By Ian Onions, Political Editor / email@example.com
ANOTHER group of residents are hoping to protect an open green space near their homes by applying for the land to be registered as a town green.
The residents on the Thrissels’ estate in Downend are furious that the site next to Frenchay Road has been earmarked for new housing in the city council’s controversial green spaces strategy.
Leading campaigner Tom Thomas, who lives in Bracey Drive, said: “Just because it’s a green space, it doesn’t mean you should build on it.
“It’s important to us because it creates a peaceful setting for the houses.
“It’s used by children who play there and people who just want to have a stroll. It’s important, too, for the disabled people who live nearby and like to simply sit there and enjoy the surroundings.”
Mr Thomas, a retired housing manager, said the residents were “floored” when they read in the Evening Post that the site had been earmarked for development.
He said they immediately set up a campaign to save the site because it was the estate’s “jewel in the crown”.
Another resident, Richard Blake, 49, who is better known as Flex, lead singer with urban reggae heavyweight bank Laid Blak and lives in nearby Grange Drive, said: “It’s so important to keep this land as it is.
“If the kids don’t have this space to play on, then they will have to find somewhere further from their homes to play and then they will find themselves encroaching on land which is used by other kids – that’s how the gang culture starts in the first place.
“The politicians need to look beyond their noses and see what they are doing instead of just grabbing what they can now without thinking of the consequences.”
The residents have now applied to the city council for the site to registered as a town green which would effectively rule out any development in the future.
Campaign groups have submitted similar town green applications in other parts of the city such as Elderberry Walk, Southmead and High Street Green in Totterdown.
The green spaces strategy, which has caused a citywide outcry, would sell off strips of open land to pay for improvements in up to 160 others.
Before a site can be registered as a town green, the residents must show that it has been used continuously during the past 20 years for recreational purposes.
A public notice was recently published in the Evening Post which gave details about the town green application for Bracey Drive.
If anyone objects to the site being registered, they must contact the city council by September 30. Letters should be addressed to Tom Dunsdon, Bristol City Council, the Council House, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR.
The issue is expected to be discussed by councillors at a Public Rights of Way committee.
If there are no objections, then councillors are expected to give their approval. But if objections are lodged, then councillors would set up a sub-committee to determine the facts of the case.
A council spokesman said: “We can confirm that we have received an application for town green status and this is now being processed.”