Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Congratulations to my opponent Superman but I'm afraid your policies are plain wrong

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Many congratulations to my political opponent in Knowle, Lib-Dem Councillor Chris Davies, for being awarded his second Bristol Evening Post Gold Star award ('Second Honour for Chris', Bristol Evening Post, March 9). As the Lib-Dem newsletter I recently received correctly said, his actions in first saving the life of his young next door neighbour for gold star number one and then foiling a bank robbery at the Nat West Bank on Wells Rd for gold star number two, are indeed reminiscent of superman!

Any superhero would be proud of the two achievements and so Councillor Davies' personal qualities cannot be faulted.

However, I'm afraid my superhero opponents Lib-Dem policies for Knowle and Bristol are plain wrong.

For example would he agree with me that the decision to close Jubilee Swimming Pool in Knowle is a mistake and that his fellow Knowle Lib-Dem Councillor Gary Hopkins broke his election pledge to 'fight any plans to close Jubilee Pool'? Does he think, as the Lib-dem Cabinet does, that there is 'no realistic alternative' to closing the pool ?

Removing a local pool reduces the quality of life in Knowle. The availability of goods, services and facilities locally is a key feature of the quality of life and the capacity to live sustainably. Swimmers in Knowle would have to travel further to swim after the closure, adding to air pollution and climate change. The closure may put people off going for swim, a very healthy physical activity we are meant to be encouraging. It may be those who find it most awkward to travel further that are most put off, such as the elderly or families with young children.

Will Councillor Davies agree with me that a more rounded, balanced, less purely financial, greener and more democratic decision is needed? Would he campaign to reverse this pool closure decision and go back to the idea of reviewing the situation once the new leisure centre at Hengrove Park opens?

Furthermore, would he agree with my policy that reviews on the value of locally available facilities like pools should not only be a financial audit but should also be a social and environmental audit, examining the total impact of closure and of alternatives to it?