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 it’s Cabot.
IF there’s one ward where the row over tuition fees could play a part, it’s Cabot.
Traditionally a Liberal Democrat stronghold, the party has held the seat for more than 15 years.
Two issues that are beyond the control of local party members could change that.
The increase in tuition fees is the most obvious example, a policy which could be punished by the area’s large student population.
According to the latest statistics there are 13,211 residents, and more than half of them are aged 16 to 29-years-old.
Cabot has the highest number in that age group in the city, with 7,684 living in ward.
The other national issue is the effect of the coalition government. With many Lib Dem voters angry that their vote last May was essentially used to prop up a Tory government, there could be a backlash in areas such as Cabot.
The ward covers the whole of the city centre, including Broadmead, Kingsdown and Harbourside.
It is bordered by Castle Park in the east to Tyndall’s Park in the west, Cumberland Basin in the south to the edge of Cotham in the north.
Locally the issues are much as you might expect for a major city centre – crime and parking.
Cabot has the highest crime rate in the city. This is perhaps inevitable as it houses the most popular part of Bristol’s night life. But since 2001 crime has dropped dramatically – by a third in less than ten years.
City council plans to cut back on funding for police community support officers may not find favour though.
The authority said it was planning on reducing its £1 million contributions towards PCSOs by £139,000 for the 2011/12 financial years as part of a £28 million programme of cuts.
It is fair to say though that regardless of such cuts most of the police resources in Bristol will always be focused on this part of the city.
The other ongoing issue for the ward is parking. The city’s first Residents Parking Zone pilot was introduced in Kingsdown in January
Last year there was much debate over exactly how many people really wanted it.
Public consultation showing the narrowest of margins of support – 0.6 per cent – but further statutory consultation showed 42 were in support and 995 were against.
There were allegations of fraudulent results and the council rejected a number of the responses before agreeing to go ahead with a pilot.
Despite protests from no to RPZ campaigners at the time, there has been little objection since the scheme was brought in three months ago.
Next: Clifton and Clifton East
Candidates for Cabot ward
Experience: Served as councillor since 2007
What difference will you make: I will continue to work hard for people in Cabot, pushing for improvements to the local area and standing up for local residents.
Name: Iain Dennis
Age: Not given
Lives: Sneyd Park
Experience: Not given
Occupation: Director of a worldwide recruitment company
What difference will you make: Not given
Name: Ben Appleby
Experience: Green Party election agent for Bristol West in the General Election 2010
Occupation: Financial adviser
What difference will you make: I hope to be part of a strong Green group on the council whose positive forward thinking attitude will influence future council decisions.
Name: Ben Mosley
Experience: First time standing
Occupation: Caseworker for Labour MP
What difference will you make: I will listen to Cabot residents. I’m campaigning for a green Bristol, fairer access to education especially after £9,000 tuition fees, protecting public services, safe streets, and better public transport.
Other candidates – no details given
Chris Farrell – Trade Unionists and Socialists Against the Cuts
Previous Results – 2007
Christopher Gittins – Green Party – 430 (20.1%)
Iain Dennis – Conservative – 374 (17.5%)
Tom Fleuriot – Labour – 327 (15.3%)
University Indoors Sports Centre, Tyndall Avenue
The Ark, Cotham Road South
Centre for the Deaf, King Square
Spike Island, Cumberland Road
Waring House, Commercial Road
The Register Office, Corn Street