On May 5 voters will choose 24 councillors to represent them on Bristol City Council. Over the next month we will look at all of the wards that are being contested, and all the candidates that are chasing your votes. Today is Bishopsworth.
POPULAR Kings Head Park in Bishopsworth was in danger of being one of those green spaces where some of the land was at risk of being sold off to developers.
But last December, the park was one of nine green spaces which was removed by the ruling Liberal Democrats from the council’s sell-off list.
Residents who live near the park were understandably relieved but they are under no illusion that green-belt land near their homes is under increasing threat from the bulldozer.
You only have to look out over the border into North Somerset to see where developers wanted to build a new mini-town with thousands of homes, something akin to Bradley Stoke on the green fields below Dundry.
Yet there was probably a bigger issue for people in Bishopsworth, many of whom commute daily to work in the city.
They were furious when bus operator First removed the 52 service a year ago which provided such a transport lifeline. The axe fell on the route after the city council decided to withdraw its subsidy.
Bus users were delighted when private bus operator Andy Fear, who runs Citistar, stepped in to run the service. But he found he could not make it pay and it has now been taken over by Abus, which has altered the route and extended it to incorporate Imperial Park.
Bishopsworth is a typical Bristol suburb, mostly residential and with a mix of private and council housing. It has one of the lowest number of residents from ethnic minorities in the city. Most residents are therefore white British.
The main A38 Bridgwater Road runs diagonally across the ward while Bishopsworth Road also provides one of the key routes.
The council slapped a weight restriction on Bishopsworth Road some years ago to stop heavy lorries thundering through the residential area but many HGV drivers now use Highridge Green as an alternative route.
The issue has been raised at local Neighbourhood Partnership meetings and now the council is planning to monitor the frequency of heavy lorries on the route to see if another weight restriction is justified.
The increase in traffic on all our roads has seen the main Bridgwater Road become even busier. So much so, that people have spent several minutes waiting for a lull before crossing.
A new traffic island has now been installed near the South Bristol Crematorium to help people, especially the elderly, to cross the road.
There are five schools in the ward: the only secondary is Bedminster Down, which has been rebuilt and is now looking at the possibility of becoming an academy.
The four primaries are Bishopsworth CE VC juniors, Cheddar Grove primary, Four Acres primary and Highridge Infants.
There are some issues with drugs and anti-social behaviour which is mostly confined to the Highridge area. But generally speaking, crime figures are below average for the city.
In a council survey, 92 per cent of Bishopsworth people said they were happy while three-quarters said they were satisfied with their lives.
Next: Brislington East and West
Candidates for Bishopsworth Ward
Name: Richard Eddy
Lives: Headley Park
Experience First elected to serve the ward in 1992-95 and again in 1999 to the present.
Occupation: Freelance financial advisor
What difference will you make: I was raised, educated and live in the locality. I understand, and have always represented, the views of Bishopsworth people. Their priorities are my priorities.
Name: Darren Lewis
Lives: St George
Experience: Second time standing
What difference will you make: People have to decide whether they want someone who just works hard or who offers a fresh perspective. They Tories have had their chance and failed.
Name: Barrie Lewis
Experience: Has been standing for the Green Party for 25 years
Occupation: Voluntary work in mental health area
What difference will you make: I’m a local person so I know what’s going on and becoming a councillor will help me get things done in the community.
Name: Ian Campion-Smith
Experience: Has stood for council twice in Bristol
Occupation: Retired software and management consultant
What difference would you make: I have a vested interest that no other candidate has, I live here and therefore know the issues that need sorting first hand.
Previous Results – 2007
Munawar Gondal – Labour – 653 (23.4%)
Barrie Lewis – Green – 347 (12.4%)
Lena Wright – Liberal Democrats – 172 (6.1%)
Bedminster Down Secondary School, Tyntesfield Road entrance
Bishopsworth Children’s Centre, Lakemead Grove
Withywood Centre, Queens Road