Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Small Lane solution in sight


A few days ago we heard the good news that the additional waiting restrictions proposed for Small Lane, Stapleton will go to public advertisement on September 10th.
For a long time there have been problems with this narrow lane being blocked by parked cars. Residents have been concerned about access for emergency vehicles, and First Bus have even considered re-routing the no. 5 bus service due to the problems of getting through the lane.
If accepted the parking restrictions would bring the 'Small Lane chicane' to an end at long last.
(Photo: Muriel Cole and Steve Comer in Small Lane, Stapleton).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

“........and the dream shall never die.” Edward Kennedy 1932-2009


Even though we all knew that serious illness would take his life, it was still a shock to wake up to the news that Senator Edward Kennedy had died. Less charismatic than his two brothers he may have been, but in over 40 years in the American Senate he achieved so much, always motivated by a burning desire to help the underprivileged, and at the same time make society freer and fairer.

In common with those great English and Welsh Liberals, Gladstone and Lloyd George, he had flaws, more publicised in the age of international mass media. His Liberalism never wavered but Ted always knew that politics was the art of the possible, and to get things done compromise with your opponents is often necessary.
The quote above comes from his speech he made to the 1980 Democratic convention conceding defeat. I remember it at the time, but even more clearly I remember these words from the address he gave (whilst fighting back tears) at his brother Bobby's funeral in 1968:

“My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it......As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:
"Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not."


It was this inspiration to ask 'why not' that led me into Liberal politics, and keeps me there. Edward Kennedy retained his optimism though his life, he inspired many thousands of people who never met him, and he can rest in peace now. His dream shall never die.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

20 mph pilot for Eastville


A maximum speed limit of 20mph is proposed in two residential areas of Bristol, one of them includes Eastville - from the junction up to Muller Road. The proposed 20mph speed limit will apply to all residential streets within the pilot areas, but not to major traffic routes.

In Eastville the roads in the scheme are all residential, and mostly narrow streets with cars parked on both sides for most of the day. The primary aim of these pilot zones is to make walking and cycling safer and more attractive to more people. It should also help to reduce the number of road accidents, especially those involving pedestrians.

My colleague Jon Rogers, Lib Dem Cabinet member for Transport said, “We will be monitoring the success of the two pilot areas and listening to comments from local residents and businesses as well as those who regularly pass through these areas before we look at whether they could be extended to other parts of the City."

The scheme will not involve the introduction of any physical traffic calming features such as speed humps; chicanes or cameras.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Re-elected! - four more years

I didn’t mean to be away from ‘blogsphere’ for so long, but it has been a very busy few weeks! Election time is always full of manic activity, but I’m pleased to say I was re-elected as Councillor for Eastville, the result was:
Steve Comer (Liberal Democrat Focus Team) 1310 44%
Mike Wollacott (Labour) 717 24%
Derek Fey (Conservative) 542 18%
Glenn Vowles (Green Party) 426 14%
June 4th saw the Liberal Democrats win 36 out of the 70 seats in Bristol and take overall control of the city for the first time. I’m very pleased that one of the Lib Dem gains was Hillfields Ward next door to Eastville. Patrick Hassell has campaigned there for many years, and we’ve worked well together on issues we’ve had in common, like the campaign to save Cossham Hospital, and in opposition to a waste site off Lodge Causeway.
Sadly Emma Nyhan just missed out becoming the second Lib Dem Councillor in St. George by 90 votes, but John Kiely has now returned as Councilllor for Easton, and Guy Poulteney held Lockleaze. There will be some major issues ahead, and it’ll be good to have allies in neighbouring wards.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stoke Park - purchased for the people!

The new Liberal Democrat Cabinet in Bristol have moved quickly to acquire Stoke Park (the land around the Dower House) from developers. This is an 18th century landscape right on the M32 gateway into Bristol.
This will secure the land for future generations, and in time I believe this will be seen as a land acquisition as important to Bristol as the decision to buy Ashton Court in the post war decade.
Detailed plans are still at an early stage, and Muriel Cole and I would welcome any feedback on what could be done. It looks like there may be some land set aside for allotments, which is good as these are always in demand. An imaginative proposal that has caused some comment is the plan to graze cattle on the land rather than use a diesel lawnmower to cut the grass!. Whilst Bristol is not going to be a big beef producer, this is an idea which has attracted much interest, and seems to be an environmentally friendly way of keeping the land in good condition.
People in this part of Bristol really value the open space they have like Eastville Park, and Snuff Mills. Acquiring this 'green wedge' of open space for the people of is good news for our city and for north east Bristol in particular.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Grove Wood Tree Preservation Order confirmed

Yesterday the City Council's South & East planning committee voted to confirm the Tree Preservation Order (TPO) on Grove Wood in Stapleton. The TPO was initiated following a campaign by residents concerned about the destruction of trees in this historic woodland.
Under planning law, once a TPO is requested there is a sx month peiod where objections can be made before the TPO is finally confirmed. The landowner objected to the TPO but all members of the committee voted to confirm it.
We hope this will protect this amenity for future generations.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Bristol Labour throw in the towel

At a dramatic budget meeting yesterday, Labour resigned the leadership of Bristol City Council. The Liberal Democrats as the largest party are now in the process of forming an administration for the city.
Labour's resignation followed a Liberal Democrat amendment to the budget, which removed the funding for the next stage of the bid for a mass-burn waste incinerator. Liberal Democrats have consistently opposed this, and we have fought this proposal at every stage in its passage through the Council. The Conservative group has now done a u-turn late in the day and voted with us, as did the one Green Councillor.
There are more environmentally friendly solution to waste disposal such as digestion and pyrolysis, and the new administration will be working with neighbouring councils to find a more sustainable solution.

For further information, check out the website for Bristol Against Mass Burn Incineration here: http://www.bambi-network.org.uk/

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pub protest at Council House

On Wedensday the planning committee for South and East Bristol considered an application to change the car park at the Frienship Inn in Knowle. On the face of it a pretty straightforward application. but......The subtext to this is that the premises has been acquired by Tesco who want to convert the pub to a shop. This would leave a huge are with no local pub, and threaten the viability of the existing shops in the locality and on the Wells Rd. I spoke in opposition to the plan, and joined local residents and the Bristol Pubs Group in a small demonstration at the Council House.
Knowle may be accross the city from Eastville, but the issue is the threat to local shopping areas. Fishponds Rd. is already under pressure following the sad closure of Woolworths, and we have seen some pub closures in this area too. We need to do all we can to try to keep our community facilities in all parts of Bristol. A final decision on the Friendship has been deferred to allow a site visit to take place.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

A walk in Grove Wood

At the end of January the Snuff Mills Action Group organised a walk through Grove Wood. About 150 or so local residents turned up to walk the footpaths, as part of the campaign to save the wood. I was with a group that used the public right of way that goes alongside the river (well mostly). Its many years since I've walked this far along the path, and it was a good opportunity to see just why Grove Wood is so important to the local environment.
Further details of the campaign to sav Grove Wood can be found here: http://snuffmills.blogspot.com/

Back to blogging!

I've had limited computer access for a few days, which is why this blog has been quiet. but I'm hoping to change that over the next couple of days...watch this space.

Monday, January 5, 2009

M32 Junction 2 - how can it be made safer?

Three people have been killed within a year whilst attempting to cross the slip road onto the M32 at junction 2 (Eastville/Fishponds). Bristol City Council has now commenced a full safety review of the area in conjunction with the Highways Agency who own the motorway. Future proposals will have an impact on the whole locality; there are plans to improve cycle routes, and upgrade the bus lanes into the Centre to showcase standards. We need to make sure that improvements for local people are key to such plans, and that the whole area is made safer for residents.
Cllr. Muriel Cole and I are asking local people to give us have their views. Nearly every resident in Eastville Ward will use this junction or Fishponds Rd. at some point in the week, as will many other in north and east Bristol.
You can contact us by posting a comment on this blog, so please let us know:
1) If you think a surface crossing would improve safety?
2) Whether you want to see Stapleton Road closed at the roundabout, and the creation of a
cul-de-sac in the area between the M32 and Fishponds Rd?
3) Do you want speed limits in the area be reduced?
4) Any other comments you might have on safety and traffic issues at this junction?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

All is quiet on New Years Day...

Well it is in Upper Eastville (BS5) anyway! I think this is the quietest day of the year, hardly any traffic, very quiet, the air is still, and the trees are barely moving. An opportunity for me to spend the day at home, start to catch up with e-mail and paperwork, and listen to some music.
I'd like to thank everyone who has commented on the blog, the many more who have told me they read it, and to wish everyone a very Happy New Year. (I can't believe its the last year of the first decade of the 21st Century already).