LEADER’S BLOG: September 2015

A monthly look at what assorted Green councillors in Bristol have been getting up to…

Daniella Radice (Bishopston councillor and Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods)
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=82
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Bishopston
Blog: http://bishopstongreencouncillors.info
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreenDaniella
daniella

The big event for me this month was the Cabinet meeting where the Mayor took the decision on the future of Bristol’s Libraries. I gave a speech summarising how we got to where we are, and published it on our website (see above for link). The headlines that are that we have reduced the scale of the cuts to the libraries and are keeping 27 out 28 libraries in their current locations and moving one into Lockleaze. Regrettably, there will be reductions to library opening hours across the city, but with the libraries being kept open, there is potential to increase their accessibility in time.

This has been a really difficult time for me, like many of us I have an emotional connection with libraries I hate to see reductions in opening hours. However, money is tight and having been given an insight into the looming impacts of welfare reform, the government’s policies on right to buy and rents, on top of more spending cuts, I know that from a council perspective things are going to get more and more difficult over the next few years for the most vulnerable people in our city.

Charlie Bolton (Southville councillor and Chair of the Place scrutiny committee, which covers Transport)
Councillor page: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=39
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/about-charlie
Blog: http://southvillegreenparty.blogspot.co.uk
Twitter: https://twitter.com/CharlieBGP

photo-cllr-charlie-boltonAmongst many other things, Charlie has been championing the need for a Henbury Loop rather than a Henbury Spur. You can read more about this case in Charlie’s recent blog:
http://southvillegreenparty.blogspot.co.uk/2015/09/henbury-loop-analysis-well-moan.html

Steve Clarke (Southville councillor)
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=29
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/about-stephen
Blog: http://votegreeninsouthville.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/southvillesteve
photo-cllr-stephen-clarkeAs well as attending council meetings and his committee meetings (Business Change Scrutiny, Human Resources and Appeals Committees), Steve has had a busy month dealing with a number of urgent local issues.

The longest running issue on the table is the terrible traffic problems that are already being created by the new stadium at Ashton Gate (even though it is only half-built. Steve is a lifelong Bristol City supporter so he is enjoying watching the the brand new 27,000 seater stadium rising from the mists of Ashton but he (and most of the residents) have no idea where all the cars are going to go. There is no local Metrobus stop, no new Ashton Gate train station, Long Ashton Park and Ride is closed during match times (yes really!). Meanwhile, hundreds of cars cruise around Southville and Ashton and residents cower behind their net curtains… Anyway, Steve and Charlie are trying to help. They have met the Mayor for a one-to-one, met Bristol Sport’s MD (who was incredibly frustrated with the council), started a petition and are generally creating a stink.

Another issue that has just flared up is Ashton Gate Primary School. This has just opened in a new site with a lovely new school and extensive playground. The trouble is that there is a road between the school and playground. Unbelievably, no one has bothered to put a zebra crossing, bollards or anything else to stop the local cars ignoring the 20mph speed limit and potentially mowing down the little ones. Not surprisingly, the local parents are apoplectic and we have received lots of irate emails. Again, we are trying to get urgent changes to the road layout.

Finally, we are continuing with our initiative to talk to the voters in the nine tower blocks in our patch by having regular surgeries. Generally the residents are very pleased to see us as they have been ignored and forgotten for a long time.

Deb Joffe (Windmill Hill)
Councillor page:
https://www.bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=14
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/about-deb
Blog: http://debjoffe.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WindmillHGreens

DebJoffeI’ve been working on some ward issues, especially calling for an RPZ in Windmill Hill ward and asking for more public consultation on the Arena and sustainable transport plans for accessing Temple Quarter from Bath and Wells Roads ( a neglected route in my opinion).

I’m the vice-Chair on People Scrutiny where we (Dani Glazzard and I) are focusing on mental health and early years provision. The re-commissioning of the children’s community health services is a major topic now that the only NHS provider has withdrawn from the contract for next year. I am looking at ways to ensure that NHS bidders are encouraged in the longterm.

I also sit on the Police and Crime Panel which scrutinises the Police Commissioner. This is quite controversial since the Chief Constable was suspended and has now been asked to resign.

Councillor round-up…in Easton, Cllr Anna McMullen has been promoting jobs fairs and meeting with local landlords about provision in the private rented sector…in Clifton, Cllr Jerome Thomas is helping residents who would like a community centre in the Jacobs Well Road area…in Redland, Cllrs Martin Fodor and Fi Hance have been frustrated by the slow progress on the Bristol North Baths development…in Cabot, Cllr Ani Stafford-Townsend has been encouraged by community days and is monitoring closely the extent of student accomodation being proposed in the ward…and finally, in Ashley, Gus and I are pleased the Carriageworks Action Group (CAG) have got many concessions from the developer, Fifth Capital London, before it is due back to the planning committee in October, and we have more and more people approaching us from St Andrews and St Werburghs asking for Residents’ Parking Schemes to be introduced (as a result of the knock-on effect of  recent schemes in St Pauls and Montpelier).

Green group

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LEADER’S BLOG: August 2015

A monthly look at what assorted Green councillors in Bristol have been getting up to…

Deb Joffe (Windmill Hill)
Councillor page: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=14
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/WindmillHill
Blog: http://debjoffe.blogspot.co.uk/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WindmillHGreens

DebJoffe
I’m writing this following a Full Council meeting last night. Cllr Sam Mongon and I are working hard to try and get the Council to engage with residents and councillors on the transport plans for the Arena ahead of the actual planning application being submitted. Even though councillors voted for this, we have been met with an effective ‘No, wait for the public consultation’. I am very disappointed in this response and will continue to lobby for more information. I am particularly interested in environmental transport solutions – we urgently need to get people to travel to the Arena without using their cars if we are to have decent air quality and bring down carbon emissions.

More promisingly I have been working with Parent Carers Forum to secure more funding for their fabulous ‘Let’s Go’ community transport scheme. This allows children who are disabled or have life-limiting illnesses to go out with their families and engage in the sort of activity most of us take for granted, such as visiting relatives or a cinema trip. I am hopeful that we will be able to persuade the Council to find funds to continue this service.

Sam & I met with the Parks officer after several people expressed concern about long grass areas. Send your views on the new mowing schedule to parksmaintainence.review@bristol.gov.uk. I mentioned that weeds had seeded near the new path  in Perrett’s Park  – these are now mowed and grass-seeding will be tried again next year.

Finally, over in Windmill Hill and Victoria Park, there is concern about the forthcoming Residents’ Parking Schemes in Bedminster leading to commuters parking in nearby streets where there is no  scheme. Some residents would like to have an RPS and I talked to the council about this . If you agree please email me: Deborah-mila.joffe@bristol.gov.uk.

Martin Fodor (Redland)
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=74
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Redland
Blog: http://martinfodor.com/
martin-fodor-bristol-2013
The main issue has been the libraries announcement.
This is a vindication of our position in that we did not want closures, but do agree that the model needs to be refreshed. The unanswered questions about the reduced cut means the cause of the cuts (coalition government austerity )will still fall on the council services, we just don’t now know where some will be. Greens will need to be extra vigilant about less ‘popular’ services being targeted that impact on vulnerable groups.

The reduced hours also causes alarm as there now has to be a concerted effort to ensure new viable uses are found for every library to get hours up from the 20 hours minimum to ensure services are still open and accessible. This means new events, activities, services and perhaps local cafes bringing refreshments into spaces from local traders. This especially matters in less well-used libraries where they could meet more local needs. Greens have been closely involved in local campaigns but also recognise that the expressions of support generated by the campaigns still need to do lots of work to boost service offers and widen use.

We have been pressing through Neighbourhoods scrutiny for the review of the waste collection contract (in parallel to the transfer of collection services to the new BWC) to be undertaken in a way that ensures better reduction, reuse, repair and recycling. We don’t want a standstill situation where tonnes are destined for disposal due to inaction on repair and reuse or less ambition to raise the recycling rate (eg in harder to reach blocks).

On Gloucester Road we are still watching ever patiently for the completion of our new facilities at the old Bristol North Baths. At last the scaffolding is down! 

To mark Hiroshima and Nagasaki Days, the local CND Group wanted to replace a memorial cherry tree in the Peace Grove in Castle Park (between the ruined church and the harbour). The grove was planted in 1985 but a cherry tree had died and the plaque there was missing. Cllr Martin Fodor was able to secure practical support and agreement from the council to ensure this could take place. On August 7th, Hiroshima Day, the group planted a replacement tree and in a short ceremony re-dedicated the peace grove,  added a plaque, and marked the occasion, with members of CND and passers by. They invited Martin to speak, and heard from Daniella Radice too, acting as Assistant Mayor.

Daniella Radice (Bishopston councillor and Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods)
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=82
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Bishopston
Blog: http://bishopstongreencouncillors.info
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreenDaniella

daniella50-50 Gender Equality
One of the highlights of the month was seeing the launch of 50-50 campaign for gender equality in the Council for 2016. As chair of the sub-group of the women’s commission that is running the campaign it is great to see it up and running and receiving support from most other political parties.

Graffiti Policy
I am working with Council Officers and street artists to update the Council’s graffiti policy. The issue is that street art is one of the things that many of us love about the city, but tagging has become an increasingly bad problem in many neighbourhoods and we need a proper plan and resources to tackle it. BBC Bristol featured this on radio and Points West and it was picked up positively by the Post.

Libraries
I was pleased to announce this month, initially to scrutiny and then to full council that the new plans for libraries mean that 27 out of 28 libraries will not be closing. As Greens we have played a major role in this outcome, and have reversed some of the proposed cuts, although we do not know where will be cut instead. My speech  is on Tim and I’s new website:  http://bishopstongreencouncillors.info/

Carla Denyer (Clifton East)
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=30
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Clifton-East
Twitter: https://twitter.com/carla_denyer

CarlaLast month I told you about ward casework I have been doing in my first few months. This time here’s a brief summary of work I’ve been doing in 3 of the more interesting council meetings I went to this month. I sit on two committees (Neighbourhoods Scrutiny and Planning), and I attended the public Cabinet meeting along with 5 other Green councillors (and no councillors from any other party!)

Neighbourhoods Scrutiny – 17th July
I helped scrutinise the second phase consultation findings from the citywide libraries consultation, asking questions on the council officers’ (aka staff) proposals. I was pleased to learn that the Friends of Redland Library group I have been involved in had real impact – our public awareness campaign bumped up public response rates in the final few weeks of the consultation, and the creative suggestions in our group consultation response were praised by the officers as some of the more interesting.

Cabinet – 4th August
I made a statement about improving housing standards in the private rental sector by adopting the ACORN Ethical Lettings Charter. I encouraged the Mayor to adopt this alongside the West of England Rental Standard, because the former is a code of good practice, while the latter is just about legal minimum requirements.

I also asked a question about how much renewable energy will be used in the heating system refits of Bristol’s council housing. (Answer: it’ll be mostly efficient Band-A condensing gas boilers, but they will use Air-to-Water heat pumps in some buildings, and there’ll be room for retrofitting more renewables later.)

Development Control (Planning) – 5th August
I read and listened to public representations and officers’ reports, and contributed to decisions on an extension to student flats on Whiteladies Road (I voted against, but it passed), and the outline plan for new buildings at the UWE Bower Ashton site (committee voted unanimously for).

What’s been going on in Ashley ward?

Reflections from Gus Hoyt and Rob Telford, Ashley ward’s Green councillors

Rob (l) and Gus (r) with the South West's Green MEP Molly Scott Cato
Rob (l) and Gus (r) with the South West’s Green MEP Molly Scott Cato

As austerity digs deeper so we have seen an increase in our casework for more serious and personal issues of local residents. These have focused on housing issues, mostly an inability to pay when in the private sector as rents are increasing but pay and benefits are not. We have had a number of residents needing to be rehoused and have been working closely with housing services to ensure people have safe and secure homes.

The Montpelier Residents Parking Scheme went live in early July and despite a few who will never accept it most are now contacting us and thanking us for keeping strong as the results are now infinitely safer and more enjoyable streets. The benefits are that there are no vehicles parked dangerously over corners and it’s become easier to park near your house. Local residents who have previously given us grief over the past two years have confided in us that it’s great! We have been incredibly grateful that residents have come forward to point out where the scheme isn’t quite working. This includes lengthening double yellow lines in some places, shortening them in others, and working with the RPS team to figure out whether these can be caught in the “snagging” process, or whether they will need to wait for the six-monthly review.

There are two major developments in the ward at the moment, and they require close monitoring and involvement with local residents and the community (as well as with the developers where possible). The main one is still the Carriageworks/Westmoreland House site in Stokes Croft and the second is the Brooks Dye site in St Werbs.

The issue of youth homelessness is on the increase and Gus is in the process of organising a cross-agency conference on this issue. He has visited the old probabtion centre which has been squatted and houses travellers too. There have been violent attacks there and the issue is pretty serious. Rob has been in dialogue with Docklands/Full Circle/ACE Project about youth services in St Pauls and how to get the most out of what is being offered across the board.

There are a few local roads schemes that Gus is working on with residents. The plan is to draw up proposals to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists – and then for cars and buses too. This will be a long process and the Assistant Mayor has reiterated that there’s no money. The Brooks Dye development may have a part to play in funding an important and much-needed review of traffic flows in the St Werburghs area.

We have both been encouraged by the new Sustrans project “Imagine St Pauls”. There is a regular “tea stop” outside the Learning Centre to hear how this project is progressing. At the moment, Sustrans’ Community Street Design Officer Georgie Burr is collecting residents’ views on what the project will entail and how St Pauls’ streets can be improved for residents. Rob and Gus have also been working with Incredible Edible, Knightstone Housing and BCC housing to reinvigorate some community allotments in St Pauls.

Rob recently talked to Mufti Games about their summer projects as part of  our year as European Green Capital. They are creating games that show the problems with fly-tipping and rubbish on the streets, all developed in a creative way so kids can learn how these things affect everyone in the community. The communal bins in St Pauls are a continued problem but we see signs of improvment. With the council’s waste services very shortly to be taken “in-house”, we hope that this additional control will allow a much quicker response time for dealing with these issues.

Tagging is still public enemy number one. On the city level, there have been some prosecutions but we are trying to explore more positive and inclusive community options. This is likely to be driven by an open space meeting we’ll host this summer/autumn.

The ongoing caravan issue has returned in St Werburghs with the summer months. Campervans/motorhomes are legally allowed to park anywhere, but there is legislation to remove caravans from the highway if they are causing a permanent obstruction or have been abandoned. It is always a balance between being a welcoming and inclusive community and ensuring that those who live in caravans on the street do their utmost to respect local residents’ wishes.

Albany Green rocks! We are looking into funding to improve it further to give activities for parents when supervising children. The overwhelming ask is for outdoor gym equipment. This is expensive but we are exploring possible options, including using the Mayor’s Parks and Play Fund.

There has also been a reinvigorated action group form around Rosa Parks Lane. We are looking into sorting a regular maintenance regime with the Neighbourhoods management team so that residents can focus on improving the other features of the space, such as improved planting and visible signs that this is a loved and cared-for lane.

Both Gus and Rob have been taking the first soundings of what local businesses, traders and residents want from a restarted Stokes Croft Traders group. We are hoping to re-launch the group fully in the autumn after this initial feed-in is completed and we have got a good steer from everyone.

A number of other community groups go from strength to strength; the Montpelier Bean Feast team are looking for volunteers for their now annual event in September and the Portland & Brunswick Squares Association have started a regular Tuesday (1 to 2pm) gardening slot in Portland Square. There continues to be a multi-agency action group on the Brunswick Square Cemetery and dealing with some of the anti-social behaviour present there.

As always, if you have any ideas or want to ask for more specifics about anything here, please do contact us!

Rob Telford: rob.telford@bristol.gov.uk // Gus Hoyt : gus.hoyt@bristol.gov.uk
Cllr Rob Telford Cllr Gus Hoyt

 

Six points that refute the Tories’ motoring lobby motion

BristolArena_Populous_Plaza_Nigh_636Here are six points that refute the Conservative motion (scroll down to Agenda Item 10, first motion) at last week’s Full Council meeting. Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives all voted for this motion in its amended form. (The amendment did little to change the Tories’ intentions.)

1. The Arena is situated directly next to Bristol Temple Meads, the main public transport hub for the West of England and also the South West region as a whole. The vast majority of people who use the Arena will be able to make use of public transport – buses and trains – to the site, without needing to drive a car into the centre of Bristol. Residents of Bristol will be able to walk and cycle to the Arena.

2. Commercial viability is not measured by how close you are able to get in a motor vehicle to something. It is measured by many factors: the attractiveness of the facility and the freedom for pedestrians to easily move around in outside spaces, that could be used for local street markets, which would pay back into Bristol’s ultra-local economy. These would be directly compromised by a whopping stretch of asphalt dedicated to private vehicles being placed anywhere near this facility. (For my own understanding of commercial viability, it is the quality of the acts that will be booked for the Arena that will be the determining factor in whether I regularly pay into paying back our Arena debts.)

3. Traffic congestion is caused by the number of vehicles that are on the road, not by the lack of car parking space. The simple, and most root cause solution, is to encourage and/or limit the number of cars that are able to access the centre of the city. While the Mayor has made noises about a Low Emissions Zone for Bristol, we would like to see this moved forward to stop and/or limit vehicles, and the attendant air pollution and congestion, before such draconian measures as giving yet MORE land over to motor vehicles.

4. Air pollution killed 196 people in Bristol in 2012. That pollution isn’t coming from nowhere. Some of it is coming from vehicle movements, yet the Conservatives are attempting to the reverse the trend of encouraging people out of their cars.

5. The Conservatives are arguing for us to stop building in the centre of Bristol. This is a completely wrongheaded approach to city planning, as there are more services in the centre of cities, and you can build on brownfield sites here, without having to build on what Tories USED to consider the precious greenbelt. As a council, we need to hugely up our game on building genuinely affordable and high energy performance homes on city centre and suburban brownfield sites.

6. I am not interested in simply finding “a fairer deal for the motorist”. I am interested in finding a safer and more livable environment for the people of Bristol. That would be for the common good of all.

GUEST BLOG from Cllr Carla Denyer: 50% Women on Bristol City Council in 2016 – a view from a Green Woman

50% Women on Bristol City Council in 2016 – a view from a Green Woman
Guest blog from Cllr Carla Denyer (Clifton East)

Yesterday I attended the launch event of Bristol Women’s Commission’s 50:50 campaign, and got photographed holding a balloon. (The balloons spelled out “50 50” – not “so so” for anyone who was wondering!)

Photo credit: Cllr Helen Holland (@helenhbristol)
Photo credit: Cllr Helen Holland (@helenhbristol)

BWC is challenging all parties to field at least 50% women candidates in winnable seats, and encouraging individual women to come forward. I am supporting this campaign because I know that for democracy to work well and good decisions to be made, you want a diverse group of decision-makers. If a majority of the decision-makers (whether in a democratic setting or a commercial one) have similar backgrounds or life experiences, ‘groupthink’ can become a real problem. Diversity brings a variety of lived experiences, and a variety of ways of looking at problems, and solutions. So even if you don’t care about equal rights, and care only about the Council making sound and rational decisions, you should still support equal representation.

The Green Party now has 14 councillors on Bristol City Council; 7 male and 7 non-male (one identified as genderfluid). And we are pretty proud of that. However, I am the first to acknowledge that this was partly down to fortune with who got elected and who didn’t.

We did not achieve this with all-women shortlists (which is Labour’s strategy nationally) or quotas, but (aside from the good fortune) simply by everyone in the local party putting effort into encouraging women, young people, black and minority ethnic (‘BAME’) people, and people from other underrepresented groups to step forward.

The 50:50 target for winnable seats in the “all up” elections next year (all 70 councillors, the mayor and the police commissioner are all up for election in May 2016) still represents a challenge for us though. This is especially the case because, based on past experience, women are often more hesitant to stand in winnable seats because of the time commitment involved in both the campaign and the councillor role itself. Such a time commitment is, for some, incompatible with the caring responsibilities that women still generally carry more than men.

Personally I’m not a fan of the ‘hard’ style positive discrimination of all-women shortlists, I believe the way forward is a ‘softer’ but energetic encouragement, coupled with providing really substantial support to equip people with what they need to stand for election, which could be public speaking or leadership training, or a flexible campaign strategy that fits around candidates’ other commitments.

So we’ve still got a way to go. Not to mention that the 14 of us are pretty white (although count several with immigrant backgrounds in our number) and predominantly middle-class; definitely two more areas to work on in 2016!

But I want to take this opportunity to highlight a coincidence, one that makes me proud to be a Green. Yesterday afternoon in Bristol we clutched “50 50” balloons, and the Mayor joked about the idea of a “job share mayor” as the only way to encompass 50:50 representation in his role. Meanwhile, two Green Party members in Basingstoke prepared for a hearing with a high court judge in their push to ensure equal opportunities for women and those with disabilities to stand in parliament, by allowing MPs to job share.

Green Party members Sarah Cope and Clare Phipps’ request for joint candidacy was rejected by the Electoral Returning Officer at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council on the grounds of a ban on job-shares for MPs.

It is shocking that the total number of women who have ever been elected to the House of Commons over the last century are still outnumbered by the number of men sitting as MPs today. Many of those, like Sarah and Clare, who would be amazing MPs have children, family responsibilities or have disabilities, which means that they can’t be a full time MP. Allowing MPs to job share would unlock the potential of these disadvantaged groups, and allow for people from a wide range of backgrounds and with a variety of skills to contribute to our society.

If you are non-male and inspired by Bristol Women’s Commission’s campaign, feel free to get in touch with me to discuss what being a councillor entails.

by Carla Denyer, Green Party Councillor for Clifton East

@carla_denyer

carla.denyer@bristol.gov.uk

Notes:

  1. Gender isn’t binary, so if it were up to me I’d rephrase this campaign, calling for at least 50% non-male councillors. It may not be as catchy, but it’s more inclusive.
  2. Female:male:non-binary gender ratios by political party on Bristol City Council, July 2015:

Green Party: 6:7:1      (43% women, 50% non-male)

Labour: 14:16:0  (47% women)

Liberal Democrats: 2:7:0     (22% women)

Conservatives: 2:14:0    (13% women)

UKIP: 0:1:0     (0% women)

Total: 24:45:1  (34% women)

  1. You can read more about Sarah and Clare’s legal challenge here: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/jobshareMPs

LEADER’S BLOG: Two months in – how are Green councillors taking to their new roles?

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, and I thought I’d start a Leader’s Blog to give a regular feel for what I and the other Green councillors are getting up to. We now have 14 Green councillors – a full 20% of the council – and this means that our seven new councillors have had a steep learning curve in the last two months. They’ve all jumped in with both feet, despite the majority having to juggle busy work schedules and social lives. (Yes, some councillors have social lives!)

With the mayoral election and the whole council (all 70 of us!) up for election in less than a year, there’s a lot to plan for and I know that Green councillors and party members are relishing the opportunity to campaign on local residents’ community issues and for the Green Party’s policies and values in the coming months. So without further ado, here’s a taste of what seven of our councillors have been up to…

Ani Stafford-Townsend Cabot ward, 2,916 votes (38.47%)
Ani was elected as the first ever Green councillor for Cabot ward. Pre-election priorities: https://robtelford.com/2015/04/05/bristol-west-10-minute-interviews-4-ani-stafford-townsend-cabot/
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=9
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/cabot
1523166_10154973513525529_7195311023046876091_o (2)
Ani has found a large quantity of her time taken up by casework. Cabot has a severe lack of appropriate waste disposal for both residents and businesses – which is particularly unpleasant in the heatwave but it will be easier now that the council are bringing waste back in house.

Ani has been discussing homelessness and rough sleeping with agencies such as Streetwise and fellow councillors and hopes to bring some positive news soon. She has also been talking to small businesses about how they can be better supported. There is the potential for a BiD (Business Improvement District) for Old City and surrounding areas. Ani is working to ensure that all small businesses that want to be included are given the option.

Ani has also found time to set up monthly surgeries in the “ward corners”, the first of which was on Wednesday 1st July in WUF houses, Redcliffe. She plans to hold more in Kingsdown and Harbourside.

Ani also has one of the Green group’s two committee chairs. She chairs Development Control B Committee which deals with granting or refusing planning applications. In her own words…

“So far we’ve had one session of DC-B, with 4 fairly interesting and contested items. One item was for permission to build 5 new houses on land in Sneyd Park which backs onto the Avon Gorge Nature Reserve. The plot itself previously had permission to build 5 houses alongside the original 1970s development, but for various reasons the houses had never been built and the land was left fenced off for almost 50 years. The committee felt that rather than the site being separate from the reserve and having less conservation value as argued by developers, this created as a conservation site by default which must be protected. The motion was refused 6 votes to 5, thus protecting the site. On the same committee we also ensured that a garage conversion would never be given HMO status as a planning condition, ensuring that such builds do not result in area overcrowding. I have also requested that the impending Carriageworks application and also the Frome Valley development are heard in DC-B in order to ensure that the community are given the chance to be fully heard.”

Dani Glazzard Cotham ward 3,174 votes (42.90%)
Dani was elected as the first ever Green councillor for Cotham ward.
Pre-election priorities: https://robtelford.com/2015/04/05/bristol-west-10-minute-interviews-4-ani-stafford-townsend-cabot/ Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=9
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/cabot
Dani

Dani has taken a lead role in establishing the ‘Friends of Redland Library’, a group of local residents and library users, who want to protect Redland Library. She’s worked with this group to draft a response to the Future Libraries Consultation that reflects residents’ views and aspirations for the future of the libraries.

Dani has been working with Cotham’s neighbourhood officer to convene a Young People’s Working Group to engage young people in the neighbourhood partnership. Students from Cotham School and from the Youth Council came along to their first meeting to talk about how they would like to be involved in making decisions in their neighbourhood and what sort of initiatives might most benefit them.

Casework is helping Dani to find her way round the Council – from queries about chickens to planning objections and how to get double glazing in a conservation area!

Carla Denyer Clifton East ward, 1,945 votes (32.16%)
Carla was elected as the first ever Green councillor for Clifton East ward.
Pre-election priorities: https://robtelford.com/2015/04/12/bristol-west-10-minute-interviews-5-carla-denyer-clifton-east/ Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=30
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Clifton-East
Carla

So far Carla has been contacted about and already helped residents with:
> Housing issues for someone with mental health issues
> Residents’ Parking feedback (She has received the odd angry rant but many reasonable suggestions for improvements.)
> Helping a local business find funding for sustainability improvements.
> Attendance at local Residents’ Association meetings etc, and being available for questions.

Other issues from residents that Carla is starting work on now include:
> A safer road crossing for a local school
> Investigating the use of glyphosate (“Round Up”) by the Council
> Perennial problems with overflowing bins, noisy neighbours, student relations.

Carla thinks it’s important to balance between reacting to residents’ concerns and setting her own agenda. Her three priorities for Clifton East are:

  1. Better public transport and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians
  2. Better council services, especially addressing the lack of a community centre in the ward, and threat of closure to the local library
  3. Appropriate affordable housing for everyone

Carla has already been working hard on priority (2) by co-founding Friends of Redland Library with Dani Glazzard (Green Councillor for Cotham) and others, and submitting a joint response to the libraries consultation. She looks forward to getting started on the other two priorities soon.

Carla also has a seat on the following committees: Development Control B Committee, Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Commission, and working with Greens in the Place directorate on energy issues.

Anna McMullen Easton ward, 3,117 votes (47.21%)
Anna was elected as the first ever Green councillor for Easton.
Pre-election priorities: https://robtelford.com/2015/03/15/bristol-west-10-minute-interviews-1-anna-mcmullen-easton/
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=32
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Easton
Blog: http://annamcmullen.com/
annaredfieldAnna has been working on two areas in particular – sustainable living and the street environment.

Work on sustainable living has included: work with residents about the Warm Up Bristol scheme to insulate houses in Easton, including meetings with council staff delivering the scheme to encourage better service for residents and improvements to communication and problem solving; consultation with residents about getting some bike hangars installed in a few places around Greenbank.

Work on street environment: Anna has been taking part in a bin consultation and door knocking people to talk about litter and solutions near Stapleton Road; working on getting a fence replaced in Bellevue Park; sorted out some pest control to come to get rid of RATS (!) coming from a sewer on Eve Road; getting some signage sorted about caravans in central Easton, met the Playing Out team.

Coming up, Anna wants to do some bigger picture thinking about austerity, how we mitigate the worst in Bristol and how we oppose it through revenue raising to replace certain cuts or by challenging national budgets. Please get in touch if you want to work on this too: anna.mcmullen@bristol.gov.uk

Anna is also taking a seat on the following committees: Development Control A Committee, Public Rights of Way Committee, working with Greens in the Business Change directorate.

Martin Fodor Redland, 1,465 votes (36.19%)
Martin was elected as Redland’s first Green councillor in May 2014. He has recently been joined by Fi Hance, who decided to join the Green group from the Lib Dem group after the elections in May 2015.
Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=74
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Redland
Blog: http://martinfodor.com/
martin-fodor-bristol-2013

Martin’s main preoccupation is the future completion of the Bristol North Baths redevelopment (library, health centre, flats, toilets). Initially held up by quality issues necessitating a pause to construction, it is now way behind time and delayed latterly by the developer running out of cash to fund completion. Work is proceeding v slowly and there are now doubts on the planned move of the GP practice into the complex, which was the original rationale for the baths building to be turned over to a developer since it would remain a community facility.

Martin and Fi are also taking an interest in the work of the Business Improvement District where progress has been slow since the traders’ board was created for part of Gloucester Rd. They have both also been pursuing news of various traffic/highways projects in the ward due to very slow progress and the fact promised schemes for cycle safety works at the Zetland Rd junction have never materialised after funding was gained.

The Bishopston, Cotham & Redland (BCR) Neighbourhood Partnership (NP) has recently undertaken a ‘road safety’ action day dealing with drivers and cyclists’ behavior at junctions. A work programme is being developed for Sustainable Travel in BCR. A recent success is the Heatview project funded by BCR Green Capital grants. This has already (before the end of winter) mapped many homes across the NP for infra red images that can be used to reveal heat loss. The website www.heatview.co.uk can be used to check heat images against normal street view images and signposts help and advice on energy saving. It is being used to support a new neighbourhood energy group in the area that Martin is helping get going.

Martin is the Green lead on the Neighbourhoods scrutiny commission – which includes environment and leisure, housing delivery, crime and disorder, recycling, waste and environmental issues, neighbourhoods, and public health. Martin has led on input for the new civic year’s agenda, promoting a sustainable waste and resources focus for the review of waste and recycling services. He has emphasised  reduce/reuse/repair and recycle rather than means of recovering energy from residual waste. Martin has also advised on questions around the Bristol Energy Company and taken part in the approval for the new Bristol Waste Company at Cabinet.

On libraries, the committee is about to review feedback and proposals based on the second public consultation. Martin is the Green lead on the Development Control A Committee, which has so far dealt with the council’s response to developments at Filton Airfield. Martin also has the Green seat on the Downs Committee where he has worked with local parents on the Cycle Sunday events that now have created access to family cyclists on the Downs.

Redland councillors also have a regular column in two local magazines and are planning a new e-newsletter to local contacts we have assisted.

Daniella Radice
Bishopston ward, 1,256 votes (36.10%)
Daniella was elected as Bishopston’s first Green councillor in May 2013 and soon after became Green group leader. She was joined in May 2014 by Green councillor Tim Malnick. Daniella previously stood as the Green Party’s candidate for Bristol Mayor in November 2012, and she is now the Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods, covering environment and leisure, housing delivery, crime and disorder, recycling, waste and environmental issues, neighbourhoods, public health and sports. Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=82
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Bishopston
Blog: http://bishopstongreencouncillors.info

daniellaDaniella’s main objectives for the year as Assistant Mayor are a good Green waste policy and some sensible changes to neighbourhood partnerships to make them better, involving the devolution of power.

A recent Cabinet reshuffle meant Daniella gained the sports portfolio. She has been to a meeting of the Sports Partnership, and will be focussing on grassroots participation, women’s sports and ensuring the partnership has good processes in place to ensure it is representative of the wider sports world in Bristol.

In her role relating to safer Bristol she has been involved in the implementation of the Counter-terrorism Bill, but it is called Building the Bridge in Bristol. This involves sitting on the Board and also helping develop  the Council’s thinking on how to tackle Far-Right extremism.

Finally, Daniella looks forward to the launch of the 50-50 campaign by the Lord Mayor on the 15th July, aiming to get women to make up 50% of Bristol’s councillors by May 2016. She has been chairing the group that produced the campaign through the Women’s Commission and working on it for the last few months. Keep your eyes open for further news and campaigning on women councillors in the next few months.

In Daniella’s ward, Bishopston… Tim is working with the Ardagh group, they are making good progress with the project and an initial expression of interest in community asset transfer has been made to the council. // A successful neighbourhood forum was held on the theme of secondary education – a subject close to many of our residents’ hearts. // Road safety, particularly around Ashley Down Road, as well as nuisance issues relating to noise and smells from local businesses continue to feature in the councillors’ casework.

Rob Telford Ashley, 1,223 votes (34.54%)
I was elected as Ashley’s second Green councillor in May 2013, joining Gus Hoyt. I am the current Green group leader. Councillor page: https://bristol.gov.uk/councillorfinder/?Task=name&CouncillorId=69
Bristol Green Party page: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Ashley
Blog: https://robtelford.com/
10177905_283039885196656_682070477_n
Becoming the group leader has meant an increase in media requests, councillor group administration and invitations to public events. Balancing this with the needs of an inner city council ward is certainly challenging, but no two days are the same and I’m really enjoying it.

Ashley ward has recently had another Residents’ Parking Scheme implemented in Montpelier and there are renewed calls for schemes for St Andrews and St Werburghs as commuters’ vehicles spill into these areas.

Gus and I are potentially using the Mayor’s Parks & Play Fund to get some outdoor gym equipment in Albany Green, and there is a new community project being developed by Sustrans in conjunction with residents called “Imagine St Pauls”. There are fothcoming major planning applications at the Carriageworks/Westmoreland House site (St Pauls/Stokes Croft) and at the Brooks Dye Works site (St Werburghs).

I will be sitting on Overview and Scrutiny Management Board and Licensing Committee this year.

In two weeks: the other seven Green councillors will give their updates!

Bristol West 10-minute interviews: 7) Jerome Thomas (Clifton)

Bristol West: 10 minutes with each of your local Green candidates in May 2015
Number 7: Jerome Thomas (Clifton)

Jerome Thomas is the Green Party candidate for Clifton. He is the director of Strategy and Risk for the business Metrosafety which he set up with his business partner in the early 1990s.

Jerome@RegWhy are you standing to be a councillor in Clifton ward?

I want to play a part in building a constructive, inspiring, fairer vision of the future in the community where I have lived for over 20 years and where I’ve raised a family with my wife Catherine. I’m standing for the Green Party because I think we need a radical and changed approach to how we live in the world. The Green Party is asking the right questions and providing relevant answers.

What do you think the important local issues are at the moment?

There’s a lack of appropriate community centre facilities and the threatened closure of the library raises the risk that one of the few community facilities in Clifton will be taken away. But it also gives us an opportunity to envisage an improved library and community centre which could significantly benefit the community in the coming years.

Providing better transport solutions and making walking and cycling safer. There’s a real lack of public transport within Clifton and there are plenty of opportunities to make walking and cycling safer. I’d be keen to see a 20mph limit introduced onto the Hotwell Road to make it less like a dual carriageway and more like the Whiteladies Road and Gloucester Road. Upper Belgrave Road would also benefit from a 20mph limit and this would actually help with the flow and the speed of traffic.

There are places where we need improved crossings, to improve safety, such as the crossing at Merchant Road opposite The Pump House.

Air quality is becoming a serious problem nationally and in the ward it is a particular problem on the Hotwell Road, where levels of particulates and Nitrogen dioxide often breach safe European standards. It would be valuable to be able to monitor air quality locally on a regular basis and for people to have access to that. We need get into place effective policies for reducing air pollution. There are always exciting creative initiatives emerging from Clifton and Hotwells. For example, a number of people have got permission for the closure of the Portway for five Sundays this summer. It is great to be able to support that initiative for people to be able to enjoy the Gorge without the everyday roar of traffic.

If people have voted Green locally before, why should they vote Green for the parliamentary election?

The Green Party is the only party that genuinely has care for the planet and for social justice at the core of its being. When Jack Straw was parading his ability to operate below the radar for big business in Brussels, it was an important reminder of how politics can often work in practice. Caroline Lucas has shown the huge influence one principled, capable, caring MP can have. Just think of the difference two or more could make  and how Darren could contribute as an additional radical Green and capable voice in Parliament.

What’s your background? What are you passions? What are you up to at the moment?

I’ve always been motivated by community and active citizenship and making a difference. In terms of my background, I grew up as part of a large extended family in the north Cotswolds, I went to Chipping Camden Comprehensive School. I then studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Magdalen College, Oxford before joining an American management consultancy in the mid 1980s. Unable to cope with its modern feudalism, I then spent a couple of years working for a community project with unemployed people in west London before starting my own business. That business, which I started with my business partner, is now a national safety business with over 80 employees. I’ve been fascinated by the challenges of developing a business with a social conscience and developing the skills to make organisations work better and more effectively.

I was a Labour Party member for 25 years and was particularly active in Bristol in the run-up to the 1997 Election. I was a trustee of the charity the British Holistic Medical Association for 10 years along with my wife Catherine who is an holistically-minded GP and lead doctor at the Penny Brohn Cancer Care Centre.

A key shift for me in my Green political approach was attending a two-week course in January 2012 at Schumacher College in Dartington on green economics and business. From that, I was inspired firstly to join the Green Party, and secondly to play a more active part in the area of energy, which I feel is at the heart of the changes that we need to be involved in in society. Following from that, I became Chair of the Energy Action Group as part of the Bristol European Green Capital year and have served on the Green Capital Partnership steering group, as well as being a member of the panel which awarded the small grants for Green Capital year. I feel very positive about the way in which the Green Capital year has given organisations and people with great ideas the opportunity to make a difference and to sow the seeds for the radical changes in society that we need.

Are there any other local or national issues that you think are going to be important in the next period of time?

Taking a broader perspective on city and regional government the experience with the independence movement in Scotland has shown us how politics can become revitalized. The Green Party in Bristol may be helping us forge our own distinct Bristol political identity. It is very encouraging that all the major UK political parties are starting to sing the benefits of regionalization after decades of centralization and emasculation of local Government. The combination of the Green agenda and regionalization presents exciting opportunities. This could be in the areas of transport, energy, health and education. But balanced against that is the reality of the severity of the cuts currently being imposed by central Government on Bristol.

Many voters are irritated with mainstream politics and mainstream economics. If politicians can’t provide the old fashioned benefits of economic growth and rising living standards in a stable environment then people begin to seek credible alternatives where they can help shape the solutions. This frustration with the failure of conventional approaches has found a voice in the margins including in the Green Party but is likely to become increasingly mainstream in the next few years. At the moment voters are more irritated and resentful with the failure of the old than they are excited by the possibility of a new and transforming society.

On a global level I start from the principle we only have one planet to live on. In an increasingly globalized and competitive world we need to better work out how we can lead healthy, happy lives within that overarching constraint – whether that is in the area of food, transport, energy, housing, or nature. This also includes working out working as communities across the city, the country and the world to reduce the likelihood of climate change and mitigate its effects. The Transition movement has provided a strong framework and inspiring examples of how we can make these sorts of changes. The Green Party can have an important role in bringing them into the mainstream.

If you were Mayor for one day and you could change one single thing, what would it be?

Introduce an ultra-low emissions zone for vehicles.

You can follow Jerome on Twitter here: @bristoljerome
The Clifton page on the Bristol Green Party website is here: http://www.bristolgreenparty.org.uk/Clifton
Jerome has also made a video about his campaign, viewable here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocnZjT7AwWQ

For all of the other Bristol West 10-minute interviews, go here: http://robertjessetelford.com/blog/?page_id=474