience, Flowers & Co have the creativity and expertise to provide you with perfect flowers for any occasion. As well as providing flowers for weddings, specials occasions and funerals, the firm also caters for

WIN great meals and Valentine’s gifts OUR Valentine’s prizes include a wonderful gift basket from Frankie Loves Ava. Inside are several prosecco-themed gifts, a candle in a lovely teacup, a bath bomb and a voucher for the Cellar Dining Club’s four-course Singletons Valentine Meal – together worth more than £50! Or you could win a meal for two at Desi, further up Wells corporate clients. Just call to discuss your personal gift idea, or send your details via email:

Frankie Loves Ava

152 Wells Road, Totterdown BS4 2AG 07920 886053 • Facebook: Frankielovesava and dinewithi •

Road, where the February 14 couples’ menu costs £30. That includes a bottle of wine, curry, rice and chapati, a trio of snacks and dessert! To enter, just tell us: What day of the week is Valentine’s Day this year? Email entries with your name, address and phone number to paul@, or post to 18 Lilymead Avenue Bristol BS4 2BX by February 9.

lovely four-course meal. If no romance is found, a friendship may be made. The Cellar Supper Club holds regular events. Frankie Loves Ava’s Wedding & Events showroom is now open, where they co-ordinate, style & hire props for any event. As an added bonus they can arrange ‘unique proposals’, just in case you wanted to pop the question! • More Valentines ideas: Page 17


Everything you need for your Valentine

We’ve got

With shelves and shelves of books to keep you occupied for hours, plus a fun children’s area and a delicious cafe, pop in to see us for the perfect day out.


• Cards and gifts


• Delivery available throughout Bristol

lots of unusual gifts for


• Ideas from £5 • Beautiful bouquets



If you’re single & fancy a great night out with amazing food & company, the legendary Dinewithi is cooking 4 courses on February 14. BYO alcohol; call 07970 715691

Unit 1, Hallatrow Business Park, Wells Road, BS39 6EX t: 01761 451 777

Mon-Sat 9am-5pm | Sun 11am-5pm

To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664

Gifts galore from Frankie Loves Ava

FANCY something different this Valentine’s Day? Frankie Loves Ava specialise in quirky gifts and interiors including vintage and upcycled furniture and chalk paint. Also on the premises is the intimate Cellar Supper Club, catered by Tim Owen, otherwise known as dinewithi. Valentine’s Day sees a Singleton’s Supper where singles can engage over a

...a world of marvellous and magical treasures at Bookbarn International.

Bring this advert to claim your FREE BOOK!

29998 BookBarn South Bristol ad.indd 1

February 2018

17/01/2018 10:34

Frankie Loves Ava, 152 Wells Road, BS4 2AG 07920 886053 |

66 Parson Street BS3 5QG 0117 963 4283 You can email queries to

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

February 2018



Wills, Trusts + Probate


When’s the best time to write your Will?

It’s not uncommon for joint homeowners to be unmarried. But that makes it doubly important that you protect your financial interests, as well as those of your partners. It’s a common misconception that your share of the property will automatically pass to your partner if you die. This is because the law of intestacy – or dying without a valid Will in place – doesn’t recognise cohabitation in the same way it recognises marriage.

Your relationship has changed

Your Will is probably the most important legal document you’ll ever own. You’ve had children

Life changes don’t get much bigger than this! Every parent needs a Will, which is why having children is often the driving force behind couples making their first Will or updating an existing one.

Life circumstances alter periodically and relationship changes are commonplace. Have you married, divorced (and remarried) or become a grandparent? If so, you may need to update your Will.

As well as appointing guardians to care for your child should anything happen to both parents, you can also invest money in trust in preparation for adulthood or to make provision for higher education.

As well as adding beneficiaries to your estate, you can also remove people if your relationship with them has ended.

Changes in your assets Throughout our lives our personal wealth can go up as well as down. If the value of your assets or estate

BEDMINSTER 31 North St, Bristol BS3 1EN HORFIELD 374 Gloucester Rd, Bristol BS7 8TP QUEEN SQUARE 49/50 Queen Sq, Bristol BS1 4LW

0117 325 2929

n FEATURES The RSPCA home is now called the Animal Rescue Centre, or ARC

has changed, now is the time to review your Will and ensure that it accurately reflects your final wishes. We can also look at ways in which you can mitigate or avoid future liabilities to tax through trusts and careful estate planning.

Regular check ups It never hurts to review your Will on a regular basis. It’s a living document and will change as you and your individual circumstances do. Your Will is probably the most important legal document you’ll ever own. But without one, the courts will decide how your estate will be distributed and it’s very likely that this won’t be as you intended. Barcan+Kirby has six offices across Bristol and Gloucestershire and a team of solicitors experienced in all areas of Wills, trusts and probate.

NE OF Bristol’s oldest charities has decided on a new identity. The Bristol Dogs and Cats Home is to be renamed Bristol ARC – standing for Animal Rescue Centre. The charity in Albert Road, St Philips, will remain linked to the RSPCA. Its bosses believe the move is necessary because, even though almost every Bristolian has heard of “the Dogs Home”, not enough people know all the charity does or where it is. “People talk about the Dogs Home but that’s only half the story,” Victoria Chester, the chief executive of the newly-named Bristol ARC, told the Voice. Market research showed that a surprising number of people in Bristol didn’t know where the charity was, what it did or who was responsible for running it. The Bristol ARC name is “one distinctive Bristol brand that we hope will help us speak even more clearly for the animals of our city and those who care for them” said Victoria Chester. “We need to stand up and we need to stand out as Bristol’s oldest animal welfare charity.” “Some things won’t change, namely our care for the animals that come to us and our support for animal welfare.” The charity is one of the oldest in the country, founded in 1887 after a Bristol man Edward Parker found a puppy lost in a snowstorm and realised there was

Professional advice, simply stated.


This firm is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority. No: 568743.

To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664


NEW NAME FOR THE DOGS’ HOME Tiny Tim the lurcher arrived at the ARC on Christmas Eve, hence his name. He was in a sorry state, having been found in a shed, but he’s doing well now. He’s pictured with animal care assistants Rachel and Shelley

Bristol’s beloved Dogs’ Home becomes the ARC

CLIFTON 199a Whiteladies Rd, Bristol BS8 2SB KINGSWOOD 111/117 Regent St, Bristol BS15 8LJ THORNBURY 36 High St, Thornbury BS35 2AJ



There’s never an ideal time to write a Will. But changing circumstances mean there’s a natural time for you to start planning for the future. Angela Thomas of Barcan+Kirby’s Wills + probate team looks at some of the life events that might trigger the need for you to make or update your Will. You’ve moved in together

February 2018

Bristol’s Game of Thrones star Maisie Williams and her rescue dog Sonny, who came from ARC

Bristol ARC – the story 1886 Edward T Parker finds a puppy in a Bristol snowstorm. 1887 The Bristol Home for Lost and Starving Dogs opens on Waterloo Street, Clifton. 1901 The home moves to its current site on Albert Road. 1914-1918 During the First World War, the home boarded dogs free of charge for Bristol soldiers. 1920 Cat quarters are built. The clinic offers free treatment. 1939-1945 The home suffers some air raid damage which fortunately was not too extensive. 1954 The home links up with the RSPCA Bristol & District Branch – though it remained autonomous with separate funds. 1988 The biggest extension to date included two new kennel blocks and a new cattery. 1995 A major legacy from Mrs Louise Wall funded the opening of the modern animal clinic. 2014 The exotics unit opens to look after reptiles. 2015 The RSPCA charity shop on East Street in Bedminster opens. 2018 Renamed as Bristol ARC.

nobody who would care for it. The Dogs Home remained independent until 1954, when it linked up with the RSPCA. But even after that it kept its status as a separate charity, and though it works hand in glove with the RSPCA, its still gets no automatic funding from it. The services at the ARC will remain exactly as before. The home has around 20 rescued dogs and about six cats available for rehoming at any time, as well as a department dedicated to rescuing exotic animals. There’s also a small animal section which cares for assorted rabbits, ferrets, mice, rats and budgies. The Albert Road centre also houses the country’s largest RSPCA animal clinic, where people on low incomes can get treatment for their pet. The clinic also cares for strays and for maltreated animals found by RSPCA inspectors, and looks after sick and injured wildlife brought to its doors. • Bristol ARC is distributing a collection of life-sized animal characters around the city for everyone to find. You can see where they are on the ARC website. Take a picture with any that you spot and share it using the hashtag #sayhitobristolarc. •

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email


February 2018


FRIdAy 2Nd - SUNdAy 11Th MARCh 2018

love WheRe you live? Then why not join thousands all across the country and do a community litter pick? It’s a fun way to make new friends and get to know your neighbours.

Get in touch

February 2018


Please keep letters as short as possible, LETTERS and provide your postal address.

City achieved the impossible – well, almost HOW should we define “achieved the impossible”? Peace between Israelis and Palestinians? A cure for HIV? Or maybe to stand opposite the football team where every player is well known to three quarters of the globe, and each one makes more money than you and your 10 teammates together, and altogether labelled the “best team in history”? And then, buoyed by the storm caused by 25,000 fans, beat that team and, as a second-league club, win through to the final? Yes, the last option meets the requirements. What trumps did Bristol City possess in the second leg of the Carabao Cup, when it was clear that the Manchester City billionaires came to trample Bristolians into the ground? Well, they had the 1-2 result of the first leg, which meant a modest 1-0 home win would make them immortal. Secondly, a 12th player ... or rather 25,000 12th players, with their cheering and belief. Third, Bristol City had already done more than the biggest optimist expected, and now they had the possibility of a

victory. In contrast Manchester City must win. Too bad, it was just a dream. The evening before the game I was walking about the then-quiet, almost dead, area of Ashton Gate. But I felt the energy gathering. The energy would give me what I like most in sport – when simpletons beat notables ... Marcin Szuflinski Southville Place, Southville

It’s going to take more than bikes I WISH I shared Jonathan Wright’s optimism (Letters, January) that Bristol’s appalling traffic and pollution problems could be solved by people getting on their bikes. Unfortunately it can’t. Over the 30-plus years I’ve lived in Somerset Road I’ve seen a huge increase in bike use. But the rise in vehicles in the area has outnumbered this many times. Many people use cars because cycling is not an option – because of health problems or fears about traffic’s treatment of cyclists. But most is due to structural changes. Increasing housing costs due to gentrification of areas like ours has led to people being forced to commute greater distances. Many people, mainly women, have more than one child to

Bristol Waste has all the equipment you need for a safe event and you’ll be helping make Bristol a cleaner, greener city. Remember, a litter pick isn’t just for spring… you can borrow kits all year round! PaRt of the GReat BRitiSh SPRinG Clean 0117 304 9022 #BristolCleanStreets To advertise, contact or Ruth on 07590 527664


UST before the schools broke up for Christmas, we received a few reports about poor parking around the Greenwood Road area of Knowle. I’m pleased to say that we have identified some of the people who were parking badly and relevant words of advice have been given. Keep the reports coming and we will patrol the area as much as possible. While on the topic of traffic and road safety, we have had reports about the Bayham Road junction with Sylvia Avenue and

vehicles ignoring the No Entry signs, particularly around school start and finish times. This is a very dangerous thing to do at any time, let alone when parents and children are trying to make their way to and from school. We have an active operation ongoing to help identify the culprits and let this act as a warning, if you are identified you could be issued with a ticket.


s I have mentioned in previous columns, we have had a few problems in the past few months in Redcatch Park with anti-social behaviour (ASB). I’m pleased to say that again, we have identified those responsible and words of advice have been given, alongside warning letters going out. This seems to have had an impact and the number of reports coming in has reduced. Please do contact us

Write to or to 18 Lilymead Avenue, BS4 2BX

deliver to school before work, impossible on a bike, and there are the increasing numbers of community carers who work over a large area. This is in addition to the vast increase in vans and lorries as food and consumer goods come greater distances and more of us order goods online. The only way to move forward is to challenge vehicle use by introducing a congestion charge. The existing car sharing site – who even knew there was one? [see below – Editor] – could be upgraded and advertised, and Park & Ride facilities extended. Firstbus’s near-monopoly could be challenged by encouraging other providers to provide needed extra bus services (and fares might come down). Similarly train providers might see the financial sense in increasing services on existing suburban railway lines. Lorries over a certain size might be banned from the city during the day. And the bike racks - irrelevant really, just 12 spaces in a street with about 200 dwellings – but I’m against them simply because they’re noisy when used wherever they’re sited. Maureen Wright Somerset Road, Knowle • Car sharing:

POLICE REPORT We are looking out for drivers who ignore No Entry signs


Seeking WWI memories FOR the last four or five years I have been writing the history of the people of Brislington and St Anne’s during World War I. It started with the war memorials but somehow the work expanded to include the experience of anyone who lived in or had associations with the two villages during the period from 1914. I am particularly interested in survivors who returned home: many suffered silently from the horror of the war for the rest of their lives, whether disabled, widowed or orphaned. Some inevitably would have moved to other parts of South Bristol. I hope the book will be published before the centenary of the Armistice, November 2018, and that nobody’s story is omitted. (It is very sad to hear after the event “Why didn’t you include Uncle Fred?”) If any readers can help with reminiscences or photos of these former Brislingtonians, I would be so grateful. Please email me, or telephone 0117 909 3907. Doreen P Lindegaard 49 Clayfield Road, Brislington BS4 4NH

With PCSO Richard Higbey Broadbury Road police station and report all incidents of ASB, however minor. It’s only with regular reports that we are able to build an accurate picture of a problem and target our patrols effectively. Our regular beat surgery in the community café in Redcatch park also takes place this month, dates to follow – as always, check our social media sites, notice boards in the park and our website www.avonandsomerset. for more information.


e have received 48 reports from the areas around Broadwalk in the last 28 days and our biggest spike has been incidents classified as theft. This isn’t just shoplifting, but has included theft from motor vehicles or indeed theft of motor vehicle. Here are a few tips to help minimise such incidents:

• Theft from motor vehicle: Park in a well-lit area where possible. Don’t leave property on display, it is best to take everything away with you if practical. Consider an alarm if your vehicle does not already have one. Put the back seats down to show there is nothing in the car worth stealing. • Theft of Motor Vehicle: Try and reduce the ways that offenders can get in to your home to steal car keys. Consider CCTV and security lights. Also, hide your car keys in an unobvious place – avoid putting them next to a front door with easy access letterbox. If you do want any further advice about security, please contact us via the ‘contact us’ section of the Avon and Somerset Police website. Until next time, PCSO Rich Higbey

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email


n PLANNING APPLICATIONS 1 Cotswold Road North BS3 4NL Change of use of joinery workshop to live/work residential unit. Pending consideration 10 Queensdale Crescent BS4 2TN Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear by 3.5m, of maximum height 3.7m with eaves of a maximum height 2.6m. Granted 38 Cotswold Road BS3 4NT Single storey rear extension; rear dormer roof extension and insertion of roof lights to the front elevation in connection with loft conversion. Granted 5 Exmouth Road BS4 1AZ Single storey rear extension. Granted 93 Novers Park Drive BS4 1RH Loft conversion with rear dormer window and hip to roof of gable extension. Withdrawn 13 Timsbury Road BS3 5JQ Ancillary room in rear garden. Refused 70 Camberley Road BS4 1SZ New porch. Pending consideration 30 Paultow Road BS3 4PS Rear dormer roof extension in connection with loft conversion. Granted 9 Willinton Road BS4 1HT Single storey side extension. Granted subject to conditions First floor flat, 46 Arnos Street BS4 3BS Rear roof terrace to first floor flat. Refused

February 2018


28 William Street, Totterdown BS3 4TT Demolition of conservatory and erection of single storey rear extension. Granted subject to conditions 154 Marksbury Road BS3 5LD Retention of single storey building in rear garden. Refused 8 Paultow Avenue BS3 4PR Single storey side and rear extension with external terrace. Rear roof extension. Granted subject to conditions 26 Eldon Terrace BS3 4NZ Details in relation to conditions 2 (Site clearance – slow worms), 7 (Remediation scheme) and 8 (Implementation of approved remediation scheme) of permission 15/03320/F: construction of 2-bedroom house on land to the rear of 26 Eldon Terrace. Conditions 2 and 7 Granted; Condition 8 Refused 74 Bayham Road BS4 2DP Rear dormer roof extension in connection with loft conversion. Granted 25 Andover Road BS4 1AJ First floor rear extension, conversion of dwelling into two 1-bed flats and associated works. Granted subject to conditions 9 Caen Road BS3 4PU Single storey rear extension and adjacent raised decking. Granted subject to conditions 45 Stoneleigh Road BS4 2RH Single storey rear conservatory. Granted subj. to conditions

Knowle, Totterdown, Windmill Hill 11 Wellgarth Walk BS4 2TA Single storey front extension to provide porch. Granted subject to conditions

drawings. Details in relation to condition 2 (SUDS) and 3 (Noise assessment). Pending consideration

Land at Knowle West Baptist Church, Newry Walk Demolition of building and erection of six 3-bedroom dwellings, with landscaping and parking. Granted subject to conditions

18 Ketch Road BS3 5DQ Removal of two-storey rear extension and erection of singlestory rear extension. Pending consideration

34 Merioneth Street BS3 4SL Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear by 3.7m, of maximum height 3.4m with eaves 2.6m high. Refused Arnos Vale Cemetery, Bath Road, Brislington BS4 3EW Various works to trees, including pruning and some removals of small mature trees, to fulfil general management aims and obligations. Granted 66 Kingshill Road, Knowle Park BS4 2SN Single and double height rear extension. Granted subject to conditions 9 Hartcliffe Way BS3 5RQ Erection of front porch and single storey rear extension. Granted subject to conditions 2 Norton Road, Knowle BS4 2HA Part single, part two storey rear extension. Pending consideration Land adjacent to 162 Bath Road, Totterdown BS4 3EF Application to vary condition No. 10 (Approved plans) attached to planning permission 14/06245/F: Construction of two 2-bedroom flats in three storey building – revised

20 Bayham Road BS4 2DY Single storey rear kitchen extension. Pending consideration 68A Queenshill Road BS4 2XQ Proposed first floor side extension to provide additional bedroom. Pending consideration 31 St Martin’s Road BS4 2NQ T1 and T2, mature beech trees: crown reduce by 2m to previous reduction points. Pending consideration 64 Dunkerry Road BS3 4LA Rear flat roof dormer with insertion of roof light in front roof slope. Repairs and rebuilding of rear garden walls. Pending consideration 58 Weymouth Road BS3 5HL First floor extension; ground floor link extension to connect house with converted garage. Pending consideration 8 Paultow Avenue BS3 4PR Rear dormer roof extension and works in connection with loft conversion. Pending consideration • The status of these applications may have changed since we went to press. Check for updates at

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February 2018





There are flowers to be seen even at New Year, says Voice naturalist Alex Morss …


ILD flowers at New Year? Well yes! We found defiant, frosty white chandeliers of blossom swaying above the snow, their styles and stigmas dusted with pollen and fragrant with fresh nectar; while mauves, blues, golds and pinks splashed determined constellations across Victoria Park, Knowle, Arnos Vale cemetery, the Northern Slopes and Bedminster. These dainty sprays were the confirmation that our curious wild flower fanciers had been pursuing. South Bristol, once again, was still blooming, even in the coldest spell of the year. We do this little mission every year, as part of a national event called the New Year Plant Hunt. Each time, we sense that we have found the lost property of summer, dropped from the sun’s pockets. Has their compass been switched, or ours? Have we made too many assumptions in the past, or are flower seasons changing? Some of these wild flowers ae wind-pollinated, so winter with its sharp winds will be a bonus, not a hindrance, to the flower’s business of reproduction. Others are self-fertile and so not reliant on rare visits by winter insects. In recent years, results of this investigation have shown that wild flowers are hardier than we might think, and not so confined to seasonal stereotypes. At least 60 per cent of new year blooms are late stragglers, still running their autumn marathon. Another 10-15 per cent are unusually early spring arrivals - perhaps confused into sprouting by milder spells or soil disturbance. The rest are all-year-rounders. We know this because all our results get sent to the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, where scientists analyse the new year species lists from teams across the UK. This annual hunt is revealing some surprises about seasonal flower times. Teams across the UK together found a total of 532 different wild flower species in bloom this time, which is a whopping chunk of

Still thriving: Hogweed, above, while the Corn Marigold, right, is usually seen in summer PHOTOS: Alex Morss

Our search for winter blooms WHAT WE FOUND Results after a three-hour search of South Bristol: • 35 wild flower species found in bloom; • 20 in Knowle’s waysides & back alleys; • 20 in Victoria Park; • 11 at Arnos Vale cemetery; • 8 on the Northern Slopes. Britain’s total of about 3,000 flowering plant species. Bristol has tended to fare well every midwinter, even after that rare chilly snap and that thrilling spot of snow. We regularly find a rich mix, including some exotics and city aliens. We avoid cherry-picking the best sites, such as wildlife reserves and species-rich grasslands, and go for a slow plod around our neighbourhood, sometimes accompanied by seasonal hangovers and dogs. These fertile corners help give a more realistic, wider viewpoint on the array of urban plants beyond the garden wall than, say, concentrating on local nature reserves. As a boot-powered, roaming urban botanist, I’ve generally found that random nether regions of urban waysides, back alleys, pavement cracks, cemeteries and city parks can offer up a decent number of finds, with the delicious bonus of surprises in these underrecorded quarters. The recent big chill did seem to have put the freeze on a few local species, compared to last

year’s count. We were down to 30 species, compared to 37 in the same locations last year. However our overall count was 35 in total, because we added an extra site, Arnos Vale cemetery. We did find some new ones, and as usual fast growing annuals, long-established aliens from the Mediterranean and others linked to our city’s trading history, garden escapes, ancient arrivals and natives. The rarest find was White Wall Rocket, an annual alien that is known in only a few sites in Britain, but thrives in Victoria Park. It was interesting to spot a stunning golden Corn Marigold, a classic summer flower in the middle of winter! • The 35 wild flower blooms in South Bristol included: Primrose, Ivy-Leaved Toadflax,

Cornsalad, Daisy, False Brome, Adriatic Bellflower, Trailing Bellflower, Wavy Bittercress, Hairy Bittercress, Red Valerian, Guernsey Fleabane, Hazel, Smooth Hawk’s-beard, Cock’sfoot, White Wall-rocket, Mexican Fleabane, Petty Spurge, Hogweed, Hoary Mustard, White Dead-nettle, Red Dead-nettle, Nipplewort, Tree-mallow, Ox-eye Daisy, Annual Mercury, Annual Meadow Grass, Groundsel, Ragwort, Smooth Sow-thistle, Chickweed, Feverfew, Dandelion, Mayweed and Field Speedwell. • Not seen this year: Alexanders, Herb Robert, Shepherd’s Purse, Red Clover, False Oat-grass, Spindle, Ivy, Black Medick, Forget-me-not, Fox-and-cubs, Rough Meadow Grass, Yellow Corydalis, Meadow Buttercup and Lesser Celandine.

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n NEWS Shoppers may find it harder to park outside Wells Road Co-op CHANGES are on the way for parking outside the Co-op on Wells Road, Totterdown. The Co-op takes deliveries from a large HGV every weekday morning. But as cars can park in the store’s parking bay, the lorry sometimes holds up rush-hour

traffic. Last year a Co-op lorry knocked over a brick wall next to the shop while manoeuvring. The bus stop nearby was also damaged – it’s not clear by whom. Now the council says it is considering waiting restrictions in the lay-by. It might mean that

deliveries are allowed, but parking for shoppers is restricted. Consultation will take place when proposals are released in early autumn, along with other changes to bus lanes and double yellow lines on Wells Road. Traders on the opposite side

of Wells Road have objected to a suggestion that the bus lane could be extended, saying it could ruin trade for shops such as Totterdown Canteen. The missing bus shelter next to the Co-op will be replaced by May, the council said.

Wanted – more friendly neighbours KIND-hearted neighbours are being sought from all over South Bristol to help older people get out and about. The St Monica Trust is asking anyone aged 60+ to offer a few hours a month to boost the confidence of pensioners who may not have been out in a while. A spokesperson for the charity’s ACE Neighbours project explained: “In Hartcliffe and Withywood, there are lots of opportunities for older adults to get involved in, but for some

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Each volunteer will be matched with a resident for six months. With a list of possible activities to try, it will be up to the individuals to decide what they’d like to do. The older adults involved are mobile and don’t need physical help, just a confidence boost to get out and about. No experience is needed as full training and support is provided. Transport is not required and volunteer expenses will be paid. Ann, an ACE volunteer, said:

“It was great to feel that I was making a difference to someone’s life. I had great fun, learnt lots of new things, and took part in many activities I wouldn’t have thought of doing.” A volunteer training day is being held on Wednesday February 14. If you’d like a volunteer application pack, or to want to find out more about the role, please contact Catherine on 0117 305 2365 or 07817 632 963 or email catherine.robinson@

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February 2018



February 2018





MARVIN REES Mayor of Bristol

I want this to be an active city with world-class arena events


HIS month I want to look back at 2017’s European City of Sport title, update on some current work and look forward to the year ahead. Our year as European City of Sport may be over, but now we have a great platform to promote the benefits of sport and physical activity and opportunities for everyone to participate. During the summer our Are You Game? campaign saw over 80 sporting organisations offering free taster sessions for more than 200 different activities and sports. Working with Junior Parkrun, we also launched our Bristol 2k challenge, with children collectively running over 2,500 km throughout November. We also set up new artificial cricket wickets in parks, promoted

new Bristol Girls Can ambassadors and saw hundreds sign up to beginners running courses. While many of us do take part in sport and physical activity there are still many who do not and this is proven to have an effect on the health of our city. Thanks to new funding from Sport England we will be taking more steps to engage areas that we know are less likely to be active this year. The new website – – will continue the legacy, helping to make Bristol a city where everyone can be active. During the final cabinet meeting of 2017 I committed to supporting music venues. I tasked cabinet member Cllr Nicola Beech

with introducing the ‘agent of change’ principle to our Local Plan, which guides development in the city. This means that developers have to consider pre-existing businesses, like music venues, in an area before moving forward with a project. Developers would be responsible for installing soundproofing to solve potential issues like noise complaints. I am pleased that the Government will also incorporate the ‘agent of change’ principle into national legislation. I want us all to be able to watch the best performances and events around. From leading bands to world class sport events, Bristol must be a go-to city that’s “on the tour”. This brings me to the arena project. My January cabinet meeting received a progress report confirming the Brabazon hangar at Filton as a possible location. We have to know whether the proposals are value for money. These need to be assessed against alternate locations, alternative uses of the site and the benefit on the wider economy. I am 100 per cent committed to delivering an arena for Bristol and I want to be sure we are fully informed on all the options, at a cost the city can afford. We are therefore pressing ahead with further detailed examination of the two most viable options. Cabinet will receive an update again in April.


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February 2018



n COLUMNS In witch I look at my diet


HAVE lots of Facebook friends: 75 per cent of them I have only met once or twice, and one of those is a vegan warrior. We met on a fabulous night out at the Oxford many years ago, and I instantly liked her. She was beautiful in a way that makes you double take, she was also funny, feisty and sassy. We added each other as friends and I never saw her again. This is where Facebook is brilliant, somehow it has decided that I will be interested in what she has to say and her posts pop up on my news feed. Most of the time it is shocking, she rages about us awful meat eaters and posts horrible videos of the slaughter of pigs and cows that are incredibly hard to watch. Delete her, said one of my friends. I could

Who is the Wicked Witch? She’s the one with the fairtrade, all-natural broomstick


not do it, I like her passionate posts; they make me stop and look at my ham sandwich and wonder what that little piggy had gone through to get between my two pieces of bread? I could not finish it. Evil sneaks onto my Facebook. When questioned why, she says because mine is so much more interesting. Vegan Girl is her favourite of my friends. One Sunday we were all sitting eating a nice roast chicken dinner, apart from Evil, who is now vegan-ish. She was pushing veg around her plate when she suddenly threw back her chair and declared that it was impossible to continue eating

with a bunch of Corpse Munchers. This is one of Vegan Girl’s quotes. I looked at my slice of tasty chicken, properly looked; could I kill a chicken myself? Could I look into those terrified eyes and wring its neck? No, I could not – so how can I eat it? Himself is a fisherman who only keeps what he can eat and hates waste. One day he was out on a boat with his fishing buddy, both of them burly, no-messing men. Himself caught a large ray and hauled into on deck, rather pleased with himself. He baited up and cast out again, glancing towards the ray at his feet. Rays have large eyes with eyelashes. When Himself glanced at it, the ray blinked its long lashes and looked at him imploringly. Himself tried to ignore it as he is a manly man but the ray had cast a spell on him. He ended up lifting that lovely ray and plopping it back into the sea, growling at his incredulous mate.

Down on the Farm News from Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bedminster Indie biz


HE FARM has welcomed two new independent businesses on site, joining Nacoa (the National Association for Children of Alcoholics) in the adventure playground building, and Homegrown, the arts and crafts shop in reception. Mini Potters is a new paint-it-yourself pottery studio for kids, based in the old bike shed. Everyone is invited to the open day on Saturday February 24, and the studio opens for drop-in sessions from Monday February 26. Essential Maintenance is a new holistic beauty therapist based in one of the outside units

of the John James building, facing onto the garden. Rebecca, from Windmill Hill, uses cruelty-free products for her treatments, including nails, waxing, feet and facials and specialises in Hawaiian and Balinese massage. Rebecca is offering a 10% discount to SBV readers – just mention City Farm News. • essentialmaintenancebeauty. • whats-here/mini-potters/

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February 2018

We have a friend who goes pheasant shooting. These are my most favourite birds. Not only are they incredibly stunning but they are very funny. I laugh loudly when I come across one in the lanes by Chew Valley, their crazy run and flappy leap over the hedges is a delight. This friend does not eat them, so quite often I come home to find a brace of dead pheasants on my washing line waiting to be plucked – a very sad sight. But surely they had a great life, and did have a fighting chance before being blasted out of the sky? I am now avoiding eating things I cannot kill myself. And also cow’s milk. Milk is another grocery I buy without a thought. Dairy cows probably have a worse life than beef cows. Constantly having babies and never being allowed to keep them. So I am sitting here sipping a slightly-curdled almond milk coffee and I feel good.


33 From Bristol Animal Rescue Centre

We’re making a bold move with a new identity


N JANUARY 22, RSPCA Bristol and District Branch – which incorporates Bristol Dogs and Cats Home and the RSPCA Bristol Clinic was rebranded to become Bristol Animal Rescue Centre – Bristol ARC for short! This decision came about as a result of extensive on-street research and feedback from supporters. Our new brand symbolises an exciting development for our charity as we aim to help more sick, injured and neglected animals across Bristol than ever before. Bristol ARC has been caring for the city’s pets and wildlife since 1887, helping, healing and homing over 14,000 vulnerable animals each year. We are the longest-standing and largest local animal charity, and although we are proud to be affiliated with the RSPCA, we receive no automatic funding from it. We rely entirely on local support within the

Bristol Cats & Dogs Home is now known as Bristol ARC, or Animal Rescue Centre

community to fund our vital work. To celebrate the launch of Bristol ARC we are rolling-out life-size animal cut-outs across the city – how many can you find? They’ll feature in prominent positions around Bristol – if you spot one be sure to snap a photo and send it to Bristol ARC using

New look: Animal care staff Liam and Kadie show off the new ARC logo the hashtag #sayhitobristolarc. We’ve also got a new website – see below for the address. Here you can find the locations of the

animal cut-outs! Support us by liking and following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. •

groups, with little or no previous experience. It targets Key Stages 1 and 2. 10am-4pm, £95. More info and booking details on the website.

Half time treats Pick your own: the Edible School from the city farm, using online surveys and social media posts. The survey will be online from February 9-15. The farm really wants to know what you think and, by way of incentive, is offering anyone who takes part the chance to win a £20 farm gift voucher. whats-on/events/big-listen/

Edible gardens A ONE-DAY RHS course covering all the basics to get children actively involved in growing their own food will be held at the farm on February 20. The Edible School Garden course is hands-on and suitable for teachers, teaching assistants and volunteers across all age

THERE will be two great outdoors activity opportunities for children during half term. Woodland Tribe is an adventure playground with a difference – the children build it! The team supervises and supports children to use hammers, nails and saws, build dens, be creative with natural materials, and play freely with nature. No need to book – just turn up. For six years and over, all children must be accompanied by an adult. £5 per child for a two hour session (pay at reception on the day). 13 and 14 February, 10am-4pm. Wild Outdoors Club will be running a special spring half term session on 15 February, 10am-12 noon. Join in with cool crafts, fun nature activities and great games. For ages six and over, £10 per child. Book in advance on the farm website.

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Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email

February 2018






NOWLE’S Broadwalk shopping centre is now in line for some major investment. Although it has Gary been managed Hopkins successfully at Lib Dem a local level, Knowle there has been a logjam at ownership level due to disputes between the previous owners and their bank. This has caused considerable frustration, particularly regarding the garage and former library site which is well overdue for redevelopment. Plans for redevelopment here were passed 10 years ago but did not go ahead because of the property crash. The footfall in the shopping centre is good, and it is profitable, but there is a demand for a wider variety of shops. Holland & Barrett got a lot more trade than they expected when they opened recently, and that has led to more interest. The car park has some structural

How to contact your councillor: p2


challenges and needs investment. HAVE been localism apart. The perfect The new owners have put a a councillor illustration of this is that the pre-planning document in to the for Knowle Government decrees that 15 per council. As is par for the course, for more than 14 cent of levies on development the first effort will have to be years. Although, must be given locally. This mayor negotiated down and the one through various tried to ignore that completely by worry is that the present mayor committees and suggesting a city-wide use of the Chris seems to want to accept any kind as Lord Mayor for local money, and eventually Davies of building as long as it has two years, I have settling for lumping Knowle in Lib Dem numbers of units. The owners been able to get with five other wards ranging Knowle will be getting the council response things done, my from Brislington East to about now and Chris and I are overwhelming reason for being Southville and Bedminster to meeting them in February. We a councillor is to work for the share any monies. have also had discussions with community of Knowle. Fortunately councillors from other companies with large When I was first elected in other parties seem to agree with amounts of money to spend. 2003 there was a good chance to us, so, off our own bat, we will be They all recognise the great influence things, and that trying to split the unwieldy views and good local services for improved with the Lib Dems grouping into three groups of two. residents and want to graft on taking over and devolving a We recently had our first residential development while number of decisions to local Knowle Community Meeting preserving the shopping mall and councillors. Councillors working without council support and a bingo hall and converting the with local residents had money to modest turnout of highly offices. They also know that the spend on wellbeing, on green committed residents came along height of the car park gives them grants, and planning-gain money to Redcatch Community Centre a precedent. for local road safety schemes. to discuss solutions to local Chris and I are pushing for Naturally the system did not problems. We plan two further quality with an emphasis on work perfectly but persistence meetings in 2018, one at the retirement homes. This will not generally got the right result. Knowle Park centre in The be a quick process but it is The previous mayor made Square, and one at The Park, important to influence from the things more difficult and the Daventry Road – dates to be Right at Home is oneRight of the most atUK’s Home is one of the UK’s mostadvised. start. We will keep reporting back. present one has smashed trusted care companies. trusted Our carelocal companies. 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T THE most recent meeting of Tresa, the Totterdown residents group, a discussion Jon was had about Wellington air quality in Labour Totterdown and Windmill Hill in particular the volumes of traffic on Wells Road, as well as the high numbers of heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) that use the road to access the city and as a through route from the M32 through the South West and vice versa. I have noted this myself, and I am following up with transport officers to see what data exists on this road and if the problem has got worse in recent years. This is a safety issue as much as a pollution issue, and it might be time that this highly residential road was spared the amount of HGVs that use it to navigate the city. Air quality is very much high on my agenda this year and I have recently been appointed to

Windmill Hill

the council’s new air quality scrutiny group. Bristol, as well as many other UK cities, suffers from poor air quality and local authorities are now required by law to do something about it. Last year a meeting of the full council (ie all councillors) voted to introduce a Clean Air Zone in Bristol, to discourage people from driving the most polluting vehicles into the city centre. This work has progressed and so in 2018 there will be a consultation on how this will work in Bristol before the scheme is scheduled for completion next year. The boundaries of the central city zone are up for discussion and consultation but could include parts of Bedminster and Windmill Hill, and would certainly include the Temple Meads area. By the end of this month, cabinet papers will be published which will have the outline plan for the project. You can access these via the council’s website or drop me a line and I’ll send them through to you.



 How to contact your councillor: p2

HAVE had several emails from constituents concerned about homelessness in Bristol, Lucy especially as the Whittle temperatures Labour drop. Cllr Paul Windmill Hill Smith, cabinet member for housing, has reassured me that we are making some major changes in housing. Here are just a few: The previous administration sold older empty council housing by auction. They said it was too expensive to repair. Labour has repaired many of these and they are being rented out again. We have ended a scheme for larger empty properties to be occupied by ‘property guardian’ companies and are making these empty buildings available to a homeless charity. We have started the largest council house building programme in the city since the 1980s. We have increased the grant

for housing associations to build affordable homes on private developments from £3 million to £57m. We have attracted new funding to provide a Housing First service for rough sleepers with complex needs to ensure that they have intensive support as well as somewhere to live. We are working with churches to provide cold weather shelters in church halls through January, February and March. We have committed £220m to build 800 affordable homes per year by 2020. Homelessness in Bristol has risen 600 per cent since 2012, and housing is a major issue for many people, whether they are renters, owners, trying to buy, are trapped in inadequate housing, or have nowhere at all. Bristol’s Labour council is committed to tackling the housing crisis in our city. If you are homeless and need advice, Bristol Homeless Connect is a website giving help and support: •

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February 2018





The destruction of Bedminster – a mere As the English Civil War tore the nation apart, a prince set fire to Bedminster, destroying what had been a prosperous town


AR IS terrible – but a civil war, where a nation is split and even members of the same family can be on opposing sides, is something worse. Today’s heart-wrenching wars in Syria and Yemen are so awful partly because even when or if one side “wins”, the conflict will not be over. Beliefs and desires don’t change at the point of a gun, and once a nation fractures into mass violence, the impact will be felt for generations. Consider then the effect on our own city of the English Civil War, actually a series of wars which tore the country apart from 1638 to 1660. It’s well known that Bristol was subject to not one, but two sieges as it passed first into the hands of the Royalists (the Cavaliers) supporting King Charles I, and then to the Parliamentarians, or Roundheads, under Oliver Cromwell. But talk of sieges won and lost, and the battle moving on to other towns, doesn’t do justice to the terrific impact of the wars on the people of Bristol, and its pivotal role in the conflict. Perhaps nothing can bring home the enormity of what happened than the mention of a mere footnote in the Civil War: the destruction of Bedminster. What was then an important town in its own right was razed to the ground. Look for a monument to this tragic event and you won’t find one. Yet this sideline in the big story was an event from which Bedminster took two centuries to recover.


he English Civil War was not one war, but three. It took place in all the nations of what is now the United

Kingdom. It was in many ways, a conflict about religion: it began with the refusal of Scotland to accept the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer. When a Scottish army defeated the king twice, and invaded northern England, Charles was forced to ask the Houses of Parliament for taxes to fund a bigger army. This exposed several more faultlines. England had become a Protestant nation, rejecting the authority of the Pope in Rome more than 100 years before, in 1534. A nationwide Church of England gave the king great influence, but Charles was suspected of papist sympathies – he had married a Catholic, for one thing. The Scots were not at all fond of the powerful and wealthy English bishops. And in Ireland, then part of the kingdom, a largely Catholic population was ruled by a mainly Protestant aristocracy. Soon the fires of rebellion were lit there too, and Charles could not agree terms with his Parliament on how to fund and control the army to be sent to Ireland. In 1642 both king and Parliament raised armies against each other, and the civil war began in earnest.


he conflict was about more than religion, though. It was about control of land, and taxes, and the rights of MPs; it was also about the sharing of resources, in a nation where gold from the New World was beginning to devalue the currency, and the prospect of ever more wealth flowing into ports like Bristol prompted questions about who really owned the nation, and whether a king really was put in place by God. The King enjoyed support in many rural areas, including the West and the North of England. He had no control over London or the wealthy South-East. But in major centres such as Bristol it was not clear where loyalty lay. Often, landowners and aristocrats backed the king. Those who wanted religious or political freedom – and some merchants who wanted the freedom to trade – plumped for Parliament. The Royalists in the West, under Sir Ralph Hopton of

February 2018





 footnote in the tragedy of the Civil War

entrance to Royalist troops. Months later a parliamentary leader, Sir Alexander Popham, sent 500 cavalry to billet in Bristol. But they got no further than Bedminster, where the city council ordered the militia to keep them at bay with muskets. In December 1642, after a two-day debate by the council, Newgate was opened to allow in two regiments of Roundhead infantry. There must have been many in the city who wanted to carry on their commerce; but increasingly all trade was benefiting one side or the other. Bristol had already sent ships full of provisions to the royal forces in Ireland. It was going to be impossible to remain neutral. A Royalist plot to open the gates to Prince Rupert was betrayed in March. A battle was looming.

Condemned: Nathaniel Fiennes was judged to have surrendered Bristol to the Royalists too easily and was sentenced to death, but he was later reprieved Witham Priory in Somerset, could raise few troops in the county, and so started their efforts in Cornwall. A steady tide of victories ended in a rout of Parliamentary forces near Bath in early July 1643; by the end of the month they were at the gates of Bristol. The arrival of Prince Rupert on the Royalist side, nephew to the king and a dashing cavalryman, was said to be worth half a battle in itself. Bristol, however, was the nation’s second city, its most important port, and was very expensively defended. Its governor, Colonel Nathaniel Fiennes, was afterwards to complain that he spent £1,000 a week (£2.5 million in labour costs today) on earthworks and fortifications around the city. The city was at several disadvantages, apart from the 15,000 troops Prince Rupert brought with him. Its defenders were only 1,800 strong, weakened by the loss of troops to other battles. The city’s leaders had pleaded not to be occupied by troops on either side. At first they were successful: in July 1642 the mayor, John Lock, refused


rince Rupert attacked the city’s defences head on, and with great loss. Ramparts had been dug all the way round the city, from Temple Gate (Temple Meads) north to Lawford’s Gate at Old Market, north west to Prior’s Hill Fort near Stokes Croft, and a line of forts across what is now Cotham, over St Michael’s Hill, to Brandon Hill and the River Avon. Fiennes may have lacked troops but he had the cannons and gunpowder he needed; and Bristol Castle was said at the time to be so strong it could resist attack for months. Cornish troops attacking the city walls at Redcliffe from the south suffered big losses; to the north the royalists were cut down in even greater numbers as they attacked the forts. The historian Clarendon said of the Royalist casualties: “Yet the king might very well have said what king Pyrrhus did: ‘If we win another at the price, we are utterly undone.’ And truly his majesty’s loss before this town is inestimable, and very hard to be repaired. I am persuaded there were slain, upon the several assaults, of common men about five hundred, and abundance of excellent officers.” Troops who led such an attack, trying to scale defences with ladders, were almost certain to die. To coax them into suicide, the “laddermen” were offered bounties: five or ten shillings,

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Mistress Hazard rallies the defenders at Frome Gate. A 1918 painting by Gerald Moira worth up to £2,000 in today’s purchasing power. Prince Rupert rallied his attackers. Near the northern ramparts, his horse was shot in the eye; he just got on another horse. The attacks continued, with hundreds of Royalist casualties. But one section of ramparts near Brandon Hill had poor foundations. The attackers managed to level it and gain entry; once inside they held the defenders at bay with fire pikes, great poles kept ablaze with tar to act like a primitive flamethrower. Some of the outer forts fell, but Fiennes was still in a strong position. A band of women converged on the inner Frome Gate and piled woolsacks and earth inside, telling the gunners “that if they would stand out and

fight, they would stand by them, and told them they should not want for provision.” These were the words of Mistress Dorothy Hazard, an outspoken Baptist and wife of a Puritan vicar. But Fiennes was an ineffectual leader, said to be given too much to prayer. He despaired of holding the city and surrendered on condition that his defenders could leave the city unharmed. This promise was kept by the victorious Rupert. But perhaps enraged by the loss of so many comrades, the attackers forgot their vow not to plunder the city. Bristol contained valuable ships, munitions and enough skilled workers to equip the entire Royalist army with new muskets. It was a valuable prize: but the cost to its citizens was

© Bristol Museums

uncounted. Many Parliamentary sympathisers were turned from their homes, forced to provide “mutton and veal and chickens, with wine and tobacco each meal” for the Cavaliers, who slept in Puritans’ beds and filled their homes with “blasphemous, filthy and wicked language,” according to one aggrieved citizen. Fiennes was court-martialled by his own side, and sentenced to death for his supposed neglect, but was reprieved. Historians have mostly judged he could not have held the city for long.


ristol was a beacon of prosperity, at least for some. Fortunes were made from trade and shipping, including the heinous (and centuries-old) transport of slaves.

Both sides in the war squeezed whatever they could from this wealth. Since the 1620s, Charles had imposed a ship tax on coastal towns to pay for the navy. In 1634, Bristol was billed £2,166 (equal to £97m today). But the king found the town was ever less willing to pay, and the tax harder to collect. The next year, Bristol was taxed £1,200; two years later just £800. If people refused to pay, their goods could be seized and sold, but by 1639 no-one would buy the seized goods, and the tax was enforceable. It was one precursor of the country sliding into conflict. More unrest was caused by Charles’s manipulation of monopolies. In 1631 the king gave the sole right to soap manufacture to a company in London. Several long-established Bristol soap makers faced ruin. They won the right to make 600 tons of soap a year, but Charles taxed them at £4 a ton. Later the king disputed the amount of soap made in Bristol, and summoned the soap makers to London – a long and expensive journey – where he fined them £20,000. Some Bristol traders made money from monopolies. One won royal approval to export 120,000 calf skins a year. Others paid a tax to be allowed a share in the export of Welsh butter, putting several Welsh traders out of business. It was said that most wealthy Bristol traders sided with the King, while the smaller ones backed the Parliamentarians. Once he had gained control of the city for the king, Prince Rupert spent more fortunes on shoring up Bristol’s defences. The Great Fort on St Michael’s Hill was rebuilt as the Royal Fort. This was the headquarters of the royal Western Army, an almost impregnable five-sided bastion stocked with supplies to last 150 men almost a year. The prince was determined to do better than Fiennes and not surrender the city too easily.But two years after the storming of Bristol, history was to repeat itself – this time with disastrous consequences for Bedminster.


t’s little appreciated now that Bedminster predates the city of Bristol. East Street and West Street were an ancient Continued overleaf

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February 2018



n HISTORY Continued from page 37 route to a river crossing, certainly in Roman times, but possibly in the Iron Age too. Its name may come from beydd, the ancient British word for baptisms, which were carried out in the River Malago. Bedminster was a royal manor with 55 inhabitants at the time of the Domesday Book in 1086; in about 1130 it passed to the family who became the barons of Berkeley. The Berkeleys had a famous castle on the Severn but they are said to have preferred their manor house in Bedminster. They remained lords of the manor until it was sold to the Smyth family in 1604, who founded the Ashton Court estate. The town was small but prosperous. When assessed for ship tax in 1630, Bedminster’s bill was £47 – equal to an economic power of £2.4m today, and on a par with the towns of Glastonbury and Frome. Over time, Bristol began to overshadow Bedminster, but North Street became an important route leading from

Bristol to the West. Bedminster was still an important centre, though. Its ancient church of St John the Baptist (to be destroyed in the Blitz in World War II) dated from at least as far back as the year 1003, in the reign of King Ethelred, but there had probably been older churches there before this. In a clear sign of Bedminster’s importance, St John’s was the mother to chapels at Bishopsworth, Knowle and St Mary Redcliffe – which was also then in Somerset, being on the same side of the river as Bedminster, at least until the New Cut was opened in 1809. St Mary Redcliffe was still officially a chapel-of-ease to St John’s until 1852. (A chapel-ofease was a church built to be easier for people to get to – usually when new areas were opened up for housing.) After its conquest by Prince Rupert, Bristol was a relatively peaceful place for two years. As a vital port and naval base, it was well-defended. And though there were plenty of citizens who


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backed the Parliamentary cause, they were unable to sway events. In March of 1645 King Charles’s son the Prince of Wales, also called Charles, made Bristol his base. This was partly to give the future ruler, then aged 14, some experience of command (though it’s unlikely he was in charge of much); and partly to lessen the risk of the prince and the king (whose base was Oxford) being captured at the same time. The prince lodged at the Great House, in theory the grandest house in the city. On the site of where the Colston Hall is now, it had been built by a very wealthy merchant, John Young. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth I for the lavish entertainment he gave her in the house when she visited Bristol in 1574. By the time of the Civil War, though, the Great House was rather run-down, and when Queen Henrietta, Charles I’s wife, stayed there in 1644, there were not enough beds, and several were borrowed from the Red Lion Inn. When the Prince of Wales arrived in 1645, the house was in a better state, but five city councillors had to lend beds and bedding, and the council itself gave a pewter dinner service worth £19 (about £3,000 today). Within days of the prince’s arrival, however, a Parliamentary plot to betray the city was discovered. Two conspirators fled the city. Then, as the summer began, a new evil entered Bristol: the plague. The prince fled almost immediately: his father

advised him to lodge with Sir Hugh Smyth at Ashton Court, but it seems he went instead to Barnstaple in Devon. The Royalist cause was in decline. Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army scored a decisive victory at Naseby in Northamptonshire on June 14. The king retreated into Wales and Prince Rupert to Bristol, which seemed ripe for an attack by the Parliamentarians. Charles and Rupert met at Chepstow, after which the prince promised his king that he would defend Bristol for at least four months. His situation looked sound: he had 5,000 soldiers, many more than Fiennes had had two years before. The new Royal Fort was state-of-the-art, and there were arms and provisions to last months. The plague, however, raged on. It was killing about 100 people a week in the denselypacked city. The disease was rampant in nearby villages, and probably in Bedminster too. Rupert’s position remained strong. But it was his very strength in numbers that led the Parliamentarians to decide on attack. Leaving Rupert and his cavalry unattended would mean he was free to gather an army in the Midlands, and revive the Royalist cause. A successful attack on Bristol, however, would deprive the king of his only port, and the source of most of his armaments. Its loss could well be fatal to the Royalist cause. And so it was to prove.



NE OF the last gigs scheduled for lamented post-punk provocateur Mark E Smith was in Bedminster’s Fiddlers Club last November. And when he failed to take the stage – laid low by illness which sadly claimed his life on January 24 – he compared his misadventure to the ignominious exit of Prince Rupert from Bristol in 1645. Smith, lead singer of The Fall since 1976, and famous for a life of drinking and drugs, was ill for much of 2017 and had to cancel a sold-out gig at Fiddlers last May. The concert was rescheduled for November 29, and fans packed the venue until the start time of 10pm – only to hear that Smith was too ill to leave his Bristol hotel room. Smith was a history buff who once wove King William of

Failed in Bedminster: Prince Rupert, left, and Mark E Smith Orange into a song, so perhaps it was little surprise when in a statement the next day, the singer said: “As I, like Prince Rupert leave Bristol with my tail between my legs, I wish to give my great apologies to everybody.” He admitted he’d been advised not to attempt the gig. Unlike Prince Rupert, he didn’t burn Bedminster to the ground; though he did, by all accounts, often leave havoc in his wake.

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February 2018


St John the Baptist church, Bedminster: This is the ‘old’ church, the one built in 1663 to replace the building ruined by fire in 1645. A church stood here, off East Street, from at least 1003, until the Victorian incarnation (built 1855) was destroyed in the Blitz of 1940. Little remains, and the churchyard is now a park


he Parliamentarians gathered 2,000 horsemen and approached from Somerset. They secured the Chew Valley, and surprised a royalist trumpeter, who admitted he hadn’t expected enemy troops to be any nearer than Sherborne. Colonel Walden marched to the top of “pile-hill” – Totterdown, to us, or Pylle Hill – where they were within a musket shot of the city. Rupert was soon sent into alarm. Several rich men in the city asked to be allowed to pass through the enemy and escape by sea, but the Parliamentarians refused – the hope being that if they remained in the city, they might urge a quick surrender. Now, as recorded by a Puritan preacher, Joshua Sprigge, came the historical footnote which condemned Bedminster. “Upon this approach of ours, the enemy fired Bedminster on the Somersetshire side, and burnt it down to the ground, as also divers houses on the Gloucestersire side.” In fact, Rupert had been sent so far into a panic that he razed Bedminster entirely, to deny this important town as a base to the enemy. He went further and fired many houses in the Temple Street area of the city, and the then village of Clifton too. He would have destroyed Stapleton, Hanham and Keynsham too, but the Parliamentary troops beat the Royalists off, and made Keynsham their headquarters on


August 21. The next day the Parliamentarians advanced through the ruins of Bedminster. No record was made of the plight of the townspeople, but there can have been little left standing, given that even the ancient church was destroyed. Rupert began a series of sorties with his cavalry, and fired cannon from the Royal Fort. His third attack was on the ruins of Bedminster, defended by Colonel Welden’s brigade. “Through the negligence of the officers that then had the command there, they took ten and killed as many,” reported Joshua Sprigge in his memoir. But it made little difference: by August 28, Rupert was still making no impression on the attackers. He sent out the 10 men captured in Bedminster, proposing a prisoner exchange, but was rebuffed – the Parliamentarians had just learned that the king’s forces had plundered Huntingdon and treated the inhabitants cruelly. Instead, the Parliamentary commander, Thomas Fairfax, invited the city to surrender, offering safe quarter to the citizens. The Civil War was often so hard-fought that even those who stopped fighting were not safe – even women and children were slaughtered on occasions. Fairfax, however, was one of the more humane commanders. But Rupert refused to surrender. A small fort at Portshead (Portishead) was captured, allowing the Parliamentarians to blockade the city by sea. The siege continued until September 10 when Fairfax mounted an all-out assault. Several forts were overrun and by dawn the Parliamentarians were at the inner defences. Rupert retreated to the castle, but many of his troops were cut off in the outer forts. Those in Prior’s Hill Fort refused to surrender – and when the fort was overrun they were all slaughtered. Rupert was in a desperate situation. The city was on fire in several places, and the well in the castle had been damaged, meaning there was no drinking water to sustain a siege. He pleaded to surrender. Fairfax agreed – but, in order to save lives, he demanded that Rupert put out the fires first. Even after such a desperate battle, Rupert and his troops were allowed to march out of the city, just as Fiennes had been





HE DEFENCE of Bristol was an almost impossible task. In the 17th century, artillery had been developed which left medieval fortifications of little use. Bristol Castle was strong and could withstand a siege, but the small city centre was in a dip, surrounded by hills from which the new cannon could bombard it. For this reason a new outer rampart was built, from Lawford’s Gate at Old Market to Stoke’s Croft, St Michael’s Hill, Brandon Hill and south to the river. It was studded with forts, but the perimeter was long – four miles – and demanded thousands

of men to defend it. Worse, the forts did not provide covering fire along the whole rampart – a fact discovered by the Royalist attackers in 1643, who found a blind spot between Brandon Hill and St Michael’s Hill, where they managed (with great loss of life) to pull down the earthwork, and enter the city somewhere near Park Street. The Royalists faced the same problem when they found themselves under siege in 1645 – they did not have the numbers to defend the four-mile line, even though the Royal Fort they had built atop St Michael’s Hill was to the latest design and almost impregnable.


Royal Fort

College Green

Queen Square

Temple Gate

Line of defence: To prevent the city being bombarded from the hills around it, a four-mile wall was built, studded with forts and cannon permitted to do in 1643. Rupert was even allowed some muskets, because it was feared that bands of clubmen – countrymen who were eager to keep soldiers away from their homes – would otherwise attack them. It was the end of the war for Bristol – but at what a cost. The conquerors entered to find a city ruined not just by war damage but by the effects of disease and poverty and the repeated appeals for taxes from both sides. One observer wrote: “It looked more like a prison than a

city, and the people more like prisoners than citizens; being brought so low with taxations, so poor in habits, and so dejected in countenance; the streets so noisome, and the houses so nasty as they were unfit to receive friends till they were cleansed.” The suffering was so great that the House of Commons ordered on September 17 that there should be a day of thanksgiving for the taking of Bristol, and a collection in the capital for the benefit of injured Continued overleaf

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soldiers and the “many distressed and plundered people of Bristol and the places adjacent”. This last category certainly included the people of Bedminster, who were left homeless and destitute by the desperate actions of Prince Rupert. The prince himself was banished from England by King Charles – not for his cruelty but for giving up the city so easily. For the king it was the beginning of the end; as the Parliamentarians hoped, he could not survive without Bristol to sustain his regime. He was captured the next year; and after escaping, and being defeated again, he was executed in 1649. Cromwell emerged as more of a dictator than a democrat,

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Horribly abused: James Nayler was beaten, branded and had a hot iron bored through his tongue – one officer who heard him said, “I was struck with more terror by the preaching of James Nayler than I was at the battle of Dunbar.” He had a magnetic attraction, and he began to attract followers who saw something divine in him. Nayler could have shrugged off any attempt at adulation. But perhaps he believed that God was speaking through him, because on October 24, 1856, Nayler rode on a horse through Bedminster into Bristol, with two women leading and followers chanting “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Israel”. He headed for the White Hart in Broad Street, a Quaker-owned inn. The mayor of Bristol asked him: “Art thou the Christ?” Nayler replied using Christ’s words: “Thou sayest it.” This made it easy for his opponents: he wasn’t just preaching dangerous political ideas, but he was comparing himself to Jesus when he rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. This

was blasphemy, and could be punished by death. Nayler was arrested, and sent to London to be tried by Parliament itself – a mark of how dangerous a leader he was seen to be. The MPs debated for more than four weeks, and proclaimed him guilty of a “horrid blasphemy”. He was spared the death penalty, but his sentence was of a unique cruelty: he was to be locked in a pillory to be abused by the public for two hours, then whipped through the streets. Two days later he was pilloried again, and had his tongue – the supposed source of his blasphemy – pierced with a hot iron, and the letter B for Blasphemer branded on his forehead. Then he was taken to Bristol and whipped through the streets, before being taken back to London for imprisonment with hard labour. To his admirers, these cruelties made comparisons with Christ even more obvious – Jesus was

The Great House: A royal lodging that stood where Colston Hall is

Bristol’s suffering was not over. It had lost perhaps 3,000 of its 13,000 population to the plague. There are no figures for Bedminster but the suffering here must have been even greater. This once-important Somerset town never regained its equality with Frome or Glastonbury. Over a century later the Methodist preacher John Wesley visited, and found a town sprawling and decaying, where orchards were tended between signs of new industry such as brickworks and rope-walks. These were the first beginnings of Bedminster’s revival – not as a market town but a mining town during the 18th and 19th centuries. Would

though he had to work with a rebellious Parliament. When he died, the nation could not stomach more uncertainty, and perhaps as the lesser of two evils, in 1660 the nation welcomed back a king, Charles II, the former Prince of Wales who had stayed in Bristol.

Cronus Cyclops

driven through the streets of Damon and Pythias Jerusalem carrying his own cross Demeter while wearing a crown of thorns. Cromwell was appalled. HeDoris did not want to suppress the Quakers: Electra he knew many of his army wanted Erato religious freedom. Cromwell asked whether the MPs had the rightErebus to act as judge and jury, but they Eris refused to back down. Nayler was Eros punished as Parliament wanted, and was left a physical wreck. Euryale Cromwell attempted to atone Gaea for the MPs’ cruelty: he gave help to Nayler’s wife and offered to Gaia send Nayler a doctor, but he refused. Ge Nayler was released shortly Across after Cromwell’s death in Harpy September 1859, and to 1 returned 274842Hector (6) Bristol, where he confessed to his 5 28746 (5) offence. He died the next year.Helen Though many Quakers Hermes 6 3824reviled (4) Nayler for his “heresy”, he was Hestia 7469 (4) admired by many for8 his purity of mind and his indifference to his Hyades 9 7638 (4) own suffering. His writings were Hydra read for more than two centuries. Icarus Down Ichor the character of the1 area have 22636 (5) been different today if its Io 82244763 (8) medieval status as 2a prosperous Jason rural centre had survived the (7) 3 2872867 Civil War? We’ll never know.Leda 4 4266 (4) Sources: Lethe Civil War: The Wars of the Three 7 767 (3) Kingdoms 1638-1660 TrevorMaenad Royle, Abacus, 2004 Medea England’s Fortress: New Medusa Perspectives on Thomas, 3rd Lord Fairfax Andrew Hopper, Routldege, 2014 Memoirs Historical and Topographical of Bristol and Its Neighbourhood, Volume 2 Rev Samuel Sayer, 1823 Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 40: Nayler, James By Alexander Gordon

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ONG after the fighting was over, Bristol was to be a stage for the conflict and cruelty which still divided the nation. The city was home to a number of Quakers, whose ideas about the equality of men were awkward for the victorious Cromwell. Cromwell had supposedly led a fight for democracy – giving power to elected representatives of the people, instead of a king who had been chosen by no one. But now Cromwell had won, he was behaving like a king, arguing with the decisions taken by Parliament and complaining that his aides hadn’t fixed the elections. His desire for the powers of a monarch was exposed by the entry into Bristol of James Nayler in 1656. Nayler was a Yorkshireman who had become one of the leading lights of the Quakers. He preached against the slave trade – then a profitable business for Bristol. Slavery did not just affect Africans – Bristol also exported Irish and Scottish men taken prisoner in the Civil War into forced servitude in the West Indies. (Many were sold for fixed periods, not for life, as Africans were, but they still died in their hundreds). Nayler voiced what many were thinking in the latter days of Cromwell’s rule. If God had allowed the overthrow of King Charles and the installation of a more Godly government, where were the benefits for ordinary people? When Nayler preached about “covetous cruel oppressors who grind the faces of the poor”, many agreed. He was very persuasive


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February 2018

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February 2018

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The punk poet develops a tender side after 37 years REVIEW Attila the Stockbroker, supported by Clayton Blizzard, The Thunderbolt, Totterdown


LAYTON Blizzard started his set standing on a chair in the middle of the crowd, with a sung and spoken piece (songpoem?) that was rousing and uplifting. He continued with a sweet, funny reading out loud of homework about his exciting weekend at the Harbour Festival, told in the voice of a seven-yearold. He followed this with poems about gentrification and some excellent ukulele playing. What does this tell us? He is an eclectic, thoughtful, esoteric (his word), provocative and funny performer who is well worth watching. Attila the Stockbroker is 60 years old. All in black, with DMs and hoody, he’s been a punk poet for 37 years, and you can tell he’s West of England for 12 years. Soul, Motown, disco and funk hits. 7.30pm, £10. • n Go, Go Children 10th Birthday All-Nighter Fiddlers Club, Willway Street, Bedminster. With guest DJs Andy Dyson, Bald Mark, Eddie Wainwright, George Mahood, Matt Sneath, Sean Haydon. 9pm6am, £12 advance. • Sunday February 4 n Jukes Tobacco Factory bar. Percussionist, drummer, singer and songwriter Tammy Payne performs as Jukes, delivering “a collection of smartly-written original songs each finding its own artful voice with the lounging shades of classic pop”. 8-10.30pm. • Monday February 5 n Life drawing Tobacco Factory snug bar. Life drawing class meets on the first ands third Monday of the month. Entry £5, £4 concessions. 8-10pm. • n Freestyle Adult Dance Creative Workspace, Queen’s Road, Withywood BS13 8LF. Get expressive, get moving, feel




n WHAT’S ON Friday February 2 n Family Karaoke Night Zion, Bishopsworth Road, Bristol. Requests taken, plus games, quizzes and prizes. Bar and cafe open all night. Kids enter free, adults £3, 6-10pm. • n Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip SouthBank Club, Dean Lane, Southville. Music, performance art and surreal hilarity from Mik Artistik’s Ego Trip, billed as “a strange and beautiful beast of a band … with lashings of power chords, funkiness, and chaos”. Tickets £14 advance, £16 on the door. 8pm. • n Terry and Gerry The Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. John Peel seized on Birmingham cult skiffle cowpunk band Terry and Gerry, at first because they were the names of wife’s best friends. The band’s six singles and one album all topped the indie charts. 7.30-11.30pm, £10 on the door. • Saturday February 3 n Children’s cycling Bristol Family Cycling Centre in Bamfield, Hengrove, starts a course of six cycling skills sessions for riders aged 7-12. Cost £30/£15. Led by British Cycling coaches, they are a great way to improve bike skills. • n Steve Turner Saltcellar Folk Club, Totterdown Baptist church, Wells Road. Folk singer who accompanies himself on English concertina, cittern, mandolin and banjo. £5, £3 for floorsingers. • saltcellar n Motown & Soul with Soulside & 60s Disco the Tunnels, Temple Meads. Soulside are a 10-piece band with three vocalists, rhythm section and a horn section, who have performed all over the South

February 2018

Attila the Stockbroker: Still shouting, but not all the time lived a life. He’s stridently intelligent, in-your-face, passionate – and not just about modern politics. His love song to his wife Robina brings a tear to his eye while he sings and plays the better! No difficult routines to learn, work at your own level and pace. No experience necessary. Doors from 6pm. £1 per session – every Monday. Free parking. • Wednesday February 7 n Disabled archery Park Centre, Daventry Road, Knowle. Open and friendly group, meets fortnightly on Wednesdays 1.30-3pm. Free. Part of WECIL’s (West of England Centre for Inclusive Living) peer support community. Also on February 21, March 7 and 21, April 4 and 18, May 2, 16 and 30. • Thursday February 8 n Twin Arrow The Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. Formed in North Devon but now based in Bristol, this four-piece alternative rock band “fuse melodic guitar lines and multi-textured synths with infectious grooves”. 7.3011.30pm, £4. • Friday February 9 n The Underfall Yard Knowle and Totterdown Local History Society. Steve Hallam talks about

mandola – representing his passion for early music and instruments, which his band Barnstormer play, singing songs of the English Civil War from 1649. The only other Robina he knows was the sister of Oliver Cromwell, he explains in another poem. It all comes full circle. Another poem that brings a tear to his eye is his opener, written in the time between his diagnosis of bladder cancer last year and when his treatment started. It’s tender, fragile and full of life. Men, get yourself checked is his important, earnest message. Other highlights include his shouty funny poem about scary lefties (which the whole audience can buy into, it seems), the song about the time he stood in for Donny Osmond, and the song where he got the whole audience singing along with Prince Harry’s knob. Add to this a Dolly Parton cover (Arlene, Arlene…), excerpts from his autobiography, a heartfelt appreciation of independent venues like The Thunderbolt, and a moving, angry poem about Grenfell, and it’s clear there’s plenty more life in the old punk yet. Beccy Golding the famous Bristol boatyard’s history and recent developments. 7.30pm, Redcatch community centre, Redcatch Road, Knowle. £1.50 members, £3 nonmembers. • knowleandtotterdownhistory. n Cabbage + Rhythm Method Fiddlers Club, Willway Street, Bedminster. Manchester indie band Cabbage, formed in 2015, have been hailed as one of the best live acts currently touring. 7.30pm, £14.30. • n Shonky Trio El Rincon, North Street, Southville. Described as “ramshackle class”, featuring Mojo The Bone on bass & replica trombone, Jose The Boogieman on guitar, and Gruff Two Hands on drums. • Saturday February 10 n Reflex II music night with Craig Windmill Hill community centre, Vivian Street. Second Saturday each month, 8pm-late. • n Sinestar – Album launch The Tunnels, Temple Meads. Bristol band Sinestar hold a launch launch party for their third album, A Million Like Us.

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Support from Dancing With Ruby and Fourth Engine. Host for the evening is electronic music scene legend DJ Dave Charles. 7.30pm, £10. • Saturday 10 February n Stand Up For The Weekend with Darren Harriott & Co Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken, North Street, Southville. Darren Harriott’s comedy deals with everything from subverting stereotypes, to everyday observations, to that juiciest of topics, religion. As seen on Live at the Apollo. Plus guests. £11, 7.45pm. • n DO YOU WANT YOUR EVENT TO STAND OUT? We try to print as many listings as possible for free, and we’ll continue to do so. But if you want to ensure your event is included and gets attention, we will print it with a colour background like this for just £5. Find out more by emailing sales@ Sunday February 11 n Sunday market Tobacco Factory, North Street. Around 40 craft and food stalls with the accent on local producers, ethical, eco-friendly and fairly traded products. 10am-2.30pm. • tobaccofactorymarket Monday February 12 n Kev’s Comic Masterclass Zion, Bishopworth Road. Kev F Sutherland writes and draws for the Beano, Doctor Who and Marvel comics, and wants to show you how easy it is. All those attending will get a comic containing a strip by everyone in the class plus an individual caricature by Kev F. 10am-1pm, £10. • n Screening and Crafternoon Creative Workspace, Queen’s Road, Withywood BS13 8LF. Watch an uplifting family film in the morning (PG, suitable for 4+) then craft hot-air balloons with Colourful Minds in the afternoon. Doors 10.30am. Film 11-12.30. Craft 1-3pm. £2 per child for both activities. Cafe open 10.30-3pm. • Tuesday February 13 n Lego Days Zion, Bishopsworth Road. A morning of brick-building fun. Lego supplied, with Duplo for the little

Macbeth, a tragedy for our times February 22-April 7 Macbeth, Tobacco Factory theatre SHAKESPEARE’S blood-soaked tragedy is interpreted as a message to the world of today: “a world in which politicians lie to our faces but no one can plaster over the truth that the planet is threatening to turn on us”. Macbeth is the first play to be performed by the newly-recruited Tobacco Factory Company, the theatre’s in-house players who will perform at least two major productions each year. Macbeth is the story of a man who kill his king to win power. But Shakespeare’s achievement is to show Macbeth confronting he horror of his own actions, presenting murder as a sin so deep that it puts him at odds with nature – and truth. ones. £2 per child, 10am. Also on February 14. • n Jump into … puppet making Knowle West Media Centre, Leinster Avenue, Knowle. Learn how to create a puppet and then make a short puppet film. Free, for ages 10-16, 10am-4pm. • n Valentine’s Creativity Day Creative Workspace, Queen’s Road, Withywood BS13 8LF. Make a cartoon with a professional animator, make cards, decorate gifts and make music with Dandelion Music. 11-3pm. Free entry. Donations welcome. Cafe open 11-3pm. • n Forest Fun Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. Kids fed up of a winter spent indoors can grab some half term fun learning bushcraft skills in Arnos Vale’s outdoor centre such as campfire cooking and den building. For ages 8+, 11am-3pm, £20. Includes snacks but not lunch. • n Woodland Tribe Windmill Hill City Farm, Phillip Street, Bedminster. Half term session in which children can make their own play space, using hammers, nails and saws, build dens and play freely with nature. No booking – just turn up. Also on

Desolation: Macbeth is not just about the horror of a murde; it portrays a crime that is so bad it is against nature itself PHOTO: Joe Roberts

I pull in resolution and begin To doubt th’equivocation of the fiend That lies like truth. The parallels with today are obvious: what are we to make of politicians who deny scientific reality and seem immune to arguments based on facts? Tickets to Macbeth are from £12, though availability at this price is limited. Evening shows are at 7pm and there are matinees on Thursday and Saturday at 2pm. Explore:Macbeth is a free

workshop to explore the production with the theatre’s creative team at 5pm on March 7, while on the same day at 6.30pm React:Macbeth is an immersive event for young adults. Inside:Macbeth on Saturday March 10 is a session of discussion, lectures and workshops which includes director Adele Thomas. Macbeth is followed by the Factory Players’ second play, Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge, from April 18 to May 12. •

February 14. For ages 6+; all children must be accompanied by an adult. Cost: £5 per child for 2 hours. • Wednesday February 14 n Heroes and Villains Tobacco Factory theatre. In advance of the Tobacco Factory’s Macbeth, 5-7 year-olds get the chance to explore Shakespeare’s heroes and villains in a day of half term fun. Children will be making and creating with designers and storytellers and will leave with new skills and creations. 10am-3pm, £30; also on February 15 for 8-11 year-olds. • n Love Beyond the Grave Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. An alternative Valentine’s event: a tour of the graveyard with tales of forbidden love and secret love signs on gravestones. Followed by screening of Tim Burton’s film The Corpse Bride in the candlelit Anglican chapel. Tickets £15; tour starts 6.30pm. • Thursday February 15 n Wild Outdoors Club Windmill Hill City Farm, Phillip Street, Bedminster. Cool crafts, fun nature activities, and games galore for half term. 10am to 12 noon. For ages 6+, £10 per child. •

n Jump into … Just for Girls Knowle West Media Centre, Leinster Avenue, Knowle. Join in a creative morning and make friends in a new girls-only session at half term. For 10-16s. free. For details call 0117 903 0444 or email dorothy.baker@ • Friday February 16 n Family Theatre Show & Free Crafting Creative Workspace, Queen’s Road, Withywood BS13 8LF. Watch resident theatre company Brave Bold Drama perform their latest family show, George and the Flight of the Imaginees. Suitable for 4+, a globe-trotting adventure full of fun, silliness and chances to join in. £2 for adults/children. Doors 11am. Show 11.30-12.30. Free craft & storymaking with the cast 1-3pm. • n Stained Glass Window Workshop Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. Make your own stained glass windows with Colourful Minds to celebrate the first Arnos Vale Window Wanderland (February 23-25). You can make two windows: one to take home and one to display in Kate’s Kitchen during Arnos Vale Window Wanderland 2018. Continued overleaf

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February 2018



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We need to talk about death – and what comes before it

Remains to be seen: Mortician Carla Valentine’s talk on autopsies has sold out, but a second event is still available.

PREVIEW Life, Death (and the Rest) Arnos Vale cemetery, February 22-25 Runs until January 14 HERE is a growing social movement to talk about death – both our own and that of our loved ones. Arnos Vale cemetery, which offers many life-affirming opportunities from children’s play, to marriage ceremonies, exercise, arts and culture and more, all surrounded by memorials to those who have died, seems the perfect place to be part of it. The organisers of the Life, Death (and the Rest) festival want to diminish the fear that surrounds the subject for many. The festival approaches the subject from many angles, so there should be at least one that feels comfortable for you. There will be 24 events over the four days, including workshops (printmaking, photography and poetry), tours, talks and events (Morbid Curiosity Night Tour, Human Memorial Tattoos, a thought-provoking Death Show), exhibitions and films.

Some of them are on this page but for the full schedule you’ll need to look at the Arnos Vale website. Dr Phil Hammond is performing comedy on Thursday February 22 (8.15-9.15pm), Jimmy Galvin is doing an art and sound installation on Friday afternoon (1-5pm), there’s a Death Disco on Friday night (8-11.30pm), and there’s even a kids’ show about bereavement and loss – The Many Doors of Frank Feelbad – on Saturday at 2pm and 4pm. Funeral celebrant Paul Kefford discusses Putting the Fun Back Into Funerals, looking the options to make a funeral what you would like it to be. It’s on Saturday, 1.30-2.30pm. A Death Cafe is a place to drink tea, eat cake and discuss death – drop in on Saturday, 3-4.30pm. On

Freelance Mum Windmill Hill City Farm, Phillip Street, Bedminster. Guest speaker Tor Crockatt from Somerset dairy firm Yeo Valley Farms. As portfolio manager for Little Yeos, she tells their brand story. 10am-12 noon, £9 members / £12 non-members. Children free; price includes coffee and cake plus craft activities for little ones. • n Alan Clayson & the Argonauts + Alien Stash Tin + Kings Of Spain + The Angry Badgers The Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. A show by Alan Clayson & the Argonauts is “not so much a performance as an experience”, said Village Voice, and 40 years after their arrival on rock’s lunatic fringe they are about to release a new album. 7.30-11.30pm, £7 on the door. • n Ahir Shah: Control Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken, North Street, Southville. Edinburgh Comedy Award nominee Ahir

Shah explores the current global socio-political turmoil in a show about freedom, fascism, history, hope, and resistance. “Fiendishly clever and furious”, said the Times. £12.50, 7.45pm. • Saturday February 24 n Stand Up For The Weekend with Rhys James & Co Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken, North Street, Southville. Hailed as “a sickeningly talented young stand-up”, Rhys James has a ton of intricately-written routines which mean you’re never more than a few seconds away from another punchline. Plus guests. £11, 7.45pm. • Sunday February 25 Crazy Pony Tobacco Factory bar. Crazy Pony is a music and comedy duo from England and Switzerland. A furious banjo is joined by bass and harmonies, but their trademark is acrobatic moves that become more adventurous as the show goes on. •




n WHAT’S ON Continued from page 43 For age 3+; adults must stay with children. 10am-12 noon. • Saturday February 17 n Riverbank clean-up The Friends of the Avon New Cut, or Franc, hold one of their regular clean-up events from 10am-12 noon. To focus on the section from Bedminster Bridge to the Banana Bridge. • n 80s Valentine School Disco The Tunnels, Temple Meads. A journey back to a time when Michael Jackson and Rick Astley were the Kings of Pop … to the 80s school disco. With DJ Abes & DJ PM. 7.30pm, £7 in advance. • n Jamaican Folk Night Zion, Bishopsworth Road. Tan Teddy presents a night of music, food, dancing, singing, stories and poems for all ages. £8 adults, £5 children, 6-10pm. • Sunday February 18 n Chosen Wedding Fair Paintworks, Bath Road. Wedding fair, with contemporary designers, makers and service providers, for the creative couple looking for something different. Entry £3 if pre-booked, with goodie bag for first 150. • Thursday February 22 n Morbid Curiosity Tour Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. Stories to answer the question “I wonder how they died?” From man-made deaths such as a fatal stabbing, to diseases of the past such as cholera and smallpox. 7.30-9pm, £10. Bring a torch. Not for the faint hearted, and not suitable for children. Part of the Arts Council-funded Life, Death (& the Rest) festival, February 22-25. • n Life and Death (But Mainly Death) by Dr Phil Hammond Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. Dr Phil reflects on life, the death of two dads and his mum still gatevaulting at 80. And he considers his own death. Can we live and die with pleasure, purpose, compassion and modest medical interference? Laugh, and plan your exit. £10, 8.15-9.15pm. • Friday February 23 n Networking with

February 2018

To have got this close is a mighty achievement!

PHOTO: Teri Pengilley

Sunday you can attend Death Over Dinner (6-7.15pm), with the same aims, but rather more boozy, with wine and a buffet in an intimate (30 covers) soirée. Sunday daytime is talks and demos day (10am-4pm) – have a tour of the natural burial woodland, drop in to see short films from 11am-1pm, or catch the Death Show at 7.30pm, described as “brave, tenacious, funny and deeply thought-provoking”. It seems there’s an appetite for the gorier side of the subject, too. Pathology technologist Carla Valentine’s Thursday talk on autopsies, Past Mortems, has sold out. But she hosts a second event, about our relationship with human remains, on Friday from 10.3011.30am. Beccy Golding •

But for two goals in the last second of each leg, City would have levelled with their oh-so-costly opponents says MARTIN POWELL


HERE are now hundreds of bedrooms in South Bristol where a red or silver foil flag has been added to the décor by a young person as a souvenir of Bristol City’s Caraboa Cup journey this season. The flag was brandished and waved as the most expensive (and arguably the best ever) team to play at Ashton Gate took to the field for the pulsating second leg semi-final game that ultimately ended with Manchester City taking the honours. Maybe some of those flags will be shown to children and grandchildren in the future with stories of how “I was there” when Aguero played at Ashton Gate and Aden Flint went up front to knock one in to give the mighty Manchester City a scare. It was 29 years ago that City

last had a cup semi-final – against Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest. On that occasion it was rather strange inflatable teeth that the crowd brandished in front of the TV cameras to mark the fact that manager Joe Jordan had gained the fearsome nickname “Jaws”. Let’s hope it is less than 29 years before City get a crack at another cup final. Certainly the City team showed little sign of flagging over the two-legged semi-final although it is interesting to realise if it hadn’t been for the two goals that Manchester City scored in the last second of each game it would have been honours even. To have come that close against a world-class team was an achievement in itself. On the way Premier League teams Watford, Stoke, Crystal Palace and Manchester United were all deservedly dumped out MARTIN’S SHORTS of the competition, so the cup n Favourite chant against provided a fantastic highlight to Manchester City: “Johnstone this season. Paint Trophy: Get fitYou’ll for never less win in 2018 at F4L Bristol always people who Get fit for less in 2018 atThere F4Lare Bristol that. We’ve won it three times.” Get fit for less in 2018 at Bristol say F4L cup competitions are a For the uninitiated you have to ✔ Superb gym distraction – funnily enough be✔ in Superb the bottom two divisions gym Manchester City seem quite Friendly staff ✔✔ gym to ✔ beSuperb in that competition. Friendly staff happy to be in as many Amazing results! ✔✔ Friendly staff ✔ Amazing results! ✔ Amazing results!


Monday February 26 Disabled lunch Monthly social lunchtime meet up for disabled people at the Park Centre, Daventry Road, Knowle. Open and friendly group, meets last Monday of month 12-2pm. Part of WECIL’s peer support community. •

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competitions as possible. Yes, the league is the bread and butter – but surely nights like those against Manchester City are what everyone will be talking about for years to come and are the jam on that bread and butter. Now City have a few months to achieve the goal of ensuring they have two fixtures against Manchester City again next year! The 22,000 flags handed out at the game brought home how far the club have come in a few years. It was not long ago when the tunnel was at the end of the ground, before redevelopment,


that school groups would be handed flags to form a guard of honour to welcome players on to the pitch. A club official would carefully gather them all up to re-use the next week. One week a young lad burst into tears as there were only a set number of flags and he had to share one with another youngster. A person in the crowd near me got in touch with the club to ask why there were not enough flags and the answer came back that they couldn’t afford them but would welcome a sponsor to pay for some!

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Balancing act: Crazy Pony

Sea of flags: The home fans try to ‘foil’ the opposition

A thriller to the end: Bristol City’s Bobby Reid (right) taking on Manchester City defender Kyle Walker in the home leg of the Carabao Cup tie

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February 2018




KARIN SMYTH Labour MP for Bristol

The Government has failed to protect our rights over Brexit


 E MAY be just a few weeks into 2018 but it’s straight back to Brexit bills in Parliament, and continuing my focus on apprenticeships, post-16 opportunities, health and housing, and pushing forward with some key campaigns. Predictably, the EU Withdrawal Bill dominated conversations in Westminster throughout January. Thank you to everyone who has written to me about Brexit; I do take on board your comments and concerns, on both sides, and rest assured will continue to vote according to what I think is in best interests of Bristol South. This time last year, I vowed to hold the Government to account and have been pushing for improvements to the legislation as it is brought forward. I am very

disappointed that Labour’s suggested amendments, designed to protect people’s rights at work, the environment and the economy, were rejected. We put down six tests for the legislation which the Government has failed to pass and, as such, we could not support the EU Withdrawal Bill in its current form. The debate now continues in the House of Lords, with further amendment suggestions expected and we’ll continue pushing for the necessary changes. I’ll also be speaking in Parliament this year about those things affecting Bristol



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South – from the NHS and South Bristol Community Hospital, to apprenticeships and access to job opportunities, trailer safety and airgun control. I’m pleased to be starting off the year with another Bristol South Jobs & Apprenticeships Fair, which takes place at the City of Bristol College’s South Bristol Skills Academy in on Thursday March 8. It follows on from the success of last year’s event which saw hundreds of young people connect with a range of local employers and colleges to discuss job and apprenticeship opportunities. If you’re an employer who’d like a free stall then do drop me a line: I’m also planning some more Entitlement and Money Advice events this year. We met with scores of people in 2017 to check what money they were entitled to and help them access unclaimed funds. The start of the year can be a tricky time financially and The Money Advice Service has some useful tips on tackling debt – with free advice available online at, over the phone (0808 808 4000) or face-to-face. As ever, let me know your thoughts on any of the above or if you need support with any issues you may have. I’m determined to make things better for people living in Bristol South.

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South Bristol Voice February 2018  
South Bristol Voice February 2018