Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Save our open spaces !!

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It is welcome news and a victory for all those involved in the campaigns to save Castle Park from inappropriate development that Bristol City Council have asked the developers to 'go back to the drawing board'. Contrary to Dave, who said that this news ' just pathetically Bristol - the place where good ideas never come to fruition.' (Open On-line, Bristol Evening Post Nov 21) very large numbers of people felt that plans which reduced open, green space weren't a 'good idea'. He gives the impression that he would be happier if at least something, anything, was built over the park!

I hope that this move by Bristol City Council is a sign that they will stand up to developers more, though I'm not holding my breath. I'd like to see the laws relating to developing land changed, redressing the balance of power which currently all too often unfairly favours developers over councils. Ideally the law should: embrace the principle that we are guardians of the land for generations to come; ensure land is not simply a means to make quick, fat profits; favour making land available for those who will make a real go of using it sustainably to enhance the quality of life.

Alan said 'In Bristol nothing ever happens because some minority complains and the council listens and backs down.' (Open On-line, Bristol Evening Post 21 Nov). He is wrong on all counts here. Actually it is commonly acknowledged that a lot is happening in Bristol, for good and ill. The council is often and rightly accused of not listening, but had to in the case of Castle Park because of the obvious strength of feeling. It was not a minority that complained, as is evidenced for example by the relative ease and speed with which very large numbers of signatures were obtained on the petitions.

Despite the feeling one can get in some places, Bristol is relatively well off for open, green spaces compared to similar cities. However, there is a lot of pressure from one sort of development or another which is eating away at open space year on year. Its very important to a greener, better quality of life that we maximise efforts to protect them. Lets hope that what Castle Park's developers eventually put to the council once they have reconsidered, makes no reduction in open, green space at all.