Tuesday, October 21, 2008

No plans to build houses over football pitches on the Downs so why here in Knowle??

Bristol City Council really do have their eyes on flogging off green spaces in Knowle/Filwood - first Filwood Park was sold with most locals not informed and now the playing fields off Newquay Rd could go if they are sold as part of the Ilminster School site due the the primary school review (which I've banged on about as a very bad idea since the first public mention I saw of it in Feb this yr).

Its vital for kids health, wellbeing and development that they get plenty of fresh air and exercise yet the fields off Newquay Rd in Knowle may be sold off for housing development (details reported here, headline pictured left). The football that's been organised there by former Bristol City footballer Colston Gwyther for large numbers of kids is fantastic - it deserves wholehearted support from the council in place of the threat to the fields they are playing on. I dont see any plans to build over football pitches on the Downs so why here in Knowle??

Filwood's Councillor Chris Jackson does not seem to be up to speed on green spaces issues. In today's local paper he says this in the story about green spaces and the setting up of a local housing company,
"There's no question of selling off all the council-owned green space for housing. So far as I know, what has already been sold off is the full extent of what might happen."
Just sounds vague and not clued -up to me. Has he not seen the figures for all the thousands of houses that are to be built within Bristol's boundaries? Has he not heard that the council has already sold green spaces for housing in other parts of Bristol and that it has agreed the principle of selling off 2.4% (90 acres) of publicly owned green space (see details of green spaces petition I submitted to the council here)??

Local people will have to stay vigilant and involved if they want to protect their parks, green spaces and sports fields because they most certainly are potential building land! Its great to see that locals are ahead of the game and have put in statements and a paper petition with 200 signatures to the full council meeting of 14 Oct opposing the sale of Newquay Rd fields (there were also many statements about Filwood Park).

Anita Pearce from Eagle House Community Association said,
I represent the management committee of Eagle House Community Association.
The Council report and the Cabinet report recommend the amalgamation of
Ilminster School and Connaught School with both existing schools to be
demolished and one new school built. The report states that a new school will
cost £6m and asked the government for £4m. The Council is expecting to sell
the Ilminster School site for at least £2M. The report states that the size of the
school site is 26,344 sq metres.
This figure is wrong as it includes the land that is used by the community and
accessed from Newquay Road.
It is fully accessible at all times and includes a children’s play area. It has
already become established as public open space and therefore comes under
the Parks and Open Spaces strategy. It should not be included in your report as
a school site.

We ask you to remove this open space from the report and exclude it from the
calculations of the school site. We estimate that the open space is nearly a
hectare in size and so your figures should be reduced to 16,344 sq metres.
The community have been commended for its work with the local children by
organising junior football matches and training. These activities have had a
positive impact on reducing anti social behaviour and one of our local Councillors has recommended that more funds are made available to continue this work here and elsewhere.
Children and young people need activities to occupy them out of school and this
open space is invaluable. Please amend your report today before it goes to the
Government and agree that this land will be correctly allocated as open space for the future.

Ten yr old footballer Kevin Pearce read this out loud to the full council, gaining a round of applause,

Dear Council,

I am writing on behalf of all the children who use Newquay Rd Playing Field.
We do not want the council to sell it.

We use it every day to play football and other games.
We have started football training and have over 100 children under 12 registered.

We have had fun days to fundraise for our equipment new goal posts and nets
and bought new kits to play in. South West Roofing donated waterproof jackets
to us and Wates Living Space donated £300 and helped us prepare the pitch for
the match.

We have had a friendly tournament against Brislington and played the Salvation Army team on Saturday (we won both times!) We are on the front cover of the Knowledge newsletter.

We have had a couple of clean-up days and everyone came to help us cut all the
brambles and stinging nettles and then had a BBQ for everyone.

There is nothing else around here for us to do. We are not old enough to go in
the Youth Club so we play in the field.

We don’t want to hang around the streets getting into trouble and drugs like
some of the bigger kids.
So PLEASE let us keep our playing field.

Ps Can you improve the play equipment in Newquay Rd Park please.

Former Bristol City footballer and local resident Colston Gwyther, pictured left in the local paper football training with Knowle kids said,

I live near the School and I am shocked to hear that you intend to knock down
Ilminster School and sell the land for housing and also at the same time sell
off our open space on Newquay Road. Children have been using this open
space for years and we have many junior teams playing football on the space.
Residents consider this to be public open space. The community have been
involved in the maintenance of this area and we have fundraised to get goal
posts fitted for junior football and we have had Neighbourhood Renewal
money to cut back the hedges and make the place more accessible for
people. The open space is fully accessible at all times.

We object to the sale of the Newquay Road Open space because we have
very little usable green space and a lot of children in the area. Instead of
selling our open space for housing you should invest more in the open space
so that the play equipment is better and make it more like a park.
This community have never considered the land off Newquay Road to be part

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