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By Ian Onions, Political Editor

 

A PUBLIC inquiry will not be held into a decision to give planning permission for a Sainsbury’s superstore at Ashton Gate.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has the power to review decisions on major planning applications.

But he has decided a review of this scheme – which would likely have led to a public inquiry – is not necessary.

The decision means another hurdle has been cleared towards a £92-million stadium at Ashton Vale.

If there had been an inquiry, it would have held up the scheme for months. (more…)

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By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter

Bristol’s Liberal Democrats have agreed to a series of concessions to opposition parties in order to keep control of the city council.

Here we look at what they have agreed, and what they haven’t.

(more…)

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Click here for the original story on the EP website

By Sam Rkaina, Local Government Reporter

BRISTOL City Council could be forced to finally make a decision on whether Ashton Vale should be a town green or not, now that the Liberal Democrats have lost control of the authority.

The Conservatives say one of their “conditions” of supporting the Lib Dems as a minority administration is a decisive debate on the issue by the end of the month.

Tory deputy leader Peter Abraham says the matter should be dealt with in a vote by full council one way or another, within 14 days of the next full council meeting on Tuesday.

The Lib Dems have been reaching out to the other parties on the council since they lost five seats at the local elections on Thursday.

The losses mean the party no longer has the numbers to force through policies and must rely on the support of other groups.

No party has expressed an interest in forming a government-style coalition but it is believed the Lib Dems could continue with a minority provided they make concessions on certain issues.

Mr Abraham – who is expected to replace mayor-elect Geoff Gollop as Tory leader on Friday – believes the ongoing uncertainty on the future of the site has done Bristol no favours.

He said: “We’ve mucked about and it’s dragging on. We ought to take the decision now. A report should be brought for decision whether to accept or reject the independent inspector’s advice.

“We’ve wasted months and months, with arbitration and talks breaking down.

“Sainsbury’s is ready, the deal is there waiting but we as a council are not shown to be facing up to these issues.

“My personal view is that I am convinced we should reject the inspector’s advice.

“I don’t think this qualifies as a town green and it brings the process into disrepute.”

New Labour leader Peter Hammond also agreed a decision needed to be made.

He said: “Labour policy is to support a stadium in south Bristol. The Lib Dems need to demonstrate leadership and council needs to make an early decision with a clear cabinet recommendation to approve the stadium or not.”

Council leader Barbara Janke stressed no decisions could yet be made while talks are ongoing.

She said: “As you would expect, we are talking to the other parties and listening to what they have to say about the issues that are important to them. Until this process is completed, we are not, of course, able to say what the outcome will be.”

The row over whether Ashton Vale should become a town green has stalled for months. On one side Bristol City Football Club needs the site to build its £92 million new stadium.

On the other side, residents near the site say they want to protect the site from any kind of development.

Mr Abraham said if the council had to make changes to take the decision out of that committee’s hands, it should do so.

Whatever decision the council does take, it is likely to face a legal challenge by the losing side.

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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 we look at two wards, Brislington East and West.

AS YOU drive into Bristol along the A4 Bath Road, it is hard to imagine that Brislington used to be a village outside of the city.

But now it is part of the suburban sprawl which stretches out from the city centre.

Brislington is divided into two wards – east and west – with Wick Road acting as the main boundary. The A4 therefore lies in Brislington West although it is hugely important for everyone who lives in this area of the city.

Many residents, no doubt, are disappointed that the Government’s spending cuts have seen plans abandoned for a link road between Callington Road and the big roundabout near the Sainsbury‘s supermarket at Sandy Park.

This link road would have utilised the disused railway line and eased the awful traffic congestion, particularly at the junction of West Town Lane with the Bath Road.

This junction has become a notorious bottleneck since the road layout was changed when the Lidl supermarket was opened and several sets of traffic lights were installed within the space of a few hundred yards. But it’s not only these very busy roads which grab the attention.

Just as important is the issue of speeding motorists along many of the residential streets where cars are parked on both sides of the road.

Full-time mum Kelly Boulton, 23, of The Rock, who has three children, would like measures taken to slow down traffic on School Road, a steep and busy road which links the Bath Road with Broom Hill and St Anne’s.

There are also traffic issues in Sandy Park, a popular local shopping centre which can still boast a post office – a service which is sorely missed by residents in Broom Hill.

Dinner lady Lesley Clatworthy, 60, of Eastwood Drive, who has lived in Brislington for most of her life, has seen many changes and said there is still some anti-social behaviour but it has “calmed down a lot in recent years”.

Jason Lear, 32, of Jersey Avenue, Broom Hill, helps to run a five-a-side football centre. He said Brislington fared well compared to other parts of the city. “I think it’s much quieter here,” he said.

No doubt residents in St Anne’s who fiercely protested against plans to sell off a strip off green space behind their homes in Newbridge Road will be making their views clear at the ballot box.

They mounted one of the biggest campaigns against the council’s green spaces strategy which aims to sell off parcels of open land to raise funds to improve parks and open spaces. Their protests led to St Anne’s being taken off the council’s sell-off list.

Brislington West is a safe Lib Dem seat but Brislington East has been somewhat of a battleground in the past. The Tories were stunned to lose the seat which was contested last year (there are two seats in each ward) and Labour will find themselves in a scrap to hold on to this one which was last fought in 2007. It was won by Labour’s Simon Crew but he took it with only 85 votes so the Tories have all to play for.

Next: Cabot ward


Candidates for Brislington East


Party: Labour

Name: Mike Langley

Age: 55

Lives: Fishponds

Experience: Councillor before at Frome Vale 1990 to 1996

Occupation: Retired bus driver and union rep

What difference will you make: I’m backing local people to save our green space especially between Broomhill and Victory Park and to convert the old Mission building in Rochester Road as a community centre.

Party: Conservative

Name: Lara Cozens

Age: 42

Lives: Brislington

Experience: First time standing

Occupation: unemployed

What difference will you make: By winning the seat I would make sure the voice of Brislington East is heard clearly, and spoken in Bristolian.

Party: Liberal Democrat

Name: Pauline Allen

Age: 57

Lives: Kingsdown

Experience: Second time standing

Occupation: Rsearech scientist

What difference will you make: Fight on behalf of the citizens of Brislington East, on issues that concern them. Do all I can to preserve and enhance the community.

Other candidates – no details given

Robin Whitlock – Green Party

Martyn Ahmet – Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts

Mark Smith – UKIP

Previous Results – 2007

Simon Crew – Labour – 1,258 (42.1%)

James Stevenson – Conservative – 1,173 (39.2%)

Roger Norman – Liberal Democrat – 286 (9.5%)

Ruth Cormack – Green – 271 (9%)

Brislington East Polling Stations

Brislington East: St Anne’s Infant School, Langton Court Road entrance; St Anne’s Park Primary School, Lichfield Road; St Peter’s Methodist Church Hall, Allison Road; Holymead Infant School, Hollywood Road.

Brislington West: St Anne’s Junior School, Langton Court Road; Holymead Junior School, Rossall Road; St Christopher’s Parish Hall, Hampstead Road; Bristol Sports of Performing Arts, White Hart Lodge, Brislington Hill; Hungerford Community Centre, Hungerford Road.

To see polling stations on a map

Bristol City Councils ward profile

Brislington West Candidates

Party: Liberal Democrats

Name: Jackie Norman

Age: 60

Lives: Brislington

Experience: Ward councillor since 1999

Occupation: Part time market research interviewer

What difference will you make: Within the Brislington Neighbourhood Partnership, I’ll continue to listen to how local people think we should spend local money.  On the council I’ll represent Brislington West residents’ priorities.

Party: Labour

Name: Liam McDonough

Age: 34

Lives: Brislington

Experience: Second time standing

Occupation: Works in catering

What difference will you make: Councillors should be more responsive to local people – footpaths at Water Lane need repair – long overdue, a wheels park at Arnos Court, restore the cuts to PCSOs.

Philip Collins
Party: UKIP
Age: 47
Lives: Brislington
Experience: Second time standing
Occupation: Driver
What difference will you make: I will put the local community first. We need to stop putting so much money into Europe – charity begins at home.

Other candidates – no details given

John Yeandle – Trade Unionists and Socialists Against the Cuts

Lucy Mackilligin – Green Party

Colin Bretherton – Conservative

Previous Results – 2007

Jackie Norman – Liberal Democrat – 1,150 (41.5%)

Colin Bretherton – Conservative – 807 (29.1%)

David Naismith – Green – 451 (16.2%)

Brian Mead – Labour – 362 (13%)

Brisington West Polling Stations

St Annes Junior School, Langton Court Road

Holymead Junior School, Rossall Road

St Christopher’s Parish Hall, Hampstead Road

Bristol Sports of Performing Arts, White Hart Lodge, Brislington Hill

Hungerford Community Centre, Hungerford Road

To see polling stations on a map 

Bristol City Council ward profile

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See the original story on the EP website

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 Bedminster.


BEDMINSTER is one of two wards where the election could be dominated by the ongoing row about Bristol City Football Club‘s new stadium.

Although the existing Ashton Gate site does not fall within the ward – it’s in neighbouring Southville – the proposed site of the new £92-million stadium at Ashton Vale does.

The battle lines have clearly been drawn – there are those who want the Ashton Vale fields to be used for the stadium and there are those who want it protected from any kind of development.

If you were just to look at the numbers, it’s clear what most people want.

More than 30,000 have signed an online petition in favour of the stadium, compared to around 1,200 who want the ground registered as a town green.

What’s not so clear is how many of the signatures on both sides come from the ward that Ashton Vale is actually in.

A brief look at both petitions shows plenty of people who live nowhere near the site – including Clifton and South Gloucestershire.

Any frustration on this issue could potentially favour the Greens more than any other party, as they are the only group to openly support the town green application and they have one seat in Southville already.

The effect the new Sainsbury‘s supermarket approved for the club’s current site at Ashton Gate could have on local trade is another ongoing issue for Bedminster and neighbouring Southville.

Although East Street and the busiest part of North Street aren’t actually in the ward, many of the people who use those shops are.

There are still concerns from traders that the new supermarket will damage local business although the council and the store say they will make efforts to avoid this happening.

Labour has held the seat for more than 15 years, though in 2007 it looked like their grip was slipping.

The Conservatives closed the gap but still came in second place by several hundred votes.

The Green Party took third, pushing the Lib Dems into a distant fourth.

The ward is bordered by the lower end of North Street to the north, Ashton Vale and the fields next to it to the west, South Liberty Lane to the south and stops just short of the Malago Greenway in the east.

According to the statistics, residents are not particularly impressed with the quality of the green spaces in their area.

The council has promised to improve parks in the ward as part of the £87 million improvement plan, and unlike other parts of the city Bedminster has none that will be sold off.

Next: Bishopsworth


Candidates for Bedminster ward

Party: Labour

Name: Colin Smith

Age: 62

Lives: Whitchurch

Experience: Councillor for Whitchurch Park 2002-06 and for Bedminster since 2007

Occupation: Has taken a sabbatical for a year to be Lord Mayor.

What difference will you make: I want to make Bedminster a better place to live by improving the few green spaces we have and help the local economy grow to create jobs for local people.

Party: Conservative

Name: Doug Newton

Age: Not given

Lives: Bedminster

Experience: Third time standing

Occupation: Chartered engineer

What difference will you make: I stand to guarantee Bedminster has a voice in the council – where any member see it as a place to drop unpopular building development and the planning department does not properly scrutinise developers.

Party: Liberal Democrat 

Name: Ian Cooper

Age: 45

Lives: Not given

Experience: Not given

Occupation: Bus driver

What difference will you make: Bedminster needs a councillor who is visible in the community and will work hard to help heal the rifts over the stadium application.

Party: Trade Unionists and Socialists Against Cuts

Name: Robin Clapp

Age: 55

Lives: Bedminster

Experience: Third time standing in the ward

Occupation: Journalist

What difference will you make: A socialist and committed community activist, I will oppose all cuts to jobs and services as I did successfully in leading the 2008 campaign  to keep Marksbury Road library open.

Other candidates – no details provided

GreenParty – Cath Slade

English Democrats – Jon Baker

Previous Results – 2007

Colin Smith – Labour – 1,299 (38.5%)

Doug Newton – Conservative – 1,037 (30.7%)

Cath Slade – Green Party – 685 (20.3%)

Matthew Greenwood – Liberal Democrat – 353 (10.4%)

Polling Stations

Ashton Vale Community Centre, Risdale Road

Luckwell Primary School, Luckwell Road

Compass Point South Street School

Marksbury Road Library

South Bristol Methodist Church Hall, British Road

For a detailed map, see http://www.bristol.gov.uk/WardFinder/pdfs/bedminstermap-high.pdf

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