By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter
Residents in Knowle have accused Bristol City Council of “not playing fair” over their town green bid.
It’s been two years since people living near Filwood Park submitted an application for the land to be registered as a town green, to protect it from potential housing development.
But despite a public inquiry in June the council has yet to make a final decision. Instead the landowners have been given another opportunity to submit further evidence to support their argument.
Campaigner Mil Lusk said: “Our councillors are not being fair to us They’ve given the landowners another opportunity to put their evidence to delay.
“Hundreds of people hope that park will be saved – we don’t want housing, we want a park.
“Most people in Knowle don’t think what we’re doing will make any difference. They think the council won’t listen.
“People are struggling. There are low-paid workers in Knowle but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a right to a voice.”
The site was sold by the council under the previous Labour administration three years ago, reportedly in a £4 million deal with government quango English Partnerships.
At the time residents reacted furiously, with more than 430 people signing a petition against the sale and claiming they had not been consulted properly.
After the sale it was earmarked as part of the council’s £1-billion plan to regenerate Knowle. Following public protest though, that plan has now been changed to a residents’ option that favours in-filling rather than large scale demolition.
Council spokeswoman Helen Hewitt said: “This matter went to Public Rights Of Way Committee’s public meeting on October 3, where it was reported that the inspector had directed the parties to make further submissions – the applicant has until October 28 to respond.
“Thereafter it is expected that the matter will be referred to the inspector for consideration.”
Filwood Park is just the latest in a series of controversially handled town green applications in Bristol.
Aside from the ongoing Bristol City Football Club row at Ashton Vale, the council has eight more applications still to determine including Filwood.
One of the sites is Bracey Drive, where residents have accused the council of “just being spiteful” in failing to register the site.
Last week the council did agree to register Whitchurch Park as a town green, but it came after a three-year campaign by local people and a public inquiry in their favour.