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southbristolvoice April 2018 No. 35


We Sell and Let Property Like Yours

Refreshes the parts social media cannot reach

FREE EVERY MONTH in Totterdown, Knowle and Windmill Hill



THE THIEF WHO ROBBED BIG ISSUE SELLER POLICE want the public’s help to identify this man – suspected of stooping so low as to steal takings from a Big Issue seller. Totterdown’s well-known Big Issue vendor Marius was robbed on his pitch outside the Co-op on Wells Road on March 13. Our pictures were taken from CCTV cameras outside the Co-op. Acting Sergeant Paul Giddings said: “We would like to speak to the person in these images in connection with our enquiries into the theft of a man’s bag from outside the Co-Op on Wells Road on the evening of Tuesday,

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Clear view: Police are sure someone will identify the Totterdown thief March 13. I’m sure that someone locally will know who this person is. Anyone with any information should contact us via our website or by calling 101 quoting reference number 5218054720.” The bag contained copies of the Big Issue and £185, which Marius needed to pay his rent. However, the big-hearted community of Totterdown and Knowle have rallied round to replace the money. Several people have been up to Marius to give him donations. And a whip-round at a charity event in Knowle on March 17

raised £135. The audience at the Curry, Comedy and Music Night at Redcatch community centre were so concerned about Marius that they held a collection. This was despite the fact that they had already given money to the main cause for the evening, a charitable journey to India by members of Victoria Park Baptist Church, in support of a women’s mission in Tenali, India. The event was organised by Voice sales manager Ruth Drury, whose mother, Beverley Chapman, is one of those making the journey to India.








We’re truly local & proudly independent… www.oceanhome.co.uk


April 2018


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


A TIME TO CONSULT IT’S STRIKING that we have just seen the release of the biggest planning document of the last decade, and yet almost no one is talking about it. The Bristol Local Plan review sets the blueprint for the city for the next 20 years. There are huge changes on the way for South Bristol – probably the biggest since World War II. These are just a few of the schemes coming up: • Hundreds of homes on Bath Road, and new Metrobus lanes; • University campus at Temple Meads, with 25-storey tower; • Either an arena or – more likely – a hotel or conference centre on Arena Island;

You can find South Bristol Voice on Facebook and Twitter facebook.com/ southbristolvoice Twitter: @sbristolvoice Next month’s deadline for editorial and advertising is April 11th • Hundreds of homes atop the Broadwalk centre; • Multiple tower blocks at Bedminster Green; • New bridges and thousands of homes on the harbourside; • Close to 2,000 homes in Hengrove and Hartcliffe; • New homes in Knowle West; • St Philip’s Marsh redeveloped; ... and the list goes on. You get the point. Many of the plans will bring tower blocks, which residents say they don’t want. Yet there’s been just one public meeting about the Local Plan. And the Urban Living document, about the new tall buildings policy, mainly avoids showing tower blocks, instead displaying low-rise schemes like Wapping Wharf. It’s time for South Bristol to wake up to what’s coming – and for some realistic consultation.








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n SUPPORTERS of Knowle and Totterdown’s Plastic Free Coastlines group are invited to take part in a Big Spring Beach Clean at Avon Gorge on Saturday April 14 from 9am-12.30pm. Knowle organiser Graham Coburn is joining the event, set up by Surfers Against Sewage. Pickers, gloves and bags are provided. Meeting point is at the top of the towpath on the Leigh Woods side, where Rownham Hill and Clanage Road meet.




n BRIEFLY n TOTTERDOWN-based standup comedian, poet and actor Angie Belcher has become a mum. Baby Ulysses was born at St Michael’s hospital on February 23, weighing in at a bonny 8lb 1oz. Both mother and son are doing well despite a tricky start – he was delivered two weeks early by caesarean section. Angie’s regular monthly Comedy Depot at Zion continues with stand-in compere Louise Leigh. Angie has just been cast as the lead in a new play called Silva Linings, about the care system and dementia, which will be touring this autumn.

April 2018

n ST PHILIP’S Marsh nursery school is looking for new governors. People are welcome from a range of backgrounds as long as they have an interest in the performance of the school, and a desire to contribute to and represent the community. Training is provided. To find out more, email head.st.philips. marsh.n@bristol-schools.uk n SOUTH Bristol band Snatch22, who claim to have found a unique combination of raffled meat and topical and not-so-topical songs, play a gig at the Louisiana on Saturday April 14. The Knowle and Brislington-based band have been playing since 2000, when they first took the stage at Knowle bowls club. n FANS of the afternoon ITV quiz Tipping Point, based on the arcade games where pennies are shoved by moving counters, now have a chance of seeing it in person, not on TV. The show, hosted by Ben Shephard, is to be made at the Bottle Yard studios in Hengrove, also home to Wolf Hall and Sherlock.

How do I get in touch with ... My MP? Karin Smyth MP By email: karin.smyth.mp@ parliament.uk By post: Karin Smyth MP, House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA By phone: 0117 953 3575 In person: A surgery will be held on Friday April 27. 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@ bristol.gov.uk Gary Hopkins Lib Dem, Knowle (Lib Dem leader) Email: Cllr.Gary.Hopkins@bristol.gov.uk Phone: 0117 985 1491 or 07977 512159 Lucy Whittle Labour, Windmill Hill Phone: 07392 108805 Email: Cllr.Lucy.Whittle@bristol.gov.uk Jon Wellington Labour, Windmill Hill Phone: 07392 108804 Email: Cllr.Jon.Wellington@bristol.gov.uk

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

Police Inquiries 101 Emergency 999 Fire   Emergency 999 Inquiries  0117 926 2061 NEIGHBOURHOOD MEETINGS None planned at time of going to press

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: • nuj.org.uk/about/nuj-code Feedback is welcomed: call editor Paul Breeden on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk. 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 sales@southbristolvoice.co.uk or Ruth on 07590 527664

Youngsters talk up apprenticeships SOME of Bristol’s biggest employers met hundreds of the city’s young jobseekers as part of an apprenticeship fair at the South Bristol Skills Academy in Hengrove during National Apprenticeship Week. Firms attending the South Bristol Jobs & Apprenticeship Fair, organised by Bristol South MP Karin Smyth, included Airbus, Hargreaves Lansdown, Bristol Airport, the Bristol Port Company and University

Hospitals Bristol. They were joined by other key south Bristol employers such as Robbins Timber, Computershare and Babcock. Staffing many of the stalls were apprentices, who talked to young jobseekers about the benefits of undertaking an apprenticeship. “I’d recommend it to anyone,” said Connor Murphy, a first-year apprentice with Bristol Port Company. “I’ve been doing it for

five months and I’m loving it. It’s a two-year apprenticeship and you’re almost guaranteed a job at the end of it. “I always struggled at school so getting the hands-on experience was the boost I needed really. I didn’t want to focus on getting good grades to then be stuck in an office, I wanted to do a lot of physical stuff which is what I’m doing. It’s ideal for me.” • More on the Voice website

‘We need to start thinking about a student influx now’ COMMUNITY group Tresa is trying to encourage people to think about the future impact of the university campus planned for Temple Meads – and how the area will cope with so many students on its doorstep. The University of Bristol is planning a new campus for 3,500 students or more. About half of them will live on the campus – towers of 25, 11 and eight storeys are planned for Arena Island. But Tresa believes the chances are that many students will gravitate up the hill to Totterdown and beyond, possibly with a big impact on local communities. Investors might let out homes as HMOs, or houses in multiple occupation, to groups of students. Tresa hosted a meeting on “studentification” on March 21,

just after the Voice went to press. Present at the meeting were members of ABC, Action for Balanced Communities, a Clifton-based group which voices residents’ concerns about a still-growing student population. In parts of Clifton, students dominate some streets, making up as many as half of households. ABC says it is not antistudent, but too many students unbalance the community and lead to late-night noise, littered streets, and a loss of homes for families and workers. “The new campus is a really exciting development but it can have downsides,” said Simon Hobeck, chair of Tresa. “There’s already nowhere to park in Totterdown: just imagine a narrow street like Oxford Street, for example, if several

houses got made into HMOs.” Too many students could also bring more off-licences, convenience stores and takeaways and the loss of existing businesses, it is feared. Bristol city council has set out plans for student housing. It suggests that not more than 10 per cent of homes should be HMOs, that all HMOs should be licensed, and HMOs won’t be allowed to sandwich other residential dwellings. However, research by ABC suggests that not all student homes are registered as HMOs, and are under the council’s radar. Groups like Tresa need to be aware of the possible problems before they arise, said Mr Hobeck. The new campus is due to open in 2021. It will be mainly for postgraduate students.

Wild time for the under-fives OUTDOOR fun for toddlers is promised when My Wild Child returns to Northern Slopes. Every Wednesday during term time, from April 11- May 25, 1-2.30pm, Avon Wildlife Trust will run free wild-play sessions for families with under-fives at the Bommie in Knowle. Children can enjoy wild art, spotting wildlife, mini-beast hunts, playing in the stream, songs and storytelling. • avonwildlifetrust.org.uk/

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Butchers of Southville

Our meat is natural, free of additives, produced on local farms and reared humanely. Come and see for yourself at our North Street shop 250 North Street, Southville, Bristol BS3 1JD Tel: 0117 966 3593

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April 2018




April 2018




Clean air zone may include South Bristol

New owner for shops at front of Totterdown Centre

CHARGING drivers of polluting vehicles to travel through South Bristol could become council policy later this year. Bristol city council has been told by the Government to decide by the end of the year how it will cut dangerous levels of air pollution – and most of the options include charging drivers. Two areas for a Clean Air Zone are being considered, to be installed by 2023. The small zone, shown by the blue line on the map, includes the city centre and also the south side of the river – mainly York Road and Coronation Road. The medium zone, outlined in green, extends almost to the Three Lamps junction on Wells Road and cuts though Bedminster along Whitehouse Lane to include all of Southville and parts of Ashton Vale. Not all residential roads inside the zone would be included. Cameras would monitor the main

HOPES are high the the rebirth of the Totterdown Centre can continue after the empty shops at the front of the building were sold to a local man. Jon and Mary Ross put the shops at 142-44 Wells Road up for auction after being unable to realise their ambitions to upgrade the premises as a restaurant and community rooms. The shops failed to sell at the auction held on February 27. But a deal was later agreed between


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roads in and out of the zone and would record number plates. Five options are on the table: • A non-charging zone;

With Easter coming up, why not consider where your meat is coming from? As organic farmers in Chew Valley we know how to farm sustainably; helping protect our environment, providing tasty meat from our fields to your fork. We set up Meat Box so you know where your meat comes from and how it was reared. We only source from our farm and a select number of other Mendip farms. The farmers care about their animals, sharing our philosophy, rearing healthy animals, using the highest sustainable practices. So this Easter why not drop in to the Meat Box to see the range of cuts available. If you can’t get to us, no problem, give us a call and we can even deliver directly to you. Irsn’t it time you know where your meat comes from and, most importantly, what isn’t in it. MEAT AS IT SHOULD BE, FROM FIELD TO FORK UNIT 24, CARGO 2, MUSEUM STREET, BRISTOL BS1 6ZA 0117 934 9306 | HELLO@MEATBOXBRISTOL.CO.UK

CLEAN AIR ZONES Where the lines could be drawn in South Bristol

Part of the council map showing possible charging zones. The blue line is the small zone, the green line is the medium zone. A large zone – reaching the M4 and the M5 – is ruled out for now: it would take too long to set up.

Source: Bristol city council

• A small zone charging all vehicles; • A small zone charging all vehicles except cars; • A medium zone charging all vehicles; • A medium zone charging all vehicles except cars. The non-charging option would allow any vehicle 17 visits in a year. The other options would allow 12 free visits a year. Bristol is one of 27 cities which has been told by the Government to reduce air pollution to legal limits by 2023. The council will hold consultations throughout the summer, and will choose one of the options in October. The council is using a market research company to find out how it can persuade drivers to change their habits. It’s unclear how the public will react. Tradespeople with diesel vans will be hard hit, as will low-income families with older cars. Taxi drivers won’t be able to put up fares – though the council

WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? ABOUT 300 people a year die early in Bristol from air pollution. By comparison, traffic accidents kill an average of nine people a year. In the worst areas – the city centre and Lawrence Hill – air pollution accounts for one in 10 early deaths, or 10 per cent. The figures are not much lower in South Bristol wards.

WHICH VEHICLES WILL BE EXEMPT? Diesels Euro6 vehicles, mainly 2016 on Petrol Euro4 vehicles, 2006 on Hybrid and electric vehicles WHY PICK ON DIESEL CARS? Nitrogen Dioxide emissions from traffic in central Bristol HGVs 10% Buses 23% Diesel vans 22% Diesel cars 40% Petrol vans 0% Petrol cars  4% is encouraging ultra-low emission taxis. The city also has a large number of newer, less polluting buses. Cabinet member Cllr Kye Dudd said the plan is not a “war on motorists”, but a move to improve public health. Air pollution contributes to asthma, low birth weight in babies, poor lung development in small children and heart conditions, he said. PROPORTION OF EARLY DEATHS TO AIR POLLUTION Bedminster 8.68% Southville 9.05%, Knowle 8.34% Windmill Hill 8.98% WHERE ARE THE HOTSPOTS? Wells Road at Three Lamps, York Road, Coronation Road, Bedminster Parade, St John’s Lane and Parson Street gyratory all break EU legal pollution limits.

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

the Rosses and a Totterdown man. The Voice has been unable to speak to the new owner but it’s understood that he wants to renovate the shops and bring them back into use. The new owner will become one of five co-owners of the freehold of the Totterdown Centre – the block which spans 138-144 Wells Road. The building includes the Floriography florist, the Bristol Women’s Workshop, several

flats, and a lot of empty space. Many of the rooms are derelict and some parts need major repairs. But a start has been made to seal the leaking flat roof above 138 Wells Road. Meanwhile Floriography is set to move out of the centre on April 16, to 154 Wells Road, currently a furniture shop. Floriography used to be based next door, at No 152, until moving into the Totterdown Centre last summer. Back at the Totterdown

Hope of new future for Lodge THE DILAPIDATED lodge in Victoria Park has a chance of a new life thanks to an alliance with Windmill Hill City Farm. The Victorian lodge – originally home to a park keeper – has been largely disused for many years. The public toilets are damp and dilapidated and the subject of frequent complaints. Now Victoria Park Action Group has got together with Windmill Hill City Farm chief executive Steve Sayers, and other individuals with experience of fundraising, to look at ways of renovating the building. Ideas include a cafe and community facilities and maybe an education centre as a base for outdoor learning. Residents are being asked what they would like to see happen to the building through a survey (see end). VPAG chair Shaun Hennessy and Mr Sayers are hoping to get a

idea of how much work will be needed – certain to cost hundreds of thousands of pounds. “A café alone would not make enough money [to fund the running costs of the building]” said Mr Sayers. “But maybe you could make the upstairs into a holiday let, which would have lovely views of the city on one side and the park on the other.” Mr Sayers raised money to build a new café at the City Farm from a charity, and he says there

SIX MONTHS OF WORK DIVERSIONS needed to install a new shared cycle path through Victoria Park have caused some upset, though VPAG says it has received no complaints. The work will take six months, ending by August, not the three months envisaged. The first section, next to the railway, should be finished by the end of April.

are several charitable trusts that might support the Lodge venture. Mr Hennessy hopes the new alliance – which he calls a “dream team” and also involves Windmill Hill architect Carlton Bodkin – will transform the Lodge after decades of neglect. • surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CZNSBJG

Centre, the work of the Healing Courtyard will be expanded with more community activities and longer opening hours for Fanny Tingle’s, which offers lunches, teas and candles suppers. Floriography owner Vera Harhat will be one of five partners in a new community interest company, Totterdown Healing Spaces, which will run the activities in the courtyard. Some of the profits of Floriography will be ploughed into the CIC.

MRS BROWN’S THE OUTDOOR café in Victoria Park shows no signs of reopening even though the council is supposed to be squeezing all the income it can from its parks. The previous operator, Mrs Brown’s, closed last autumn. Council plans to reopen the café under a new tenant at Easter now look unlikely, but the Voice will bring more news when we have it.

Walk the 2-mile short route or

Walk the 2-mile short route or

7-mile long long route to toenjoy: 7-mile route enjoy: 

 Surprising parks andplaces places Surprising parks and

 Breath-taking views Breath-taking views

Seasonal flowers and wildlife

Seasonal flowers and wildlife

Guided walks Saturday May 5 and Saturday May 12 BristolWalkFest.com For maps, booklet and updates, visit http://bssw.org.uk

Scan to watch the official walk video:

Scan to watch the official walk video:

Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk For maps, booklet and updates,

April 2018



n NEWS Still work to be done, Ofsted tells academy INSPECTORS have told the leaders of Oasis Academy Brislington that it requires improvement – although they say standards are rising. Ofsted praised the leadership at the school, whose principal is Peter Knight. “The principal and senior leaders have a clear vision for the school. Significant improvements since the school became an academy in 2015 are evident,” said Ofsted. Attendance has improved thanks to firm action on absenteeism, the report said. But in 2016 and 2017, pupils’ progress in English, mathematics and English Baccalaureate subjects was poor. Disadvantaged pupils, who make up almost a third of the 716-pupil school, made less progress than others. And the quality of teaching “varies too much both between and within subjects and is not good enough,” said Ofsted. The inspectors rated the school Good in two out of five areas – leadership and pupil behaviour. reports.ofsted.gov.uk

River clean-up YOU CAN help clean up the riverbank on York Road, from the Banana Bridge to Bath Bridge, on Saturday, April 14 from 10am-12 noon in the company of the Friends of Avon New Cut (Franc). Free cake is on offer. • franc.org.uk


Student flats still advertised as council refers callers to fraud centre THE FUTURE of the derelict Grosvenor hotel is still uncertain – even though councillors have voted for a plan to knock it down and replace it with offices. Investors in an alternative, advertised plan to turn it into student flats are worried that the scheme will never happen. Now it has emerged that the council has since Christmas been referring any queries into the student scheme to Action Fraud, the national centre charged with investigating fraud. The student flats are still being advertised by numerous firms online at £99,000 each with a claimed return of 7.5 per cent. Bizarrely, builder Grosvenor Developers claims on its website that the building will be finished by September 2017 – a date long since past. One property agent, Essexbased Sterling Woodrow, states the work is expected to be completed by the end of September 2018. However, no work appears to have taken place on the site even though some investors claim to have been told last year that conversion was well under way. From the outside, the building appears derelict, with shrubs growing out of the roof. Yet even one Bristol property agent,

Two plans: Skanska’s Engine Shed, left, and the student plan, right Harbourside Property Group, is still advertising the student studios as “144 high spec self-contained student studios … completion expected Q3 2017”. Harbourside declined to comment, as did Grosvenor Developers, which has previously said it is in the process of buying

the site from its owner, a London-based firm, Earlcloud. Earlcloud told the Voice: “Grosvenor Developers are buying the site from Earlcloud Ltd and are not working in conjunction with Earlcloud Ltd. Anything reported to the contrary is incorrect.”


excluded from discussions. The council/Skanksa plan – given planning permission on March 14 – includes a glass cube to sit atop the facade of the next-door George & Railway hotel. This would be home to Engine Shed 2, an expansion of the successful Bristol University business incubator at Temple Meads. Meanwhile conservationists, including the council’s own conservation team, have called for both hotels to be saved. The George & Railway has an ornate ballroom, and the Grosvenor is by noted Victorian architect Samuel Fripp.

THE TANGLED story of the Grosvenor hotel includes a plan by Bristol city council and developer Skanska to knock it down and build 27,000 sq m of offices, in three blocks of up to eight storeys, on the plaza created by the removal of the Temple Circus roundabout. But the council doesn’t own the hotel – it is owned by London firm Earlcloud, which opposes the council plan and says it has been

ASK A VET: What should I do if my dog eats chocolate?

F YOU suspect your dog may have eaten any type of chocolate always call your vet immediately for advice. Let them know which type of chocolate it is, how much you think they have eaten, and keep any packaging. Chocolate contains theobromine which cannot be metabolised by dogs, and is therefore highly toxic with potentially fatal side effects if not treated quickly. Knowing the type of chocolate can help to determine the seriousness of the amount eaten. Dark chocolate can be highly toxic if eaten even in small amounts. Milk

chocolate has much lower levels of theobromine and is therefore less dangerous in small amounts, but this completely depends on the size of the dog. Small dogs are particularly vulnerable to toxicity from small amounts. White chocolate contains very little theobromine and is less likely to cause effects, however it is full of sugar, which has its own negative side effects, and still should not be fed to your dog under any circumstances. With Easter upon us and our houses full with chocolate eggs and treats, it is important that everyone

in the family is aware of the dangers and keeps their goodies well out of pets’ reach. Dogs can sniff out chocolate, rip off the packaging and devour it in no time. Symptoms of chocolate poisoning in dogs include vomiting, diarrhoea, abnormal heart rhythms, increased body temperature, tremors, seizures and respiratory failure. Chocolate poisoning at its very worst can result in death from heart attacks, seizures, coma or respiratory failure. All veterinary practices have a 24-hour emergency service so, if your dog does get hold of your

April 2018

n NEWS AN UNUSUAL alliance of Green councillors, South Bristol’s Labour MP, thousands of petitioners and some Labour councillors are calling for the Bristol arena to be sited at Temple Meads. It has looked increasingly likely in recent months that mayor Marvin Rees favours instead a privately-funded arena proposed by Malaysian firm YTL at the old Filton airfield. He has dropped hints that the empty Temple Meads site – still known as Arena Island – could instead be used for a conference centre or five-star hotel. In addition, Mr Rees did not appear to mention the arena as part of the Temple Quarter, either when he met potential Chinese investors in December, or at the MIPIM conference for developers, held in Cannes, which he visited in mid-March. The arena has also been left out of the Local Plan – the blueprint for the entire city for the next 20 years [pages 10-11]. Now calls are building for Mr Rees to back an arena on Arena Island. Councillors were due to vote on the issue at a full council meeting on March 20, the day after the Voice went to press. More than 5,000 people signed a Green party petition backing a Temple Meads arena, forcing the council to debate the matter. Cllr Jon Wellington, Labour member for Windmill Hill, told the Voice he intended to vote for the Green motion. Along with Bristol South MP Karin Smyth, he has long backed a city centre arena, believing it will bring jobs and investment to the south of the city. In her Voice column this month [page 54] Ms Smyth says she is “disappointed” that



Thousands plead for a city centre location for arena

Bridge to nowhere: Arena Island Bristol’s arena could go to Filton. This is “in direct conflict with a need to rebalance the city so that all areas can share in the benefits of such large scale investment,” she writes. “If the arena were to remain in Temple Meads, then existing and future residents of Bristol South could access employment and cultural opportunities which won’t be so easy if it moves to the northern fringe.” Other Labour members may also back the city centre option. Its backers say Temple Meads has much better transport links, and the arena would be councilowned, helping city finances. The Filton arena, though bigger – 16,000 rather than 12,000 seats – would need £100 million of public investment in transport and other infrastructure, the Greens claim. And profits would go to YTL, not the council. Whichever way the March 20

vote goes, it need not sway the mayor’s decision. Mr Rees is awaiting a report from consultants KPMG on the benefits of both arena sites, and will give his decision on May 2. The Greens say even the KPMG review is not transparent – they have not been able to obtain its terms of reference. Simon Hobeck, chair of Totterdown community group Tresa, also favours the city centre option. Though an arena on our doorstep could cause some disruption, it might be less than other uses for the site. “The arena was only going to have big events 15 or 16 times a year, and that would have been workable,” he said.

Growing fair REDCATCH Community Garden, the people-powered plant-centre which has taken over the old bowling green at Redcatch park, holds its spring fair on Sunday April 15. It’s from noon to 5pm, and stalls are still available. Visitors will be able to see what’s growing, including exotic crops such as kiwi fruit, in the Knowle garden’s two polytunnels. Meanwhile the Roots café in the garden has reopened after being forced to shut when pipes burst in the early March freeze-up. • Facebook: Redcatch Community Garden

Art for sale FANS of affordable art will find plenty to peruse when the Redcatch Art Club holds its spring art exhibition on Saturday April 28. It’s at Redcatch community centre, Redcatch Road, from 11-4pm. All the art is by local artists. Entry is free but donations are encouraged to Children’s Hospice South West.

What do you want your glasses to say about you? Dr Lisa Redgrave BVetMed (Hons) MRCVS Whitchurch Veterinary Surgery chocolate and eat it, please call the emergency number straight away for advice. Highcroft clients can call 01275 832410 at any time.

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Find your own personal style in the

2018 Collection 182a Wells Road, Knowle, Bristol BS4 2AL Telephone: 0117 977 6330 Book at www.lynnefernandes.co.uk

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

April 2018



n NEWS Appeal goes out to artists on the hill

April 2018


A CALL has gone out to artists who want to be involved in Art on the Hill – the Windmill Hill and Victoria Park arts trail, which is on October 6 and 7. For one weekend, the area is transformed into a cultural explosion of painting, sculpture, photography. ceramics, crafts, music, dancing and other events. The trail attracts visitors from all over Bristol and beyond. Anyone who lives in the trail area can use their own home as a venue, or set up in another participating home, or in one of the public venues. Local artists take priority in the public venues. Registration is from May 1June 30. Visual artists pay a small fee, and get an entry in the trail brochure. Performers are free. • artonthehill.org.uk • Twitter: @Art_On_The_Hill • Facebook: @artonthehillbristol



Forget a tube – go cable car!

Loft official appeals again

A BRISTOL developer wants planners to consider a left field solution to the city’s transport problems – a cable car system. Richard Clarke, managing director of developer Urbis, working on plans for Bedminster Green, thinks cable cars could be a serious option for Bristol. Mayor Marvin Rees has ordered a feasibility study of an underground system to run under the city centre, with one route emerging above ground somewhere near the A38, to travel on to the airport. Its cost was put at first as £2.5 billion, quickly escalating to £4.5bn. Some politicians are openly scornful of the subway idea, saying it will never be built. However, Bristol’s crowded roads make siting a rail or tram link to the airport or anywhere else problematic. Even squeezing in bus lanes is hard – planners are currently figuring out how to install a Metrobus guided busway

THE COUNCIL officer who built a large loft extension without planning permission and was ordered to take it down has now appealed to the Government. Richard Fear was served with an enforcement notice by the council last November telling him that he must remove his loft extension, which spans the entire width and roof height of his home at 3 Haverstock Road, Knowle. Mr Fear, who is the council’s property investment manager, has twice been refused retrospective planning permission for the extension. He has also lost one appeal to a planning inspector, who called his wooden-clad loft room a “strident and bulky structure ... in awkward and discordant contrast” with its neighbours. The deadline for Mr Fear to appeal against the refusal of his second planning application ran out in October. He was given until May to take the structure down. But the enforcement notice from the council is now on hold. Mr Fear has appealed to the Government against the enforcement notice itself. He has also filed a third

Pie in the sky? A cable car system on Bath Road at Arnos Vale [more on this in a future Voice]. Instead, says Mr Clarke, why not think about a cable car network? A system would need supporting towers every 100 or 200m, but would be easier and cheaper than a railway or subway. Stops could be a mile or more apart, meaning people could travel from the city centre, to the harbourside, then to a stop at, say, Parson Street, he said. Having cars arriving every few seconds means thousands of

people can be carried each hour. “In the Alps they travel five miles. People think it’s a tourist solution, but it could get out to [Bristol] airport,” said Mr Clarke. Mexico City, Dubai and several US cities already use cable cars for transport. There are calls for a network in Oxford to rid the city of tourist buses. And in La Paz, Bolivia, a 6-mile network cost $234m (£168m) to open and is being expanded to 20 miles, having proved hugely popular. Mr Clarke admits he is no expert in the feasibility of cable cars in Bristol, but believes some experts are seriously considering the idea. Simon Hobeck, chair of community and environment group Tresa, which often debates how to solve Bristol’s transport woes, said: “We need these different ideas. Tresa would welcome an exploration of this, and I’m not dismissing it.”


planning application to keep his extension – although the “new” plan looks exactly the same as the one that was refused last July. Both plans propose to soften the impact of the works by replacing the cedar cladding with painted walls, and adding an eaves section to project nine inches from the rear wall. The Voice has not contacted Mr Fear for comment because, as a council officer, he is not usually allowed to talk to the press. Neighbours objected to the council in September 2016 when they saw the size of the justfinished extension. Forced to apply for planning permission, Mr Fear described the work as a

“dormer window in rear roof slope” even though in reality the new room was so large there was no rear roof slope remaining. Meanwhile a neighbour at 5 Haverstock Road has been given permission for a similar roof extension. However, this one is lower than the roof line, and is set back from the rear edge of the roof, thus avoiding some of the criticisms of the works next door. It is also to be covered in render, not wood.

TOTTERDOWN resident Tom Horn is asking South Bristolians if they would like to see a community composting venue. With friends, he wants to set up a site with a number of composting bays where people can bring garden and food waste. Cafés and restaurants could bring their leftover food. Tom has shared a questionnaire on Facebook asking people what sort of facility they would like to see, and where it could go. He’s also asking if there is any interest in workshops on composting. Volunteers will be needed if the scheme gets off the ground. The survey asks if people would be willing to separate food waste from meat and vegetables, cooked and uncooked. The survey is here: • tinyurl.com/y8cxamel

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SETBACKS have emerged to plans by a major academy chain to build two new secondary schools for South Bristol. Plans by the Oasis academy trust to build schools at Hengrove and near the city centre are on hold – which may help explain why talks are apparently under way for a completely separate new secondary school in Knowle. The Voice revealed last month that Lib Dem councillors Gary Hopkins and Christopher Davies were pushing for a new secondary in Knowle, and talks with a possible provider were being held with the council. The council is staying tight-lipped about any plans. Cllr Anna Keen, cabinet member for education, said: “We are meeting with the Education & Skills Funding Agency to see what options there are for

helping to ensure there are enough education places for the children of Bristol at locations in the south of the city. At this stage we are still involved in discussions around the details.” Oasis was given Government go-ahead last year to open two secondary schools – one next to Oasis John Williams in Hengrove, and one in the Temple Quarter enterprise zone. The Voice understands that neither is on track to open in 2019 as planned. No site has been found in the enterprise zone, where land is expensive. Oasis regional director Matt Butler told the Voice: “As the site for Oasis Academy Temple Quarter has not yet been finalised, we cannot currently confirm the academy’s opening date. We hope to have an update in the very near future.”




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April 2018





The far-reaching plan that calls for 11,000 new homes in South Bristol SOUTH Bristol stands on the brink of the most ambitious proposals to transform its neighbourhoods since the second world war. Yet only one public meeting* has been held to discuss the far-reaching Local Plan Review, which will guide development in the city for the next 20 years. Consultation on the plan closes on April 13. More consultation will follow in the autumn, after amendments have been made. Bristol South MP Karin Smyth

We begin four pages of special reports on South Bristol’s future building boom with a look at the Local Plan, to guide developers for the next 20 years welcomed the idea of investment, but said local people must be consulted. The plan calls for South


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Housing everywhere, including the Green Belt, while creating more jobs WHAT’S IN IT FOR US?

Above, the area of Western Harbour that could be rebuilt. Left, Karin Smyth MP says local people must be properly consulted on the proposals Bristol and St Philip’s to take the lion’s share of Bristol’s new housing, but she chided South Bristol Voice for referring to this as a “burden”. Homes are badly needed, and so too is investment in providing jobs and other services for the south of the city, she said. “It’s good to see the promise of infrastructure investment, but I am very keen that the existing communities in Bristol South are consulted and listened to. “We are also seeing issues with funding for existing infrastructure which needs addressing. For example, local NHS services are struggling with massive rent hikes from NHS Property Services. Schools and nurseries are struggling with funding cuts. Public toilets and libraries have closed or are facing closure. We need to address these issues in Bristol South

before absorbing the bulk of Bristol’s population growth over the next two decades,” said the Labour MP. On high-rise development, she said: “I’m open to the idea of tall buildings and some development on the edge of the city, as we clearly have challenges on where and how to create the affordable housing that Bristol South needs. However, I’d like to see all options explored and input from residents on what type of housing they need and where they need it most.” In her column for the Voice [page 54] she adds: “We also need to consider what type of homes people want – terraced housing is often more preferable for young families than tower blocks.” * It was on March 12 at the Central Library from 2.306.30pm. If you weren’t there, you’ve missed it.

URBAN LIVING: Another way to say ‘skyscrapers’?

“To acknowledge the important civic role that tall buildings could play in defining the image of Bristol, tall buildings should demonstrate design excellence. This should be achieved through: • architectural quality; • the effective use of resources; • high-quality materials; • innovative and sustainable building design and construction; • a high quality public realm; and • a sensitive and thoughtful response to the impacts that tall buildings place upon the urban landscape.” “It should be recognised that this can be a highly emotive and subjective issue, and that considerable public debate should be both expected and encouraged,” the document states.

A SEPARATE document, Urban Living, begins with mayor Marvin Rees’s assertion that “tall buildings represent ambition”. He says: “Years of low level buildings and a reluctance to build up in an already congested city is something I am keen to change.” Bedminster Green and the Temple Quarter enterprise zone are both included as sites suitable for high-rise buildings. The guidance says that tall buildings must be well designed – and acknowledges that a lot of consultation will be needed before they can be built. The Urban Living draft states:


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AMONG the proposals which affect South Bristol are: • A total of 11,000 homes built in the south of the city in the next 20 years. For comparison, the central area of the city is expected to get 13,500 homes, but this includes St Philip’s. North Bristol expects 6,000 homes and East Bristol 5,000. • Homes and new flood defences for St Philip’s, while increasing the number of jobs in the area, using “higher intensity employment uses”. • Replacing the bridges and flyovers in Cumberland Basin, which are “aging and outdated” with around 3,500 homes in a plan called Western Harbour, with potential for development on the south side of the River Avon as well as the north side. • Up to 2,200 homes in central Bedminster. Around 1,400 homes are proposed around Bedminster Green (though this number keeps changing). Others will be near Parson Street station, Bedminster Down Road, West Street and Winterstoke Road; it’s not clear exactly where. • Brislington’s Park & Ride could be moved to Hicks Gate, with the car park used for at least 750 homes, with around 350 more homes on “underused land in central Brislington”. • Hengrove is already expecting

HOW TO COMMENT THE LOCAL plan and the Urban Living document (about tall buildings) can be seen at libraries and at • bristol.gov.uk/en_US/ planning-and-buildingregulations/local-plan-review Queries can be sent by email to blp@bristol.gov.uk or by post to Strategic City Planning Team, Bristol City Council, City Hall, PO Box 3176, Bristol BS3 9FS.

Looking north down a new avenue with shops at Hengrove Park 1,500 or more homes at Hengrove Park and up to 480 nearby at Hartcliffe campus. • New homes in Knowle West at Filwood Broadway, Novers


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WHAT’S BEEN LEFT OUT? THE ARENA – still in theory a possibility to be built next to Temple Meads – is not mentioned in the Local Plan.

Hill and Airport Road. It has been suggested that there could be infilling between homes on the Knowle West estate. • Parts of the Green Belt on

the edge of Bristol could be used for housing. Details will follow in consultation later this year but land north of Ashton Vale town green, to the west of the Pavillions office complex, and west of Elsbert Drive are being examined. Allotments and Ashton Vale town green, Highridge common and Bedminster Down common will be preserved as open space. Outside the city, expect plans for new villages near Long Ashton. • The Temple Quarter enterprise zone is to be extended to include: Arnos Vale – the Arnos Manor hotel and former ITV studio; Mead Street – the industrial area including the Post Office delivery centre off St Luke’s Road; Brislington – the area between Sandy Park Road and Bloomfield Road.

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April 2018





When will people be able to look at a plan for all of Bedminster Green? BEDMINSTER Green, the muchdelayed major development site between East Street and the railway running past Windmill Hill, still has no masterplan from which the public can gauge its impact. Five developers are drawing up plans for the five major sites around the green. It’s now expected the area could take up to 1,500 homes, but the number has changed several times. Further details may emerge in early April, when the developers are due to make a presentation to local councillors. But there is still

Five developers and no sign of how their plans fit together no sign of a unified plan being presented, even though all the developers meet as part of the Bedminster Green Collaboration Group. Councillors, residents and pressure groups such as WHaM and BS3 Planning want a framework plan that guides the whole site so that people can see how each plot fits together, and where the community facilities

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PLOT BY PLOT Plot 1 Malago Road, Rollo Homes seeking planning permission for 183 homes. After several revisions, no sign of a quick decision. Plot 3 NCP car park, Deeley Freed No plans or building heights have emerged. Judging by density of homes, it could be 6-8 storeys. But the firm has discovered it will need more land than it thought and has taken back a plot at Clarke Street, which it had agreed could be used by

Urbis for an energy centre. Plot 4 Little Paradise, off Malago Road Dandara No pictures available, but a 21-storey tower proposed among smaller blocks of one- and two-bedroom flats Plot 5 Whitehouse Lane, Urbis A new station opening onto a new open space, an 18-storey tower, but now no student homes. Land is council-owned. St Catherine’s Place, Firmstone Not strictly part of the Green, but next to it. See main story.

will be.In the latest twist, it has emerged that Urbis’s district energy centre, to provide electricity and heat to up to 2,000 homes, will have to move. It was due to be sited at Clarke Street, off Whitehouse Lane. But site owner Deeley Freed, which wants to develop the adjacent NCP car park, now needs the land, and Urbis is looking at a new site. Urbis’s Richard Clarke, promised consultation on the new site for the gas-fired plant when it is announced. “I appreciate that a number of people were concerned about emissions,” said Mr Clarke. There was dismay from several residents who attended a presentation at Windmill Hill City Farm about developer Firmstone’s plan for St Catherine’s Place. The site already has a 2014 planning permission for a 16-storey tower, but Firmstone now wants 21 storeys and 232 homes. This is “completely unacceptable,” according to WHaM member Howard Purse. Slightly less controversial is Firmstone’s plan to convert the unloved six-storey office block above the St Catherine’s shopping centre into 54 flats, adding two floors on top. It is still unclear what

community benefits the different developers will provide. The St Catherine’s Place plan from Firmstone includes a cinema, gym and restaurants as well as offices. But these are commercial developments, not free-to-use community facilities. Urbis wants to modernise Bedminster station, open up the River Malago and provide new public spaces – though WHaM opposes the loss of the Green and its trees, and can’t see the point of a new station entrance. Doctors’ and dentists’ surgeries have been proposed. Now it appears Bedminster’s new super-GP practice, which combines five family practices, doesn’t want new premises on the Green. A new surgery in Marksbury Road, now being built, will ensure there is enough capacity for Bedminster Green’s residents, it is claimed. No new school is proposed – though it’s predicted that if one is needed, it could be built in the Whitehouse Street area. This industrial area could be the next area to be redeveloped after the Green, sweeping away businesses such as Park Furnishers. It’s not clear how many affordable homes will be built, though Urbis’s Richard Clarke has said taller buildings would allow more social housing.


submitted is from Bedminsterbased Rollo Homes. After several changes it has been reduced by one storey to nine floors with 183 flats but there is no sign of the council making a decision soon. Planning officials want an investigation of any contamination of the land at Plot 1, on Malago Road, which is currently leased free by Rollo to the Help Bristol’s Homeless charity. Transport officials haven’t published their views, which when revealed could add weeks of work on new requirements.

DEVELOPER Urbis, headed by managing director Richard Clarke, drew up the first framework for the area in 2015. It envisaged just under 1,250 homes, with work starting in 2016 and completed during 2019. Three years later, not a brick has been laid, no planning application has been passed, and the baton for the framework plan has been passed by Urbis back to the council. The only planning application

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April 2018





‘Don’t allow Bedminster to be ruined like Totterdown was’ LOCAL people are not being consulted on changes in council policy for high-rise housing which will change South Bristol forever, says the chair of one of the area’s most prominent community groups. “We are pretty much horrified by the proposals for high-density housing,” said Nick Townsend, chair of Windmill Hill and Malago planning group, WHaM. He fears the plans could be as much of a disaster for Bedminster as the botched plans for a new ring road in Totterdown, which destroyed hundreds of homes and tore the heart out of a community, all for no purpose. “This will change Bedminster for good, and such a short time has been allowed for consultation,” said Mr Townsend. Comments on the council’s wide-ranging Local Plan, and the accompanying Urban Living document that sets out a stall for high-rises, closes on April 13. Only one public meeting has been arranged. “I think people don’t know what’s going to happen,” said Mr Townsend. “My sense is that it’s being put through with indecent haste and local people are not being given opportunity to comment.” A lot of the documents are online and many people, especially older residents, haven’t seen the proposals, he said. Mr Townsend fears the communities in Windmill Hill and Bedminster could suffer as much as Totterdown did in the 1960s and 1970s, when a grandiose dual carriageway plan tore down 550 shops and houses, removing one of Bristol’s most vibrant shopping areas. “Totterdown was an absolute disaster and they are making the same mistake – Totterdown never recovered from that.” The mayor did not make his enthusiasm for tower blocks clear before he was elected, said Mr Townsend. He accused the mayor of producing only anecdotal evidence in favour of tower blocks – Mr Rees has said he knows people who grew up happily in council high-rises, while others were unhappy in

Plans by Firmstone for a 21-storey tower at St Catherine’s Place. Another developer, Dandara, proposes a 21-storey tower next to it. Yet no-one is showing how the buildings will look together low-rise homes. But all the evidence is that high rises are bad for people and communities, Mr Townsend said. “What we are after in WHaM is a healthy community,” he said. “Communities are going to be more and more important. As the workplace shifts to a gig economy, more of us live on our own, and the population ages, the local community becomes more important. “These changes could be disastrous for Bedminster. I think it’s storing up problems for the future.” The mayor and his cabinet members argue that it’s essential to build high-density housing to provide places to live for local people who currently can’t afford to rent or buy. WHaM is sceptical about how many Bedminster families will move into the Green. “Are these flats going to be affordable? I don’t think so,” said Mr Townsend. “We urge the mayor to start listening to the concerns of local residents and think again, instead of the present top-down, target driven approach Most people would agree that the building of tower blocks in the 60s and 70s was disastrous. The mayor says the results will be different this time, but he has not produced any evidence to back this up.” The council should be asking local people for ideas, he said. The council’s Urban Living document shows pictures of “ideal” high-density schemes at Wapping Wharf and at

Paintworks. Yet neither of these is high-rise – similar schemes might be welcomed at Bedminster Green, but instead tower blocks of 18 and 21 storeys are proposed, he said.

STATION TO STATION WHaM questions the need for the cherished mature trees and the green in front of Bedminster station to be ripped up. The aim of developer Urbis is to build a new entrance to the station on the Bedminster side, allowing much easier access, a short step from a new Metrobus stop. It will also improve disabled access, says Urbis. It will also mean removing several of the trees from the green as Whitehouse Lane is moved. More of the trees will have to go on the other side of the green to make room for a widened Malago Road, to allow an extra bus lane and better cycle and walkways. These encroachments will leave little of the green as it is. It may be ripped up entirely and a car park built underneath. Nick Townsend of WHaM says no one in Windmill Hill has asked for a new station entrance. The 18-storey tower Urbis proposes next to the green would be “absolutely suffocating,” he said.

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April 2018





On patrol: How the police tackle drug dealers on the streets of South Bristol

Are you renting your home in Bristol? Need help or advice?

South Bristol Voice editor Paul Breeden spent a morning on the streets of Knowle with Operation Baseline. It was eye-opening.


PERATION Baseline is the continuous operation run by police in South Bristol to try to keep a lid on the drug trade. Officers don’t treat drug dealing as a problem for the police alone. Often the people involved have problems with housing, with addiction, with mental health or with getting a job, and what they really need is help. Police work with social services, housing teams, drug agencies and other organisations to help people with drug problems put their lives back together. But it’s also one of the police priorities to keep the peace. And this means sometimes direct action has to be taken to protect other people. There are many parts

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April 2018

9am Arrive at Broadbury Road police station. The SBV bicycle is stowed in the secure car park, then there’s a briefing with an Avon & Somerset police press officer, and PC Ben Jefferies, who’s going to guide me through the day’s events. Ben explains officers will execute search warrants – obtained that morning from Bristol Crown Court – on two homes on a Knowle estate. Intelligence suggests there will be Class A drugs such as heroin or crack cocaine, plus evidence of dealing. 9.30am We wait for the team to assemble – five officers will enter each property. Two will break the doors with a ram while three more rush in to detain the occupants and stop any evidence being destroyed. 9.50am We move outside. Both properties are up flights of stairs so, to gain surprise, the teams are in two unmarked vehicles. Sometimes the sight of marked police vans leaving Broadbury Road is noticed, and warnings are passed to dealers in the area. 9.52am Ben and I get in a police Vauxhall Corsa. “Sorry,

of South Bristol where people are living next to drug dealers. They may suffer endless visitors to their neighbour at day and night, hearing violence and shouting, perhaps blaring music too. Sometimes the dealing is blatant – people knocking on a door or sidling up to a parked car for a quick swap of cash and a small plastic package. Sometimes things turn violent, when one dealer turns on another to steal their drugs, or to collect an unpaid debt. Even worse, there are dealers who think nothing of taking over the home of someone weaker than themselves so that they can find a new place to sell from. Sometimes they force the occupant to grow cannabis in their loft or bedroom. Sometimes people are coerced into doing what the dealer wants by the offer of some of the product. it’s honking,” Ben apologises, startled by the smell when he opens the doors. The car has obviously been used to transport someone with a hygiene problem. Ben opens the windows. 10am The teams have moved in, and we’re off. 10.06am We arrive at the estate. The two properties are visible to each other, which is why the raids are made simultaneously. There’s been no violence – if police had expected serious trouble, the teams would have been bigger. In the first property, we find the two male occupants are being searched in the living room. In the other rooms, officers are methodically searching everything, from food containers in the kitchen to bedroom drawers. 10.14am No drugs found yet – but in a spare room cluttered with old bikes and belongings, there are plastic containers of plant growth chemicals. There’s no garden; what’s been grown here? A possible clue: there’s a hole in the ceiling. It looks as if wires may have trailed up to the loft: to power a cannabis grow? 10.21am We take a look at the second property raided. Here Continued overleaf

Well protected: This front door was braced by two large pieces of wood, right. By the time police broke in “evidence” was doused in the bath

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April 2018




Continued from page 15 officers needed a bit more effort to get in: the door had been reinforced with two heavy timber beams which slotted in brackets screwed to the wall. The occupant of the flat is being searched in a bedroom. “Do you want to go in the bathroom and look in the bath?” suggests Sgt Dan Ashfield, who’s in charge of the operation. 10.22am Dan’s unusual request is soon explained. The bath has been filled with a few inches of water. But no one’s been washing their hair here: lying in the water is a complete set of heavyweight kitchen knives, including a cleaver, plus a penknife, and a mug. And a swirl of brown powder. Presumably, someone dumped these in here while the door was being bashed in. Are the knives weapons? Or have they got traces of drugs on them which the occupant hopes will now have washed off. 10.24am In the kitchen, on a plate, are 43 white pills. Next to them, two boxes of Propanolol. The pills could be paracetamol, often used for cutting or thinning out heroin to make a sale more profitable. Propanolol turns out to be a beta blocker, used to treat heart conditions – so perhaps it was prescribed to the occupant. 10.25am Not so innocent, however, is a baseball bat lying on the windowsill. The window opens onto an outside stairway. Was this the serving hatch where the occupant dished out drugs? 10.27am The living room, like the rest of the flat, is dirty and has bare chipboard floors. It looks like one person lives here, in some squalor. On top of a heater is a bundle of banknotes, mostly £20s – several hundred pounds at least, weighted down by a bottle of aftershave. Next to it is a large jar full of coins, mostly £1 and £2 – probably hundreds of pounds more. Someone has taken the trouble to leave a note next to it saying this money is their personal savings. 10.45am We move back to the first property, where the occupants are now talking to officers in one of the bedrooms. We join two more officers who are searching the living room. This flat is disorganised, with clothes and belongings strewn everywhere, but it’s much more homely than the other one. Three leather chairs sit in front of the TV. There’s a tall bar chair by the window, which overlooks a


April 2018






Innocent items? Kitchen knives and a brown powder in the bath, and a baseball bat left handily by the window of one of the homes raided

Pills found in a Kinder egg will be sent off for forensic analysis

‘There are people who will seriously hurt you if you come up short’

a dark liquid. Blood, I ask? No, probably drugs, says Ben. It’s left untouched, like all the suspicious objects, ready to be bagged up and sent off for examination. Also in the drawer is a cheap mobile phone. Two others lie nearby. 10.51am In a clear plastic bag on the floor are some packets of prescription drugs. One is thiamine hydrochloride, which can be used to treat people with cirrhosis, stomach problems or alcoholism. Nearby is a pack of cold relief capsules, containing caffeine. Someone might have a cold. Or it might be used to cut heroin to make a less powerful high called “cheese”. 10.52am An officer turns up several plastic Kinder egg inserts. These are popular with drug

road junction. A lookout spot to see who’s coming? There’s also a foot-operated bolt on the living room door. Are these defensive measures or entirely innocent? 10.46am There is a coffee table in front of the TV. It holds a grimy ashtray and several homemade pipes of the kind used for smoking crack. One is made from copper pipe and a gas fitting. There are tiny twists of clingfilm and paper

VILLAINS OR VICTIMS? IT MAY surprise readers that after finding such a lot of evidence of apparent drug dealing, no one was immediately arrested. As PC Ben Jefferies explained, that’s not aways necessary. “It would be different if we had smashed the door down and they were fighting with us, or they had dogs, or they are not letting us search them. The only way we can safely manage that is in a custody suite.” The morning’s events may sound dramatic but it’s an ordinary day for Operation Baseline. Officers learn to treat the low-level dealers as victims rather than master criminals. “They are not scared of the police but they are scared of the

that Ben says are the kind used for individual wraps of drugs. On a cigarette paper is a tiny brown cube of what the officers say could be crack cocaine. 10.47am In plain view are a badly-scorched spoon and a small butane burner. Beside the table is a sharp kitchen knife. 10.49am An officer opens a drawer and calls Ben over. Inside is a syringe part-full of Stash of cash: Found in the raids

people in the food chain above them. There are people above them who will seriously hurt you if you come up short. People get hurt for sums of money that are really ridiculous,” said Ben. The money that’s been seized from the property was probably about to be paid out to a supplying dealer. It’s a debt, and even though the police have

seized it, the money will still be considered owed. The only way to pay it may be more criminality. “Very rarely does it get written off,” says Ben. “People think it’s good guys and bad guys,” he says. But it’s not that simple: “We are dealing with lots and lots of vulnerable people.” But there is hope that young are turning away from addicted lifestyles. Many of the hardened addicts today took up crack cocaine on its first arrival in the 1990s. Ben said: “I honestly think that the younger generation are growing up seeing drug users on their doorsteps, maybe family members, and think they will turn their back on it, because they won’t like what it’s done to the people that they know.”

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NEARLY 1,000 pupils at Ashton Park school, Merchants Academy and Bedminster Down school have learned first-hand about the destruction and misery that drugs, gangs and knives can bring. Ex-offender and drug addict Paul Hannaford told students how he was expelled from school at the age of 11 after taking his first cannabis joint. He became involved in gangs and regularly carried knives. He ended up as a heroin and crack cocaine addict, going in and out of prison. Eventually, Paul went into rehab in Weston-super-Mare. Paul told the students he has to take medication for the rest of his life because of the blood clots left in his body. He has to dress the wounds on his legs daily, which are hugely swollen and bleed constantly, due to infections picked up from injecting drugs. “Paul’s workshops do not glamourise his past life. The users as they can be used to store pills. These are all empty – except for one, which contains what looks like paracetamol. 11.02am Ben and I leave the property and get in the police car. I ask him what will happen next. “We have found quite a quantity of apparent prescription drugs and cash that’s been seized,” he says.” Will the three occupants of the properties be arrested, I ask? Not necessarily, he says. If they are co-operative, there may be no need. That may surprise people, I say: there are clear indications

THE AFTERMATH THE EVENTS of March 7 – just an average day for Operation Baseline – will take weeks or months to play out. Meanwhile, other avenues will open up. As the Voice went to press, the police reported that a man in his 40s was released under investigation from the first address. A quantity of white powder has been sent off for analysis and officers are awaiting forensic results before proceeding. At the second address, with the reinforced front door, the suspect, a man in his 30s, was again released under investigation. More than £600 in cash and a quantity of tablets were found at the address. Officers are awaiting the forensic results on the tablets and

criminality, violence and drug addiction he lived through is not sugar-coated – he tells it like it is

and the kids listen,” said police youth strategy officer PC Kris Wither.

Paul Hannaford: Ex-offender tells youngsters the misery his drug use caused him

of drug dealing, both flats had strange defensive precautions, and one contained both cash and several knives which the occupant apparently wanted wiped of evidence. Ben says: “We can still gather evidence and interview people without them being arrested.” 11.25am Back at Broadbury Road, Sgt Ashfield explains the minimum-force approach that’s taken with Operation Baseline. He prefers to use local officers from the beat team, he says, as they are always out in the community

and people get to know them. The suspects “are not master criminals”, he says, “maybe actually they are being used.” Operations are targeted where people are suffering most from anti-social behaviour – often in Knowle West or Hartcliffe. The police are thinly-stretched. I tell him about a Totterdown street where residents have complained of frequent noise and rough behaviour by a group of men who seem to think they’re above the law. He sympathises, and says the beat team are aware. 11.58am Another operation may be imminent. A suspect wanted on a warrant may be at home.

But police need to confirm this; and are there children at the address? If so, social services will be needed. We wait. 12.15pm At four rows of desks, officers are busy filing reports. One phones the victim of a road accident and tells her how he’s traced the driver she thought had driven off for good. Others discuss a suspect arrested for violence. Several times, officers ask each other if anyone has any keys – they are looking for a spare police car they can use. 1.15pm A raid takes place – but without us. News came in of another suspect, and immediate action was needed.

examination of a mobile phone. It’s expected that the occupants of the flats will be called into the station for an interview under caution and then officers will make a decision on whether to charge or not. Whether or not charges result, the police action is intended to send a message. Officers don’t believe they can end the drugs trade, but they can reduce it. In particular, they’re aiming to reduce the fear and the nuisance that living near a drugs dealer can bring. The more people see that action is being taken to reduce street drug dealing, and remove problem tenants from social housing, the more willing people will be to pass intelligence to the police. That’s the theory.

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

April 2018



April 2018


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RARELY have I seen a more miserable vision of the future than mayor Marvin Rees’s depressing manifesto for castles in the air published in your recent issue of the South Bristol Voice. “Quality tall buildings”, otherwise called by those in the know tower blocks, have seen their day in Glasgow and Sheffield, among other places, possibly including Bristol, where this pie in the sky approach to human beings has been described as the erection of the gulags. Despite all the evidence of the lack of continuing investment after the event, mayor Rees foresees a future of social cohesion, mixed communities and a ‘liveable’ environment 30 metres plus into the sky. Some might say show us the evidence, emanating from Room 101 in the Council House. Dynamic Bristol, the gridlocked and polluted vision of the future, devoid of vision, any green space, any potential for collective or individual initiative except to join

Sight of drug deal leads to a major haul in Windmill Hill


cannabis, cocaine and acid. Officers also seized a number of scales, mobile phones, cash and receipts. The 19-year old man was arrested for being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and was released under investigation while our inquiries are carried out. This is a great success for the community and sends a powerful message that we are committed to making our streets safer, but we need your help. Please report any suspicious activity you see. You can do this via the ‘contact us’ section of our website or if it’s a crime in progress, call 999.


otterdown has been experiencing a couple of crime types including some bicycle thefts, particularly in the

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

Development is tale of two cities I WELCOME redevelopment at Bedminster Green but it has to be high quality, and there has to be true consultation with local people. Instead, a series of high rise blocks, one of which may be 21 storeys, are planned. The developers have not consulted with the local community in any meaningful way. Our mayor is personally championing high rise as a housing solution for Bristol (in tune with the Tory government) and I notice that the areas designated as suitable are all in the south-easterly, less affluent half of the city, not the richer north-west side, where perhaps different standards are applied. It’s a shame Mr Rees doesn’t listen to the people who voted for him. The HAB development at Southmead (North Bristol) truly consulted locally and, guess what, they didn’t build any tower blocks. Esmé Clutterbuck Eldon Terrace, Windmill Hill

Happy as a crested newt JUST to reassure you that the great crested newts are alive and well in my back garden pond!


HIS month I am pleased to bring some good news to the residents of Windmill Hill. On an afternoon in February, a young man was seen conducting a drug deal on Spring Street, Bedminster, from his vehicle. That evening, officers went to his home in Windmill Hill and conducted a search which led to the seizure of a significant amount of drugs including suspected MDMA,

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

that of the developers’ paradise, must have delighted those Mass Observation volunteers from the sunlit uplands of Easton. What company to associate oneself with, what larks Pip, what money to spend? The council coffers are apparently overflowing. Those of us that have to get up in the morning and return home in the evening have first-hand experience of jammed roads across Bristol, cars littering pavements, pollution illegal under EU legislation and an environment rapidly becoming not fit to live in. Only in the inner sanctums of College Green could it be thought that tower block urban development will resolve these problems and the New Jerusalem be espied, in much the same way as central Bristol was after the second world war. How we loved the demolition of a city cherished for hundreds of years, all that concrete, the multi-storey car parks, the wind, the very soullessness of the future inflicted on us Winston Smiths. We might now grow to love this utopian vision of a Brave New World, living under its rules of psychological conditioning and homes for all. We might decide we would all be better off to drop acid, Aldous Huxley’s alternative. They’ve certainly been imbibing something strong off Park Street. John French Monmouth Street


I recently discovered a group of them tucked away. I have informed Avon Wildlife, who advised to do nothing other than what I have been doing, as they seem to be happy. If I have an opportunity to snap a photo of them I will send it to you. Julia Broadwalk area, Knowle

Parking solution is years away THE PROBLEM is clear to us all: there isn’t enough room for both residents and commuters to park in large parts of South Bristol. I don’t live in Windmill Hill or Totterdown but I can imagine the problem there is acute. I can tell you that even in Knowle, some way up Wells Road, there are plenty of commuters arriving every morning and seeking out a free paking space where they can leave their car for the day. On occasion the vehicles stay there for a week or more – in which case it’s free holiday parking that we’re providing. The arrival of resident parking zones is inevitable. So it was very depressing to read in the Voice last month that it will take years before any new zones can be implemented. Can someone please wake up and start the ball rolling now? PF, Knowle

With PCSO Richard Higbey Broadbury Road police station Angers Road and County Street area, while Fitzroy Street has had a criminal damage report. We are working to combat these issues and we do rely on the information you might be able to provide us. In order to prevent bicycle theft, consider marking your property, investing in a good quality lock (expect to spend around 10 per cent of the cost of the bike on a lock), and registering it on the Bike Register website.


e have been dealing with a slight spike in burglary and theft offences in the Knowle area this month. Different areas have been targeted including Broadwalk, Bayham Road and Rookery Road. Be aware of who is around,

and be wary of unexpected callers. Get to know your neighbours and look at improving the security of your home. It’s worth noting that a third of burglaries in the Avon and Somerset area happen because people have left doors or windows unlocked, so always lock up before you go out or go to bed. Don’t hesitate to contact your local beat team for any information on how to make your home safer, we are more than happy to help and can provide you with advice. I hope to bring you some more success stories next month. Enjoy the rest of this issue and Happy Easter! Until next time, PCSO Richard Higbey • avonandsomerset.police.uk/ your-area

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

April 2018





We can show you how to avoid a nasty fall OLDER people are being offered a new way to feel safer on their feet – and reduce their chances of ending up in hospital. The council is rolling out Staying Steady classes across the city, showing people easy ways to avoid falling over. The classes are aimed at helping older people improve their independence, stay mobile and healthy while offering a fun way to stay active and socialise. There are estimated to be around 58,800 people living in Bristol who are aged 65 or over and 55,000, and of those 95 per cent are believed to be living independently. Of this 16,000 – almost a third – fall at least once a year. Of those aged 80 or over, about half have falls every year. And in 2015/16, figures show that 1,669 people were admitted as emergency cases to hospital in Bristol after being injured in a fall. Inspiration for the classes

has come from successful programmes in other parts of the country and a trial has been held at the Greenway Centre in Southmead for more than two years. Cllr Asher Craig, deputy mayor with responsibility for communities, said: “As we get older we know that many of the things that people take for granted can get harder. “We’ve seen how the classes can have a real impact on people’s lives, offering a chance to socialise, stay healthy and independent for much longer. “If you’re feeling unsteady when moving around, are worried about falling or are less mobile than you’d like to be, I would encourage you to come and try out your local class.” The classes are run by trained staff who can adapt the exercises to suit individuals of all abilities. Exercises can be done standing or seated.

April 2018

Prevention: Almost 1,700 people were hospitalised by falls in Bristol

WHERE TO STAY STEADY The Park Centre Daventry Road, Knowle BS4 1DQ Phone: 0117 903 9770 E-mail: gym.instructors@ theparkcentre.org.uk Staying steady classes: Monday 3-4pm

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Strength and balance classes to help you keep moving and live a healthy balanced life Classes available at: Easton Leisure Centre, Hengrove Park Leisure Centre, The Park Centre in Knowle, The Greenway Centre Brunel Fitness Centre www.bristol.gov.uk/stayingsteady To advertise, contact sales@southbristolvoice.co.uk or Ruth on 07590 527664


Row over views as plan for homes near church gets close to a decision DEVELOPERS who want to put a high-density housing development on a prominent street corner in Totterdown have produced their own images in an attempt to show it will not ruin local views Community group Tresa fears that developer Crossman may have won over council planners with the fifth and latest version of its plan for homes on a derelict site at the corner of Bathwell Road and Goolden Street. In the latest revision, the height of the two- and three-story block of seven homes has been reduced – but only by 20cm. A total of 72 comments on the planning application were lodged with the council website – 70


opposing the plans and two in support. Objectors say that not only will the new homes overwhelm the much smaller two-storey houses in Bathwell Road, but the iconic view of Holy Nativity church, which can be seen over a wide area of Bristol, will be changed forever. Crossman has released photos of Holy Nativity church to support its claim that the views of the church will not be greatly changed. Residents appear to disagree, judging by the number of objections. Linn Waite, a resident of Stanley Hill and a director of community group Tresa, said: “If

View up the hill: How developer Crossman says the view of Holy Nativity church will be affected from Stanley Hill

this design went ahead it will impact more than just the people in the close-by streets, it will change the skyline for ever. Yet with some simple changes this could be supported.” Tresa wants all the homes reduced to two storeys, making them about 7m high rather than 11m, setting them back from the pavement, and changing from brick to a render finish to fit in with the neighbourhood. Typical of the objections was this from a resident of Hillside Street: “Please listen to the neighbours who want housing in this plot, but housing that is in keeping with the area and

appropriate for the space that is to be developed. This proposal makes scant improvement on the last one and should be rejected.” The plan received no objection from highways officials, although they will require double yellow lines to prevent parking at the corner of Goolden Street, with dropped kerbs to allow pedestrians to cross. Cllr Jon Wellington has asked that the plan be debated by councillors if it is recommended for approval. He cited residents’ concerns including the fact that the homes will open onto the pavement, and the height will be overwhelming.

Pub not happy at choice of site for bike hangars THE HOPED-FOR solution to the saga of the bicycle hangars of Somerset Road may not be a solution after all. Officials from the council’s Cycling Ambition Fund hoped to appease residents both for and against the bike stores by placing them out of sight of most homes – outside the George pub at the Wells Road end of the street. But no-one had thought to tell the pub’s landlords about the idea – and they are not happy. Licensee Kevin Matthews told the Voice the pub has suffered a fair bit of crime recently, including bike thefts (see panel). He fears siting the metal hangars near the pub, out of sight of most homes, could tempt thieves to try to break into them. The roadspace earmarked for the bike stores was also where the draymen park the pub’s beer delivery. However, Kevin met a council official on March 19 and persuaded him to move the site slightly. The 12-bike-capacity

BUNGLING PUB THIEF LETS HIS IDENTITY SLIP CRIMINALS have targeted the George pub in Wells Road, only a few months after a hapless burglar was caught after breaking in there. In the latest incident, on February 21, a member of the Knowle pub’s pool team had his bike stolen even though it was locked to a street sign. The pub’s CCTV shows two youths hanging around the bike between 9.30 and 10.15pm, moving away whenever customers came outside for a smoke, and eventually stealing it. Hours later, the same camera

caught two more youths, aged only 14-15, sitting on the decking outside the pub at 2.45am. Pub landlady Val Matthews said the youths looked as if they were about to smash a window in the pub when a police car passed by. “One of them had a wooden spindle in his hand [ripped from the pub’s decking] and he was looking at the window, but a police car went by and they legged it,” Val said. She also revealed that the pub was burgled six months before. Wearing a balaclava to hide his face, the burglar avoided setting off the alarm while he rifled cash from charity boxes in the night. But the thief’s cunning was for

nothing when he made a basic error – as he left through the door, setting off the alarm, he took off his balaclava, giving a security camera a good view of his face. “It was quite frightening to think that we were upstairs while this was going on,” said Val. “But when the police saw the footage, they knew who he was – they matched him to fingerprints from other places.” Police believe the man – who is now behind bars – was responsible for burglaries at eight or so pubs and restaurants across Bristol. He visited each the day before, looking at their security – but not carefully enough, in the case of the George.

hangars have proved controversial, with petitions for and against presented to the council, signed in roughly equal numbers. Opponents say the bike stores won’t cut car use by much, could cause noise and are ugly.

Supporters say they will encourage people not to drive, and will allow people in cramped Victorian homes to store their bike safely. Even supporters are not overjoyed at the choice of site. Jonathan Wright, one of the

proponents of the scheme, said: “I would have preferred one of the hangars to be nearer to the centre of Somerset Road where there’s greatest demand, but I hope we can make the location at the George work.” • Your councillors: Page 40

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



April 2018

April 2018




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THERE’S nothing like a Sunday roast to round off the Easter weekend. But how do you know where your meat has come from? With Meatbox, the butcher at Wapping Wharf, the answer is simple – it’s as local as you can get. Meatbox was opened last November by Chew Valley farmer Luke Hasell. All meat is humanely reared on Luke’s farm or a select number of other Mendip farms which also care deeply about animal welfare. Meatbox also

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enlisted the generous advertisers on these pages. Insurance firm Mark Richard, estate agent Greenwoods and social care firm Silva Care have all placed advertisements in support of the scheme, and the Voice will donate half the amount they pay, meaning there is already £200 in the kitty. Now Usborne organiser Josie Abram wants to hear from South Bristol schools that would like to benefit from the free books. She has lots of fundraising ideas that schools can use. Josie can organise an event for schools called Ready, Steady, Read. This is a sponsored reading session where children raise money themselves by reading for a set time. However much they raise, Usborne will donate free books. For early-years groups, the event could be Ready, Steady Listen. Other events such as bake-offs could also be held. Josie said: “I’ve been


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Wide selection: Josie Abram wants to help pupils to do more reading supporting schools in their fundraising efforts for books for the past two years and know the difference that sets of brand new books can make for the school and the children using them. “In the current climate of cuts, this is even more pressing.” Schools and early years

groups who would like to join the free books scheme can contact Josie at josiesbooksforchildren@ gmail.com If you’re a local business that would like to support the scheme – perhaps you have a link with a particular school – email paul@ southbristolvoice.co.uk


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Lots of activities to keep you busy in the holidays THERE ARE lots of activities to keep youngsters busy in South Bristol during the Easter holidays. At Creative Workspace in Queens Road, Withywood, there are free creative activities for young families and older people aged 55+ to enjoy together. On Friday April 13, the activity will be decorating rocks to support the Bristol Rocks project from 11am-12.30pm. To find out more call 0117 964 6799 or email bravebolddrama@gmail.com At Windmill Hill City Farm in Philip Street, Bedminster, events include Woodland Tribe sessions on April 3 and 4, 10am-4pm. Children can use hammers, nails and saws, build dens, be creative with natural materials, and play freely with nature. No booking required, £5 per child aged 6+ for two hours – children must be accompanied by an adult. Sandwiching these sessions, the Wild Outdoors Club will be on March 29 and April 5, 10am12noon, with crafts, nature activities and games. It is £10 per child of 6+, book online at windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk At Arnos Vale cemetery, there are story times with a difference – the story is read outdoors and children move around to follow the events. On Tuesday March 27 the Stomping Story is Superworm, when those aged 3+ can follow the trail of the amazing Superworm, who has been captured by a wicked Wizard Lizard. Children also learn how to make a wormery. It’s £5, at

Arnos Vale: Stories outdoors 10.30am, 1pm and 2.15pm. On Thursday March 29 the Stomping Story is Guess How Much I Love You, when children can collect Easter egg clues and then decorate an egg to take home. It’s £5 per child, 10.3011.15 am, and foam eggs are used, so children with egg allergies can attend. Booking recommended. • arnosvale.co.uk/events The Tobacco Factory theatre has workshops where young people of all ages can learn about how a play is made. There’s a two-day session on April 3 and 4, when 12-16 year-olds can create their own condensed version of Macbeth, the Shakespeare tragedy which is now playing in the main theatre. On April 4, 8-11 year-olds can create their own stories on the theme Myths and Legends, and on April 6, 5-7 year-olds get their turn at the same activity. The two-day event costs £55 and the one-day sessions £30. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com

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ADULTS with additional needs who enjoy drama and dressing up can head for the Creative Workspace in Queens Road, Withywood, where they are staging a Show in A Week, from Monday April 2 to Friday April 6. The Brave Bold Drama theatre company is taking on the Hollywood classic Easter Parade

starring Fred Astaire and Judy Garland. Participants will be making props and costumes for their own staging of the musical, which will be performed at the end of the week. The cost for the week is £15. For details call 0117 964 6799 or email bravebolddrama@gmail.com • brave-bold-drama.co.uk

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

April 2018




A teenager’s first step to independence Young people leaving care are looking for a home COULD you help a young person take their first steps in independent living by providing them with a room of their own? That’s the request from Bristol city council, which is looking for more people in South Bristol who are prepared to open up their home to a teenager. The council’s Branchout programme has been successful at finding first homes for a number of young people who have either just left care, or have been homeless. The key to success is making sure the young person and their host get on with other and agree some ground rules, said organiser Donna Forbes-Hamilton. “In the matching process they can see if they like each other,”


IMON and his family have been hosting a young person in their Southville home for seven months. So far it’s been a very positive experience, said Simon – not only for the 18-year-old who lives with them but for Simon, his wife and their two children, aged 14 and 16. “He’s a very smart, switched on lad who needs somewhere to live,”

said Simon. “He has come out of the care system and has a place at university next year. Meanwhile he is working part-time. “We all eat together, and discuss the issues of the world together, and he cooks with my wife.” Simon’s two children have welcomed the new house guest. “They have made him very

welcome, and it definitely wasn’t mum and dad saying, ‘There’s someone coming to live with us’.” Some of the Branchout young people need help with everyday tasks like cooking, but Simon says their young man is fairly self sufficient. “We have helped him with his CV, and helped him sort out accommodation for when he goes to university,” said Simon.

said Donna. “Once that is done we find it works really well.” The host receives £160 a week from the council, plus £15 from the young person, for providing a room and some support to the young person. They might appreciate some help with cooking, or they might need assistance filling in various official forms. Each young person taking part will have a support worker or social worker, and a Branchout co-ordinator is available to discuss concerns.

“Some will need help with practical tasks such as cooking, budgeting or shopping economically. Others will need more emotional support. Many will need both. The idea is that the young person gradually takes on more responsibility for looking after themselves until they reach the point where they feel confident about their ability to manage tasks on their own.” The teenagers will all have a job or be in education, so they won’t be at home all day, and

they will agree a behaviour contract, so they know coming home at 3am is not an option. “It’s a big commitment but it’s really rewarding,” said Donna. The idea is that the young person will learn the skills they need to live independently and get their own tenancy. They may stay as long as two years, but many leave before that. Some hosts are people who would like to be foster carers but perhaps don’t have the time because they work.

Can you help to unlock a young person’s potential? The Branchout Supported Lodgings Scheme was developed in response to an identified need to provide an alternative type of accommodation to both Care Leavers and Vulnerable Young Homeless people in Bristol. Branchout Providers rent a room in their home to a young person in education, training or employment, and give them the support, encouragement and guidance to develop the practical skills and confidence to manage a tenancy and live a successful adult life. The young person becomes part of the household and shares the facilities. We need people from all walks of life and from all cultures and ethnic backgrounds to become Providers. Being a Branchout Provider is not about having particular qualifications – it’s about having an interest in young people and having the skills and qualities to support them to reach their potential. In return you will receive an allowance to cover rent and support. Depending on the young person’s age and circumstances this could include Local Housing Allowance from the benefits agency and a contribution from the young person to help with their budgeting skills. Interested? We would love to hear from you – please contact the Branchout team, Donna, Liz & Marie. Email: branchoutsupportedlodgings@bristol.gov.uk or call 0117 353 4108 for information.

April 2018



Buying + Selling


First-time buyer? Here’s what you need to know. Whilst exciting, buying a home can be an overwhelming experience. To help you understand the process, Alex Castiglione, Conveyancing Partner at Barcan+Kirby, has some practical advice for first-time buyers. Understand the costs

Protect yourself

The property price is only part of the overall cost involved. When looking at what you can afford, make sure you’ve considered any extra costs, such as legal fees, stamp duty, mortgage arrangement fees and moving costs.

This will probably be the largest purchase you make, so make sure you’re protected, not only in terms of the legal ownership but also what happens to the property if you die.

Arrange finances early It makes sense to arrange your mortgage before you start viewing properties. All lenders will be able to give you an agreement in principle – this lets you know how much you can borrow based on your income and outgoings. Make sure you’re familiar with the different types of mortgage and have your deposit organised early, ready for when your solicitor needs it.

Find the right property Whilst it’s unlikely to be your ‘forever home’ you’ll probably be there for several years, so it makes sense to research the area properly.

When looking at what you can afford, make sure you’ve considered any extra costs. When you find a property you like, try to view it at different times of the day and make notes of any obvious alterations – such as walls which have been removed and replacement windows. Check that the appliances and services are in working order.

Ensure the property is structurally sound If you’re taking out a mortgage, a valuation report will be carried out by the lender. However you should consider getting an independent survey completed – this will be more comprehensive and highlight any potential problems.

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

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If the property is a joint purchase, you can hold it as joint tenants so if one of you dies, the other will automatically inherit their share. Or you can hold the property as tenants in common. This means that, should you die, your share will pass under the terms of your Will. Choosing the right solicitor can make all the difference when buying a home, helping the process to progress smoothly. Barcan+Kirby has six offices across Bristol and Gloucestershire and a team of solicitors experienced in all areas of buying and selling. Please do get in touch for more information. Professional advice, simply stated.

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




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

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


Pet pals: Kendra Lindegaard, 9, of Knowle, made snow versions of her dog, Kepler, and kitten, Darwin.

April 2018

April 2018






Winter resort: Sledgers flocked to Perretts park in early March and again on March 18

PHOTOS: Kevin Lindegaard

Fish tank: A window lit up in Edward Road, Arnos Vale Monster call: Another window in Edward Road, during the first Window Wanderland held in Arnos Vale and Brislington


Not such fun: Broken sledges were collected in Perretts park but it was littered with shards of broken plastic until volunteers from park friends group Copp cleared it a week later

Magic show: Harry Potter window in Hill Avenue, Victoria Park Proud display: Three windows for this Windmill Hill peacock

A woodland scene in Windmill Hill

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Spring Sale

April 2018




At the Old Mill Interiors we’re holding a very special Spring Sale event, bringing you great savings on a range of furniture, mattresses, lighting, homewares, gifts and rugs. With everything reduced and up to 50% off selected items, this is a great opportunity to pick up a bargain this Spring, bringing your home a fabulous new look.



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April 2018




Gruelling ride to say thanks for our daughter’s care A DAD from Knowle whose daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at the age of four has show his gratitude to the charity which helped her by taking part in a gruelling tropical bike ride. Jonathan Wright, 53, rode 300 miles across Cambodia and Vietnam as part of a 25-strong party which raised more than £45,000 for Clic Sargent, Children with Cancer and the Teenage Cancer Trust. Cancer charity Clic Sargent was a huge source of support for Isabelle and the rest of the family – brother Sam and mum Chloe – when she was diagnosed with the disease two years ago. Now six, Isabelle has recovered well. Jonathan said: “It was a great

opportunity to give something back for all the help Isabelle received. Treatment lasted more than two years. She’s now back to being fighting fit, but it’s been a long road for all the family, especially Isabelle, one of the toughest kids in Knowle.” The ride was not easy going: “It was 35 degrees in the shade,” said Jonathan, “and we were never riding in the shade so it was probably 40 degrees plus!” Despite this, Jonathan and the other riders – some of them in their 60s – managed as much as 80 miles a day, crossing rivers and seeing spectacular sights such as the world-renowned Angkor Wat temple complex. Apart from the heat, hazards

Time to tell your best story

who is the main co-ordinator. Johnson, editor Lucy Cowie and Both Richard and Joe are based writers Roshi Fernando and Polly at Paintworks on Bath Road. Ho-Yen. th th Entries must be no more than The winner of the first Bristol 4,000 words, with an entry fee of Short Story Prize was South     £8. Winners will be announced Bristol author Rebecca Lloyd. at a ceremony in October. Two local writers made9it’s   onto • All  age  groups  welcome   -­‐  Under   to  Under After the closing date, a long the long list last year. list will be selected, then whittled The competition founded • Receive  coaching  from   UKCC  Lwas evel   1  &  Level down to a shortlist of 20, from by the editors of the quarterly                                             which the winning story will be cultural Bristol Review • Knowle  Cricket  Club   is  amagazine ffiliated   to:         chosen. Every writer on the in the annual anthology – this of Books in 2007. Entry can be Gloucestershire   C ounty   C ricket   B oard shortlist receives £100, with the year will be volume 11 – made online or by post to Unit top three winning prizes of published  th Tangent Books. 5.16,BPaintworks, Bath Road, Sbyomerset   County   oard   th Cricket     £1,000, £700 and £400. All 20 The 2018 judging panel will Bristol BS4 3EH.   will have       their stories published be chaired by literary agent Kate • bristolprize.co.uk

THE SOUTH Bristol-based Bristol Short Story Prize is now open. Closing date for entries is May 1, and stories are welcome from published and unpublished writers from the UK and beyond. Directors of the prize include Richard Jones, the independent publisher of Totterdown’s Tangent Books, and Joe Melia, former bookseller and reviewer,

Above: river crossing in Vietnam; right, unusual traffic obstacle included cattle relaxing on the highway in Vietnam. If you’d like to contribute to Jonathan’s appeal go to • mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/ jonathanwright2



Youth Cricket Coaching Summ 13   April –   20  July  

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For further  information  please  contact:  

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For further   • All age groups welcome -- Under 9s to Under 17s information  please  contact:   Steve   Windaybank   -­‐  07919480159   • Receive coaching from UKCC Level 1 & Level 2 qualified coaches Email:  steve@windaybank.co.uk   • Knowle Cricket Club is affiliated to:   Gloucestershire County Cricket Board Somerset County Cricket Board

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April 2018





April 2018





I’ve caught a falling lemur, and helped save a newborn gorilla – what a job! Rowena Killick wanted to be a vet since she was 8. Now she’s got her dream job at Bristol Zoo, reports Beccy Golding


OWENA Killick has a job that is a dream for many –   she’s a vet at Bristol zoo. Rowena commmutes from Knowle to Clifton daily, by bike, but also works at the zoo’s Wild Place, a large open air site near Cribbs Causeway. “I’d always wanted to be a vet, from about the age of eight. I used to watch James Herriot [the popular BBC drama about a vet in the Yorkshire Dales ]. My mum says we went to the zoo when I was three and a keeper asked ‘who wants a snake around

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PHOTO: Bristol Zoo

Zoo vet Rowena takes a blood sample from a red ruffed lemur

Teamwork: Giving a scan to the pregnant gorilla PHOTO: Nicolette Hayward

Rowena and a fur seal, one of the few large animals now kept at the zoo

their neck?’ Of course it was me!” Single-minded, Rowena choose her GCSEs and A-levels (biology, chemistry and maths) with a veterinary career in mind, “even though I was repeatedly told I wouldn’t get in,” – there are only a small number of places to train – “and A Level requirements were higher than doctors.” But she won a place on a five-year degree course at the University of Edinburgh. Then she was “straight out as a vet – it was terrifying – 23 and let loose on the public! This was 20 years ago – now new vets have a year of supervised practice.” Rowena’s first job was at a mixed veterinary practice in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Her first veterinary adventure was three months’ voluntary work in Thailand, “working with rescued wildlife. There was a lot of neutering stray dogs on a table in a monastery! The monks helped us out a lot. Because they are Buddhist they don’t put down stray dogs, there was an enclosure for any that were unfit to survive in the wild – they lived as a pack, it was very interesting.” Rowena then did a one-year MSc masters degree in wild animal health at the Royal Veterinary College, with training at London zoo. That helped her win her role at Bristol Zoo. Since then she has had some dream-vet experiences. “We used to joke on the MSc – it’s every zoo vet’s dream to

trees – we’d hold a sheet underneath to catch them! “Most of the rain forest has been destroyed, it’s very depressing, and in the city the river was full of plastic.” Then in 2016 Rowena was involved in a highly-publicised case of a baby gorilla born at the zoo, delivered by caesarean section. “It was February half-term. My boss and the other staff vet were away. We knew Kera was pregnant, and coming to the end of her term. At the start of the week she was a bit off-colour, we hoped it was a cold but as the week progressed we realised something was wrong. “I had to make the decision to anaesthetise Kera to investigate. We called in a specialist ultra-sonographer, and Professor Cahill, a (human) fertility specialist who had given us advice on gorilla fertility in the past. He brought with him obstetrics and gynaecology specialist registrar Aamma Ali. “I anaesthetised Kera with a dart gun and we transferred her to the vet block. The scan showed

amazing nature is, without them aye-ayes!” And at home there’s seeing it for themselves.. George the ginger cat. “He’s an “Zoos in the UK try really hard embarrassment – he’s so fat! to have high welfare standards We’ve had him for 13 years. We and conservation is more and got him from a rescue centre. more important. Bristol zoo has He’s got issues – once he stole reduced the number of big the prawns off our neighbour’s animals – the collection fits with barbecue!” the space better now. Gorillas, Rowena lives in Knowle with lions and fur seals are the only big her partner and their two boys, species. The okapi are up at Wild who go to Hillcrest primary Place – it’s a huge estate. We are school. “They take my job in their fundraising to reintroduce ancient stride. They love going to Wild species there – we already have Place and the zoo but they are a wolves, the plan is for bears, and, bit blasé. Our five-year-old shows long-term, wolverines and lynxes. people around like he’s at home! “Some people think “I love living in South Bristol zookeepers are like jail keepers, – there’s a contingent of us at the but they are the most amazing zoo who live here. I think it’s a people to work with. You classic south-of-the-river thing wouldn’t do this job if you didn’t – it’s quite arty, with a lot of nice care – it’s not paid enough!” communities. Where I live is an I asked Rowena if she had amazing community, people plans for more animal really support each other and are adventures. “There is enough really down to earth. There are here,” she laughs, “Wild Place is nice parks… and the graveyard PROPERTY MAINTENANCE a work in progress – I get to work (Arnos Vale) – I love the fact that with giraffes and cheetahs,INTERIOR which I&can hear owlsPAINTING from my house, EXTERIOR I’d never worked with before. My • PATIOS see bats, •see and hear native FENCING LANDSCAPING favourite animals are ones that wildlife.” STORES• •There’s GUTTERING FASCIAS look like lots of differentLOG animals a longer• version of this stuck together – like okapis and article on the Voice website. ELECTRICS • DOORS • PLUMBING

work with wildlife in the wild and feel like you’re saving the world – because there’s no money in it!” In 2015 Rowena got her chance, a project in Madagascar. “Bristol zoo has a field station in the middle of the forest. “I spent two and a half weeks supporting a PhD student researching behaviour in an endangered, nocturnal lemur species – the Sahamalaza sportive lemur. They needed a vet to sedate them to put radio collars on so they could be tracked. “We had a CO2-powered dart gun [to sedate the animals] but that broke. Luckily a Madagascan student was amazing with an old-fashioned blowpipe! In the daytime we’d find the lemurs in their sleeping holes, or at night they’d be leaping around in the

the baby wasn’t very responsive and we made the decision to perform a caesarean.” Rowena supervised the team while Professor Cahill and his colleague performed the caesarean. “It took two hours to get baby Afia to breathe on her own.” This wasn’t the end of the story. “Kera had severe anaemia. It took months for her to recover. Baby Afia was hand-reared by keepers, and at eight months old, another gorilla, Romina, adopted her. Romina was trained with a teddy bear to take the baby and then give her back to the keepers for feeding. Romina and Afia are still together.” Kera is healthy now, and plays with Afia. A happy ending. For some, the idea of captive animals can be controversial. “Some say, why can’t you put animals back in the wild? But there’s not enough wild left – it’s tragic, in the last 30 years, how much has been lost – and wild animals aren’t safe in many places in the world. It can also be hard to engage people with the conservation message, or how



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April 2018




251 St John’s Lane BS3 5AT Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear wall of the house by 6m, of a maximum height of 3.95m with eaves a maximum 3m high. Withdrawn

30 Gwilliam Street BS3 4LS Roof extension to provide new bedroom. Refused

Glenrosa, 279 Wells Road, Knowle BS4 2PP Dropped kerb for vehicular access. Granted subject to conditions

18 Park Street, Totterdown BS4 3BL Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear wall of the house by 3.6m, of maximum height 3.1m with eaves 2.7m high. Pending consideration

3 Haverstock Road BS4 2DA Retention of rear roof extension. Pending consideration

8 Lynton Road BS3 5LX Two bedroom house. Withdrawn

Knowle, Totterdown, Windmill Hill

Application to vary condition 10 (Approved Plans) of permission 14/06245/F: Construction of two 2-bedroom flats in a three storey building – revised drawings. Granted subject to conditions 13 Leinster Avenue BS4 1NH Two storey, three-bedroom detached dwelling. Pending consideration 128 Broad Walk BS4 2RZ Single storey side extension, front porch and changes to roof. Pending consideration

5 Haverstock Road BS4 2DA Rear dormer extension and insertion of front roof lights. Granted

1 Cotswold Road North BS3 4NL Change of use from light industrial use (Use class B1c) and land within its curtilage to a dwelling house (Use class C3). Pending consideration

23 Fitzgerald Road BS3 5DG Rear dormer roof extension with three rooflights to front roof slope. Granted

23 Woodbridge Road BS4 2EX Rear dormer roof extension and insertion of roof lights. Pending consideration

13 Stockwood Crescent BS4 1AN Two storey extension to rear. Granted subject to conditions

34 Merioneth Street BS3 4SL Demolition of existing, single storey, rear extension. Erection of a single storey, side return and rear extension. Granted subject to conditions

Open space (Northern Slopes Glyn Vale Variation of conditions 2 (Arboricultural work) and 15 (List of approved plans and documents) attached to permission 17/03959/FB: Improvements to walking and cycling route. Pending consideration

2 Preston Walk BS4 2TP Front porch with WC and a single storey side and front extension. Granted subject to conditions

Redcatch Park, Broad Walk, Knowle New entrance gate to land adjacent to 69 Redcatch Road within Redcatch Park. Granted subject to conditions 93 Novers Park Drive BS4 1RH Convert roof from hip to gable and construct new dormer to rear elevation. Granted 31 St Martins Road BS4 2NQ Crown reduce two beech trees by 2m to previous reduction points. Granted

28 St Martins Road BS4 2NG Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear of the house by 4m, of maximum height 3.9m with eaves 2.2m high. Pending consideration 71 St Dunstans Road BS3 5NZ Single storey side extension. Pending consideration Land adjacent to 162 Bath Road, Totterdown BS4 3EF

8 Paultow Avenue BS3 4PR Rear dormer roof extension and loft conversion. Granted

Victoria Park, Nutgrove Avenue Details in relation to condition 2 (Construction management plan), 3 (Highways), 4 (Tree protection), 5 (Arboricultural), 7 (Landscape) and 9 (Signage) of permission 17/03958/FB: Victoria Park cycle route. Pending consideration Filwood Park, Hengrove Way Details in relation to condition 11 (Code for sustainable homes) of permission 17/00684/M: 150 homes and new park with appearance, landscaping, layout

April 2018



and scale to be considered. (Major application) Pending consideration

Digital ads get green light

58 Weymouth Road BS3 5HL First floor extension and ground floor link extension to connect house with converted garage. Granted subject to conditions

TWO DIGITAL billboards are to be allowed on a prominent site in Bath Road, overturning the council’s refusal to allow a similar scheme a year ago. Bristol’s Green councillors, and many others in the city, have campaigned against digital hoardings as a replacement for billboard advertising. They say the digital screens are wasteful of energy and want Bristol to ban them, as several

other cities have done around the world. In March last year, councillors turned down a plan to put two 12m by 3m digital hoardings at 164-188 Bath Road, Totterdown, saying they would detract from the nearby Arnos Vale cemetery conservation area. But advertising company JC Decaux appealed to a government inspector, and won. Now JC Decaux has come

274 Redcatch Road, Knowle BS3 5DT Single storey rear and side extension. Pending consideration

4 metres with eaves 2.5 metres high. Refused

32-38 St John’s Lane BS3 5AD Approval of reserved matters following outline approval 17/00764/P: Landscaping. Granted Knowle West Childrens Centre, Leinster Avenue BS4 1NN Details for condition 2 (Further details) of permission 17/02100/X (Extension and refurbishment of existing Children’s Centre). Granted 154 Marksbury Road BS3 5LD Construction of ancillary building in rear garden. Pending consideration 50 Daventry Road BS4 1DQ Two storey rear extension with porch to front. Pending consideration 51 Melbury Road BS4 2RR Loft conversion with rear dormer roof extension. Pending consideration 43 Beaconsfield Road, Knowle BS4 2JE Rear and side dormer extensions and insertion of front roof lights. Pending consideration 26 Connaught Road Bristol BS4 1LF Three bedroom, two storey house. Pending consideration

56 Redcatch Road, Knowle BS4 2EY Rear dormer roof extension, extension over existing outrigger rear addition and insertion of front roof lights. Pending consideration 48 Rookery Road, Knowle BS4 2DT Rear and side roof extension. Pending consideration 164-188 Bath Road, Totterdown BS4 3EF Removal of three advertisements (two 12m x 3m displays, one 6m x 3m display), to be replaced with two 6m x 3m internally illuminated digital advertisements. Granted subject to conditions 47 St Martin’s Road, Knowle BS4 2NH Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear wall of the house by 5.7 metres, of maximum height

418 Wells Road, Knowle BS14 9AF Single storey wraparound extension with lean-to roof, including re-building existing garage. Replacement of porch. Widening of dropped kerb and driveway to provide offstreet parking for three vehicles. Pending consideration 10 Upper Street, Totterdown BS4 3BU Single storey rear extension with balcony above. Pending consideration Site of former scout hut, Goolden Street, Totterdown BS4 3BB Details in relation to conditions 2 (Construction management plan) and 3 (Method statement) of planning permission 16/01311/F: Former scout hall to be demolished and land excavated to road level to allow construction of six three-storey family dwellings for shared ownership. Pending consideration


Knowle, Totterdown, Windmill Hill Billboards on the empty plot in Bath Road, which used to be a car sales site

back with a reduced plan – for two hoardings of 6m by 3m. Eleven people objected to the latest plan, claiming the adverts would be a risk to highway safety, would cause light pollution, would affect the character of the area, and would be a waste of energy. But planning officials

were reluctant to oppose the plan, knowing that a larger scheme has already been allowed. The displays will not be allowed to show moving images. The changes between different adverts must take no more than one second, so that drivers are not distracted by movement.

115 Queenshill Road BS4 2XG Single storey rear extension that would extend beyond the rear wall of the house by 6 metres, of maximum height 2.8 metres with eaves 2.6 metres high. Pending consideration

provision), 6 (Parking) 7 (Renewables) and 8 (External lighting) for application 17/02826/F: conversion from doctors surgery (Use class D1) to four apartments (Use class C3) with alterations and extensions, parking, refuse store and cycle racks. Pending consideration

8 St Agnes Walk BS4 2DL Erection of single storey, rear extension. Pending consideration 8 St Agnes Walk BS4 2DL Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear of the house by 3.9 metres, of maximum height 3.51 metres with eaves of maximum height of 2.1 metres. Refused 64 Dunkerry Road BS3 4LA Rear flat-roof dormer with roof light in front roof slope. Repairs and rebuilding of rear garden walls. Granted subject to conditions 378 Wells Road, Knowle BS4 2QR Conditions 4 (Refuse storage & recycling), 5 (Cycle

20 Sydenham Road, Totterdown BS4 3DF Conversion of basement into habitable space. Enlargement of rear extension. Addition of window on first floor south wall. Alteration of shape of the window on the first floor north. Addition of external wall insulation on north and south walls. Pending consideration 46 Queensdale Crescent BS4 2TR Single-storey detached dwelling. Pending consideration • The status of these applications may have changed since we went to press. Check for updates at planningonline.bristol.gov.uk

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April 2018



April 2018





MARVIN REES Mayor of Bristol

Everyone pulled together to offer protection during the freeze


N LAST month’s column I mentioned that February would see the annual budget full council meeting. I was pleased our budget for 2018/19 was agreed. This takes the necessary steps to keep the council on a sound financial footing while ensuring we enable people to have as positive an experience as possible of life in Bristol. However, I want to thank all those whose efforts during the recent severe weather meant critical services continued to operate, vulnerable people were cared for and major incidents were avoided. It’s often said that it is in times of crisis that you see the extraordinary qualities of people and I can confidently say that this has been the case. Staff from across the council helped essential services operate throughout the

snow and freezing temperatures. They worked alongside colleagues from the police, NHS, homeless charities, Highways England, private care companies, voluntary agencies and many others. Social care staff walked miles to visit vulnerable people at home. Supported by the parks team in 4x4s and volunteer Bristol Community Links staff, they ensured that people received every expected meal. Some staff stayed in work overnight to ensure the residents of our specialist dementia residential home in Redfield Lodge were cared for. This dedication was shared by our highways teams who worked 24 hours a day to plough the roads. In difficult conditions

they travelled 6,000 miles and spread almost 600 tonnes of grit. Along with the invaluable effort of over 120 volunteer community snow wardens, they ensured that large parts of the city’s roads and footpaths remained passable. Outside of the council, volunteers and charity workers tirelessly worked to encourage rough sleepers to take the extra beds provided by the city’s charities. Their efforts ensured that the vast majority of the city’s homeless population had a bed during the worst conditions. Organisations across the city are joining forces to support our homeless population, school results are better than ever and improving, and slowly, but surely, the city’s transport networks are being integrated for smoother and more timely journeys. In this year’s council budget, as well as minimising the impact of government cuts on frontline services, we ensured funding in our capital budget for supporting these key city aims. At the top of our agenda is my key pledge to tackle the housing crisis. We are spending nearly £200m in our one-of-a-kind housebuilding programme. We are also well on our way to meeting our target of 2,000 new homes (of which 800 affordable) per year by 2020. Working in partnership with others is getting results and you will see real progress this year.

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April 2018



n COLUMNS In witch I wonder what is the point?


E ARE born. Our parents raise us. We leave home. Live a little. Find a partner. Have a child or four. And die. Evil said to me recently: “Tallest is your favourite child isn’t he?” to which I responded: “Darling! I dislike you all equally.” I really do. Yes, I liked being pregnant because I could be very fat and proud of it. Then the small bundle of ball and chain arrives and it all goes downhill fast. Eldest arrived. I had not gone to any ‘how to have a baby’ or ‘what to do after’ classes. It was all a bit of a shock! After three months of being home alone with him I could not wait to throw my baby into the arms of a childminder (who is now one of my bestest friends) and get back to the safety of the office. I think he was glad too because in

Who is the Wicked Witch? She’s the one in the tall hat in the back row of Macbeth at the Tobacco Factory


those three months I did not speak to him, I just did not know what to say! It sounds crazy now but I only realised this when I went up North to see my outlaws. My northern relatives gathered him up and started talking in baby language: “Who’s a loooovely baaaaby then? You are. Yes you arrrrrre” – in loud singsong voices. It was a revelation. When Evil came along I was an old hand at the child-rearing game and thought I had it nailed. Until her nursery called me in as they were concerned she was not progressing with her speech. How ridiculous I cried, we all understand

her, she is a clever chatterbox. We begrudgingly made an appointment with a speech therapist, where I was shocked to discover she communicated in the language of Tellytubbies. I took them all to Sydenham Road toddler group, where you are judged on your baby’s advances and your own singing abilities. I suffered years of those evil places known as Soft Play (shudder). Sunday football at the Jungle, in the rain, watching the parents fighting. Cubs and Brownies. Swimming lessons and ballet. It was non-stop, money-burning madness. Getting them through school was great fun. I remember Tallest Boy was always in trouble. One time at primary school I was called before the headmistress to hear all about his naughtiness. Tallest was defiant: “All I did was try to throw the pencil into the pot, it missed and rolled to Bad Lad. Bad Lad

Down on the Farm News from Windmill Hill City Farm with Beccy Golding

flicked the pencil up which hit me. I threw it at him and he emptied the pencil pot and chucked the pot at my head then I chased him round the classroom.” I closed my eyes and wept. Then there were the trips to hospital. When Evil was about four she broke her arm a little bit. I did not notice for a couple of days, there was no sticky out bone – her arm was just a bit bent. Bad mother! We did the trip of shame to hospital. Evil refused to have her arm plastered unless Uni Girl had hers done too. I walked out of the children’s hospital with them both plastered up – it did not look good. So why do we have them? It is pretty much wall-to-wall stress with a splattering of manic laughter. And there you have it. Laughter – I suppose that dash of laughter and having someone come visit me when I am old and dribbly makes it worth it?

• windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk

Park life

THE REDBRICK Lodge in Victoria Park, owned by Bristol City council, is in a dilapidated state. The roof is leaking, the toilets are grim, and its condition is getting worse. Windmill Hill City Farm and Victoria Park Action Group are exploring opportunities to bring the Lodge back into use. The farm says: “Our vision is to make the Victoria Park Lodge into a thriving, multi-use building that enhances the green spaces of the park. We want to find out what people think are the priorities for the building and have a short online survey to gather views.” • surveymonkey.co.uk/r/CZNSBJG

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39 From Bristol Animal Rescue Centre

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OME along on Sunday May 20 from 10.30am and learn more about the amazing work that takes place at Bristol ARC every day. Enjoy our many stalls raising money for the care of our animals – they will include games, refreshments and homemade gifts. Take the challenge and play our quiz, with questions across the site, meet our resident animals on the tour of our Rehoming Centre and step behind the scenes at our 24/7 Clinic! It is a great day out for all the family, with something for everyone to enjoy. All the proceeds raised from this event will be put to excellent use here at Bristol ARC, caring for thousands of stray, neglected, mistreated, sick and injured animals every year. Please note that unfortunately you will not be able to bring your own dogs with you on the day – this is for the benefit of the

Your chance to see how we look after all of our rescued and sick animals

animals in our care. The Rehoming Centre will be closed for the day to allow for the guided tours provided by our staff. The cost of admission is £2 for adults and £1 for children. We look forward to seeing you on the day! We have a limited number of

Look and learn: The rehoming centre is showing off all its animals trade stand spaces available, for details please contact grace@ bristolarc.org.uk Want to get involved and help out at our events? Email us now for details of how you can get

involved and help animals in need – fundraising@rspcabristol.org.uk or see our volunteering page on our website for further details! • bristolarc.org.uk

Trial run: The City Farm is supporting Bloominster, a new local firm which delivers boxes of plants suitable for urban gardens

Go wild in the city

WILD Outdoors Day is this spring’s big outdoor event, with a focus on nature and outdoor play, and the chance for kids to try building a fire, carving a spoon or cooking on a campfire. Live music, the farm bar, Farmer Tim’s BBQ, and lots more for big and little people to explore and do on Saturday April 21, 11am-5pm, entry £3 adults, £1 children.




April 2018

Triple top

IN MARCH the café was awarded Best Family Friendly eaterie for the third year in a row in the 2018 Bristol Good Food Awards. It was also nominated as Best Café Food and Best Supporter of Local Produce. The garden team were also nominated for Best Grower in a new Producers category. New products in the café shop this month include raw goats milk soap, made in Totterdown from the milk of a herd of goats in Sussex, and beeswax wraps, which are a non-plastic alternative to cling film. The café has a new collection point for Terracycle, to collect Ella’s baby food pouches and similar packaging. This is proving popular with lots of families. Each pouch is worth 2p to the charity, as well as reducing landfill.

Big ears

THE BIG Listen week in February – the farm’s annual review of visitor’s views and

expectations – went really well, with more than 80 people taking the time to contribute. The farm is seen as a real community hub and green space for children and adults, although more could be done to promote awareness of the full range of projects and the support it offers the community. The majority of respondents were very local people who visit at least once a month, especially those with small children. Issues of concern are pollution, traffic, poverty and a lack of inclusion.

Blooming marvellous

THE GARDENS team are growing plants for a start-up business, Bloominster, which delivers plant boxes (like veg boxes but with plants suited for urban gardens). In May the farm will provide an edible veg box, containing veg, herbs and edible flowers for a small garden, for sale by Bloominster. If this trial is successful the farm will contribute to other Bloominster boxes in the future.

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

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

April 2018






OME readers will remember mayor Marvin Rees paying off a previous council chief executive Gary with £200,000, Hopkins then employing Lib Dem a temporary Knowle replacement at £1,000 a day, and then taking on a third replacement through an improperly-run recruitment process, and that one leaving with £70,000 in September, to which she seems not to have been entitled. The mayor has attempted to keep this secret, and is blocking cross-party calls for an independent inquiry. We have been joined by Conservatives and the Green party in the calls for an inquiry. We needed 3,500 signatures on the petition demanding an inquiry; thanks to those who have signed it. Hopefully it will reach this target as this paper goes to press. This will then force the issue out into the open with a

How to contact your councillor: p2


debate at full council. This city ARY and did not want the scheme. We did, has had no chief executive for the I have however, discover that there were past six months, and the cabinet met the roughly the same number of is no longer rainbow cross-party new owners of people passionately in favour, as promised. During the past the Broadwalk and we hand-delivered a notice year the Mayor has removed the shopping centre to every house explaining the Liberal Democrats, Green and to discuss pros and cons. Chris Conservative members from his development plans Davies Many objectors did not want cabinet, which is now composed and agreed on hangars outside their properties Lib Dem only of Labour councillors. many issues, with because of the way they looked, Knowle This is like the bad old days some ideas still because they took up parking but with more power because to be clarified. We expect the space and were noisy in use. They this is headed by the mayor (with owners will bring forward plans also said there was no proof that all his additional authority), who for consultation in the not-toothis would reduce car numbers. is also the Labour leader. This is distant future. Supporters said that the why we have always opposed the We are cautiously optimistic hangers will help to promote appointment of a mayor because of an enhanced shopping centre cycling and reduce car ownership any group can run a council on a and some high quality residential and make storage easier for those purely political agenda. units, and we are receptive to with limited space. • Meanwhile, the Greater Bristol upmarket retirement dwellings. There were several petitions Bus Network, which needs a We asked for the development to both for and against, from both franchising system to get the full start on the old library and garage Copse and Somerset roads. benefits, was delivered several in Redcatch Road, with a possible The deadline for the grant to years ago on time and on budget. start date of September 2019. pay for the scheme is the end of This produced huge transport • When it was first suggested March. Council officers have now grants from the Government for nine months ago that two bicycle decided to propose two hangars rail and Metrobus. We have since hangars should be sited in close to the George pub. We feel had chaos, delay and overspend Somerset Road, Gary and I were priority should be given to people on our roads, with no clear unfortunately not brought into without cars and those in decisions made on many key the process. 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April 2018




AST month Bristol city  council published its Local Plan, which details areas of the city Jon where homes will Wellington be built in the Labour coming 30 years. Windmill Hill Most people agree that we need to build more homes, and this plan identifies sites where homes can be built to help us meet our requirements. There is an additional document released alongside this called the Urban Living supplementary planning document (SPD). The SPD identifies areas in the city which the council’s planning team believe is suitable for very high density housing. While this does not necessarily mean high-rise blocks – and there are additional requirements published for any development over 10 storeys – developers have taken this as a green light to announce high buildings. Fresh off the press has been the new


Windmill Hill

planning application for the St Catherine’s Place development near East Street. While originally given permission three years ago for a 16-storey tower, the new plan suggests 21 storeys and an additional 40 units. We are likely to see planning applications from the other developers on the Bedminster Green site in the coming months. All of them plan to build tall buildings between 10 and 22 storeys. While a lot of good work is being done at the council to bring the developers together to make the site work in a joined-up way, I am very concerned by the scale of the developments and the pressure on local amenities. I would urge you to read the documents on the council’s website (search Bristol Local Plan) and make your comments by April 13. This is the single most significant document produced by the council regarding the built environment and will be the city’s blueprint for the next 30 years. Please get involved with the discussion.


 How to contact your councillor: p2

OLLOWING my column last month about electric taxis, I am pleased to be able to share more information Lucy about Bristol’s Whittle Clean Air Action Labour Plan which will Windmill Hill tackle air pollution. Measures will include: investment in public transport and cycling, changes in traffic management, greater use of powers such as taxi licensing, and finding ways to support a shift to cleaner vehicles. Measures being debated also include the creation of a Clean Air Zone to ensure the city is meeting legal limits for levels of nitrogen dioxide. Marvin Rees, mayor of Bristol, has said: “We need to agree the right approach for Bristol, which fits with national policy and is fair for everyone travelling around our city and does not have a detrimental impact on low income households.”

Cabinet member Cllr Kye Dudd, who has responsibility for air quality, said: “Studies show that around 300 lives are lost each year due to poor air quality in the city, which comes mainly from road traffic, and in particular from diesel engines in cars, freight and buses.” In a Government-funded study, the council is working with a market research company to see how effective a Clean Air Zone could be in changing drivers’ choices about the trips they make. A shortlist of five options has been developed (see link below). Over the coming months the council will be seeking the views of residents, businesses, transport operators and others, to help select a preferred option which will then be subject to public consultation. I think this is an important step for Bristol, and I know this will go a long way to improving our city and our children’s life chances. Follow this link for more information: • bristol.gov.uk/pests-pollutionnoise-food/air-quality


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April 2018



April 2018

n HISTORY Servicing Bristol for over 3 decades

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Tobacco: The factories and the families that made us the centre of an empire ONE OF Bristol’s biggest industries has all but departed the city. But the Wills tobacco empire has left plenty of landmarks across South Bristol, as well as living on in the memories of thousands of residents who worked for the firm. Now the popular history of South Bristol’s tobacco workers has been reprinted for a fourth time – giving South Bristol Voice an excuse to delve into the memories collected from almost two dozen Wills workers.

A newly-reissued book, Bedminster’s Tobacco Women, tells the story of a lost age, where there were jobs for all the family, from the teens until it was time to retire



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OR centuries after it was first brought to Europe from the Americas, tobacco was an agricultural product, acrop that was bought and sold. Only in the 19th century did a new breed of capitalists make it the basis of an empire of factories and brand names. Henry Overton Wills I, the founder of what was to become South Bristol’s international tobacco industry, started as a tobacco dealer in 1786, in partnership with Samuel Watkins. They opened a shop in Castle Street, and by 1791 they relocated to 112 Redcliff Street. Tobacco leaf was dried and smoked, but it was also chewed. One of the first manufactured products was snuff – made from dried and pulverised leaves as a powder to be inhaled, often flavoured or scented. This needed a factory, or snuff mill, and in 1792 Wills and Watkins leased the snuff mill at Stapleton from the Bristol Corporation. They bought it outright in 1805 for £850 (about £840,000 today) – the start of Bristol’s long and profitable relationship with privatelyowned tobacco factories. Snuff-taking was then an upper-class habit, accompanied by much ritual, while the popularity of smoking tobacco in pipes grew steadily among the lower classes. Hand-rolled cigars were still expensive, but gradually the habit of rolling tobacco into a paper tube

Bedminster’s Tobacco Women tells the story of the Wills tobacco empire in South Bristol, based on conversations between the authors and 23 local people, men as well as women. It’s written by Helen Thomas, Rosie Tomlinson and Mavis Zutshi, and published by Fiducia Press at £6. The book is on sale at the Grenville Wick gift shop, 253 North Street, BS3 1JN, as well as M Shed and other outlets. brought smoking within the reach of more citizens. Tobacco was still something of a craft industry, though – cigarettes, as they became known in the 1830s in France, were rolled, filled and cut by hand, and fitted with a plug of wood or glass to stop the tobacco falling out. They became popular with British soldiers in the Crimean war in the 1850s. Wills hired a Polish expert named Bogosoff to show workers in London and then Bristol how to make the new cigarettes. A skilled worker (usually a woman) could make 1,500 cigarettes a day. The descendants of HO Wills, still based in Redcliff, introduced their first

Face from a distant age: This is Tom Long, who started work for the Wills tobacco firm in 1839, aged 9. He died in 1882, aged only 52.

PORTRAITS OF THE PEOPLE WILLS strove to be a a rewarding employer. Hence after passing the benchmark of 40 years service, workers were rewarded with the traditional gold watch. No doubt the timepieces handed out to management were considerably more valuable than those given to shop floor workers. An additional tradition that started in the early days of the company in the mid-19th century and lasted right up until the 1960s, was the reward of a portrait. Photographs were taken of employees as they reached their 40-year milestone, some even

taken in the infancy of photography in the 1860s. The archive of pictures taken of hundreds of staff is believed to be held in the M-Shed, part of Bristol Museum. For the highest-ranking managers, the portraits were painted by artists. The Voice hopes to share some more of these revealing photos and paintings in a future edition. Many South Bristol families must possess these portraits. If you have one and you’d like to share your memories, whether you worked at Wills or one of your ancestors was employed there, get in touch by emailing btwproject@ hotmail.com

cigarette, imaginatively branded as the Bristol, in 1871. It was made by hand in the firm’s new London factory. In 1874 it was was followed by a new cigarette, the Clifton. The famous Three Castles and Gold Flake brands were launched in 1878. Many thought that even if a machine could be invented which would do the job, customers

would prefer a hand-made product. How wrong they were. Five years later, the revolution arrived in the shape of the American Bonsack machine, which could roll and cut cigarettes with precision and speed greater than any human could manage. First installed in a new factory Continued overleaf

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

April 2018



n HISTORY Continued from page 43 in Baldwin Street, the Bonsack machines each turned out 200 cigarettes a minute, a speed which soon increased to 600. By now the company had more than 600 employees in Bristol and London, but that number was set to rocket as the benefits of the new machinery became apparent. Machines made it easier to make sure every cigarette was the same as the last, and so brand names took on a new attraction – a guarantee that the flavour and appearance would always be identical. Wills’ smartest move was to pay the US-based Bonsack company £4,000 (about £370,000 today) for the exclusive right to use its machines in the UK. In 1888 Wills introduced the Woodbine, which was to become one of the most popular tobacco brands of all time. Woodbines were made on 11 Bonsack machines and the number had doubled to 22 by the end of the 19th C. Wills was now

in a dominant position in the UK market and Bristol was its base. In 1880 it had opened the No 1 Factory in East Street. It was expanded several times until, with Factory No 2, it filled the site of today’s Regent House and Consort House (which are to be converted into flats) and the plot now covered by Asda. In 1900 the No 4 Factory was opened at Raleigh Road (now the site of Amerind Grove old people’s home). Confusingly, No 3 factory, today’s Tobacco Factory theatre and bar, opened later, in 1906. There were more – Factory 8 in Upton Road is now an arts space, and Ashton Gate primary school occupies another of the distinctive redbrick Wills buildings. But American competitors were prowling, and to see them off, Britain’s biggest tobacco firms combined into one powerful company, forming Imperial Tobacco in 1901. In 1892, the value of the Wills company was £756,000 (£75m today) – already a large company. But with the addition


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THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY Wild Woodbines: One of Wills’s most popular cigarette brands in the first half of the 20th century, gaining in popularity during World War I

of Players of Nottingham, Lambert & Butler and others, it became a giant, with a share capital worth £14.5m – almost £1.45bn today. It was the UK’s largest company, with Sir William Wills the chairman and Bristol its headquarters. It needed to be big. American Tobacco Company boss James Buchanan Duke had arrived in the UK in 1901 with $30m (around £1bn today) to spend, aiming to snap up Britain’s tobacco firms one by one. He bought Ogdens of Liverpool on the spot. But when he marched into Players’ head office in Nottingham, saying,” “Hello, boys. I’m Duke from New York, come to take over your business,” the Player brothers showed him the door. Smoking was a profitable business. If customers could be kept loyal to a brand, they kept buying, day after day and week after week. No matter that the habit was killing them – they lived long enough to pass a good proportion of their wages to the tobacco firms. Hence it was worthwhile trying to bribe them. Duke’s American Tobacco introduced free gift coupons into its packs for UK customers. But on home turf, Imperial had too much clout. Amid a wave of patriotism what some called the AngloAmerican Tobacco wars were pitched as a British defence against the upstart capitalists of the US. Imperial offered to share its profits to any retailer who agreed not to stock Ogden’s products. It even offered a 10 per cent return to the shareholders of Salmon & Gluckstein, the largest chain of tobacco shops.

Imperial took the battle to ATC’s heartland, buying land in Virginia and threatening to build its own tobacco factories there. After huge losses, ATC capitulated. It sold Ogdens to Imperial, and agreed not to sell in the UK market, if Imperial kept out of the US. It left Imperial Tobacco with an unshakeable grip on the British market. In 1904 it had more than half the market for cigarettes. The First World War made smoking an almost universal habit among soldiers, subject to endless hours of stress and boredom in the trenches. By 1920, Imperial had 72.5 per cent of the British tobacco market, and sold 91 per cent of UK cigarettes.



t was sound business, but despite the use of advanced machinery, it demanded a large and skilled workforce. They had to be kept reasonably happy, and certainly well-paid – otherwise how could the quality of every packet be maintained, and how could the workers be prevented from pocketing the valuable products they made? Like many of Bristol’s entrepreneurial families, the Wills were chapel-goers – in this case Congregationalists. They believed they had duties to their workers, who deserved to be treated with respect. By 1895, Wills workers in Bristol had a staff canteen, a sanatorium if they became ill, a convalescent home where they could recover, plus a resident factory nurse and doctor. They also had paid holidays and could spend their

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April 2018





CARDS AND GIFTS: A friendly face for a deadly habit MARKETING was a key part of the tobacco industry from 1887, when Wills were one of the first UK companies to include cards in their cigarette packs. By 1895 they produced their first collectable set of cards, Ships and Sailors. Soon the cards were wildly popular, among children as well as adult smokers. No doubt the lure of the coloured cards made the cigarettes more attractive to children and tempted some of them to start smoking. (But it wasn’t until the 1950s that smoking was seriously challenged as a health risk, and tobacco firms resisted health claims for decades more.) Wills’ series of cards included Aviation in 1910, Lucky Charms in 1923), British Butterflies in 1927, Famous Golfers in 1930, and in 1938, as the threat of war with Germany grew, a set was issued showing Air Raid Precautions. In the 1960s, need a new way to keep customers loyal to their brands, Wills made their last marketing breakthrough – vouchers. Each cigarette pac contained a car worth points, ad if they were saved for months and years, the smoker could choose a gift from a catalogue, from cheap glassware to a Kenwood Chef food mixer. In 1970, you could have an automatic washing machine for 49,000 points. With five points in each pack of 20 cigarettes, that was 9,800 packs of fags. Helen Thomas was a 15-yearold in 1967 when she spent the spare time at the company’s recreational clubs. Through most of the 20th century Imperial was by far the biggest employer in South Bristol. Thousands of staff trooped in to work every day at the Ashton and Bedminster factories and offices – not only from Bedminster but from Knowle, Totterdown and further afield, walking to work or catching trams or buses.


he newly-reprinted book Bedminster’s Tobacco Women captured the memories of some of these workers (including some men). All the quotations that follow are from the book, with thanks to the authors. Imperial might have been the company name, but in Bristol

Firefighting: No. 34 in a series of 50 cigarette cards issued in 1913 by Wills showing how to administer first aid. PHOTO: Wellcome Collection first of two summers working in the new voucher department. “It was developed in huge secrecy,” she said. “They produced the gift catalogue and advertising material in total secrecy and brought in staff from across the company to mail all the material out to all the suppliers and to the press.They didn’t want any of the other competitors to get wind of what they were up to.” Promotional material was so important to Wills that they had long owned the Bristol printing company of Marden Son & Hall, whose premises covered much of Redcliffe, as well as the St Anne Board Mill. This made it much easier to print all the catalogues and vouchers in secrecy. Helen’s job was literally weighing up the parcels of

vouchers sent in to be redeemed for gifts.”People used to pack them us in great brown paper parcels. We would open the parcels and make sure they hadn’t put in bits of cardboard to make up the weight, and weigh them on sales that were calibrated to show how many vouchers there were. “They would then be sent their Kenwood Chef or whatever. The vouchers were then pulped and recycled into more vouchers! “That put them back in pole position in the market – and then of course Players and the others did the same thing.”

people talked about working for Wills. The last descendant, Christopher Wills, great great grandson of the first H O Wills, retired as sales research manager in 1969. And it employed local families, encouraging workers to put their own relatives forward for jobs, so that three or four generations might spend a lifetime in one of the numerous Bedminster and Ashton factories. “People were so proud to be able to say that they worked for Wills,” said Annette Pearce, whose grandparents, parents and two great aunts all worked there. In 1947, Dian Keepin was helped by her aunt to win her job by passing a vital test – showing her how to do a piece of sewing that showed she had nimble fingers.

Another attraction was the benefits – the decent wages, the sport facilities and good food in the staff canteen. These were good to have – but the free health care was something priceless in the days before the NHS made medical care free in 1948. Eileen Willis started in 1940, and said: “Once you got into Wills, you were looked after. They were very caring; you know, if you had a toothache, you went to the dentist.” That was a choice many working people outside the Wills embrace could not afford. Mary Bessell was an undernourished 14-year-old when she joined in 1938 after the tough times of the Depression. “When I went in there to work I was underweight so I had to have cod liver oil every day, and then I

Right: The Western Brothers, Kenneth and Joseph, comic singers in the music hall tradition from the 1930s. From a series called Radio Celebrities, 1934 went to Keep Fit classes because I was only six stone,” she said. Even those who weren’t on the payroll could benefit. Annette Pearce, mentioned above, had her school uniform paid for by Wills. Her mother wasn’t working for the firm, but because of her family’s long connection with Wills, they gave her a grant. The work, however, was tough. Two thirds of the workers were women, and they did most of the manual tasks, from stripping the tobacco leaves to the cleaning and catering. Men tended the machinery and provided most of the management. Brenda remembered her first days stripping the veins out of tobacco leaves in 1941: “ And, oh, Continued overleaf

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April 2018



n HISTORY Continued from page 45 your fingers, they did bleed. You had to strip all the leaves off because that was the value of it. I used to come home crying. I didn’t like it.” Mary Bessell, the underweight 14-year-old of 1938, said: “They were very strict. You had a tub on one side and your 80 bundles on this side and you had to do 82 pounds – you’d strip the leaves off the stem and make sure there was not a bit of tobacco left on the stem, and if there was, you did it all again.” Pay was according to targets – if you took too long on your tea break you’d lose time, and probably not make enough weight to get a bonus. Even harder work was the washing down room, where the women had to break up great cakes of tobacco to be steamed and cleaned. “It was hard work, mind,” said Pat, who started in 1968. “We had to split they open with a crowbar. They was like squashed together and we had to put them through this brig and at the other end they’d come out steamed … Sweat was running off you.” It was the same for the catering staff – “It was damned hard work,” said Barbara Giardina – and for the cleaners: “Everything has to be done precisely and exactly,” said Kay Lowe, who had inherited her cleaning job from her mother. “You’re given specific jobs to do, like cleaning all the skirtings or polishing all the wood doors, and after you did it, the charge hand would make sure you’d done it right.” Women were not always treated well. One woman was sent on a course to learn how to be a supervisor, the only female there. She was asked to do a talk, which she’d never done before. She asked a male colleague: ‘“Oh God, what am I going to talk about?” And he said, “Don’t worry. Just wear a tight jumper. Stand up there and make it prominent and we’ll all be looking at it.”’ A #MeToo moment, decades before men were told to ditch such sexist attitudes in the workplace. But men were also victims of the rigid divisions in the workplace. Dian Keepin’s father was a hall porter: “He used to clean the managers’ shoes under the stairs, and it was all ‘Sir this’ and ‘Sir that’.” The big factories had separate

April 2018


THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY schooldays shift, starting at 10am and ending at 3pm, allowing mums to take children to and from school.


Jane Fackrell: Born in 1821, she entered Will’s service in 1831, aged 10. She worked 55 years in the spinning room and ‘beating up’. She was sister-in-law to Tom Long, pictured on page 37 entrances, staircases, cloakrooms and dining rooms – for men and for women, and also for supervisors and for junior managers, with the grandest facilities reserved for the top level of management. Eileen Willis worked in an office and was kept separate from the shop floor staff. “You weren’t expected to marry anyone from the factory, the boys weren’t expected to get interested in the girls. It was a real class divide.” Indeed, for decades, women had to leave their job if they got married. Later, they could stay on once wed, but had to leave if they became pregnant, right up until the late 1960s. It meant many men could keep a job for life – and draw their full pension – while women would generally have a much shorter career. “You left if you got pregnant. They didn’t keep your job open, not like now. You had to get

your pension out,” said Jackie. During World War II, with many men serving in the armed forces, women – even some who wre married – took on male roles, like running the cigarettemaking machines. But in 1945 the men came back, and reclaimed their jobs. “When the war ended, married women had to leave, because the men were coming back, and wanted their jobs back,” said Eileen. Later the company showed more flexibility, and mums could start work again. Wills gave no help with childcare, so mothers had to juggle childcare with relatives, or give their children a key to let themselves in after school. “I think my daughter was five or six when I started in there and she was a very sensible girl, she’d go to school and I could give her the key,” said Barbara Giardina. Later still, Wills introduced a

o the millennial generation, these tales of a job for life, with a decent salary, a chance of career progression (at least for the men) and a company pension may seem like a fantasy. And these long decades of prosperity for Wills did not last forever. The company lost the technical edge it had had in the 19th C. “They were losing trade because they hadn’t modernised, they were still selling brands like Woodbines,” Helen Thomas, co-author of Bedminster’s Tobacco Women, told the Voice. In 1974 the vast new factory at Hartcliffe opened, and the friendly brick factories of Ashton and Bedminster were closed one by one. “By the time they went to Hartcliffe they were already behind the game technically. The machines they were installing were not as fast as those Players had already installed in Nottingham,” said Helen. “People didn’t want to go [to Hartcliffe] – they didn’t enjoy it. They lost the sense of the community. “The real thing is what it did to the economy – East Street hasn’t recovered yet, and they closed the East Street factory in 1974.” Even Hartcliffe did not last 20 years before Imperial’s bosses realised they could produce cigarettes more cheaply in Germany and Eastern Europe. A cigar factory hung on to life in Winterstoke Road until 2008, when production was moved to Spain. The holding company has now dropped ‘tobacco’ from its name and is known as Imperial Brands (though staff still answer the phone “Imperial Tobacco!”). The world headquarters is still at Winterstoke Road, where about 400 people manage the marketing of cigarettes and cigars as well as vaping products, snuff and chewing tobacco. Sources: Bedminster’s Tobacco Women by Helen Thomas, Rosee Tomlinson & Mavis Zutshi, Fiducia Press, 2016, £6 WD & HO Wills and the development of the UK tobacco Industry: 1786-1965 by BWE Alford, Taylor & Francis, 1973

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REVIEW: Jamaican Night at Zion AN TEDDY are Jamaican folk culture performers – a group of women who tell stories, perform poems and sing songs. Unfortunately, due to family issues, they were unable to make this event at Zion in Bishopsworth. However, every cloud has a silver lining, and they were replaced by


Joy for the music: Bristol reggae legend Troy Ellis PHOTO: Tanya Hazell

Troy arrived from the back to set up his conga drums, cow bells and tinkling chimes. He apologised for being late – he’d been cooking the food! So, definitely authentic! Troy is a charming showman – conducting his band as the mood takes him – dropping them down low so he can tell stories, winding the energy up or singing

Night of laughs and good food for a serious cause



Across 2 Togo, 4 Namibia, 6 Guam, 8 Iran, 9 Fiji.


Bristol legends Troy Ellis & His Hail Jamaica Reggae Band. On arrival, Zion was smelling great! There was Caribbean food on offer – jerk chicken or vegetable curry, with rice and peas, and coleslaw. There was a bit of a wait for the fried plantain and dumplings so we stocked up on hipster-esque jam jars of hot Jamaican punch from the bar – sweet and rummy, with a slab of fresh pineapple. As the hall filled we watched the ever-expanding band set up on stage. Eventually the plantain arrived, and then the dumplings – hot and crunchy, doughy in the middle.

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REVIEW Curry, Comedy & Music, Redcatch community centre, Knowle BATTLED through a snowy evening to Redcatch community centre for a night of Comedy, Curry, Music and Shebang, all for Charity. I went with a cynical eye. I am a pro at organising these events; from sourcing the acts, selling tickets and then hosting, it takes planning and a team of people. I wanted to see what this onewoman team (Ruth Drury) could produce in such a short time. I was begrudgingly impressed. It was a sell out. I was in the

Organised by Voice sales manager Ruth Drury, Comedy, Curry & Music raised £1,000 for the Women’s Mission in Tenali, India. Thanks to the many firms who sponsored the event

Has a real terror gripped the fated Scottish tragedy?

The witches return, met by Macbeth and Banquo, who are promised powerful futures. And then, only 15 minutes in, a woman in modern dress walks on, with a headset microphone. Macbeth and Banquo look startled, turn and exit. “Ladies and gentlemen, due to unforeseen circumstances we’ve had to pause the show. Please remain in your seats.” She leaves. There is a hush. The audience look at each other. Is this part of it? Some modern interpretation – a twist on the old plot? Then a rumble of fear – has something happened outside? Terror? A terrible storm? We sit. And wait. Eventually we are told that due to an ‘incident’ a replacement actor will arrive soon. Refunds or replacement tickets are offered to those who want them. Maybe a quarter of the audience leaves. The


REVIEW Macbeth Tobacco Factory theatre HE FLOOR of the theatre smells and looks like crumbling black tar – it is loose rubber pieces – uneven and thick so you sink into them as you walk. The three witches, in white linen dresses and gauze tied across their faces, speak in echoing Gaelic, eerie-sounding – unclear if it’s spoken forwards or backwards. A wounded shell-shocked captain falls into the round, bloodied and stumbling, legs falling beneath him. The atmosphere is building.


kitchen trying not to take over when a well-dressed chap came in demanding where he could get a drink. I told him tartily it was ‘bring your own’ and asked who the hell he was? It turned out he was the headliner from London. I immediately hated him. You can try to heckle, he drawled, but I am a pro and it will be futile. I

Silly but effective: Ian Macdonald took my seat, dangerously near the front, and waited. The compere (Ian MacDonald) was brilliant. I even cracked a smile when he encouraged us to cheer in various styles. It was silly but effective. Bring on Mr Arrogant (Matthew Baylis). I have to admit

Intense: Katy Stephens as a blood-soaked Lady Macbeth play begins again an hour after the start. A new actor playing Ross reads script in hand. It’s an admirable performance. The ensemble pull together and deliver a powerful, intense rendition of the reportedlycursed Scottish play – stirring stuff after an unsettling


lyrics to one song above the rhythm of another. He also pulls the audience right in there too – so we’re all singing along with the reggae classics. The brass section – trombone and sax – are a delight, backed with laidback bass and rhythm guitar, drums, and keyboard providing echo, chords and dub-style sounds. Troy sings, dances and plays percussion. Troy’s dad was Jamaican singer Alton Ellis, known as the godfather of rocksteady, and Troy has taken the baton with aplomb – his joy for the music is contagious and we all leave this sociable night smiling. Beccy Golding he was good – a middle class expert. The only one to really push the boundaries with sexual crudeness on this largely god-fearing crowd, making me hoot with reluctant laughter. The next comedian, Bentley Browning, burst into a witty singsong sermon and ended by throwing a small drum to my cackling friend, asking her to beat it in time to his rap finale – carnage. A break for some curry. Oh my. Sebastien Brochot is undoubtedly the best chef in the whole of South Bristol. My plate was piled high with deliciousness complimented by side dishes from Desi. While we devoured our food, entertainment was provided by Hurry Up Harry, a slick one man toe-tapping blues and folk showman – a rocking crowd pleaser. The Wicked Witch experience. The soundtrack is intense – with blasts of static white noise, building like a pounding train. The lights flash white for Macbeth’s ranting internal monologues, flash back to yellow for the real world. During the interval more people leave. For the second part there is less than half of the audience left. It feels like an intimate experience now. The banquet scene is a triumph, with Katy Stephens as Lady Macbeth at once holding it together and crumbling, while Macbeth (Jonathan McGuiness) rants, sees ghosts and disintegrates. The murder of MacDuff’s son (played by young Benjamin Pleat) is startling, and MacDuff’s (Joseph Tweedale) reaction is human and tragic, amid the clamour of war. I am delighted to have seen this bloody, intense, thoughtprovoking performance, and to

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April 2018



April 2018





Until April 7 n Macbeth Tobacco Factory theatre. “Macbeth speaks to a world we find ourselves living in now; 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.” Shakespeare’s unflinching look at the corruption brought by a lust for power continues in the first production staged by the Tobacco Factory’s in-house company of players. Tickets from £12. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com Monday March 26 & Tuesday 27 n Zero For The Young Dudes Tobacco Factory theatre. The inmates at a bizarre summer camp are plotting a revolution. Full of movement, this is the first live show by the Factory’s Young Theatre Maker 14:19 company. £6, 7.30pm on March 26, 2pm on March 27. The play, by Alistair McDowall, was first performed by the National Theatre in 2017. For ages 13+; contains strong language and adult themes. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com Tuesday March 27 n Stomping Story: Superworm Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. An active storytime for the school holidays, suitable for those aged 3+. Follow the trail of the amazing Superworm, who has been captured by a wicked Wizard Lizard. Then learn how to make a wormery. £5, 10.30-11.15am; also at 1pm and 2.15pm. • arnosvale.co.uk/events Thursday March 29 n Stomping Story: Guess How Much I Love You Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. Take an Easter wander with the Nut Brown Hares, collect Easter egg clues to solve the puzzle and then decorate an egg to take home. £5 per child, 10.30-11.15 am. Foam

with his international hit show – bubble art, magic, science and lots of fun. Louis Pearl claims to be the world’s leading Bubbleologist and has been thrilling audiences around the world for nearly 30 years with the art, magic, science and fun of bubbles. He has so far produced almost 150 bubble inventions including the Mega Bubbles maker. £10, for all ages, shows at 12pm, 2pm and 4pm. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com Wednesday April 11 n Lost Sheep Acta theatre, Gladstone Street, Bedminster. Don’t dig a hole for your neighbour to fall into ... you may just fall into it yourself! Sheep escaping in a small Sudanese village leads to all sorts of problems. A family-friendly show, presented in partnership with Ashley Housing. Tickets are free, but all donations will be gratefully received. 7-7.45pm. • acta-bristol.com Friday April 13 n Morbid Curiosity Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. On Friday 13th, this night tour relates some of the ways people in Arnos Vale died. From a fatal stabbing to diseases such as cholera and smallpox, the material is not for the faint-hearted, and not suitable for children. Sold out – check for returns. • arnosvale.co.uk/events n Victorian Clifton Knowle and Totterdown Local History Society, Redcatch community centre, Redcatch Road, Knowle. A talk by Peter Malpass about the development of Bristol’s most famous suburb. 7.30pm; members £1.50, non-members £3. • knowleandtotterdownhistory. org.uk n Tom Stade: I Swear Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken, North Street. The Canadian high-energy comic has extended his national

April 18-May 12 n A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller, Tobacco Factory THE SECOND of the plays performed by the Tobacco Factory’s new in-house acting company is by one of the 20th century’s most revered playwrights, Arthur Miller. In plays like Death of a Salesman, Miller elevated contemporary issues to the status of timeless tragedy. A View from the Bridge shows how the world of hard-working respectable Eddie Carlbone is shaken when he offers haven to his wife’s cousins from Italy. Eddie has raised his niece Catherine like his own daughter. When one of the cousins falls for

Catherine, the complicated currents inside Eddie start to swirl out of control. Mike Tweddle directs the new Factory theatre company in this their second show, following Macbeth, which plays until April 7. Marco is played by Aaron Anthony, Louis by Kirris Riviere, Alfieri by Simon Armstrong, Beatrice by Katy Stephens, Eddie by Mark Letheren, Rodolpho by Joseph Tweedale, Mike by Jack Riddiford and Catherine by Laura Waldren. Tickets start at £12 (limited availability) and shows are at 7.30pm, except for April 24, when the curtain rises at 7pm. There are matinée performances at 2pm

on Thursday and Saturday. • BSL interpreted performance Thursday April 26, 7.30pm. • Director’s Lab Friday April 27, 10.30am–4.30pm. Join Tobacco Factory artistic director Mike Tweddle on the set for a day of exploring the text and its many theatrical possibilities. • Post-show talk Wednesday May 2 sees a free discussion after the end of the performance. • Inside A View From the Bridge Saturday May 5, 10am–1pm. Discussions, lectures, workshops and Q&A sessions with experts in the field and the director of the production, Mike Tweddle. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com

tour. Nothing is taboo: “off-thescale charm, razor-sharp wit and a no-holds-barred attitude”. 7.45pm, £18.50. • thecomedybox.co.uk Saturday April 14 n Never Too Old To Disco Charles Padfield Centre, Victoria Park Baptist Church, Sylvia Avenue. Love to dance but don’t know where? Reconnect with the disco tunes you know and love. Second and fourth Saturday of the month; also on April 28. 10.45-11.45am, £7. For details email nevertoooldtodisco@gmail. com n The Regz + Hey Bulldog The Tunnels, Temple Meads. One

of Bristol’s favourite bands, The Regz return to The Tunnels after last year’s sell-out. Motown, soul, ska and pop from this nine-piece outfit with brass section. Hey Bulldog play British 60s and 70s Mod and beat. 7.30pm, £10. • thetunnelsbristol.co.uk n Stand Up For The Weekend with David Trent Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken, North Street. David Trent uses multi-media to offer high-energy commentary on celebrity culture. “A creator of bold, category-defying comedy,” said The Stage. Plus guests. £7.45pm, £11. • thecomedybox.co.uk

Monday March 26- March 29 React festival of theatre made by refugees Acta theatre in Bedminster, which has a long record of staging shows with disadvantaged groups, welcomes an international festival for refugee theatre. Six new shows by refugee drama groups will be complemented by morning-after discussions and questions with the performers and directors. The three React project partners from

Bristol, Rotterdam and Palermo will also come together with theatre companies and practitioners, academics and students for a series of afternoon workshops, presentations and conversations. There will also be matinee performances. Those attending the festival will come back together at Actacentre for dinner each evening, followed by a new show. Festival passes from £25. • acta-bristol.com

All together: The refugee festival

n Topette SouthBank Club, Dean Lane, Southville. Acoustic dance music featuring English accordion legend, Andy Cutting and French bagpipe maestro, Julien Cartonnet with James Delarre, Barnaby Stradling and Tania Buisse... “Sublime musicianship and a thumping set of tunes...” said fRoots magazine. 7.30pm, £13.20 • southbankclub.webs.com Monday April 16 n Ian Siegal The Tunnels, Temple Meads. Hailed as the most compelling British blues artiste since the 60s, Ian is touring a new album, produced by American Jimbo Mathus. Mojo magazine ranks him “the cleverest writer and most magnetic blues performer in the UK”. 7.30pm, £16. • the tunnelsbristol.co.uk Tuesday April 17 and April 20 n Ladies’ Mile Acta theatre, Gladstone Street, Bedminster. Meet ‘loo lady’ Victoria: eavesdropper and observer of the twilight world of 1930s Bristol. Based on the memoirs of Victoria Hughes, a cloakroom attendant on the Ladies’ Mile public lavatories on Bristol Downs. A Continued overleaf

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Musical message: The cast of Hairspray make a spectacular song and dance to put the world to rights

Talent wins out when prejudice takes on song REVIEW Hairspray, Bristol Hippodrome HE STORY of larger-than-life Tracy Turnblad is set against the backdrop of racial segregation in Baltimore in 1962. She lives in the shadows, always wanting more – namely fame for herself and equality for others. The story shows her fight to dance on TV alongside her black friends who, thanks to segregation, only have one day a month to show their moves on the floor. As


eggs are used, so children with egg allergies can attend. Booking recommended. Also at 11.30am. • arnosvale.co.uk/events n Guana Batz Fiddlers Club, Willway Street, Bedminster. One of the UK’s most influential psychobilly bands, Guana Batz are on their 35th anniversary tour. 7.30pm, £19.80. • fiddlers.co.uk Thursday March 29 & April 5 n Wild Outdoors Club Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bedminster. “Cool crafts, fun nature activities, and great games galore!” 10am to 12 noon. £10 per child. • windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk Saturday March 31 n Murder, Mystery and Mayhem Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. So popular it has sold out already, but check for returns or new dates. Stories of murder, rioting, adultery and more. Not suitable for children. 1.30-3pm, £5. • arnosvale.co.uk/events n The Faux Fighters The Tunnels, Temple Meads. Front man Jamie Deighton spent 12 months in Seattle back in the mid 90s and discovered the Foo


always with a musical, justice triumphs in a full song-and-dance number where the audience can’t help but dance along and the world is put right for everyone. Racism and size-discrmination are prominent issues, but the show deftly retains the entertainment factor from beginning to end. A basic set was cleverly morphed into a variety of locations – and a few additional musical numbers not seen in the movie version created by John Waters. My daughter Lilly wasn’t so keen on the jail scene as she didn’t think the prisoners would really dance if they were locked away – but she liked the fact that all their clothes matched. Ruth Drury, aged 34

ELMA (the mean and prejudiced TV producer, played by Gona Murray) can do really high loud notes even when she’s lifted high into the air doing gymnastics. Seaweed is a great fluid dancer with groovy moves. Motormouth Maybelle (Brenda Edwards of X Factor fame) is a powerful singer. The Dynamite dancers stole the show in their beautiful sparkly dresses and their phenomenal voices. Link Larkin (played by Edward Chitticks) is my favourite because he realises he loves Tracy and he’s a really lovely singer. I thought he was Elvis because he sounded like him and Elvis is a good singer too. 10/10. Lilly Drury, aged 7

Fighters. Ten years later, he put together a tribute act to his heroes. 7.30pm, £8. • thetunnelsbristol.co.uk Tuesday April 3 & April 4 n Woodland Tribe Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bedminster. Build your own adventure playground with hammers, nails and saws, 10am to 4pm. No need to book. £5 per child for 2 hours. Ages 6+; all children must be accompanied. • windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk

up, swampy country folk blues Americana groove with harmonies. Come sweat and sway to tales of whiskey, murder and love.” £5, 7.30-11.30pm. • thethunderbolt.net n An Evening with Sargon of Akkad Paintworks, Bath Road, Totterdown. A debate about politics, philosophy and the endless idiocy of political extremes. Carl Benjamin, who runs the YouTube channel Sargon of Akkad, has built a following of 700,000, subjecting ideological arguments to rational arguments backed by evidence. Tickets £21.50, 7-9.30pm. • play.paintworksbristol.co.uk Saturday April 7 n Jimmy Aldridge and Sid Goldsmith Saltcellar folk club, Totterdown Baptist church, Wells Road. A highly-acclaimed young duo hailed as one of the folk scenes’ must-see acts. Entry £5 or £3 for floor singers. BYO alcohol, refreshments on sale. • saltcellarfolk.org.uk Sunday April 8 n The Amazing Bubble Man Tobacco Factory theatre. The Amazing Bubble Man returns

Wednesday April 4 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 April 18, May 2, 16 and 30. • wecil.co.uk Friday April 6 n Captain Cactus & the Screaming Harlots The Thunderbolt Bath Road, Totterdown. How can you resist a name like that? “Messed

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Miller’s tale of timeless complications Eddie … I’m not only telling you now, I’m warning you – the law is nature … and a river will drown you if you buck it. A View From the Bridge: Emotional currents exposed by Arthur Miller

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April 2018



Making merry over talk of the final curtain REVIEW Death Over Dinner and The Death Show, Arnos Vale cemetery HE FINAL night of Arnos Vale Cemetery’s Life, Death (And The Rest) Festival ended with these two events which could, perhaps, be described as unconventional reflections on death. Early evening we got to eat in a room where probably few people have eaten before – the large hall in the Spielman Centre, where the catafalque used to be (the raised platform the coffin sat on before being lowered down to the basement for cremation). Tonight there was one long, beautifullydecorated banqueting table, festooned with fairy lights and candles, faux skulls and trails of ivy. Twenty five or so people sat around it, drinking wine and talking death, over dinner. The hearty buffet was perfect for a freezing February evening –


Sunday April 22 n The Baby Shakes The Thunderbolt, Bath Road. Mary, Judy, Claudia and Ryan bring rock’n’roll punk from New York in the spirit of the Ramones, with shades of Motown. £7, 7.30pm. • thethunderbolt.net Monday April 23 n 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 the month, 12-2pm. Part of WECIL’s peer support community. • wecil.co.uk Wednesday April 25 n Early Years Theatre Tobacco Factory. Theatre group Dragonbird will visit the Tobacco Factory once a month until July. Designed mainly for children aged from four months to five years, the show starts with a short story. Then everyone gets to play and explore adventures based on the show. Tickets £3. Shows at 10.30am and 1pm. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com Thursday April 26 n Knowle West Tiny Film Club Venue is the We Can



n WHAT’S ON Continued from page 51 preview performance of a play being developed with community performers from Acta Company. Adult content: age 16+. £3. • acta-bristol.com Friday April 20 n John Otway & His Big Band The Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. Ok, it’s not a huge ensemble, but joining John ‘Two Hits’ Otway are Richard Holgarth on lead guitar, Seymour on bass guitar, Murray Torkildsen on guitar and drummer Adam Batterbee. £17, 7.30pm. • thethunderbolt.net n Ferocious Dog Fiddlers Club, Willway Street, Bedminster. The Enemy Within tour; one of several gigs moved to Fiddlers when the Bierkeller shut unceremoniously. 8pm, £16.80. • fiddlers.co.uk Saturday April 21 n Wild Outdoors Day Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bedminster. Outdoor fun at the farm for all the family. Nature activities, outdoor cooking, fabulous live music, bar, Farmer Tim’s BBQ, and stalls. Cost: £3 adults, £1 children, 11am to 5pm. • windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk n War Tour for Anzac Day Arnos Vale cemetery, Bath Road. A tour of the war graves at Arnos Vale for Anzac Day, to commemorate service personnel from Australia and New Zealand. From under-age conscripts to the war at home, this tour reveals the individual stories and sacrifices of wartime. £5, 11am-12.30pm. • arnosvale.co.uk/events n Instant Wit Redcatch community centre, Redcatch Road, Knowle. Improvised comedy from Bristol-based Instant Wit. “This superlative comedy troupe continue to amaze packed houses with extraordinary skills … a dream topping of an evening,” said Venue magazine. Doors open at 7pm for a supper of bread and soup. Show 8.10pm. Tickets £8.50. ​• elknowle.wixsite.com/elknowle n Stand Up For The Weekend with Pierre Novellie Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken, North Street. Fresh from Channel 4’s Comedy Blaps, South African-born and Isle of Man-raised Pierre Novellie shows why he was nominated for the Best Club Comic 2016. 7.45pm, £11. • thecomedybox.co.uk

April 2018

Talking point: Table decorations at the Death Over Dinner event beetroot soup, beef and barley casserole, stuffed squash, all provided by Kate’s Kitchen, and some excellent crusty sour dough. Also on the table were jam jars with slips of paper – discussion starters to inspire our conversations – we didn’t need them though, this intimate setting was perfectly conducive to sit with strangers and talk. We discussed terms and language, the last breath, deaths of parents and friends, the presence of children at Make test home, beside Filwood Community Centre, Barnstaple Road. A cosy evening in with a good film with a comfy couch, tasty snacks and a hand-picked movie. Space is limited so call 0117 903 0444 or e-mail martha. king@kwmc.org.uk • kwmc.org.uk/events/filmclub Friday April 27 n Networking with Freelance Mum Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bedminster. Guest speaker Jen Gill, who has worked for ITV and the BBC, tells how she runs her own business as a virtual PA, with tips on how to work more productively. 10am-12 noon, children welcome. £9 members, £12 non-members, children free. • windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk n Quiz and Supper Night Windmill Hill community centre, Vivian Street. On the last Friday of every month, 8.30pm-late. • whca.org,uk n Da Fuchaman & The Fireblaze Band Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. Da Fuchaman is said to be one of the most influential reggae artists of our time. Raised in Jamaica, he moved to the UK in 2002. 7.30pm, no ticket price given. • thethunderbolt.net

funerals, organ donation, and more. When Antonia Beck and Lucy Nicholls met they discovered a shared fear of death. To conquer their thanatophobia – yes, that’s the word for their condition – they undertook an exploration. They rebirthed, spoke to funeral directors, visited a hospice, witnessed a cremation, trained as funeral celebrants. And then they made it all into a comedy show. This was the last date of their spring tour – a fitting place to end, in the Anglican Chapel. They began with a eulogy, for themselves, each ramping up their lives’ achievements. Their set was two coffins. One stood upright, without a back, becoming a doorway or a frame for stories, the other, laid down, became a projector screen, or a backdrop for puppets, or a place to find props. At one point Antonia laid down in it and shut the lid while Lucy did a skit as a downtown PI. The ending was all metallic lamé and disco balls, and a stirring evocation on living life to the full and enjoying every moment while we can. Beccy Golding n Comedy Depot Zion, Bishopsworth Road. Headliner Dave Thompson is a former Teletubby and clownish comedian who’s performed with Harry Hill, among many others. Support from Katie Pritchard, Jon Udry, Costas Lukaris Ems Coombes and Charlie George. 7.30pm, £5. • zionbristol.co.uk n Redcatch Community Association AGM Redcatch community centre, Redcatch Road, Knowle. A chance to find out how this successful community centre is managed, and to elect a committee to run it. Refreshments, all welcome – come and see inside if you haven’t been before. 7pm. Sunday April 29 n Vintage Furniture Flea Paintworks, Bath Road, Totterdown. Vintage traders from all over the globe selling furniture and homewares from the 1950s and on. Entry £3 at 10.30am, £2 after 11am. Children under 12 free. • play.paintworksbristol.co.uk HIGHLIGHT your What’s On entry from £5. Email sales@southbristolvoice.co.uk

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We can’t afford too many slip-ups if we want a chance of making the play-offs This time last year we were worrying about City’s safety; now there’s the slim but real prospect of going up, says MARTIN POWELL


E ALL know that Bristol City’s efforts to reach the top flight at the end of this season will not be over until the fat lady sings, but it does feel as if the opera diva spent International Women’s Day in the wings eating doughnuts. How long before she strides on stage and her notes blow the whistle on a fascinating campaign is anyone’s guess, but with the number of matches left to play now in single figures the team can not afford too many more slip-ups. As an optimist I have looked at all the remaining fixtures featuring the top nine clubs and

MARTIN’S SHORTS n LOIS Diony, asked about his hair in the City programme: “A lot of people talk to me about it. They ask me why I don’t cut it or say I have a pineapple on my head”. Nothing that a North Street barber couldn’t sort out.

Eros Pisano: The Italian has made his mark on the team since returning after a long injury lay-off PHOTO: BCFC still have City clinching a play-off place with 77 points. But with Middlesbrough and Derby set to play each other it could go right down to the wire. The biggest blow recently was the suspensions of Aden Flint and Joe Bryan. Bryan’s was as a result of a long season of stopping championship players and was somewhat predictable. Flint reacted badly to old team-mate Greg Cunningham spoiling his hair and was unfortunate, if understandable. If this turns out to be a significant season for City, then it has been a roller-coaster for Flint. He was left out for the first few games as speculation mounted about him being lured away; he then put in some fantastic performances to catch the eye even more. Since then he


has had his contract lengthened and improved, tying him to the club, swiftly followed by falling foul of a last-minute lapse to be out of the team at a crucial time. There is still time for him to come back in and redeem himself and make a real difference in the last few games. Who knows? We could still see Flint heading the winner at Wembley in May to finally take City into the Premier League as plump songstresses from Cardiff, Preston or Middlesbrough pack up their bags and troop out of the stadium at the other end. Whether City take the big step up this year or have to play in the Championship again next season then holding on to the best players will be key. A year ago I was also working out the remaining fixtures for the

season; but at that time it was to ensure safety, so it is positive that City are now competing for the play-off places. It is also positive that the injury list is starting to look a little better with Duric, O’Neil and Pisano all returning to action after long lay-offs. Pisano has made the most significant contribution and it does feel that without such an injury list City might well be seven or eight points better off and looking set fair for the play-offs at least. Too many drawn games in crucial matches, some of them when dominating for long periods, have made the difference. Whatever division the team find themselves in next year it is hoped those lessons will be learned by a relatively young group of players.

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April 2018




KARIN SMYTH Labour MP for Bristol South

Have your say on these major plans for homes in South Bristol


Y PRIORITIES as MP for Bristol South are to focus on employment opportunities and affordable housing to rent and buy, especially for younger and older people. Existing plans for developments in Hengrove and Hartcliffe are a key part of this. I also read with interest the recent Local Plan review, which is currently out for consultation. The South Bristol Voice ran a piece on the Local Plan last month. For me, the biggest question is around the infrastructure needed to support such large-scale housebuilding of the type we could see in Bristol South over the coming years. Infrastructure is more than new roads (although this is obviously important), but is about employment opportunities, healthcare

provision and support around caring – be it for children, elderly relatives, people living with mental health problems or those adults with additional needs. The Local Plan confirms that Bristol South is a “priority focus for development and comprehensive regeneration” and, while I welcome the housing boost (assuming the developers adhere to the affordable housing quotas), we must ensure that we can cater for the needs of tens of thousands of extra residents. When considering the height and density of buildings, we can learn from other



European cities. We also need to consider what type of homes people want – terraced housing is often more preferable for young families than tower blocks. It’s clear that Bristol South is set to absorb much of the projected population growth in Bristol, with more than double the number of new houses earmarked for locations south of the river than north Bristol. Yet we recently learned that plans for the Bristol arena could head north – and with them millions of pounds of investment into transport infrastructure on the northern fringe. I’ve previously mentioned how disappointed I am with the suggestion that Bristol’s arena, set to be built in Temple Meads, could now be built miles away in Filton – in direct conflict with a need to rebalance the city so that all areas can share in the benefits of such large scale investment. There is no mention of the arena in the section on the Temple Quarter in this Local Plan. If the arena were to remain in Temple Meads, then existing and future residents of Bristol South could access the employment and cultural opportunities, which won’t be so easy if it moves to the northern fringe. I hope that you will take part in the consultation to ensure that your voices are heard. It closes on April 13.

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South Bristol Voice April 2018  

South Bristol Voice April 2018