Friday, February 23, 2007

Change the law so that 'grot spots' cant develop in the first place!

A few days ago I had a telephone conversation with Bristol Evening Post reporter Tom Hodson who has written features about littered and vandalised 'grot spots'. I expressed my concern to him about one Knowle grot spot and sent him the email below:

Please find attached photos of the 'grot spot' in the area of Knowle where I live. Its a former Texaco Petrol Station at 174-178 Wells Rd in Knowle and has been abandoned and left to gradually decay for I think at least 18 months, possibly longer. Its now covered in graffiti and strewn with litter. Its possible that people have been tipping their rubbish on the more out of sight parts of the area too. There is evidence that drinking and goodness knows what else has been taking place on the site, inside the fencing.

I've grown more and more concerned about this increasing eyesore as its been left to get worse. Its a possible health risk and obviously encourages a growing rat population. Why does it have to take so long before a valuable piece of land can be put to good use? Why are an irresponsible minority of people intent on ruining the way this bit of Knowle looks? Why are the land owners allowed to be so irresponsible in allowing the site to decay and become vandalised?

I've contacted the Bristol City Council Clean and Green Team (Denise James) and reported the state of the site. I also contacted the planning department at the council and found that finally a planning application was put in for the site on 29 Jan (13 1-bed and 10 2-bed apartments plus a ground floor retail outlet - application number 07/00377). When open, green spaces are threatened with mass house building its very important to make the very best use of sites like this former petrol station, and so subject to the nature and quality of the application, this development is welcome news.

I very much hope that a clean-up can be done by those responsible, with help from the council as needed. What I'd really like to see is a change in the law to give councils much greater powers to ensure that owners of land and property cant abandon areas to rot for months and years unused. This would stop such eyesores developing in the first place. I shall be following up on this as part of my work within Bristol South Green Party.

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