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southbristolvoice April 2017 No. 18

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Bus lane could derail Rollo flats THE CONTROVERSIAL plan for 217 flats in buildings of up to 10 storeys on Malago Road is at risk because part of the land may be needed for a bus lane. The council’s transport development office has objected to the plan from Rollo Homes, saying the firm was warned of the need to “future proof” a bus corridor along the A38 Malago Road. Though the site – which used to be the former Pring & St Hill factory – is under Rollo’s control, it appears part of it is also “adopted highway” – meaning the council might be able to stop any building on it. The A38 Malago Road is a strategic transport corridor and could be used in future for a rapid transit link to Bristol Airport, the council report said. Transport officials met staff from Rollo and its consultants on October 7, 2016. The report says the council officials “stressed the need to protect, maintain and future-proof the ability to provide a high quality bus corridor along the A38 Malago Road.” But later, the report says,

Wildlife needs our help

• Latest on the roadworks  Page 3 • New fear over local rail stations Page 5

• Now a park, once a coal mine Page 6 • Lantern parade not guaranteed Page 15 • Election: The metro mayor   Pages 18-23 Endangered: A Bristol hedgehog – one of the species where action by schools and residents can play a part in conservation. There are prizes to be won in the My Wild Bedminster appeal: Pages 10-11 PICTURE: Sam Hobson, courtesy Avon Wildlife Trust

Rollo’s transport consultant “confirmed the proposals’ unwillingness to enable improved public transport connectivity along Malago Road, despite part of the site being adopted highway.” It will be up to councillors on the development control committee whether they heed the

advice of their transport officials. But the move appears to put a major obstacle in the way of the plan, which has attracted well over 200 objections, many of them from residents in Windmill Hill, overlooking the site. Rollo has struck out on its own after winning a bidding war Continued on page 17

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April 2017

southbristolvoice

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 & The Wicked Witch. Deliveries: Greg Champion

Intro

HOW MANY MAYORS? DID you know that after May 4, Bristol will have three mayors? That’s right, as well as the mayor who runs the city, and the Lord Mayor, whose role is ceremonial, there will be another one. A new metro mayor will sit above Marvin Rees, having influence (but how much power?) over housing, transport and jobs for the West of England. The new role is potentially important. Something needs to be done to plan public transport, roads and new homes across the region. Bristol might have had a tram network by now if a single

You can find South Bristol Voice on Facebook and Twitter facebook.com/ southbristolvoice Twitter: @sbristolvoice Co. no. 09522608 | VAT no. 211 0801 76

Next month’s deadline for editorial and advertising is April 19th powerful figure had been able to bang heads together across the different town halls. Many will hope the metro mayor is a success. How many will turn out on May 4 to vote for one is another question.

ONE STEP FORWARD THERE’S good news to come shortly – an end is near to the road closure at Sheene Road that’s been such a bottleneck for the past three months. But if the Metrobus roadworks are slowly getting completed, there’s no end in sight to our rail misery. No line to Portishead means less chance of a station at Ashton Gate. The new metro mayor will need great clout at a national level to force any action out of oh-so-slow Network Rail.

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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: Surgeries on Friday April 14 and 28. Call 0117 953 3575 for an appointment. My councillor? By post: (all councillors) Brunel House, St George’s Road, Bristol BS1 5UY 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

Celia Phipps Labour, Bedminster By phone: 07469 413312 By email: Cllr.celia.phipps@bristol.gov.uk Mark Bradshaw Labour, Bedminster. By email: Cllr.mark. bradshaw@bristol.gov.uk By phone: 0117 353 3160 Stephen Clarke Green, Southville By email: Cllr.stephen.clarke@ bristol.gov.uk Charlie Bolton Green, Southville By phone: 07884 736111 By email: Cllr.charlie.bolton@bristol.gov.uk Police Inquiries 101 Emergency 999 Fire   Emergency 999 Inquiries  0117 926 2061 GREATER BEDMINSTER COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP NOTE: These meetings are on hold due to council cutbacks. See story on page 3.

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. 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 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

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April 2017

n NEWS Junction to reopen soon but not bridge Partnership is to continue BEDMINSTER’s biggest community network, the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership, will carry on when council funding is removed. The next meeting will be held in June but meanwhile members, who include councillors and a host of local organisations, are considering how to cope without support from council officials. “There’s no doubt at all that we’re going ahead, it’s just what form it will take,” GBCP chair Stef Brammer told the Voice. The group recently dished out more than £100,000 in spin-off funds from developers to community groups, including £4,175 to Ashton Vale community centre and £7,100 to Windmill Hill City Farm. A meeting to discuss the future of neighbourhood partnerships like the GBCP is being held on April 5 at 6.30pm at City Hall.

Dog house WEST Street petcare business The Mutty Professor is asking for planning permission to turn the former St Dunstan’s church on Bedminster Down Road into a pet shop and dog daycare, grooming and training centre. The building is currently used by APC Workwear.

southbristolvoice THE JUNCTION of Sheene Road and Cannon Street is expected to reopen during the last week of March after 10 weeks of work to make pavements wider and install new pedestrian crossings.

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Holy Cross: no decision on future options

Work on Ashton Avenue swing bridge, also part of the Metrobus route, is complete but it won’t reopen until at least September. The bridge is being used by contractors to store equipment.

Hit and run driver takes battered victim to his door Dog which ran off after crash is found at riverside two days later POLICE are hunting the driver of a dark coloured Land Rovertype vehicle after an Ashton man was run down and knocked unconscious by the vehicle. In a bizarre twist, the victim, Jason Roberts, woke up in the back of the car that knocked him down. It appears the driver, perhaps stricken with guilt, had picked Jason up off the pavement where he fell, at the corner of Duckmoor Road and Smyth Road. Groggy and unsure what was happening, Jason realised he was near his house and asked the driver to stop. He stumbled out and knocked on his front door, where his wife Jemma found him, his face covered in blood, at about 8.15pm on Sunday March 19.

She saw a dark 4x4 vehicle pulling away. She tried to take a picture of it, she told the Bristol Post, but it didn’t come out. Jason had been walking his dog, Taz, a whippet, who ran off after the crash. Jason spent two days in the BRI being tended for his head injuries. It wasn’t until he left hospital two days later that a small army of volunteers found Taz, cold and cowering, in undergrowth on the banks of the New Cut in Southville. Some witnesses have emerged who saw the incident, which has helped Jason piece together what happened. It has been reported on social media that a similar vehicle may have caused a slight injury to a pedestrian an hour earlier on the same night near McDonald’s in Sheene Road, Bedminster. Anyone with information – particularly anyone who has seen a dark, 4x4 vehicle with bloodstains – is asked to call police on 101 and quote log number 1003 of March 19.

NO DECISIONS have been taken yet about Holy Cross, Bedminster’s Roman Catholic church, which closed at short notice at the end of February. There has been speculation that the site would be sold for housing but a spokesman for the Clifton diocese told the Voice that investigating the options for the church and its priest’s house will take some time. The priest, Father Andrew Goodman, retired when the church was closed. Fr Goodman was one of the few priests willing to conduct a Latin mass. This has left worshippers who value the traditional form of the Sunday service having to travel to Weston-super-Mare, where Fr Alex Redman at Our Lady of Lourdes on Baytree Road has started a weekly Latin mass. Holy Cross church needs £500,000 for extensive repairs to the roof, to fix a damp problem and to replace heating and electrical systems. This is unaffordable, said the diocese. A spokesman said he could not comment on a theory that damage to the church was caused by subsidence resulting from the mine workings underneath. Holy Cross is next to the site of the Dean Lane colliery (see page 6). Regular services at Holy Cross have moved to the primary school next door, where worshippers are settling in to their new surroundings very well, said the diocese spokesman.

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April 2017

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n NEWS Spanish is just another mother tongue for tots A PLAYGROUP with a difference has opened in North Street: the language spoken to the children is Spanish. Children from babies to the age of 10 are welcome at the group, which meets at the Steam Crane pub in Bedminster every Tuesday from 10am-noon. Founder Guadalupe Brockman said: “I am a local resident whose mother tongue is Spanish and I could not find anything in our community that brought Spanish-speaking parents and their children together.” The playgroup is called Aqui Estoy, which means Here I am, and has attracted a mix of Latin American and Spanish families as well as British people whose second language is Spanish. Activities include arts and crafts and playing with board games and soft toys, as well as story times and singalong. Each session costs £4 per family. • Facebook: Aqui Estoy

Caring offer

THE CARERS Support Centre is looking for volunteers to work at its Bedminster supper club which meets once a week on Wednesday evenings. Other roles available include helping support people on the phone and working with young carers or in GP surgeries. to find out more call Pauline Edwards-Samuels, on 0117 958 9988 or email volunteering@ carerssupportcentre.org.uk.

Such a lot of helpful people offering assistance for free THE SPIRIT of helping others is alive and well in Bedminster, with one online community seeking local champions in the area as another is celebrating its first birthday. The BS3 Helping Others group is a Facebook community with more than 600 members. People appeal online if they need help, and members pass around requests to find the best way of assisting them. Volunteers have helped out at lunch clubs, visited older people, assisted with odd jobs for people who can’t manage DIY, and with scores of other problems. One recent request was for anyone who had novels in Arabic which they could lend. Another was for a social café for over-55s held at Acta community theatre, where volunteers can lend a hand with those who have smartphones or tablets but aren’t confident in how to use them. Another group, Contact the Elderly, offered places at its Sunday afternoon tea parties, while a member posted a picture of a bunch of flowers and offered them to “someone elderly or someone who just needs cheering up”. The group has regular meet-ups, often in the Tobacco Factory, where peple can learn about opportunities for helping charities, and separate sessions for those who want to give their time to older people or in care homes. A typical event is helping

Helpfulpeeps: Started by Saf Nazeer and Simon Hills two years ago ANOTHER group which offers help to those who need it, but not restricted to BS3, is Helpfulpeeps. Founders Simon Hills and Saf Nazeer say Helpfulpeeps is a mission to “bring back community spirit in an increasingly disconnected world.” They are seeking “passionate, pro-active volunteers” to become community champions for Bedminster, Southville and Ashton. Since launching a pilot two years ago, they have grown Helpfulpeeps into an online community of over 30,000 members who share their time, at the Grove Lunch Club between 12-2pm every Thursday at Amerind Grove Care Home in Raleigh Road, next to the Tobacco Factory.

skills and knowledge to help each other for free. The community spans Bristol, Bath and nearby areas. “The website tells you who needs help with what and where, and puts you in touch. Whether it’s cat sitting or learning a new language, moving a sofa or recruiting volunteers for a charity event, simply post your request and ask for help. Members can then respond by commenting or via private message,” said Saf. Saf and Simon developed an app to make Helpfulpeeps easy to use, which won Best Startup Pitch at Apps World in London. • helpfulpeeps.com BS3 Helping Others is holding its first birthday party on May 27 – a picnic in South Street park at 12noon. • Facebook: BS3 Helping Others

ASK A VET: How can I toilet train my puppy?

T

OILET training can be one of the trickiest parts of training your new puppy and can sometimes take a very long time. All dogs learn at different speeds, so bear with them – they will get there in the end! Puppies should be taken outside every 40 minutes, even if the back door is left open. As soon as you see signs that your puppy is about to toilet (for example, sniffing the ground, circling, positioning) say a toileting cue like “wee wees” or “toilet”. When they toilet outside, praise your pup,

then give a small treat as soon as they finish. It’s also important to take them outside after eating, drinking and sleeping. Try to avoid using puppy pads – make it clear from the start that outside is where to go. If your puppy toilets in the house, do not respond, otherwise you risk them eating their own faeces or toileting in hidden locations to disguise the fact they’ve been. Put your pup in another room while you clean up with a solution of biological washing powder.

If you catch them in the act, quickly interrupt – make a silly noise and take them outside (carry if necessary). Hopefully they will finish outside and you can reward as usual. We now host puppy training and socialisation parties at our surgeries in Longwell Green, Keynsham and Midsomer Norton. Everything a puppy discovers in the first 16 weeks will last for life. Puppies benefit enormously from socialisation and training. The parties will help you to understand, train and really bond with your pet

Rob Parry-Hall MRCVS Ashton Veterinary Surgery in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. For more information, contact your surgery.

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


April 2017

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n NEWS THERE are fears that a huge cost increase for reopening the railway line to Portishead will push the prospect of a station at Ashton Gate even further away. The plan for a passenger service to Portishead has been on-off for decades. It had appeared the line was finally secure, with the cost put at £58 million and completion expected in 2019 or 2020. But an announcement by Network Rail that the line could cost £100m more – tripling the price – has put the whole MetroWest programme to improve suburban railways across Bristol in jeopardy. Delays and setbacks are nothing new to the project – which involves only three and a half miles of new track, and two new stations at Pill and Portbury. A freight line already runs to Portbury dock, branching off from the main line near Parson Street station. The huge cost increase is blamed partly on difficulties working in the Avon Gorge, following problems in making the tunnels wide enough. There is now no projected opening date for the line. When – or if – it opens, it may be reduced from a half-hourly service to an hourly one – much less attractive to commuters. Southville Green councillor Charlie Bolton said the delay was “simply not good enough”. Bristol was in great need of rail improvements, he said. Ever-increasing pressure on the roads is due to the lack of a low-emissions public transport network. This affects Bristol’s air quality and causes ill-health, he said. He pointed out that Bristol’s cabinet has approved proposals for council housing on former allotment land at Ashton Vale [see page 9] which would safeguard land to provide a station for Ashton Gate. “If, as appears to be the case, the Portishead line will now see a reduction to an hourly service, then we need to see the delivery

Portishead delays imperil a station for Ashton Gate HOPE FOR PARSON ST THINGS are looking up for one BS3 station, however. A meeting of the Friends of Parson Street Station on March 21 discussed several possible improvements. The Friends are talking to Bristol Sport about making it a “gateway” station for matches, meaning fans will be encouraged of a station at Ashton Gate as an integrated part of that,” said Cllr Bolton, who recently stood down as Bristol’s Green leader. He said he saw “a glimmer of hope” in the idea that a reduced scheme with slower trains could be built more cheaply. A station for Ashton Gate now appears even further away, however. There are no firm plans for it, and problems with track capacity, signalling, and funding meant it was several years away even before the Portishead upset. The need to save money now makes it likely that the level crossing at Ashton Vale Road would remain. Residents hope a station at Ashton Gate could help relieve the parking problems that plague them during games at the stadium. But providing platforms and sufficient trains to accommodate match day crowds would be a headache in itself. Network Rail said in early March that the total cost of the Portishead scheme could be as high as £175m. Some campaigners are calling for the port to drop its demand that the line is kept open on weekdays. If it could be closed temporarily, Network Rail could work on the

Time to get the racquets out

to use it. There are hopes there will be more stopping trains in the summer, better signage, an improved platform shelter, and a possible coffee stop for morning commuters. The station may also be re-painted in time for its 90th anniversary in August. To find out more, email FoPSRS@mail.com track for longer, and costs might be reduced. The Voice asked Mark Bradshaw, councillor for Bedminster and Bristol’s cabinet member for transport, for his views, but he was unable to respond before we went to press. Network Rail has been much criticised for allowing the cost of major projects to balloon so much that they are put at risk. The electrification of the line to Temple Meads is now delayed indefinitely – after costs of the programme tripled nationwide.

THE TENNIS season starts in Greville Smyth Park on April 1 – so it must be spring, whatever the weather is doing. Greville Smyth Tennis Club is a community club with two courts in the beautiful park, with cheap membership. Members can take part in organised social adult sessions, occasional tournaments, or book courts individually. Coaching sessions are run for all age groups and abilities, with summer courses during the school holidays. Adult membership is £47.50, and family membership £90, with various concessions available. • www.grevillesmythtennis.co.uk

Can you help children to read? VOLUNTEERS are needed at a South Bristol school to help pupils with their reading. Christ the King primary in Hartcliffe Road, Filwood Park, is offering training to adults to read with children one-to-one; many pupils entering the school struggle with reading and it takes them time to catch up. To find out more, call 0117 9664844 or email mrs. higgins@ctk.education.

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


April 2017

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n NEWS Who deserves 1 of 500 meals? A PARTY for the whole community is set to take over North Street on August 20, with music, dancing and food from many of Bedminster’s great restaurants. To celebrate Bedminster’s diversity and community spirit, the restaurants will be providing 500 meals to local people – of which 200 will go to people who have made a real contribution to their community. If you’d like to nominate someone, email beryl@ weareplaster.com. The day is organised by Bedminster’s Business Improvement District and other local groups.

School hits off tennis action TENNIS is getting off to a great start at Bedminster Down School this season, with support from the Tennis Foundation. The school is one of only 40 nationwide to be enrolled in the foundation’s School of Tennis programme to boost facilities and training for teachers.  A £5,000 grant will pay for new racquets and balls, create eight new mini courts, construct a practice wall and provide tennis coaching.

Dame Emily park: The old mine in 1890, left, and the bandstand built over the mine shaft in 1906, above

This used to be the view ... Appeal for help to fund benches in our historic park THERE’S no one alive who can remember it – but Dame Emily park, in the heart of Bedminster, was once a coal mine. The main shaft of the Dean Lane colliery, owned by the Smyth family of Ashton Court, was where the park is now. Now the volunteers who look after the park are trying to help people appreciate its heritage by giving them somewhere to sit while they contemplate the history that’s in front of them.

ADVICE FROM A PHARMACIST its website of how to perform such Winning the checks and what changes to look out for. Breast pain is not a of breast cancer. The first fight for health symptom symptom is usually a lump or area of thickened breast tissue. Most of women breast lumps aren’t cancerous, but

I

NTERNATIONAL Women’s day on March 8 gave the opportunity to celebrate the inspiring lives and accomplishments of women all over the world. However, the battles they face are not limited to the gender pay gap or the corporate glass ceiling. What are some of the health issues facing UK women in 2017 and how can we overcome them? Breast cancer is the biggest cancer type in the UK. One in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime but finding out early is the key to survival. Regular checks can save lives. The charity Breast Cancer Care has details on

it’s always best to have them checked by your doctor. Cervical cancer is a cancer that develops at the entrance of the womb and often has no symptoms in its early stages. The NHS offers a cervical screening programme to all women over 25. During screening (previously called a smear test), a small sample of cells is taken from the cervix and checked for abnormalities. Most abnormal results are caused by an infection, or treatable precancerous cells, rather than cancer itself. Alarmingly, there has been a fall in the levels of women attending for screening. Please contact your GP if you are overdue for a

As our pictures show, a bandstand was built on the site of the pit in 1906. The bandstand steps are still in the park today. The Friends of Dame Emily group has a chance of a grant from the Tesco Bags of Help scheme – but it needs local people to vote for it. Anyone making a purchase in one of several Tesco stores in or near South Bristol can vote for a choice of local charitable schemes. The one with the most votes gets the grant. The park would like £2,000, enough to install two benches, but they are hoping for the top award of £5,000, which would allow for more. Dame Emily’s project is called

History View – because it gives people the chance to sit and admire the site of the old mine. A survey by the Friends of the park found that dog walkers, skateboarders, children, older people and families would all appreciate new benches. “It would give a possibility to bring all generations together, encouraging older people to come outside to have a chat, exchange thoughts or just to let one’s mind wander and enjoy the nature. What a big difference just a simple bench could make!” said a spokesperson for the Friends. Tesco stores taking part in the charity scheme include those in West Street and North Street.

screening appointment. For ovarian cancer, the UK has one of the worst survival rates in Europe. Three out of four cases are diagnosed once the cancer has already spread, making treatment more difficult. Some of the symptoms associated with ovarian cancer include: • Persistent bloating; • Abdominal or pelvic pain; • Feeling full or having difficulty eating; • Feeling the need to urinate more urgently. While these symptoms can be associated with other conditions, it’s important you get them checked out by your GP, especially if you have been through menopause. Your pharmacist is able to advise on all these conditions, while conscious of the need for sensitivity and confidentiality. Bedminster Pharmacy offers our

patients a private consultation room to speak. You can also request to speak to a female pharmacist. Most importantly though, please seek advice if you notice any of these symptoms. Bad lifestyle choices such as smoking, poor diet, alcohol and excess weight increase the risk of developing many cancers. At Bedminster Pharmacy, we can support you to make the healthy lifestyle changes needed. We offer the free NHS Stop Smoking programme and free Slimming World and Weight Watchers vouchers. Fill in one of our alcohol consumption scratch cards anonymously and the pharmacist can go through the results with you and advise accordingly. Do not delay, come in today! • This column by Ade Williams of Bedminster Pharmacy aims to show how pharmacies can help with a range of conditions

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


April 2017

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7

n NEWS

Slopes also wants to fend off cycleway VOLUNTEERS who help look after the Northern Slopes have told council officials they want the Filwood Quietway cycleway routed outside the open space. Members of the Northern Slopes Initiative (NSI) told officers from the council’s cycling and parks teams that a route through the middle of the Slopes will be too steep. An alternative proposed to zig-zag up the slope will take up too much room and could damage the character of the area – which is a Local Nature Reserve – they said. There are also fears that some cyclists will speed along any new, wider paths, causing a danger to adults, children and dogs. The arguments mirror the objections to the Quietway from people living near Victoria Park – where the council was forced to withdraw its cycleway plans after overwhelming opposition. NSI chair Bob Franks said the group would prefer that Northern Slopes is made a destination, not a through route, for cyclists. He queried the need for the Quietway to pass through the Slopes at all – the NSI has suggested a route long Glyn Vale. “We are not against cyclists,” Mr Franks told the Voice – again echoing the arguments used at

Compromise on cycle way through park AGREEMENT could be close between residents and the council on a cycle route through Victoria Park. The council promised to consult more widely after ditching a plan for a 4.7m-wide “cycle superhighway” in January, following massive opposition. Now, campaign group Forward Together hopes the cycleway will be kept to 3m wide. It won’t be segregated, but will be shared by cyclists and pedestrians. Forward Together

say it will be safer because no-one will feel they have sole rights over it, and everyone will watch out for other users. Many cyclists, however, will argue that a route which keeps cyclists and pedestrians apart is safer. The row over the council’s planning application for the cycleway became heated in January, with opponents of the scheme accused of being “anti-cycling”. The new route runs from the corner of Hill Avenue and Nutgrove Avenue to Windmill Close along the existing path, passing between the 5-a-side pitch and the old wetland area. The current path varies from 1.6m wide to 2.8m, and would be widened to 3m.

Victoria Park. “If the Slopes was a destination it would be a different matter. We are against using it as a through route.” The council told the Voice that there are “no fixed plans” for the Quietway route through Northern Slopes. “Another meeting will take place soon with community groups to further discuss proposals for the route,” said a spokesperson. • Another cycle lane – a separate plan from the Filwood Quietway

– has been altered after pressure from residents in Knowle Park. Cllr Gary Hopkins said a cycle lane proposed along Airport Road to the junction of Wells Road was ”really dangerous” because it was right alongside homes on Airport Road and likely to cause problems for pedestrians and cars emerging from driveways. He expects the plan to be revised, with the cycles segregated from the pavement.

SLOPES CONSIDERS FUTURE OPTIONS MEMBERS of the Northern Slopes Initiative are considering what to do if the council carries out its threat to pull all parks funding by 2020. The NSI may consider taking a lease on the Slopes, chair Bob Franks told the Voice.

Some feel the Slopes does not get looked after well by the council, with a shortage of waste bins, complaints about rubbish and lack of maintenance. The NSI will consider whether it wants to take on the job but first it is asking the council for a breakdown of the cost of running the space.

Parks ‘not all expected to pay their way’ SOUTH Bristol parks won’t all be expected to raise money to keep themselves going, the council has indicated. Incredulity greeted the council’s budget plan which calls for parks funding to be reduced to zero by 2020. The plan suggests parks can generate income – for example, via charges for entry to the Balloon Fiesta at Ashton Court. But the council has now acknowledged that not all parks can generate an income. A council spokesperson said: “We are looking at how parks can raise additional revenue through hosting and providing additional events and services. Our parks and green spaces are city assets and therefore we would envisage most of the income generated would be used on a city basis, rather than each space having to fund itself. We will be engaging and consulting with the public and local communities as we move forward.”

Spring mess TO CELEBRATE the coming of spring, South Bristol Toy Library is teaming up with Happy Mess for a children’s messy play event on Saturday April 22. It’s from 10.30am-12noon at United Reformed Church Hall, on the corner of West Street and Stanley Street South, Bedminster. It costs £3 per child, under 1s are free. Email hello@ southbristoltoylibrary.co.uk

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April 2017

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n NEWS VILLAGES ON OUR DOORSTEP

Vale of tears? Taylor Wimpey’s idea for villages next to Long Ashton THE LARGEST housing development in the area could take place on Green Belt land outside the Bristol boundary. Several thousand homes are proposed in three new “villages” between Ashton Vale, Long Ashton and Dundry. The concept, called The Vale, is proposed by Taylor Wimpey. The developer says building on the Green Belt –which is normally forbidden – should be allowed because the site is so close to

Bristol. It’s next to the new South Bristol Link road, to cycleways and to the forthcoming Metrobus link. Schools, village shops, small business premises and community buildings would be part of the plan. No planning aplication has yet been submitted. Residents of many North Somerset villages also prefer the Vale idea – because it means the homes won’t be built on their doorstep.

THE ARENA AND HOUSING PLANS

Part of arena site to Striking: The Engine Shed2 plan saves the facade of the George & Railway hotel, but not the Grosvenor THE UNIVERSITY of Bristol is set to take over part of Arena Island in a multi-million pound deal approved by the city council. The plan for a £300 million campus, serving 3,000 students and 1,900 staff, was made several months ago and centres on the former Royal Mail sorting office next to Temple Meads station. The long-derelict building will now be demolished by the council and the entire site sold to the university – including the Wood

Recycling centre on Cattle Market Road, which will have to move. But the sale of part of Arena Island is a departure from the council’s previous plans. It was originally hoped the arena could be built by 2018 and the rest of the island used as a temporary car park while commercial developers were invited to submit plans for permanent use. The island site was granted outline planning permission a year ago for 19,000 sq m of

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n NEWS

THE ARENA AND HOUSING PLANS

be sold to university, not a developer MYSTERY OF THE STUDENT FLATS

Mystery: A student block is also proposed for the site of the old Grosvenor hotel. It’s claimed it’ll be built by the autumn

STUDENT flats are on sale on a prominent site near Temple Meads – apparently before any request for planning permission. The Grosvenor student block is described as “an outstanding investment” with 144 student studio rooms at £99,000 each. Completion is expected in the autumn of 2017, according to marketing details. Yet the Voice has been unable to find a planning

shops, offices, leisure facilities, a hotel and homes, including affordable housing and student accommodation. Now the arena plan is bogged down, with no contractor agreed, and completion in 2020 or later. The deal with the university gives the council some certainty that it can develop a major part of the Temple Quarter enterprise zone, which aims to attract 17,000 jobs – many in creative and digital fields – over 25 years. It’s not clear what uses the university will find for Arena Island. But its first proposal for the new campus is for a “digital innovation hub” for postgraduates, to open in a new building, probably on the sorting office site, in 2021. A year later it will open a New Business School to fill a need for graduates to combine tech skills with business knowledge. It will also build a University City Village of up to 1,185 student homes, ”spread over a number of blocks at a range of heights.” It may be that the Island will become home to the student

application for the scheme. The site is to be the derelict Grosvenor Hotel, which campaigners want to save. The same site is earmarked for the Engine Shed2 plan, backed by the council and university (pictured on the opposite page). The Voice asked for details from London-based Grosvenor Property Developers, and Bristol sales agent Harbourside Property Group. Neither made comment.

Council homes for Ashton Vale

village – though neither the council nor the university could confirm this. An additional 2,500 homes are expected to be built elsewhere in the enterprise zone. The council will receive between £11m and £16m from the sale of land to the university. It will receive almost £1m a year in business rates – much less than the £2.3m it might get if the site was developed commercially. But the council believes the university will develop the site more quickly than any private developer. However, the council has much work to do before the land can be handed over – including removing asbestos from the Cattle Market site, and dealing with a historic burial site for cholera victims on the land. Ultimately, the finances of the project are not clear – some of the figures are kept confidential. The university is also backing the Engine Shed business incubator which hopes to take over the island site opposite Temple Meads (see above).

THE CITY council wants to build around 140 new homes on open land in Ashton Vale, known as Alderman Moore’s allotments. About 55 of these – or 40 per cent – would be council homes available for social rent, while the rest would be sold. At Hengrove Park and Hartcliffe Campus another 1,400

homes are proposed as part of a £175m, five-year, city-wide plan. Mayor Marvin Rees made an election pledge to ensure that 2,000 homes a year are built in Bristol, 800 of them affordable. Over the last five years, fewer than 1,400 Bristol homes have been built each year, only 12 per cent affordable, or 170 a year.

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It starts now – new JUNI

OR S

This summer, the Voice is getting behind My Wild Bedminster – and there are prizes

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CHILDREN at every one of Bedminster’s school are being encouraged to take a look at the wildlife all around them – and think about what can be done to protect it. Starting this month, the South Bristol Voice is supporting the My Wild Bedminster project to highlight all the plants and animals that are on our doorstep, and find ways to help them thrive. Bedminster is one of the least well-off places for wildlife in all of Bristol – mainly because it’s so built-up, with many houses having tiny gardens. This year My Wild Bedminster aims to: • Encourage children at every

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0am

FIND OUT MORE All the schools in BS3 have been invited to take part in this exciting project. If you’d like to find out more, or you’d like to arrange a visit from our wildlife expert Alex Morss, email gbcpnewsletter@gmail.com

ADULTS TOO

Grown-ups can take part by sending in pictures of wildlife. It could be birds, it could be bats, insects – but it must be in BS3. No professional photographers. £10 prize each month for the best sent to paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk school in BS3 to take a look at the plants and animals in their neighbourhood; • Create artwork and take photos to show what they find; • Think about how wildlife can be encouraged, even in the inner city. The Voice will be offering prizes for the best pictures – both artwork and photographs – that

Our boys love school… and not just at break time For more information or to arrange a visit, call 0117 930 3068 or visit www.qehbristol.co.uk

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Celebrate Easter at your local church CHURCH OF CHRIST – Jesus is Alive! St John’s Lane Easter Sunday, April 16: 10am Bible Hour for all ages; 11am breaking of bread- all welcome; 2-4pm Easter Gospel Trail, Victoria Park, for children under 12; 5pm Celebration Service at our chapel, all are welcome. For details, please contact Jason 07795 560990. ST MICHAEL’S, Windmill Hill BS3 4LW April 1: Stainer’s Crucifixion – Come and Sing. Concert 7pm, Choir, open to all, meets 1.30pm. Palm Sunday, April 9: 10am Procession of Palms Maundy Thursday, April 13: 7.30pm Fish and Chip Supper, Foot-washing & Communion. Phone 977 6132 if you would like to join us. Good Friday, April 14: 10am Stations of the Cross; 10.45am Hot Cross Buns and Procession to Mrs Brown’s Cafe. Easter Sunday, April 16: 10am Easter Day Service VICTORIA PARK BAPTIST CHURCH, Sylvia Avenue Palm Sunday, April 9: 10.30am Family Service. Maundy Thursday, April 13: 7.30pm Communion and Vigil Good Friday, April 14: 10.30am Service. Easter Sunday, April 16: 8am Sunrise Service with Communion; 10.30am Family Service.

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 wildlife challenge to all our schools

but did you know there are 50 species in the Avon area? How

many are in your garden? Birds The BS3 Wildlife Group record all the species seen in gardens over the winter – usually about 20. More visit us in the summer – what can you photograph that is unusual? Butterflies are suffering across the country. Any sightings in BS3 are of interest. More info from Butterfly Conservation, right. Bees Friends of the Earth has a Great British Bee Count – see panel, right.

Alex will bring identity charts and resources to help children identify the birds, animals, plants and insects that they see. And she’ll tell them how they can make life easier for wildlife in their neighbourhood. It might be by leaving a wild area where hedgehogs can hibernate, or planting a tree, or sowing flowers that butterflies can feed on. The winner of our school competition will be able to choose a prize that helps them

improve their local environment for wildlife – perhaps bird boxes or bat boxes. My Wild Bedminster is being co-ordinated by the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership, building on the work of the Avon Wildlife Trust. In previous years the AWT has done lots of work with schools and other groups in Bedminster, but this year it has less funding. The Voice and our new sponsor hope to fill some of the gap.

WHAT CAN YOU SEE? Hedgehogs are in decline all over the UK. There were a few seen in BS3 last year, but any sighting is worth recording. Tawny owls were heard by many people all over South Bristol last year. It seems that they’re thriving. Bats hate the light, but they’re often seen in darker gardens and parks, and they use the river as a route to their feeding places. Snails may seem very ordinary, schools send in. We’ll print the best ones every month, building up to a prizegiving for the best school at the end of the summer term. In the autumn, we hope to stage an exhibition of the best work. In next month’s Voice, we’ll be announcing a sponsor for My Wild Bedminster, to pay for school resources, and for visits to schools by wildlife expert and ecologist Alex Morss.

Spotted in a garden: a goldfinch

MORE INFORMATION Bat alert PICTURE: John Black/bats. org.uk

• avonwildlifetrust.org.uk Local wildlife • rspb.org.uk Protecting birds nationwide • bto.org Runs a national bird survey • butterfly-conservation.org Encourage habitats for caterpillars and butterflies. • bats.org.uk Website of Bat Conservation Trust • foe.co.uk/act/join-greatbritish-bee-count Recording bee numbers • secretworld.org Wildlife rescue centre in Somerset • hedgehogrescue.co.uk Local hedgehog rescue

Celebrate Easter at your local church ST ALDHELM’S Church, Chessel Street Sunday April 9, Palm Sunday service. Procession from St Francis to St Aldhelm’s starts 10.15am. Wednesday April 12, 7:30pm, Agape meal. Friday April 14, 10am-1pm, Good Friday meditations and reflections. Friday April 14, 2pm, Holy Communion. ST FRANCIS Church, North Street Thursday April 13, 7.30pm, Maundy service including foot washing. Sunday April 16, 10.15am, Easter Sunday service. ST PAUL’S Church, Coronation Road Friday April 14, 6:30pm, Good Friday service of Healing and Forgiveness. Sunday April 16, 10.30am, Easter celebration for all ages.

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


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n NEWS Find help with eating disorders DO YOU have trouble controlling the way you eat? Food Addicts in Recovery Anonymous is a 12-step recovery programme for anyone suffering from food obsession, overeating, under-

eating or bulimia. Meetings are held at 6.30pm each Monday at Totterdown Baptist Church, Wells Road. For more details, call 07886 545228. • www.foodaddicts.org

It’s going to be really a-mazing Malago clean-up turns into a plan for a massive maze IT’S GOING to be a big transformation – from what was a field of overgrown weeds last year, to a maze full of edible fruit. That’s the plan for the Malago Greenway, the patch of land next to the River Malago leading off Brixham Road, which used to be uncared for and full of rubbish. Now it looks like a different place. And if funds can be raised, it could be turned into a Berry Maze. Plans drawn up with the help of children from Parson Street primary school envisage 200 plants with 16 types of berries. It will have benches to sit on, and residents will be able to help themselves to fruit. Organiser Raluca McKett said: “It’s a huge project and we will need lots of volunteers, but the council’s parks department have given their approval and £300 has been raised through the kind contribution of house

builder Redrow, and National Tool Hire have offered to lend us tools free of charge. “However, with a budget of around £3,500 we are far from the target!” If the money can be raised, and volunteers found to help, it’s hoped the maze could open in June 2018. Residents and businesses who’d like to show support can email malagocommunity@gmail.com. To help with crowdfunding, visit the webpage below. It was only last year that volunteers first got together and began regular clean-up days. A big effort on March 11 saw huge piles of rubbish collected from the open space, Somer Lane and the banks of the Malago. Raluca praised the efforts of locals as well as “the lovely people from Good Gym” – the Bristol group of keep-fit fanatics who are not content with going out for a run but like to find some community work to do when they stop. She also thanked Greggs and East Street Fruit & Vegetable Market for contributing food to the volunteers. • spacehive.com/the-berry-maze

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Take five: Ruth marks the fifth day of her 100-day charity event in memory of her dad, Rod

Ruth’s running for Rod RUTH Drury has devoted herself to a 100-day challenge to keep her father’s memory alive. Ruth, who’s the Voice sales executive, lost her father Rod Chapman in January. He died aged only 62 from heart disease. Ruth, her two children, husband Dave, mum Bev and sister Liz, were left with a terrible sense of loss as the death of Rod, or Pop as he was known to his grandchildren, was completely unexpected. Not one to sit still, Ruth is now several weeks in to her big challenge, to run 100 miles in aid of the British Heart Foundation. “My dad’s heart couldn’t be saved, but others’ can be,” said Ruth. “The plan is to run one

mile a day for 100 days, finishing on what would have been Dad’s 63rd birthday – June 7. Dad enjoyed jogging in Victoria Park every morning. The money can go to help develop treatments to save others from heart disease. “Dad died very suddenly and it’s a terrible time for us all but I want to put all my grief in to making him so proud.” Already Ruth has hundreds of pounds pledged from family and friends. Rod had lived in Park Avenue, Victoria Park, for nearly 40 years and was well known to many people locally, not least at Victoria Park Baptist Church where he was a deacon. • justgiving.com/fundraising/ Runningforrod

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n NEWS

Lantern parade is still at risk Still a shortfall of at least £5,000 that has to be bridged THIS year’s Bedminster Winter Lantern Parade could have an international favour – organisers are talking to Bristol’s town twinning team about displays to celebrate the city’s overseas links. But that’s only if the event survives. Organisers have been forced to set monthly targets for fundraising and it is by no means certain that they can rise the £19,000 needed to stage the hugely popular event. About 3,000 people turned out to watch what many observers called the best parade ever on January 21 – after it was delayed from December by bad weather. But with the council facing a financial crisis, and school budgets under pressure, there is a shortfall of around £5,000 in

the budget for this year’s parade, even if all the hoped-for grants are obtained. “People say, why does it cost so much money?” said Malcolm Brammar, chair of the parade organising committee. “Well, the reason is that the only people who get paid are the wonderful artists who spend three months helping children in our schools to make the lanterns.” There are other big costs too – the organisers have to pay for road closures and for public liability insurance. Schools pay a small amount to take part, and lantern-making kits are on sale all year to help offset the expenses. But the rest of the money must be raised from events like jumble sales, stalls at summer fairs, and from many local firms who are generous sponsors. More businesses are welcome to get involved – a £100 donation is enough to become a supporter,

while sums over £200 make the donor an official sponsor. Asked if the parade should widen its catchment to a bigger area to gain more support, Mr Brammar said: “We feel it’s important that it’s kept as a BS3 event. That’s where our appeal is, it’s very much a communitybased event and we don’t feel the need to go any further out.” He warned that this year’s parade won’t happen if the funds can’t be raised by the end of July, in order to employ the artists for the autumn term. “We know the event is really so popular in Bedminster, it’s just that without the funding, we can’t run it in the way that we want,” he said. Events are already being planned to raise funds throughout the summer. If you’d like to get involved, email info@ bwlp.org.uk. Or visit • facebook.com/groups/ BemmyLanterns

Never too early BREAKFAST in Bedminster returns on Saturday April 29, bringing films and special breakfast menus to more than 20 venues from 8am-12noon. There will be a special screening of The Breakfast Club in the Tobacco Factory and a Breakfast at Tiffany’s-inspired afternoon tea at café Margot May in North Street. More venues will be announced on Facebook: search Breakfast in Bedminster.

Farm egg trail AN EASTER trail at Windmill Hill City Farm will keep youngsters busy for an hour or so while parents take time out for a coffee. Children of six and over will be shown how to make an Easter basket or turn themselves into a giant Easter egg. After that there’s an egg hunt round the farm in Philip Street. Sessions are £10 and start at 10am, 12.30pm and 2.30pm on Easter Saturday, April 15. • windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk

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April 2017

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n NEWS

BEDMINSTER GREEN

Rollo Homes promises social housing and admits it hasn’t consulted enough DEVELOPER Rollo Homes has defended its plan for 217 flats, in buildings of up to 10 storeys, at Bedminster Green. In a lengthy response to a list of questions from the Voice, a spokesperson for Rollo said: • It accepts criticism about lack of consultation; • The scheme will contain up to 20 per cent social housing; • Rollo will release its site viability study. The fightback comes after a wave of opposition to the plan, with more than 200 objections to the planning application. Paul O’Brien, the Bedminsterbased builder who owns Rollo Homes, told the Voice his plans had local interests at heart. “We’re local born and bred and our roots are firmly embedded in the BS3 local economy,” he said. Rollo is answering local demand by including 99 one-bed flats in the scheme, he said. It has also not put shops on the ground floor so as not to compete with East Street. “Being a local developer, we’ll still be here long after the national developers have gone. We also plan to contribute to the new infrastructure, and we will be sharing proposals and listening to local residents in the not too distant future,” he said. However, his spokesperson accepted that criticism of a lack of consultation “may be justified”. The community will be consulted “if and when” Rollo

Rollo plan: “Meeting local need” with one-bedroom flats revises the plan after talking to council officials. The firm has also shared its site viability study, justifying its claim that the site isn’t profitable enough for more social housing. Rollo said its figures show a 17 per cent return over three years, when lenders usually require a 20 per cent profit. In a statement, Windmill Hill community group WHaM said: “Rollo Homes have failed completely to consult with the

SOLAR NO MORE ONE potential obstacle to the Rollo plan has been removed. An application from another developer to put a row of solar panels along the railway embankment next to the Rollo plot has been withdrawn, ending a potential row about overshadowing.

local community, which they now appear to admit, therefore failing to comply with Bristol city council’s Statement of Community Involvement. At WHaM’s recent public meeting, not one person of the 100 present raised their hand when asked if they had been consulted about the Pring site. All but three of 217 comments on the council website oppose the application, which shows that the local community totally rejects this plan. “Residents have raised many concerns such as the featureless ground floor, green spaces or parking, but Rollo Homes rather arrogantly refuses to address any of these. The developers would do well to read WHaM’s community brief, which was drawn up after extensive consultation.” WHaM urged residents to continue to register their comments with the council.

The Rollo plan for the former Pring & St Hill factory is the first to be submitted for Bedminster Green. Another developer, Urbis, has drawn up a framework for the entire site, envisaging 800 homes, a rebuilt Bedminster station, a health centre and other community benefits. Rollo declined to contribute to the framework benefits, though Urbis said all the other developers it has lined up for the area will do so. Rollo said it will pay a Community Infrastructure Levy, which contributes to neighbourhood projects. Rollo and Urbis are also at odds because both are proposing a district energy centre to provide heat and power for local homes. Rollo’s energy plan has drawn several detailed queries from the council’s sustainability office, which the firm said would be “answered fully”. The firm is in talks about providing up to 20 per cent of the homes on the site for shared ownership under the government Shared Ownership and Affordable Homes Programme. Meanwhile Windmill Hill Labour councillor Jon Wellington has joined the list of objectors to the plan. Calling it “a damaging proposal”, he cited complaints that the “unpleasant standalone tower” would rob light from Windmill Hill residents, especially in Cotswold Road, Mendip Road and Eldon Terrace. He also criticised the lack of consultation.

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Now two energy centres on the cards THE PLANNING application for 217 homes on the old Pring & St Hill factory site on Bedminster Green has been joined by another from the same developer – for a district energy centre. The application may have planning officials scratching their heads, because rival developer Urbis has long announced its intention to build an energy centre to supply heat and power to around 2,000 homes. The Rollo scheme is similar to the Urbis one. The gas-powered plant would sit at the end of the old Pring & St Hill site nearest Sheene Road. It would have a 31m chimney, and be capable of supplying the rest of Bedminster

BUS LANE UPSET

Continued from page 1 for the plot, one of five sites in Bedminster Green. Rival developer Urbis claims to have the support of other developers for a scheme for about 800 homes with new public spaces, a walkway along the River Malago, a health centre and other community benefits. Many residents objected to the Rollo plan because it included no affordable homes. Rollo has now said it is in talks

about providing 20 per cent of the homes for shared ownership under a Government scheme. It has voluntarily made public its viability statement, in which planning consultants argue that the scheme won’t be feasible if it is forced to provide affordable homes for rent. This is partly because of the need to build an energy centre, it says. The viability statement also reveals that a strip of land along Malago Road needed for the Rollo plot is not owned by the

Green. A spokesperson for Rollo said: “The energy centre application has been sensibly future-proofed. Supplying homes on Plot 1 is its primary function, but it may be that other plot owners will wish to use this service. When there is some certainty, the company will make information public.” Windmill Hill community planning group WHaM said: “Once again Paul O’Brien [owner of Rollo Homes] has completely failed to consult the community

over this important issue. We have absolutely no confidence that he is working in the interest of the local community. “We are very concerned that this will bring even more pollution to an already heavily polluted area. An expert on emissions at UWE has told us it just isn’t a good idea to have these things near densely populated places. It is essential a full environmental impact assessment is carried out.” The chimney, at 31m, will be

17

BEDMINSTER GREEN firm. It’s not clear if this is the strip which would be needed for a bus lane, or who owns it. The statement says Rollo has agreed to pay £675,000 for the land. A spokesperson for Rollo said the company was in discussions with the council about the transport issues and other matters raised by planners. The planning application for homes may not be debated until the summer because so many comments have been made, the Voice understands. almost at the same height as the proposed high-rise block, and very close to it, WHaM said. Urbis told the Voice it is pressing ahead with plans for its own energy centre. It will start with a smaller district heating plant which will supply about 200 homes and could be functioning by December. This will act as a satellite plant to the main energy centre, for which a planning application will follow in the summer, situated on or near Bedminster Green.

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n NEWS

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


April 2017

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n FOCUS WEST OF ENGLAND ELECTION SPECIAL

Another new mayor – but who will get the West’s vote? IT’S THE election no-one asked for – so how well will it be supported? The new position of metro mayor for the West of England will be decided by a vote across the region on May 4. Unlike the position of Bristol’s mayor, this post wasn’t created by popular demand. Bristol people voted – narrowly – to have a new mayor with wider powers over the city in a referendum in 2012. This led to the election of George Ferguson in 2012 and Marvin Rees in 2016. But the decision on whether to have a metro mayor was instead left to the local authorities in the area. Last year, Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset councillors backed the plan. North Somerset did not, and will not be part of the new West of England Combined Authority – which will probably become known as Weca. The absence of North

Metro mayor will have power over housing, planning and transport Somerset immediately weakens the case for Weca, it can be argued. The purpose of the authority is to oversee major issues for the region – transport, housing and employment. North Somerset has always been part of discussions on these issues with the other three councils. Now it will be left out of Weca. And with calls for major housing development in North Somerset’s Green Belt just outside Bristol (see page 10), this may be one area where the new metro mayor finds themself lacking in influence. So what will

Tim Bowles Conservative Manager at global events company, district councillor; president, Bristol & South Gloucestershire Conservative Association

A

S A local community campaigner, I’m   passionate about our region and that’s why I’m standing to be the first West of England Mayor. I’ve combined a successful business career with public service as a local councillor over the last 14 years and I want to use my skills, experience and determination to make our region even better. Our community is a great place to live with a growing economy and new jobs. But success brings demand for more housing - and transport infrastructure is just not keeping up. Local people want to see further improvements to transport and they want to be able to get on the housing ladder more easily. If elected, I will adopt a better approach to development – so the right homes are built in

Weca be able to do? It will have £30 million a year to spend and several new powers devolved from the Government. • It will be able to set up franchised bus services, for example, giving it more influence over bus companies than councils have at present. This will require an Act of Parliament, however, so won’t happen quickly. • It will have broader powers over transport – including responsibility for a Key Route Network of local roads. • On rail, it will be expected to assess the need for new routes – possibly building stations itself. • It will set targets for housebuilding, and agree where major developments should be. • It will draw up a regional strategy for housing and planning – and it will be able to “call in” planning applications where they are of importance to the whole region. Some of this Continued on page 25

ON THESE PAGES 19-23 Candidates’ statements in alphabetical order by surname 19-21 What the new role of metro mayor will mean 23

Where you can meet the candidates

WHO ARE THE CANDIDATES AND WHAT ARE THEIR ODDS? Stephen Williams Lib Dem  11/10 Tim Bowles Conservative 11/10 Lesley Mansell Labour  6/1 Darren Hall Green    50/1 Aaron Foot UKIP 100/1 John Savage Independent*  N/A *No odds declared for John Savage at press time • Odds from Ladbrokes.com ELECTION FEVER Bristol voters have had five elections in the last two years – voting for councillors in 2015 and 2016, for MPs in 2015, for the city mayor in 2016, and for the police and crime commissioner in 2016. How many will turn out for this one on May 4? After this, no elections are planned until 2020.

Aaron Foot UKIP Dairy farmer, parish councillor. Candidate in 2015 Police and Crime Commissioner election.

the right places, protecting our green spaces and prioritising urban regeneration. I’m also determined to make transport a priority like a new station at Henbury and Horfield, speeding up the Portway Park and Ride station, and increased services from Sea Mills and Shirehampton stations. The West of England mayor can make a real difference to the lives of people in the West with nearly £1 billion of extra Government money and key powers over housing, transport, the economy and jobs. But we need a strong local voice to champion our region, we need a mayor who can work with our Government, local MPs and Councillors to get things done instead of using the role to score political points.

A

S YOUR local UKIP Candidate for the West of England metro mayor, I have three commitments. Firstly, as a farmer, I understand the vast importance of the Green Belt and thus I do not want to see our nation stripped of its prime agricultural land and natural wildlife habitats. This is why I will fight hard to prevent our countryside becoming swamped by over-development, as our countryside must be preserved to be enjoyed by future generations. I will also pledge to get the Bristol and Bath gridlock sorted once and for all. This will be achieved by ending the war on motorists and implementing an integrated transport network where bus, train and road user all work together. Finally, I want to be the voice that represents you, the public, this is why in the first 100 days

in office, I will create a direct democracy platform so we can shape the West of England together. This will be done so that we can all champion change. For many people within the new combined authority, choosing the region’s first metro mayor will be an important decision. Therefore it’s crucial that come May 4, voters aren’t restricted to choosing between a selection of career politicians that are almost indistinguishable from one another. With me on the ballot, they’ll have the opportunity to vote for someone completely different. People elected for UKIP are able to stand up for their constituents free from the bounds of the party whip. My focus will be to deliver the people’s wishes.

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


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n FOCUS WEST OF ENGLAND ELECTION SPECIAL Continued from page 23 will mean taking powers – and money – from the local councils. Weca is expected to attract businesses to the region, and help make sure workers have the right skills – for this purpose, it will have powers over adult education. It will also design a Work and Health programme to help the long term unemployed CAN I VOTE? Only if you are on the register of electors. To vote on May 4, you must register by April 13. Visit • bristol.gov.uk/votingelections/register-to-vote WILL BRISTOL LOSE SOME OF ITS POWERS? Possibly. The idea is that the “Devo Deal” wil devolve powers from central government to local level. But some of Weca’s powers for public transport, roads and planning are currently controlled by town halls. It remains to be seen how much influence Bristol, and its city mayor, will retain. WHAT ABOUT OVERSIGHT? Each of the three member councils will appoint a member to a Weca scrutiny committee.

The new leader’s powers with health and disability issues. Whoever the new mayor is, they will have to co-operate. The new authority is led by the metro mayor, with the other members being the mayor of Bristol and the leaders of the Bath and South Gloucestershire councils. One of

THE DEVO DEAL: FACTS • The West of England Combined Authority – Weca – will have a £900 million budget over 30 years – worth £30m a year. • It covers Bristol, Bath & North East Somerset (BaNES), and South Gloucestershire. The three councils will continue with most of their duties – for schools, social services, waste collection and so on. • Weca will have powers over issues that affect the whole region – transport, housing and skills. Previously these decisions were made in Whitehall. Some powers will overlap with the local councils. • With a population of over one million people, an economy worth over £31 billion a year and over

Darren Hall Green Director of social enterprise company and not-for profit events company. Parliamentary candidate for Bristol West, 2015

I

GREW up in Gloucestershire and lived in the Bristol area for the last 15 years. After graduating from Swansea University as a mechanical engineer, I joined the RAF as an engineering officer. Later I undertook a Masters in Business and worked in public services in a number of roles spanning crime and drugs, culture and media and sport. I was the national spokesperson for the Frank drugs campaign and supported Gloucestershire’s recovery from 2007’s flooding. I spent five years working with Bristol city council, running the Bristol Green Capital Partnership, and led the team that won the European Green Capital Award. Over 20 years, I have become more active in campaigning on environmental issues and despite my reservations, I was persuaded to enter politics. I ran as the Green party’s Bristol

these council leaders will be appointed deputy metro mayor. Some decisions will have to be unanimous – the “spatial development strategy”, or regional plan, will have to be agreed by all the leaders. Other decisions can be by majority vote.

43,000 businesses, the West of England is one of the UK’s most prosperous regions. • Weca will work with partners including the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, North Somerset council and others, to deliver economic growth for the region. • The authority members are Cllr Tim Warren, leader of BaNES, Marvin Rees, mayor of Bristol, and Cllr Matthew Riddle, leader of South Gloucestershire. • Weca’s first public meeting took place on March 1 at the Watershed in Bristol. It’s not been decided where the new authority will be based.

WHERE CAN I MEET THE CANDIDATES? • Transport debate, 6pm, April 3, Bristol & Bath Science Park BS16 7FR. Register at Eventbrite: search West of England metro mayor. • Lib Dem candidate Stephen Williams will be at Redcatch community centre, Redcatch Road, Knowle, at 7pm on April 10. • European hustings, 7pm, April 10, BAWA, Filton BS34 7RG. • BBC Points West debate (televised) 6-8pm, April 19, tbc. • Women’s question time, 7pm, April 24; email info@ bristolwomensvoice.org.uk. • Sustainability hustings, 6.30pm, April 25, Priory Road Lecture Theatre, University of Bristol. Book a place by emailing contact@ bristolgreencapital.org • westofengland-ca.org.uk WILL THERE BE ANY MORE CANDIDATES? Possibly – nominations close on April 4 and the official list of candidates is unveiled on April 5. A THREE-MAYOR TOWN Bristol will have three mayors after the poll (see Intro, p2). Too many? Only a referendum could remove one of the roles.

Lesley Mansell Labour NHS manager and trade union negotiator. Parish councillor, former town council leader

West MP, achieving 23 per cent of the vote, a close second to Labour. During the campaign I saw how the Green party’s vision and messages of hope connected with residents fed up with the hollow promises from the “greenest government ever”. As metro mayor, I can improve the lives of thousands who live and work in the West of England by investing in better public transport, affordable housing, and jobs that pay a living wage. We must do more to provide people with meaningful work and investing in people. We have the opportunity to be a world leader in the smart cities agenda, creating a strong local economy that protects and regenerates the natural resources which we all enjoy.

M

y vision is to ensure everyone in the West of England can share equally in our region’s success. The metro mayor is a new role and a chance to change the way things are done. I will put people first, working hard to get the best out of the three local authorities so devolution works for the many, not the few. This election presents an opportunity for us to tackle the inequalities of our housing market, the insecurity of our jobs market and to end the frustrations of our journeys across Bristol. After the election I will meet with the leaders of the local authorities about their housing plans, where they plan to build, when and how many. I want to see more social and affordable housing being built, focusing on the areas of greatest need. We have already seen in Bristol what can be done when

there is the will to build houses. I will work closely with Marvin Rees to replicate Labour’s success across the region. It can take me two hours to drive the 24 miles to work, so I have first hand experience of Bristol’s gridlock. Too many of our roads, buses and trains are over-crowded, with congestion damaging our local economy and air quality. One solution is to encourage employers to allow staff to work from home more often. I will push for improved broadband in all areas. Imagine the difference to our congestion and air quality if commuters stayed at home one day a week. The West of England needs a Labour metro mayor to champion the fight against the region’s inequalities.

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


Lesley Mansell

for Metro Mayor My key pledges to you are to: Build more social housing and affordable homes. Create better jobs, training opportunities and apprenticeships. Provide reliable, green and accessible transport. Secure the best business deal for the region, including rolling out high-speed internet. Promote green energy policies and protect our beautiful countryside.

I am standing for election because I want to change the way things are done. My vision is to ensure everyone in Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire can share equally in our region’s success. I want devolution to work for the many, not the few. I will put people first. mansell4mayor.org @MansellForMayor www.facebook.com/MansellForMayor 07955 619 632

Vote

Thursday 4 May Promoted by Pete Daw on behalf of Lesley Mansell, both of Tony Benn House, Victoria Street, Bristol BS1 6AY.

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n FOCUS WEST OF ENGLAND ELECTION SPECIAL John Savage Independent Chairman of University Hospitals Bristol NHS Trust and executive chairman of Bristol Chamber of Commerce

T

independent candidate for this election and draw upon my vast experience of partnership working – with government, local government, businesses and charities – to bolster the status of the West of England and champion it as the best place to live and work. In our region businesses, charities and academia lead the way globally. The local political system is not supported and has little inclination for long term planning. We must compete with other city regions in the UK, in Europe and beyond if we are to maintain and improve the golden opportunity of our place. We cannot afford the complacency of the past. The role of metro mayor is for someone who can match the ambitions of every sector and get the job done.

HE election of a metro mayor for the West of England is an exciting opportunity to take our region forward. London has benefitted from the strategic leadership of its mayor. Now we will have the same powers and new sources of money so that we can make the big decisions locally. The new metro mayor will be able to invest in the economy, with £120 million available in the first four years. I will invest in cheap start-up space for new businesses and social enterprises. I want to encourage tech and digital entrepreneurs, the fast-growing industries of the future. I will also support those businesses that are developing a low carbon, sustainable economy. I will lead trade delegations to bring more jobs to our area, building a world recognised brand for Bristol and Bath. I will set aside land for new homes that are affordable for

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purchase and rent, safeguarding the green belt. I will use new powers to regulate bus providers, enabling a common method of cashless payment. This will cut journey times and improve air quality. I will reopen rail stations, starting with Ashley Down, Charfield and Saltford. I will work with our county neighbours to bring more rail improvements and a new tram link to Bristol Airport. This is a big job, needing someone with the right mix of political experience, personal skills and good ideas. I am the only candidate to have served as a minister in the government, as well as an MP and councillor. This knowledge and experience enables me to make the case to the Government for even more resources and powers.

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N May 4, we enter a new phase of devolution that will profoundly change the way that our region is run. I have lived in the West of England for the last 40 years and for the first time in my life I see the possibility of a real shift in power from Westminster to local people. This is an unprecedented opportunity and it is essential that we do not waste it. We need a leader who can work across the three local authorities; someone who will not be bound by bureaucracy nor party interests. This is not the time to be divisive, but to unite the West of England around a common purpose and, in doing so, truly let this region reach its full potential. The West of England’s mayor must use their position to facilitate co-operation between the local authorities for the good of all. I intend to stand as an

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A stroll through the W

This tree was made for climbing – up to bedroom level.

It’s a warren in there: bunnies just dig this house

THE IMAGINATION of people in BS3 knows no bounds. Now that the idea of Window Wanderland is catching on, the ambitions are getting bigger each year. The BS3 area has had three displays this year – the largest, in Bedminster, Southville and Ashton from February 24-26, drew almost 240 registered entries – and perhaps there were more than that actually taking part. Entire tower blocks joined in, including Gaywood House and Northfield House, while Bedminster library and schools took part too. The displays were less numerous but no less skilful in Windmill Hill and Victoria Park on March 4 and 5, and in “Bemmie” – the areas around St John’s Lane and Marksbury Road – on March 11 and 12. It’s unfair to single anyone out, but the most eyecatching street was perhaps Gathorne Road, where the windows had a storybook theme – often covering the entire house!

This is a familiar cityscape, apart from the gorilla ...

Fronds and salamanders here.

Another animal invasion – this house has become an ants’ nest ...

While penguins are briefly thriving in this part of BS3 ...

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Window Wanderland

Second star on the right, straight on till Gathorne Road: A familiar story takes over.

And something a little more dangerous has taken up residence here.

Colour field: Recalling Dutch abstract artist Mondrian.

No entry: Harry Potter’s front door is the portal to Platform 9 3/4.

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


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Wills, Trusts + Probate

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When’s the best time to write your Will? There’s never an ideal time to write a Will. But changing circumstances mean there’s a natural time for you to start planning for the future. Angela Thomas of Barcan+Kirby’s Wills + probate team looks at some of the life events that might trigger the need for you to make or update your Will. You’ve moved in together It’s not uncommon for joint homeowners to be unmarried. But that makes it doubly important that you protect your financial interests, as well as those of your partners. It’s a common misconception that your share of the property will automatically pass to your partner if you die. This is because the law of intestacy – or dying without a valid Will in place – doesn’t recognise cohabitation in the same way it recognises marriage.

Your relationship has changed

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

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

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

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

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

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n FEATURES

Green roofs

A green roof is not just a pretty sight – it may keep your house warmer, says Alex Morss

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MAGINE Bristol’ s concrete canopy transformed – satellite dishes robbed of their lofty limelight by emerald jewels of sedums, summer meadow flowers and waves of silken grasses, swaying on our roof tops. What a difference it would make, if we planted a green cloak on all those ugly, terraced slabs of boredom that keep us dry, and multiplied this across the city? There would be more birdsong to cheer up the hum of traffic, while at twilight we would see amazing acrobatic displays by hungry bats. And conservationists might start telling us some good news - that urban pollinators are, for once, starting to do better, thanks to all the extra nectar and pockets of lush habitat. A green roof is not just about looking pretty and wildlife gain. It gets environmentalists cheering for an impressive list of other reasons too (see box). And our former Green Capital is predicted to see the concept take off, big time, from now onwards, as the wider benefits are realised by planners and designers, eager to tick boxes to meet environmental rules. Bedminster heralded the way back in 1995, when botanist David Bellamy opened the grassy roof on the GreenHouse - the Federation of City Farm HQ, below Windmill Hill. More recently, prominent public buildings have started following suit, to comply with new policies. Now, city home owners and businesses are also catching on. The GreenHouse was designed by Walter Segal as a low-energy, eco building. The roof was planted with local wild flowers liked by bees, butterflies, birds and other fauna. The Federation’s assistant director, Ian Egginton-Metters, said the roof is still going strong, 22 years on, with zero maintenance. He recalls: “I watered it twice in the first summer, which was a very dry year, but think it would have survived anyway. I cut the grass in the second year, but just the once. Some couch grass has invaded, but in general it has

Above: The City Farms building, Bedminster.

PICTURE: Federation of City Farms

Left, James Fiddick on one of the university’s green roofs. He has tried several, including flower meadows PICTURE: Alex Morss

Why your roof is the new place to grow settled to a mixture that suits that particular environment. “Apart from inserting a few plug plants in the first spring to increase diversity we have not forced any change. What is there is natural for that local environment, with birds depositing seeds, and it gives a wonderful range of colour and height throughout the year.” Mr Egginton-Metters says the environmental benefits have been ‘ very significant’ and he highly recommends green roofs. “They can often be no more expensive in general than so called ‘ conventional’ roofs, but offer greater insulation, reduce run-off, absorb air pollutants, create new wildlife habitats and are more pleasing to the eye.” Albert Adams, of Eastonbased carpentry firm Peddler on the Roof, has been busy greening up Bristol’s front yards for two years by building bike shelters using recycled wood, topped by sedums. Mr Adams said sedums are the most popular plants: “They are shallow-rooted and work well on small shelters,” he explained.

“It would be interesting to do other wild flowers but you would need a stronger structure and more soil.” The evergreen sedums are as tough as boots, thriving on neglect in harsh, dry environments. They offer year-round colour and an attractive flush of pink and yellow blooms in summer. They provide a rich nectar source for

pollinators if mixed with certain wildflower species. A green roof can be home to many species, including rare beetles and bugs, many other invertebrates, and can be food sources for birds and bats. There are different types of green roof, with varying habitats and varying water storage and energy saving qualities. Sedum roof designs are typically low maintenance, cheapest and lightweight. Stronger structures offer more planting choices and potentially better wildlife value. The University of Bristol has green roofs on five buildings, including the new Life Sciences building opened by Sir David Attenborough. Grounds manager James Fiddock, told the Voice: “There is potential to see a huge amount of them appearing in the city, because of the need for point scoring to comply with sustainability rules, especially at the university because we want to get our buildings rated at an excellent standard.”

BENEFITS OF GREEN ROOFS 1. Energy use Green roofs help insulate your home. 2. Flooding They retain up to 80% of rainfall, reducing run-off. 3. Less damage The plants protect the roof membrane from UV rays and ice, trebling its life. 4. Noise They reduce noise pollution, indoors and out. 5. Carbon sink They capture and reduce carbon emissions. 6. Air quality By reflecting more sunlight, they offset the urban ‘heat island’ effect, and cut ozone. 7. Biodiversity A new habitat. • thegreenroofcentre.co.uk

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n NEWS

Free pain consultation for Voice readers A SOUTH Bristol back pain specialist is offering Voice readers an exclusive care offer worth £45. The Bristol Back Pain Clinic, at Paintworks in Bath Road, is offering a free assessment and diagnosis, for which it usually charges £45, to the first 25 Voice readers who apply by April 30. Readers must quote “South Bristol Voice” when booking. Once this offer has expired, the clinic is also offering £20 off a consultation and treatment – see the advertisement below. The clinic treats headaches and migraine, shoulder and arm

pain, hip and knee pain; osteoarthritis, and pain during pregnancy and childcare. It’s also reaching out to people who may be suffering because they work at computers. New research from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has revealed that computers are the top tech back pain trigger for people in the South West, with more than a third (35 per cent) of those surveyed having experienced back or neck pain after using their laptop, and 27 per cent after using a desktop computer. As part of Chiropractic

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Awareness Week, from April 10-16, Harry Kauntze, chiropractor and director at the Bristol Back Pain Clinic, is urging people to take a break from their tech. Despite these figures, just 14 per cent of people in the South West have limited or stopped using their laptop due to concerns for their back and neck health or posture. Mr Kauntze said: “We all know how easy it is to become glued to your tech. However, it’s important to think about the impact this is having on back and neck health, as well as our posture. “Think about limiting the

amount of time you spend using it, and start building regular breaks into your day so you can give your back a rest.” For tips on looking after your back while using computers, see • chiropractic-uk.co.uk/ straighten-up-uk/ • Offer valid until April 30 at the Bristol Back Pain Clinic at The Paintworks (4.23), Bath Road, Bristol, BS4 3EH or at the Southville Clinic at 68 Coronation Road, Bristol, BS3 1AS for new patients only. Please quote South Bristol Voice. Call 0117 972 3518 or visit • bristolbackpain.com

Foul-mouthed man follows woman down deserted pathway A WINDMILL Hill woman has spoken out after she was subjected to foul sexual language by a man who followed her down a footpath. The woman – who is not being named by the Voice – left Lidl in Sheene Road with several bags of shopping at about 2pm on Monday January 23. As she started walking down the footpath beside the Malago river, towards Windmill Hill, she realised a man was following her. Staying behind her, the man started using obscene language, and carried on as he followed her. The path is usually quite busy, but happened to be deserted at the time. The woman, 47, walked faster until she reached the end of the path near Bedminster station, where she saw some friends. Turning suddenly, she shouted at the man to go away. Apparently unconcerned, he laughed and walked off towards Bedminster Green. The woman

said she wants other women to be aware of the man, in the hope that any other incidents will be reported to police. “If more people report it, the more likely he is to get caught,” she said. “I don’t want him thinking he can go around treating people like that. I have a daughter and I think of her as well.” The man was about 50 to 55 years old, with jet-black hair, of Turkish or Eastern European appearance. He wore a smart casual blazer and dark trousers. Inspector Rob Cheeseman at Broadbury Road police station said: “We haven’t had any other incidents of this nature reported to us recently, but we would be keen to speak to anyone who may have had a similar experience. We urge anyone with information about this incident, or others, to come forward and report it to us.”

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April 2017

southbristolvoice

LETTERS Camilla was visiting Ashton, not Southville I ALWAYS read South Bristol Voice with interest, but I was amazed to see your two-page spread entitled “Camilla charms Southville”. Camilla certainly did not! Camilla charmed Ashton, not Southville. She visited shops in North Street, which is Ashton. Southville Deli may think North Street is Southville, but they are deluding themselves. I say this as someone who was born 80 years ago in a road off North Street, and I, and many other native locals, find it extremely irritating to see the persistent and continuing campaign being carried out, by estate agents and the media, to foist the name Southville on to the historic Ashton street of North Street. Similarly, North Street from the Hen & Chicken to the London Inn is Bedminster, not Southville. I hope you will take note of this for any future references to North Street. Name supplied, Bedminster • Editor’s note: Our reference to Southville was not made lightly, but to reflect what

Send letters to paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk or to 18 Lilymead Ave, BS4 2BX

appears to be common usage. There was considerable debate about this on social media when we posted the story there. Some people argue Ashton ends at the Tobacco Factory, some that it extends to the south side of North Street. Historically, Southville was a smaller area near the river.

No one wins from hostility I WAS disappointed in the tone of a recent letter regarding the Filwood Quietway (Why Should Cyclists Prevail?, March 2017). One of the strengths of the FOG/ Forward Together Campaign was that it was not crudely anti-cycling, and instead offered a reasoned case as to why the proposals surrounding Victoria Park needed reconsideration (I disagreed with their conclusions, for the record). By contrast, language such as “extreme pro-cycling lobby” and reference to the “self-anointed halos” of cyclists is regretful and unhelpful. As a cyclist I readily admit that there is an element of self-righteousness among some of my two-wheeled comrades. But in a city with poor air quality, ever-present congestion, and a

creaking public transport network, encouraging cycling is surely a no-brainer. The only way we can improve the above issues is to take cars off the road; for mediumlength commuter journeys walking is rarely an option. No one benefits when pedestrians, cyclists and car drivers form hostile camps. A little more understanding and respect on both sides would go a long way to addressing the reluctance that always seems to greet proposals for better cycling infrastructure. Harry Wood, Knowle

Cyclists are not the problem THE LETTER from MB of Windmill Hill about cycling in Victoria Park shows all the worst features of the Filwood Opposition Group’s bigotry and propagandist nonsense. People who cycle are not asking for special treatment, as is claimed. MB is simply creating a false position in order to attack it and demonise people who cycle. People who cycle are fully entitled to cycle through Victoria Park, as with any park in Bristol. This is a shared common space, paid for through common taxation. The existing paths are

POLICE REPORT Your phone calls are helping us make arrests

V

EHICLE crime continues to cause us problems in and around Bedminster and Southville. We’ve made some good arrests lately, including a man found at the back of York Buildings who was seen acting suspiciously and another who was seen trying car doors with a “colleague”. When searched, a sat nav was found in his pocket. Both arrests were a result of people phoning in their suspicions. If you see someone hanging around looking into vehicles or trying doors, please call us immediately. We’ll do our best to attend, find them and

check them out. The more detailed the description you give, the better.

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e’re continuing to keep the pressure up on drug dealers in south Bristol and, although much of the work you’ll have heard about is focused on Filwood and Hartcliffe, the effects of this will be felt much wider. A recent warrant on Bedminster Parade led to more than 40 cannabis plants being seized and an arrest for its production as well as theft offences. Suspected stolen property was also found. We need to get past people seeing cannabis production as harmless. The fact is, people are operating several small grows in the hope they won’t be detected. They form a much bigger picture,

narrow and have given rise to conflicts between dog owners with long leads and people on bicycles. The real problem is not people who cycle, it is the aggressive attitude of a minority (note) of selfish dog-owners who claim “ownership” of the park. I have news for them: it is not yours. It is owned by all. A wider path, as proposed, will be better for all concerned because it will mean more space for everyone, whatever their mode of transport. JW, Windmill Hill

Charge for entry to parks? I AGREE with the letter-writer FR of Knowle that the city parks cannot pay for themselves. Budget cuts mean there are serious questions over maintenance of Victoria Park. One possible solution would be to charge people for entrance, with perhaps a discount allowed for people who live in the immediate locality. This could raise funds for maintenance. Or perhaps levy an extra charge on local households in the immediate vicinity of Victoria Park. Some of them seem to think they own it anyway. John Wilson, Knowle

With Sgt Caroline Crane Broadbury Road police station which regularly involves organised criminal gangs and the exploitation of vulnerable people along the way. Please tell us if you suspect a cannabis grow near you. Signs include a strong smell, windows covered from the inside with polythene, condensation, permanently closed curtains, or tenants who go out of their way to avoid conversation.

H

ate crime has risen disproportionately in south Bristol in the past two years. Last month, we began a local campaign to celebrate diversity and the things that bring our communities together. We are proud communities, we are proud of our home and want to share the message to the rest of Bristol that “hate has no home here”. Please help us. If you see a hate crime then call it OUT.

Take the opportunity to stand up for the victim if you feel it is safe for you to do so. Understand how it must feel to be a victim and offer them your support and understanding after the event. Tell us – it doesn’t have to be straight away but report it to us with as much information as you have. You can even do this online. For more information search “hate crime” on • avonandsomerset.police.uk

F

inally, if you’re running the Bristol 10k next month, look out for my colleagues who will be taking on the course dressed in full riot gear – which weighs in at 30lbs - to raise money for charities that support the emergency services. Give them a cheer – they may well need it! Until next time, Sergeant Caroline Crane

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


April 2017

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n FEATURES

The New Weird, where Bristol is a Utopia

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EBECCA Lloyd wrote her book Oothangbart in   2000, but didn’t submit it to a publisher – “I couldn’t imagine anyone would grasp it, or want to publish it, because publishers want books they are sure will sell.” That was, until she found Mick Lloyd (no relation) and Pillar Publishing - an independent publisher based in Limerick, Ireland, who produces books that

Beccy Golding meets an author who made Bristol a place of fantasy are “out there and weird.” She sent it to him and he emailed back but “I couldn’t tell if he wanted it or not.” He did. He even came over to Bristol for the book launch last year. New Zealander Rebecca lived in Tanzania for two years, working as a medical parasitologist. Then she settled in East London for 14 years, working in community development. Coming to the UK was difficult. “I wanted to live where people are poor, I’m more comfortable with that; where people live their lives more publicly.” She chose to move to Bristol and has now lived in Bedminster for more than a decade. “I’m not English so I don’t do the class thing,” she said. “But I like people’s ingenuity when they don’t have a lot of money.” Rebecca started writing when

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Rebecca Lloyd: The New Weird is ‘an attempt to lift the horror genre, get it back to where it belongs ... to something more literary, more considered’ she was living in Africa. “There was no electricity and nothing to do in the evenings. I lived with the Wapari people. In their tribe people who are the same age but not relations become confidantes, like brother and sister. I worked with a brilliant guy, who was rather twisted and weird, who was exactly my age. His stories were gob-smackingly wonderful, and gruesome. I started writing them, and never put the pen down. It’s an addiction.” From those beginnings came Rebecca’s first novel, but it was never published. “It’s a precious thing and I hold on to it.” Rebecca now has an extensive body of published work, including short story collections Jack Werret, the Flood Man (2016); Ragman & Other Family Curses (2016), Mercy and Other Stories (2014) and View From The Endless Street (2014) and novels Halfling (2011) and Oothangbart, published in 2016. She has accumulated a number of awards. “I’m supposed to be proud of being nominated for the World Fantasy Award.” But the actual prize was an effigy of early 20th century writer HP Lovecraft. “He was an appalling racist. If I’d won I would have given it back. What I’m really proud of is winning the Bristol Short Story Prize in 2008, for The River, a love letter to the Thames.” Rebecca is part of a loose movement known as the New Weird. It’s about “brilliant ideas

and fantastic writing” and “an attempt to lift the horror genre, get it back to where it belongs – away from B movies and Stephen King, to something more literary, more considered; more delicate even.” Rebecca’s next book is due out sometime in 2017, but there is no name yet. “The publisher doesn’t like the name I gave it,” she told me cheerfully. The book includes seven or eight long short stories, or novellas. It’s her attempt to “fit in with the New Weird. I wrote deliberately into that genre, with ghosts and psychological peculiarities.” There’s a story about HP Lovecraft and his childhood, and one from the point of view of a neighbour of real-life occultist Aleister Crowley. In the meantime Rebecca is working on her next novel, set in the 1850s, about spiritualism. Rebecca started writing Oothangbart, her most recently published work, when she was “dying to move to Bristol, it was on my mind.” In the book Bristol is a kind of Utopia, characters wonder if it really exists (some say it does, some say it doesn’t) and are forbidden to talk about it. “I’ve no idea where the name came from,” Rebecca said. “I started writing it in the lunch hour of my last London job. I was really concerned about time; getting up at 4am to write before dawn, with a two-hour commute.” She started asking herself about time, “Who owns it? We’re always watching it.” Time is different in Oothangbart and includes New Time, when you wake up, and Trumpet Time, when you eat lunch. Donal, the hero, is a dreamer struggling for individuality. There is also a love story, and adventure. And bagels ... used as a building material. The whole thing is summed up in the phrase ‘Flags are foolish, kites are fun’. “Flags separate people,” said Rebecca, “kites can go anywhere, do anything. I’m delighted if younger folks read and understand this – they don’t have to be constrained, they can try to live bravely. It’s a simple story, with a lot of passion.” • Oothangbart is published by Pillar at £9

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


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RSPCA UPDATE

From Bristol Dogs & Cats Home

Microchip ID is such a boon for us – and for pet owners

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N APRIL 2016 the new microchipping law came into effect. This made it compulsory for owners to ensure that their dog is microchipped. One year on, and we have definitely seen the benefits. First and foremost, more strays who come in to us can be instantly and happily reunited with their owners. This has led to lots of happy days at the Home! Secondly, this ruling has also saved us money. We have always chipped any animal who passes through our doors which doesn’t have a microchip, but we now find that this is needed less and less. The microchipping law may be celebrating its first birthday, but we wanted to go further back in time and share with you how the Bristol Home for Lost and Starving Dogs historically dealt

We can rehome strays more easily

with the problem of stray dogs. As early as 1890, the committee had developed their own registration system: “On payment of one shilling per annum the owner is given a metal tablet, which can easily be attached to the collar, bearing a number corresponding with the description of the dog entered in the society’s register. Thus, immediately on a dog being brought to the Home, the number is referred to and the

It’s a safe place to remember THE MEMORIES café is a relaxed meet-up for carers, people living with dementia and those feeling lonely or isolated. It happens every first Wednesday of the month – the

next is on April 5 – at Zion Bristol, Bishopsworth Road, BS13 7LW. It’s free but donations are welcome for tea and cake. Email info@zionbristol.co.uk for more information.

Jack waits patiently while his microchip is read. It makes ID-ing pets very quick owner communicated with at once … several valuable animals have been returned to their owners without delay.” What innovative thinking from our team in the past! Imagine how many families we have reunited over the past 130 years! To ensure that we can keep reuniting pets and their

owners, please make sure that you keep your pet’s microchip up to date. If you get a new phone number, or move house, make sure you tell your microchip provider. If you ever get a call from us saying that we have found your cat who wandered too far, you’ll be grateful you took the time to update your details!

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


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n NEWS Police stop cars in rat run road A POLICE speed survey in Highbury Road – a notorious rat run between Parson Street and Marksbury Road in Bedminster – found one in three drivers were breaking the 20mph speed limit. The amount of traffic using the road, which is one-way, has increased since Hartcliffe Way was closed to southbound drivers in January to allow a Metrobus lane to be built. One in 10 drivers in Highbury Road were doing more than 30mph, PC Neal Scarborough told Knowle neighbourhood forum meeting on February 28. The survey was carried out at first in an unmarked police car, so drivers weren’t aware they had been spotted. But when it was repeated in a marked car there was no effect – the number of speeders was the same, said PC Scarborough. About 10 cars were stopped – of which three were found to have no insurance.

Voice helps answer pension questions from employers SMALL employers in Bristol are to get a helping hand from South Bristol Voice, a city MP and the Pensions Regulator, as they prepare for major pension reforms that will see most workers enrolled into a workplace pension scheme. The 15 monthly magazines in the Voice network across Bristol have joined together to arrange expert pensions advice for small firms on April 10. Whether you’re a shopkeeper, a plumber or employ someone in the home, if you employ at least one person you are an employer and you have certain legal duties. All employers are invited to Orchard School in Horfield, BS7 0XZ, at 1pm on Monday April 10, to learn more about preparing for automatic enrolment and to pose questions to pensions experts. An official from the Pensions

Alone: With one employee, you can still be liable to pension law Regulator will be attending to provide guidance. The event is free and refreshments will be provided. Failing to comply with the new duties could lead to a fine, so it’s important that each employer understands what they have to do and when. The event will help small employers understand what’s required of them, and the

automatic enrolment right for their workers. There will also be information on what to consider when choosing a pension scheme, making the most of payroll software and how to tell your staff about workplace pensions. The event will be hosted by Charlotte Leslie, MP for Bristol North West, whose constituency includes Horfield. She said: “Failing to get it right could lead to a fine, so it’s important that every small business understands that automatic enrolment applies to them, what they need to do and by when.” The website of the Pensions Regulator will help firms to check what they must do. Register for the event at: • tinyurl.com/hhnp9tv • thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/ en/employers

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n THE MAYOR

MARVIN REES Mayor of Bristol

Use your vote for the new West mayor

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E’RE now in April and spring is truly upon us. We have agreed our budget for the next year and are looking to the future to see how we can put our ideas for making the city a fairer place into action in difficult circumstances. The Bristol Impact Fund is a significant part of that work. Last month my cabinet approved £3.29 million of grants for charities and organisations around the city that do essential work to help support our communities and some of the city’s most vulnerable people, including grants for 23 groups who have not benefitted from any council funding previously. These grants have been spread across the city with a focus on 49 life-improving projects, targeting support where it is most needed. I am conscious that not everyone who applied could receive funding. We are arranging to meet these organisations to talk about their applications and try to hook them

up with other potential funders. To see a list of which projects received funding, visit • news.bristol.gov.uk Another way we will be working with communities during 2017 is through our year as a European City of Sport. We want to use this award as a platform to help bring more world-class sport to Bristol and encourage home-grown talent. We need to make sure that the city as a whole feels enabled to get involved in sport and to get more active. On Sunday April 2, we are holding a family fun morning with our sports partners from around the city at Eastville Park.

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Everyone’s welcome to come and try a range of sports including basketball, football, rugby and tennis for free. There will also be some cricketing and we’ll be bringing along the ICC’s Women’s World Cup trophy, promoting the upcoming tournament fixtures hosted by Bristol in the summer. The fact that Bristol is a host for one of the biggest events in the international cricketing calendar just goes to show Bristol’s potential to draw in world class sport. Elsewhere, big changes are under way. On May 4 you will be able to vote for your choice as mayor of the new West of England Combined Authority (Weca). The authority will have new powers and control of funding previously held by Westminster. Our deal is worth over £1bn over 30 years, meaning you’ve got a billion reasons to get out and vote. If you’re not registered to vote you’ll need to do so by midnight on April 13: visit • gov.uk/register-to-vote. Whoever you choose as mayor of the West of England will work with me and the leaders of Bath & North East Somerset council and South Gloucestershire council on Weca, alongside our business community and other partners as we manage new powers over regional transport, housing, adult education and skills. For more information: • westofengland-ca.org.uk.

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


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n YOUR MP

KARIN SMYTH Labour MP for Bristol South

Govt’s approach to Brexit is putting our local economy at risk

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N THE December Voice I wrote about the importance of members of the public being able to be rightly represented through Parliament in the ongoing Brexit process. Following the conclusion of parliamentary processes surrounding the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill in mid-March I thought it would be helpful to provide an update. In the final House of Commons votes I backed two key changes to the Bill. One would have given much-needed certainty for the three million EU nationals living in the UK. Meanwhile the other would ensure a meaningful vote on the final Article 50 deal – including if Theresa May fails to reach an agreement. This would provide the public with an all-important final say, via their elected representatives.

Importantly, recognising that, like it or not, the UK is definitely leaving the EU, neither of these amendments would have delayed the triggering of Article 50. It was very disappointing that the Prime Minister ignored the proposed changes in the final vote and that so few Conservative MPs were willing to support us. The Government’s majority in the Commons was used to push

through the Bill, defeating the amendments. It seems the Prime Minister was more concerned with getting ‘clean’ legislation than considering the merits of the amendments. In my view this sets a worrying precedent for the negotiations. Turning to what happens next as the Brexit process accelerates, I will continue to argue for the best possible Brexit deal: one that prioritises jobs and the economy, and leads to no changes to all EU-derived rights, including environmental protections and workplace rights. With my colleagues I will continue to insist that all EU-derived laws are introduced into UK law without qualification or limitation. I will also argue for a close, cooperative future relationship with the EU and make the case for continued engagement – not isolation from our most important trading partner and closest neighbours. I believe the Government’s approach takes huge risks with the economy of South Bristol, the city and the UK as a whole, and with our future place in the world. This increases the threat of no deal being reached, which would be disastrous for trade and businesses. Along with my colleagues I will continue to use every means possible to continue raising these issues in Parliament, and as ever I welcome Voice readers’ thoughts.

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April 2017

southbristolvoice

n PLANNING APPLICATIONS Bart Spices, York Road, Bedminster BS3 4AD Single storey extension between existing buildings. Granted subject to conditions 52 Duckmoor Road BS3 2BW Two storey house, to side of existing house. Pending consideration 18 Parson Street BS3 5PT Change of use of ground floor from hot food takeaway (Class A5) to one 2-bed flat (Class C3). Pending consideration 21 Swiss Drive BS3 2RS Two storey side and part single storey rear extension. Withdrawn 10 Frobisher Road BS3 2AU Two storey side extension. Granted Land on corner of Herbert Street and Catherine Mead Street, Bedminster Two blocks of terraced houses containing six 2-bedroom houses. Granted subject to conditions 183 Luckwell Road BS3 3HB Conversion of 2-bed ground floor flat to two 1-bed flats, with new windows and first floor extension. Granted subject to conditions 145-147 East Street, Bedminster BS3 4EJ Change of use from amusement arcade (with offices on first floor) to ground and first floor offices. Granted subject to conditions Former filling station, Coronation Road, Southville Variation of condition 16 to permission 15/03837/X. To take account of changes in design of rear balustrades and extended area of rear terrace at third floor level serving Unit 7, as built. Granted subj. to conditions The Bowers, Courtlands Lane, BS3 2JS Detached 4-bedroom house. Withdrawn 24 Islington Road BS3 1QB New dwelling adjacent to No. 24. Refused Land at 64 Bedminster Down Road BS13 7AB Replacement of externally illuminated advertisement, 12m x 3m, by an internally illuminated

digital advertisement, 6m x 3m. Refused Plough & Windmill, 194 West Street, Bedminster BS3 3NB Demolition of rear extensions and outbuildings; change of use and extension of Plough & Windmill to one 1-bedroom and six 2-bedroom flats, erection of three 3-bedroom dwellings; car and cycle parking; refuse and recycling store; use of ground floor for commercial/ community space, Use classes A1, A2, A3, B1(a) or D1. Granted subject to conditions Land to rear of 48- 52 Bedminster Parade BS3 4HS Demolition of store and construction of 9 flats. Withdrawn Land next to Teddies Nursery, Clanage Road, Bower Ashton BS3 2JX All-weather floodlit sports facility comprising six five-a-side pitches, two seven-a-side pitches, 71 parking spaces (including 5 disabled), retention of 24 car parking spaces for Teddies Nursery, six cycle stands, hard and soft landscaping and pavilion. (Major application). Withdrawn 54 West Street, Bedminster BS3 3LH Demolition of workshop and erection of three 3-storey houses and 3-storey block containing 4 flats. Granted Workshop, Back Road BS3 1SU Demolition of derelict factory and erection of two 3-bedroom houses. Pending consideration Storage building and land, Raleigh Road Details in relation to conditions 2 (Landscaping), 3 (Boundary treatment), and 4 (Construction management) of permission 16/05040/F: Demolition of single storey structure and erection of four-storey residential building fronting Raleigh Road. Pending consideration

35 Bedminster, Southville & Ashton

6 (Remediation) of permission 16/05939/F: Demolition of warehouse and erection of nine apartments with boundary treatment and landscaping. Pending consideration 13 Allington Road BS3 1PS Two storey rear extension, roof extension and annexe. Pending consideration Lombard service station, Brook Road, Southville BS3 1AJ Demolition of garage building and erection of three 3-bed houses and two 2-bed apartments. Pending consideration 132 Coronation Road BS3 1RE Basement and ground floor rear extension to rear of Victorian terrace and roof dormer at rear. Pending consideration 53-55 British Road, Bedminster BS3 3BT Change from Use class B2 (General industrial) to C3 (Residential). Refurbishment of school building, demolition of ancillary buildings and erection of a two and three storey building to provide five houses, one maisonette and two apartments, with car and cycle parking and storage; access off British Road. Pending consideration 45 Raynes Road BS3 2DJ Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear by 6m, of maximum height 3m with eaves 3m high. Pending consideration Ferodo House, Willway Street Bedminster Change of

use from offices (Use class B1a) to 14 residential units (Use class C3). Pending consideration 1 Gerald Road BS3 2DN Two storey side and rear extension. Granted subject to conditions 21 Swiss Drive BS3 2RS Double storey side and part single storey rear extension. Withdrawn 86 Bedminster Parade BS3 4HL Internal works: remove modern, demountable partitions from the ground floor along with the removal of modern ventilation system in the banking hall. Pending consideration 43 Duckmoor Road BS3 2DQ Single storey rear extension to extend beyond the rear by 3.5m, of maximum height 3.67m with eaves of 2.65m. Pending consideration 12 Silbury Road BS3 2QD Two storey side extension. Pending consideration 39 Langton Park BS3 1EQ Two storey rear infill extension. Pending consideration 71 Stackpool Road BS3 1NL Single storey extension and attic conversion. Pending consideration 6 Hall Street, Bedminster BS3 5PN Loft conversion. Pending consideration • The status of these applications may have changed since we went to press. Check for updates at planningonline.bristol.gov.uk

157 Coronation Road BS3 1RF Demolition of detached rear garage and erection of a self-contained mews dwelling. Withdrawn 18-34 Stafford Street BS3 4DA Details in relation to condition 5 (Contamination) and

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


n YOUR COUNCILLORS

I

April 2017

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36

HAVE been contacted by three residents – well, two individual residents and one set of residents – Charlie recently about the Bolton problems of living Green next door to drug Southville dealers or users. The person I spoke to most recently was in tears. The one before was at the end of her tether. The group were furious. The problems are the same: anti-social behaviour, noise, music, shouting – especially late at night – needles, intimidation, attempts to blag cash – but also fear. Contact with the council generally results in responses like, “You have to keep a log”, “It’s difficult” and “We’d have to rehouse them, which would just move the problem.” Of course the users may have chaotic lifestyles, mental health issues and so on. So my question is – especially for all you leftie or small ‘l’ liberals – What do you do?’ The

Southville

responses I got on Facebook were partly about the process, or tips for behaviour, but actually the question for me is, why should the neighbour have to put up with the consequences of someone else’s lifestyle? I’m not sure I have actually been given a satisfactory answer. Meanwhile, many of you will have seen the headlines about the Portishead railway line, where costs have tripled. There are all sorts of questions you can ask about the project – like: Didn’t they realise it was in a gorge? But those are for another day. I still think it is vital we keep the line going, and as a consequence, I signed a cross-party statement asking that the West of England partnership seek ways of keeping the project going, but at a reduced cost. This won’t be the Portishead line we want, but at least it would be something. If the project gets killed now, it will be killed forever. That will have the knock-on effect of putting an end to any possibility of a station at Ashton Gate.

I

F YOU have been reading my column for the last few months you will know that there will be many Stephen casualties of this Clarke year’s budget cuts Green at the council; Southville library services, many of the lollipop patrols, maintenance of parks, help for people in crisis and many other services. One that has perhaps received less publicity is the reduction in local democracy that will be caused by the ending of the support to neighbourhood partnerships. You may ask, what are neighbourhood partnerships and why are they important? Well, taking our local one, the Greater Bedminster C ommunity Partnership as an example, it has really acted as a kind of umbrella organisation to enable the area to have a voice in decision-making with the council. Decisions have been made locally around spending priorities, for example.

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How to contact your councillor: p2 It has also bought together many of the small and large organisations in the area in a forum where they can share information, partner in projects (such as the Bedminster Business Improvement District, and Let’s Walk Bedminster) and generally improve the cohesiveness of the area in a very real way. So now that the model has to be radically changed because the majority of the council staff support is disappearing, what will become of the partnership? Well, I have no doubt that it will survive in some form as it is well led and much valued, but exactly what it will look like is something you can directly influence during this transition period. Let me know what you think should happen. Do you have a view about how it should look or the roles that it should take on? There will be a formal council consultation process shortly but I am very interested to hear your views now so that I can input them into this initial stage of the process.

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n YOUR COUNCILLORS

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T THE full council meeting last month we  heard a  statement from Labour members of the people scrutiny committee expressing dismay at the defeat in the House of Commons of the Dubs proposal to help unaccompanied asylumseeking children. There is a grave humanitarian crisis at present with thousands of children stuck in camps, many of whom have no idea where their extended family are or if they have survived war and torture. We condemn the Government for capping the scheme at 350 children, an average of less than one per local authority, but were proud that Bristol city council was mentioned in the House of Commons as an authority willing to take more young people than the five we have already accommodated. There are challenges to this process, as safeguarding these children is vital, but BCC has stepped up. We applaud our mayor for the leadership he shows in supporting Bristol as a City of

Mark Bradshaw Labour Bedminster

Bedminster

Celia Phipps Labour Bedminster

Sanctuary and recognise the hard work of our children’s services, refugee organisations, schools and colleges in trying to meet the needs of child asylum seekers in times of austerity.

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Resident parking scheme review ome of you have contacted us to ask about the review of the residents parking schemes, which have been led by councillors and are close to being completed. There was a good response by residents in the area and suggestions have been considered as part of the review. We have looked at a small number of streets on which there has been a direct

Knowle Lawn Tennis Club, Wells Road, Knowle BS4 2PY

How to contact your councillor: p2

impact on parking due to the proximity of the Southville scheme. Any change will require a consultation process and be subject to the legal process of a Traffic Regulation Order, and as our pledge was not to introduce further schemes unless the local residents asked for this, we would wish to seek opinion on this widely. It would be a challenge to define the boundary of a third local scheme without causing more severe pressure on any streets that remain outside the area. In recent weeks, the police and parking enforcement officers have been in evidence on match days, but we know this remains an issue.

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full planning consent process. Meanwhile Paul Smith, Labour cabinet member for housing, will visit Gaywood House, off North Street, this month to talk to residents about plans for this housing block, built in the 1960s and now showing its age. Last month officials from the technical team met the residents to talk about the new heating system and some ongoing problems which have caused concern to the tenants.

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New homes  he council’s cabinet approved the principle of a new housing development at Alderman Moore’s site in Ashton Vale for approximately 140 new, mixed tenure homes and approved the procurement of a contractor. The development will still need to go through the

e wish you a Happy Easter and, as ever, are always happy to hear your suggestions about how we can make our community better, so why not drop us an email (details on page 2)? We regularly join coffee mornings and sessions running at Ashton Vale community centre, Gaywood House and Southbow House, and we drop in to Acta community theatre on the first Friday of the month from 10.30-11.30am, so look out for a notice through your door, or contact us direct.

Saturday April 8 Open Day

Facilities include: •4 floodlit courts; • Clubhouse with disabled access (also available for private hire); • LTA coach • Big TV screen and licensed bar Group (children and adult) and individual lessons available

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10am-2pm

FREE TENNIS COACHING for all the family

TRY TENNIS FOR FREE! at South Bristol’s largest, friendliest and most successful tennis club All ages and abilities welcome

Refreshments Everyone welcome! PLUS Watch out for the Great British Tennis Weekend, July 23-24 A chance for all the family to try tennis – racquets and balls provided.

For more information contact Margaret Griffin on 0117 977 7800 or kltcmembershipsec@gmail.com Got a story or any other inquiry? Call Paul on 07811 766072 or email paul@southbristolvoice.co.uk


April 2017

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n HISTORY The story of William Herapath The confident chemist who knew he held

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HAT is the magic that turns wheat into bread? Milk into cheese? The skin of an animal into a warm coat? Water into beer, or wine? Humans have known how to do all these things for millennia, but they had never known how the processes worked. That is, until the 19th century, when the realisation dawned that the world is formed of much more than earth and water, fire and air; it contains a multitude of elements, which react in predictable ways when heated, or dried, or agitated. This dawning of the age of chemistry began to transform our knowledge of all the natural processes that humans have learned to exploit. William Herapath, who now rests in Arnos Vale cemetery, was the son of a brewer. He was fascinated by the way his father mixed water, malt and hops to produce a drink that not only gave imbibers a pleasant buzz, but it didn’t go off for weeks; in fact, it was safer to drink than water. Brewing was viewed by early societies as a kind of magic. But even as a teenager, William didn’t believe making beer was alchemy; he knew it was a series of chemical transformations. He began doing his own experiments with the ingredients his father used at the brewery in Packhorse Lane, Lawrence Hill – close to where the Packhorse Inn now stands. Before long he was being consulted by Bristol businessmen about their industrial problems. Rope-making, soap-making,

William Herapath didn’t want to be a brewer like his father. Instead he became one of Britain’s most celebrated expert witnesses – among other things paper manufacturing – the city was full of industries that depended on the new science to help them expand. Herapath’s earliest forays into industry are not recorded. Born in 1796, he learned the maltster’s trade from his father, but found experimenting much more interesting. More than that, he enjoyed explaining his work, and using it for the benefit of others. In 1819, aged 23, he married Sophia Bird, and they made their home at 2 Old Park on St Michael’s Hill. (It’s still a narrow lane today, but is overshadowed by the University of Bristol’s chemistry department.) In 1823 he made his mark, showing how he had isolated the newly-discovered element cadmium, found in the dust from a Bristol zinc smelting plant. It had been discovered that cadmium, used as a paint pigment, was left over when zinc was made; how to remove it?

Another chemist, Wollaston, suggested using iron. That wouldn’t work, said Herapath; instead he put the mixture in tubes packed with paper in a process called sublimation, and he invented a precise test to check all the zinc was gone. Herapath’s first scientific paper, printed in the prestigious Philosophical Magazine, showed his dedication to results. He went into great detail of the process he used, believing that if he had done his work correctly, and described it fully, any competent chemist could repeat his success. If their results differed, of course, it might be that they weren’t as careful as him – something that he wasn’t scared of alleging later in his career. His reputation grew. In 1828, when the Bristol Medical School opened not far from his house, he was one of its founding lecturers, and became its first professor of chemistry and toxicology. He would hold the post till his death.

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illiam Herapath wanted to use his skills to improve ordinary people’s lives, through politics as well as science. He was a founder of the Bristol Political Union, formed by professional men in 1831, one of many groups pushing for reform. Many MPs were voted in by a handful of electors, and most people didn’t have the vote. Bristol, a big and prosperous city, had more voters than most, 7,000-odd in 1831. But it too was corrupt: its ancient charities such

as Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital were milked for funds by the city corporation. Herapath wanted the charity funds spent on the poor, not on party funds. He wanted to tackle unemployment and disease, and campaigned for democracy, and public bathhouses, and better hygiene to save lives. This made him a dangerous radical to some. Yet when the House of Lords refused reform, and tempers boiled over in the 1831 Bristol Riots, Herapath was actually trying to keep the peace. He made a secret deal with the city’s aldermen that if troops were not called into the city, the Political Union would stay neutral. He even pleaded with the mob as they gathered outside the city gaol on Cumberland Road. The rioters listened to him with respect – but there was too much anger to contain. They tore down the prison gates and ransacked Queen Square. Troops were called in, and many lives were lost. Herapath lost some credibility with the Political Union after this; but he did get elected to the new city council. And he also served as a trustee for Bristol Charities. Eventually, in 1842, a new Liberal majority on the trustees proved that the QEH had been milked of £57,000 – equal to £4m at today’s values. Health was another of Herapath’s concerns. He tried to devise a cure for the outbreaks of cholera which swept the city in 1832 and 1849. But like all scientists, he wasn’t always right. Herapath was convinced that

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April 2017

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n HISTORY The story of William Herapath the power of life and death in a courtroom

William Herapath: His hallmark was careful, repeated experiments, designed to prove his case conclusively – and to convince a jury cholera was spread though “bad air” – a reasonable guess in the days when cities such as Bristol stank of sewage and rotting animals. His cure was fumigation with a mix of manganese oxide, table salt and sulphuric acid. Unfortunately, it was the wrong guess; pioneering doctors such as Bristol’s William Budd realised victims of cholera shared the same water supply. The disease spread through water, not air. But Herapath did not suffer from this misdiagnosis: he soon had a national reputation from another route – the courts. His expertise as a chemist of precision led him to claim that he could detect poisons in tiny quantities with scientific certainty – even long after the victim of a poisoning had died.

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n 1833, Mrs Clara Ann Smith, a widow aged 60, was lodging at the house of landlady Mary Ann Burdock in Trinity Street. Mrs Smith died suddenly, after severe stomach pains, on October 26, 1833. Mrs Burdock

arranged her burial at St Augustine’s. Claiming not to know any of Mrs Smith’s relatives, or even her Christian name, Mrs Burdock paid for the interment herself. Mrs Smith did have relatives, though. After 14 months a nephew heard about the death. Making inquiries, he grew very suspicious, for he knew she had been wealthy, and the family eventually convinced the coroner that the grave should be opened. We fast-forward to the trial of Mrs Burdock on April 10, 1835. Herapath was just one of the medical men cross-examined; but he was by far the most important. He described how he was present on Christmas Eve, 1834, when Mrs Smith’s coffin was lifted from its grave, and he saw the casket opened. “Dr Riley and Mr Kelson opened the body,” reported the Bristol Mercury, “and put the viscera into two clean basins, which witness [Herapath] prepared for the purpose – into one the stomach and duodenum,

and into the other the intestines; on which he tied up the basins in a napkin, and gave them to a person to carry them to the Medical School, never having lost sight of him till he arrived at the school with him. “The body was in a remarkable state of preservation, which witness attributed to the presence of some antiseptic, such as arsenic; the intestinal canal was nearly as perfect as if recently abstracted; he tested first the contents of the small basin, which was the stomach; spread it flat on a new deal board, and slit it open; when his attention was immediately attracted by a large quantity of yellow powder …” It wasn’t an accident that Herapath was asked to examine the body. The authorities already suspected that Burdock had poisoned Mrs Smith with arsenic. A witness said she had asked for some of the poison to be bought for her, for the purpose of killing rats. Yet witnesses said rats had never been seen in her house. There was evidence that Mrs Smith had been about to invest £500 before she died. And that Burdock, before the death, had been short of money; while after it, she refurnished her house, and lent £400 to an acquaintance, and in May 1834 she deposited £400 in a Bristol bank. If this was not enough, there was the testimony of Burdock’s maid, Mary Ann Ellen. Burdock, she reported, told her after Mrs Smith’s death: “Don’t tell anyone that ever you lived with the deceased, and if any one should ask you, say she was a foreigner from a far way off in the East Indies; and, mind, make sure you don’t tell anyone that you saw me put anything in the gruel, for perhaps they might think it curious.” It was a heavy weight of circumstantial evidence; but Burdock denied her guilt. To prove it required evidence that the death had been by poisoning. Herapath claimed he could do it. He talked the jury through his experiments. The other doctors present when he opened the stomach agreed that the yellow substance looked like arsenic, and they believed the symptoms before death showed Ms Smith was poisoned.

But Herapath proved it, describing in detail how he conducted not one but three series of tests to show that the yellow substance was arsenic. From one he produced a distinctive green residue, the results he showed to the jury. He “repeated the experiments five or six times; but was satisfied with the result on the first experiment; no other substance, treated in the same manner, would produce the same results.” Such a wealth of detail, produced by a man so clearly in command of his subject, convinced the jury. Smith was found guilty of murder. Such was her infamy that when she was hanged at the gates of the New Gaol on April 15, 1835, an estimated 50,000 people thronged Cumberland Road. The case made Herapath a celebrity. It was the first time poison had been detected in a body so long after death. The case fascinated the public, and Herapath was called as witness to many more trials. He gave evidence at Taunton Assizes in the case of Sophia Edney, who had a husband she wanted rid of and had read of the Burdock case. But instead of being deterred by the thought that an expert such as Herapath could prove her guilt, it seems she was more impressed by how little arsenic was needed for a fatal dose. She sprinkled some arsenic on a dish of fried potatoes for her spouse. But Herapath showed the jury the distinctive results of the three tests he had done, which proved the presence of minute quantities of the poison, each in a clearly-labelled test tube. Edney was hanged.

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orensics was not the end of Herapath’s innovations. He was the first man in England, outside London, to administer anaesthetic during an operation. The surgeon was James Lansdown, already described in an earlier Voice feature. Herapath and a colleague, Dr Fairbrother, knew about operations conducted in America on patients anaesthetised by ether. Laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, had been used as a Continued on page 40

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


April 2017

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40

n HISTORY

The story of William Herapath

He helped turn a recreational drug into a marvel of medicine, adopted by Queen Victoria

Continued from page 39 recreational drug in Bristol decades earlier by two pioneering chemists, Humphrey Davy and Thomas Beddoes, but they hadn’t tried to use it in medicine. On December 31, 1846, at the old Bristol General Hospital in Guinea Street (which predates the current building, now converted to flats), Herapath prepared a “common, but very large, bladder” with an ivory mouthpiece. In the bladder was “an ounce of good common ether”. The Guinea Street guinea pig was a young man, name unknown, with a swelling on his leg so bad that doctors agreed it needed to be amputated above the knee. Normally these operations were horrific affairs: frequently the patient bled to death or died from shock. The only pain relief was wine poured down the patient’s throat. But a lungful of ether knocked out the young man in just a minute. Lansdown got busy with his saws. Fairbrother kept his finger on the patient’s pulse, and if it quickened, he applied more ether; if it slowed, he poured a little wine in his mouth. It sounds crude, but it worked. When the man woke up, he said he felt no pain; and 10 days later he was making a good recovery.

A NOTORIOUS CASE OF POISONING WILLIAM Herapath was a man who believed in his own abilities. This is why he got drawn into one of the 19th century’s most infamous court cases, in which a man was accused of poisoning his friend. William Palmer, a high-living denizen of the horse racing world, was charged with killing John Parsons Cook – another gambler, but with rather more money. Palmer was seen buying strychnine, and while Cook was lying ill he visited him frequently, plying him with gruel and drinks. Yet at the 1856 trial Alfred Swaine Taylor, professor of medical

Far from innocent: Mary Ann Burdock poisoned her wealthy lodger The medical establishment was to take a lot of convincing – decades, in fact – that anaesthesia was of benefit. But Queen Victoria didn’t; she took chloroform to numb the pain of childbirth. And Herapath, who prided himself on assessing the true value of the latest developments, adopted it at once. Days after the first amputation, he gave ether to a young woman from Stoke Bishop while her tooth was extracted at Mr Gordon’s dental practice on Park Street, “without the least pain to the lady”. And in July 1848 it may have been Herapath who attended the birth of his grandchild, soothing the pains of the mother, his daughter-in-law, with both ether and chloroform. jurisprudence at Guy’s hospital, could not produce any evidence of strychnine from Cook’s autopsy. Palmer owed thousands of pounds and had hardly any cash before Cook’s death, but soon afterwards he appeared wealthy. Herepath was a witness for the defence, and it appeared to some that he was not only on the wrong side, but was guilty of attacking a prominent colleague – a case of professional jealousy. To Herapath, however, the issue was simple: Taylor had bungled the case. If strychnine had been present, Herapath told the court, it ought to have been detected, and he could have done so. He described a series of experiments

It was proudly announced in a newspaper advertisement: “Both parent and child continue to progress favourably” – a rebuke to the medical men who continued to ignore the new pain relief, some of them because they believed that pain was God’s will, and should be endured.

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illiam Herapath had more than the usual share of both good and bad fortune. He had inherited his father’s brewery, though he didn’t want it. But he was able to sell the land to the Bristol and Gloucester Railway for £3,000 – worth almost £250,000 today. This fortune may have supported his medical career, because we know that the Bristol Medical School was very short of funds

William Palmer: So famous, he was the subject of a waxwork at Madame Tussaud’ s in London he had done on animal carcasses to identify the poison. He offered to demonstrate his experiments to the jury, though the judge wouldn’t let him. But he seems to have convinced the court that Taylor’s tests were not nearly

in its early days. He achieved national renown, becoming a founder member of the Chemical Society, forerunner of the Royal Society of Chemistry, in 1841. He was also part of a dynasty of Bristol scientists and medics. His eldest son, William Bird Herapath, a surgeon and a chemist, discovered a crystal, herapathite, which led a century later to the invention of the Polaroid camera. A cousin, John, was a great mathematician and physicist who founded a magazine, Herapath’s Railway Journal, which despite the name carried a wide range of scientific articles. John Herapath’s son Spencer became a noted civil engineer, while the son, grandson and great-grandson of William Bird Herapath were all Bristol doctors. Another of William Herapath’s sons, Thornton, became chief chemist to the Mexican and South American Smelting Co while still a young man. Tragically, he died at sea aged only 26. His name is remembered on his father’s grave in Arnos Vale. William Herapath remained a trustee of the Bristol Charities for 32 years and though he lost some of his radicalism, he stayed firm in guarding their funds. He retired from the medical school in 1867, but not from the Charities; he died the next year, aged 71; a decent age for the time, considering he was a diabetic. His reputation survives, though perhaps the only memorial the city has given him is little-known – a road called Herapath Street in Barton Hill, next to the Feeder canal. thorough enough. The forensic evidence was muddy, but Palmer was still found guilty and hanged. Herapath and Taylor clashed in court several times. After another case in which Taylor’s results went the wrong way, Herapath wrote in the Times: “The fact is, the whole set of operations were a bungle.” Herapath believed that he was not rubbishing a colleague, but standing up for high standards in science. “I consider that professional witnesses who give their opinions where the life of a man is at stake are as much upon their trial as the prisoner,” he wrote. Proof, perhaps, that science is too important to be taken as a matter of opinion.

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April 2017

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n COMPETITIONS Lucky winners of our comps WE’VE got several winners to announce from competitions in the Voice – they’re always popular with readers! Thanks as always to the local businesses who are kind enough to donate prizes. The winner of our contest in March for a box of handmade Easter cupcakes, to be delivered to her home on Good Friday, is Laura Sharp of Bedminster. The course of five beginners’ golf lessons at Long Ashton Golf Club goes to Julie Chapman, also of Bedminster. Meanwhile, Bonnie Hewson won our competition in February for a special heart pendant from the Bristol Blue Glass workshop in Arnos Vale. Also a winner in February was Pauline Sparkes, who said she very much enjoyed her prize of a meal with her son in The Eating Room on Wells Road, Totterdown.

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WIN a beautiful spring bouquet SPRING is here, and the Voice has course caught her eye in a college a spring bouquet. Worth £20, it can another great competition to brochure. She studied for three be varied to suit your requirements, match the season. Amanda Brown years and realised she’d made the but will contain flowers chosen has been running her Bedminster right choice when her tutor said from narcissi, roses, gerbera, shop, Flowers & Co, for more than a she was “a natural” for floristry. anemones, ranunculus and tulips. year now, and to celebrate she’s “It’s not just about wrapping WIN A HAND-CRAFTED offering a free bouquet to the flowers, it’s about the mechanics,” SPRING BOUQUET winner of our contest. she says, “I can tell those bouquets JUST send your answer to this Flowers & Co took over a shop that have been made by someone question to paul@southbristol in Parson Street, on the corner of who has been properly trained and voice.co.uk or 18 Lilymead Avenue, Highbury Road, in February last those that haven’t! You have to get BS4 2BX by April 19: Where is year. Customers keep coming back the base right, to get the finished Flowers & Co located? – perhaps because Amanda says product how it’s she works hard at providing the supposed to look.” best possible flowers without She’s now been experience charging the earth. in the business for “I’m very strict with quality,” she 13 years, at one said, “but it has to be at a good time managing the price.” Avoiding the overheads of Tilly Tomlinson shop the city centre means she can offer in Baldwin Street, the best prices for weddings, and later going into funerals and special occasions, as partnership at a well as those times when someone shop in Colston deserves a bunch of flowers. Street. Flowers & Co Amanda never intended to be a is her first solo 0117 963 4283 florist, but she’s always been venture. To celebrate, Deliveries available throughout creative in the garden, and when Amanda would like Bristol and surrounding areas. she was looking for a job after her to offer the winner 66 Parson Street BS3 5QG children went to school, a floristry of our competition www.flowersandco.org.uk

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n WHAT’S ON Friday March 31 n The Fall POSTPONED Fiddlers Club, Willway Street, Bedminster. Fall frontman Mark E Smith is ill; the gig will be rescheduled. • fiddlers.co.uk Saturday April 1 n After Hours Tour Arnos Vale cemetery. Bring a torch for this guided tour, part of the Life, Death (and the Rest) weekend. “An atmospheric exploration of tragic tales, folk customs and funeral etiquette of Victorian society.” 7.30-9pm, £9. • arnosvale.org.uk/events n Go Go Children Fiddlers Club, Willway Street, Bedminster. 60s soul, funk and r’n’b classics with DJs Colin and Stephen from Pumpin Hearts soul club. £5, 8pm-2am. • fiddlers.co.uk n Nearly Unplugged An evening of music, singing and poetry with DJ, bar, hot/cold food. An Art on the Hill event at Windmill Hill community centre, Vivian Street. 7pm; Free entry, donations welcome. • www.artonthehill.org.uk Sunday April 2 n Introduction to green woodworking Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bedminster. Learn how to make your own hand-crafted woodland products. 10am-4pm, £60. Inquiries: jon@jonattwood.com 07789 279418 • windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk n Blues and Rock evening Windmill Hill community centre, Vivian Street. New music night on the first Sunday of each month features DJ Barry the Bull playing old blues and rock. 7.30-10.30pm. • whca.org.uk

Stage is set for ambitious police thriller REVIEW: Not Dead Enough, Bristol Hippodrome THE first thing that strikes you about this modern murder mystery is the clever set. A raised section at the back of the stage houses a pathology lab, complete with a wall of fridges which victims are pulled in and out of for their post-mortems, letting off clouds of freezing air. Plenty of action and dialogue happens over the autopsy table. At stage level, to the front, there’s a police station office and interview room. People phone each other, and talk through two-way mirrors. This is a cross between a classic Agatha Christie, a gritty cop drama and a shiny CSI episode, with Monday April 3 n Take it on: Physical Theatre Tobacco Factory. Part of a series of workshops for 8-11 year-olds. A theatre professional helps youngsters use their bodies to tell stories and create new worlds. 4.15-5.45pm, £6. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com Wednesday April 5 n Introduction to Complementary Therapies Windmill Hill City Farm, Philip Street, Bedminster. Covers the principles of reflexology,

Cold comfort: An autopsy on stage for Shane Richie, right, as DS Roy Grace PICTURE: Mark Douet

some fun detective banter pulled off nicely by leading man Shane Richie and his supporting cast. There were a few places where it wasn’t clear if the laughter was intentional or not, notably the dramatic event before the interval – the audience titters possibly not the reaction that was planned. That aside, the plot gets your brain working – nudging you towards one

solution then another, until you reach the A-ha! moment, as you and the police solve the crime at about the same time. This fun, fast-paced production is a world premiere, based on a book by prolific crime novelist Peter James. It’s the third show featuring DS Roy Grace – definitely worth a watch when it comes round again. Beccy Golding

aromatherapy and essential oils. 6-8pm, £25 (free to those on benefits). Organised by the WEA: call 0845 458 2758. • windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk Thursday April 6 n Afternoon tea and entertainment Totterdown Methodist Church, Bushy Park, 3-5pm. For details contact Jean on 0117 977 7593. n Tartuffe Tobacco Factory theatre until May 6. A new adaptation of Moliere’s classic play by Dominic Power and

Andrew Hilton. This version of the most performed play in French classical theatre sees Tartuffe alive and on the make in present day London. A credulous government minister is duped into surrendering his wealth – and nearly his wife and daughter – to one of drama’s greatest conmen. Tickets £16-£24. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com Friday April 7 n Evening of dance – swing, jive and bop Ex-Service Club, Continued on page 46

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


April 2017

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46

n WHAT’S ON Trio’s tribute to Bessie, Empress of the Blues MORE than a musical performance, Empress of the Blues: A Tribute to Bessie Smith seeks to recreate the magic weaved by the legendary 1920s singer. Combining spoken word, music and film, the event on April 6 tells the story of the first major black recording star, who rose so high in the 1920s that she toured in her own railway carriage. Natalie Davis takes on the challenging vocal role, accompanied by Brendan Whitmore on saxophone Continued from page 45 Winford Grove, Bedminster Down BS13 7DY. 8-11.45pm, £8. Email bennettialfred@gmail.com Saturday April 8 n Stand Up For The Weekend with Alistair Barrie & Co Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken, North Street, Southville. “Intelligent, sarcastic, arrogant, witty and hilariously funny in equal measure,” comedian, actor and writer Alistair Barrie heads the Saturday line-up, with guests. £11/£13, 7.45pm. • thecomedybox.co.uk Tuesday April 11 n Rebecca Pronsky Zion Bristol, Bishopsworth Road. Rebecca is from Brooklyn, New York, and her music straddles country roots, jazz, rockabilly, and folk. £12/£10, 7.30pm. • zionbristol.co.uk Thursday April 13 n Little Cooks Windmill Hill City Farm. Monthly cooking classes for preschoolers, today making yoghurt dough pizza. Includes playtime while things cook in the oven. 10.30-11.30am. £10, for 2 to 5-year-olds. • windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk Friday April 14 n Posthumous Works Join Ivan Hansen for the show that won him Best Performer at Birmingham’s BE Festival, cycling through “memories of foolish friendships, first loves and final farewells, in a story that is as moving as it is hilarious.” Until April 19. A Tobacco Factory

and Dave Merrick, who narrates and plays guitar. Bessie Smith was the child of a poor family in Chattanooga. Both her

parents died before she was nine but she joined a travelling vaudeville show and her strong contralto voice shone on the crackly

acoustic recordings of the early 1920s. Her career was cut short by the Depression of 1929. She died in a car crash in 1937, estranged from her husband. The evening at the Thunderbolt in Bath Road, Totterdown, features historic film and audio of Bessie as well as live renditions of her numbers. Dave has organised similar tribute events to Woody Guthrie and Billie Holiday, including sell-outs at the American Museum in Bath, as well as evenings at the Thunderbolt featuring the history of jazz and the roots of the classic blues. Natalie and Dave also appear as a duo performing retro blues and jazz. • Facebook: Bessie Smith Story

production at the Wardrobe theatre, Old Market. £10, 8pm. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com Saturday April 15 n Easter event Windmill Hill City Farm. Decorate an Easter basket, turn yourself into a giant colourful Easter egg, and join an egg hunt. Age 6+, £10. Three sessions, 10am-4pm. • windmillhillcityfarm.org.uk n The Dualers The Tunnels, Temple Meads. Dedicated ska and reggae band. 7.30pm, £15. • thetunnelsbristol.co.uk Thursday April 20 n Dr Feelgood The Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. The lineup has changed since 1973, but the Feelgoods’ commitment to r’n’b has not. 7.30pm, £16. • thethunderbolt.net Friday April 21 n Knowle & Totterdown Local History Society Eugene Byrne, editor of Bristol Times, talks about John Latimer and Joseph Leech, two of Victorian Bristol’s most influential newspapermen. Redcatch community centre, Redcatch Road, Knowle, 7.30pm.• knowleandtotterdownhistory. org.uk n Kate McNab & John Telfer Zion, Bishopsworth Road. Two actors and musicians – who often tour a show as Fanny and Johnny Craddock – sing their favourite songs. Jazz singer Kate is also known for her oral history shows including Doodlebugs and

Bogeymen, while John is ex-Bergerac and now playing Alan Franks, Vicar of Ambridge in The Archers. 7pm, £10/£8. • zionbristol.co.uk Saturday April 22 n Tartuffe discussion Tobacco Factory. Join director Andrew Hilton and members of the cast as they discuss the Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory production of Tartuffe. 11am, £15 (includes buffet). • tobaccofactorytheatres.com Sunday April 23 n Milk Poetry Tobacco Factory. With UK Slam Champion and internet sensation Hollie McNish, Inua Ellams, who wowed sell-out audiences with An Evening with an Immigrant in October 2016, plus New York’s Amy Leon and stars of the Bristol poetry scene. £7, 8pm. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com Tuesday April 25 n Tortoise v Hare Yet another new show from Living Spit, local legends of comic theatre, presented by the Tobacco Factory at Spike Island, Cumberland Road. Barry Hare, ultra-fit Wrington running champ, faces Toby ‘Tortoise’ Gollop, eater of doughnuts, in an epic tale of rural running rivalry, told in rhyme and song. £10, 7.30pm. Until May 4. • tobaccofactorytheatres.com Wednesday April 26 n Crushed Out The Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Totterdown. Crushed Out have

clocked up 600 US shows in five years, supporting Joan Jett and Band of Skulls along the way. 7.30pm, £7. • thethunderbolt.net Thursday April 27 n Gas Girls Acta theatre, Gladstone Street, Bedminster. The acclaimed story of the women who made mustard gas during the First World War in Avonmouth returns to Acta before going on tour. Tickets £4; until April 29, then May 5 and 19. • acta-bristol.com n Andrew Lawrence: the Hate Speech Tour Comedy Box at the Hen & Chicken, North Street, Southville. “The UK comedy scene’s most bigoted scumbag, Andrew Lawrence, is back. No laugh too cheap. Bring a friend who’s easily offended.” £14.50, 7.45pm. • thecomedybox.co.uk Saturday April 29 n Anzac War Grave tour Arnos Vale cemetery. On Anzac Day, learn more about men and women from Australia and New Zealand who gave up their lives serving their countries during the two world wars and other conflicts. 10.30am-12noon, £5. • arnosvale.org.uk/events Sunday April 30 n Spring Fling Riff Raff’s Southville choir joins with its Clifton counterpart for a concert of modern song arrangements and harmonies at St George’s Bristol. 7pm; £4-£10, plus fees. • stgeorgesbristol.co.uk

Playing respects: Brendan Whitmore, Natalie Davis and Dave Merrick

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April 2017

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