Bristol’s forgotten land?

Hengrove Park – South Bristol

A huge opportunity missed, 100 acres owned by the Council, left derelict for years. There are probably more development briefs, consultants reports and plans for Hengrove Park than any other site in the City. Yet still all we have is an initial development of low density “diners”, pubs and a cinema, with a play area added at a later date. And more recently, the Leisure Centre, South Bristol Hospital and a Skills Academy. All developed at different times by different developers with no design concept and no connection between them. What a waste?

Whilst all of these are indeed welcome facilities, the overall concept of a masterplan and any form of comprehensive development has been completely lost in translation. Grand ideas for a “new village” bringing much needed local shops, diversity of housing and quality development to the area never quite made it through the political process. Such a waste!

What Hengrove now needs is vision, innovation and delivery. George Ferguson, the Mayor of Bristol, needs to grab this one with both hands and make it one of his big projects – a sustainable development worthy of Bristol on council owned land, led by the Council, providing much needed quality affordable homes, local facilities and jobs. Be brave enough to get rid of the low density, low quality development on there at the moment, improve the linkages between existing facilities and deliver a coherent concept of a new community.

Why not, what are we waiting for?

Greens to learn from UKIP!

The Green Party conference has now drawn to a close and attention has very definitely turned to the Lib Dems in Glasgow. But what did we learn about the Green Party?

Well, one thing that we learnt was they have some admiration for UKIP! Surprising? Not really when you look at why – as a minority party on the fringes of UK politics, UKIPs approach to campaigning and the successes they achieved at the last local elections are worth a detailed look to see how other less mainstream parties can learn from them, and that’s exactly what the Greens are doing.

But what of policies and direction? The two key speeches, from Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas, were both great examples of what the Green Party have to offer. They put themselves over as the main alternative to the three mainstream “neo-liberal” political parties. Indeed anyone listening to their speeches and attending the Green Party conference could have been forgiven for thinking they had walked into the wrong place and instead headed to a Labour Party conference back in the days when Labour were truly socialist! And much of it was refreshingly good to hear. Continue reading