Friday, December 19, 2008

Compliment to Bristol's 'citizen journalists' - including this one!

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Writing in this weeks Venue, Eugene Byrne pays this compliment:

The campaign to save the Railway Path also marked the point at which "citizen journalism" came of age in Bristol. There have been local blogs and "alternative" local news websites around for years, but 2008 was the year in which we suddenly found there were a few of them actually worth looking at. The Bristol Blogger, James Barlow, Vowles the Green, the Green Bristol Blog and some others don't just peck away at their keyboards complaining. They find stuff out as well sometimes, and made a lot of the running in the Railway Path campaign and on a couple of other issues.

Good to get some recognition. I'll do my best to keep up the efforts. The Bristol Blogger deserves his 'Top Banana' award but several other bloggers (see right and see the long list on the Bristol Blogger site) and their commenters have contributed to reporting, debating, activity and campaigning. I'm sure that 'citizen journalism' will continue to grow in size and influence.

Get your objection to the Tesco plan to build a car park over The Friendship pub garden in Knowle submitted now!

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I sent the following objection to the Tesco plan to build a car park over The Friendship pub garden (see photo) on Redcatch/Axbridge Rd in Knowle today. I urge others to object similarly (you can do so online here or by writing to the case officer Jo Edwards, Bristol City Council, The Council House, College Green, Bristol, BS1 5TR). Neighbour consultation letters were sent out on 16 Dec and planning consultation ends on 6 Jan 2009. Its a busy period with Christmas and New Year so get your objections and comments on the plans in as soon as possible and before 6 Jan!! You could also write to Tesco on this issue via Juliette Bishop, Corporate Affairs Manager, Tesco Stores Ltd, Ground Floor, Unit 5, Greenways Business Park, Bellinger Close, Chippenham, Wilts, SN15 1BN, or e,mail

As a Knowle resident I am very strongly opposed to the Tesco plan to build a car park on the pub garden. I don’t want to experience: loss of amenity; a less attractive area; a less green area; more accident risk; more traffic congestion; poorer air quality; more noise pollution; health impacts; bringing a Tesco Express in The Friendship a step closer. I’m happy to join with many other locals who feel as I do and ask you to refuse planning permission or at the very least delay to allow discussions between all interested parties on what sort of shopping facilities are necessary and desirable for Knowle, consistent with the thinking behind Neighbourhood Partnerships.

Building a car park over the pub garden will have a detrimental visual impact and loss of amenity for all neighbouring residents, those regularly in the area and of course local wildlife. The pub garden is a large, pleasant green space with plenty of trees and shrubs and a lot of potential. Better use can be made of this space than a car park, which cannot be built to attract customers on foot at a time when the city has the aim of becoming a green capital of course!

The proposed car park will also impact negatively on road safety on an already increasingly busy road. Cars would be turning in and out of the propose car park onto Redcatch Rd/Axbridge Rd where they currently don’t, adding to accident risk. Cars turning into and out from the car park would inevitably cause some additional traffic congestion to build up, worsening air quality and increasing noise pollution locally and adding further to climate change. This all impacts on our health, wellbeing and quality of life.

I call on you to bear in mind that this planning application has obviously been made by Tesco because of their publicly stated intention to establish a Tesco Express in The Friendship based on existing permissions. Disquiet about this is significant, amongst both local people and the many and varied existing shops locally, with two mutually supportive petitions opposing Tesco’s intended move signed by many. There are very strong concerns about Tesco: further impacting the local area beyond car park effects, with large, very inappropriate delivery lorries; increasingly dominating the local economy; monopolising trade; causing loyal and longstanding local businesses to become unsustainable as time passes; cutting shopping choice, cutting competition, increasing prices as time passes; increasing dereliction as shops close.

There are very strong concerns that when considering such planning applications no-one at the council is considering what kind of neighbourhoods and community locals need and want – this is more about keeping and improving Knowle’s variety of shopping provision than opposition to Tesco plans per se. I hope therefore that good sense among those making planning decisions prevails and that broad considerations are accounted for along with precise factors.