Bristol City Council leader Barbara Janke says a decision will be made within a month on whether or not to grant town green status for the site of Bristol City‘s proposed new 30,000-seater stadium at Ashton Vale.
In a prepared statement to be read at this afternoon’s full council meeting, she also says that the Liberal Democrats will halt the controversial green spaces sell-off plan while a review is carried out.
Her statement in full:
“I would like to make very clear my party’s vision for the coming year if we are called on to form the administration.
“The May 5 local elections left no party in overall control of the city council.
“As the largest group on the council with 33 seats out of 70, we will not turn our backs on our responsibilities to the city.
“If elected to office today, Liberal Democrats will continue to put Bristol first – keeping taxes low, protecting services and backing a greener, more prosperous city.
“It will be essential for the council to provide clear leadership to our city in the difficult economic circumstances ahead.
“We have a powerful record of competence and achievement and will build on the successes of the last two years to give confidence to businesses, public and private investors and, above all to the people of the city, who most depend on our services.
“We will continue to deliver a greener, safer, cleaner, high-achieving and more prosperous city – where everyone can share in our growing wealth and success.
“Yes, major spending cuts and savings will have to be found, whoever is chosen to run the council – £42 million over the next three years.
“Huge savings are being forced on all councils by central government to pay for the last Labour government‘s recklessness and waste.
“This year – the first year of the Coalition government’s cutbacks – we have frozen council tax this year and put the authority’s finances in order. And we have achieved this with few compulsory redundancies and with frontline savings protected.
“While other cities have been closing libraries and children’s centres, we have kept ours open.
“We have built and are now expanding one school and expect to open another in September. We have improved school results across the city, devolved power and budgets to communities and become the leading UK city for recycling and waste reduction.
“We have now put in a bid for the proposed new national Green Investment Bank to be based in Bristol, bringing jobs and building on our already strong green credentials.
“Under a Liberal Democrat administration over the coming year we will continue to bring jobs to the city, work with our partners on major transport schemes for Bristol and maintain our commitment to cutting carbon emissions by 40 per cent across the city by 2020.
“School GCSE results have improved by 12% over the last two years and 1,800 new jobs have been created here – most of them through the growth of small businesses.
“Lib Dem Bristol already has the lowest emissions per person of any of Britain‘s Core Cities.
“If elected to office today, we will face many challenges. We believe our record over the last two years will give people confidence that, under a Lib Dem administration, achievement levels in our schools will continue to go up, we will continue to attract high levels of public and private investment to the city, and these will build on developments such as the LEP, the new enterprise zone, the technology and innovation centre of excellence and the commitment to electrification of the Great Western line.
“We will establish an energy company and a major programme of investment in carbon reduction. We will work closely with government on our key transport projects.
“And Bristol will emerge from the current economic crisis stronger and more successful, offering the best possible opportunities to all our citizens.
“Now let me turn to the recent discussions between representatives of each of the council’s four political groups.
“These have ended in agreements and compromises that we believe will allow for the continued administration of the authority and its services over the coming year.
“A number of issues were raised by each of the other groups and resolved in conversation with the Liberal Democrat administration.
“Here are the details of what has been agreed:
· All disposals under the Green Spaces Strategy to be halted and a cross-party working group set up to look again at the strategy
· Ashton Vale Town Green application to be decided within one month
· The Labour Party, the Conservative Party and the Green Party to share all the chairs of scrutiny commissions and regulatory committees, except for Development Control Central, which will have a Liberal Democrat chair
· Cross-party working groups to be set up to consider the transport interchange at Temple Meads, Rapid Transport schemes, possible tram system and rail options. Terms of reference to be agreed by members
· The following allocation of scrutiny seats (total 123): Liberal
Democrats, 57; Labour, 37; Conservatives, 26; the Green Party, 4 (NB Extra place given to the Green Party by cross-party agreement)
· The likely impact of the termination of the Government Migration Impact Fund on ESOL provision in Bristol will be established. The council will lobby government against any loss of funding for ESOL
· Continued commitment to funding Bristol’s 33 PCSOs itemised in the current budget 2011/2012 at £934k and agreement to encourage the police to involve Neighbourhood Partnerships in their needs assessments and allocations as an annual review
· Plans to reform the structure of the council’s scrutiny committees and commissions to be dropped for the coming year.”