Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Loss of quality of life in Redcatch Rd/Axbridge Rd/Friendship Rd neighbourhood

Its already been reported that Tesco's application to build a car park over part of the Friendship Inn garden was finally given planning permission by Bristol City Council. The pub will now rapidly be converted to a Tesco Express. Based on the rough notes I made this is what I said in person to the planning committee in addition to my written statement:

Here we are again. A whole range of people in very large numbers have expressed concern and opposition. Council strategies state the aim of improving neighbourhood quality of life and building a greener city but this plan, which would worsen both, could be given permission! You can ensure this does not happen by refusing permission.

Here we go again in a period when people want real and proper democracy (government by the people for the people) after expenses scandals that have brought politics in general to an even lower ebb than usual. Really listen to the people and you do your bit to boost politics. Really listen to the people and you'd reject this plan.

I note that members of the public dont get equal time and facilities when responding to planning applications compared to councillors and officers. I note that very often developers get lots of time and access to officers and councillors about their plans (including in this case, where inferior plans went back and forth between the council and Tesco) - this should give this committee all the more reason to give real weight to the number and range of people opposed to this plan from the public.

The councillors on the committee did not listen to the people - those from Labour (Sean Beynon and Colin Smith) gave particular support to Tesco's plans . Planning rules are truly out of date and badly out of tune with council policies, especially on quality of life and sustainability. The committee made their decision on a very narrow basis indeed, paying little or no heed to the context of the application and implications of giving permission. Another neighbourhood will lose quality of life and green character as a result and Knowle's local shopping will be disrpted by a giant supermarket chain with an anti-competitive attitude. It may not end here because several local people are wondering what plans Tesco might have for that part of the pub garden that wont be covered by the car park (room for expansion? room for a petrol station? room for...?).


  1. A Concerned Resident, by the "Friendship"Thursday, August 06, 2009

    Get over it !!

    The committee applied existing planning laws but you wanted them twisted to suit your ends - just like you want them to do with the Bristol World Cup bid and planning permission for the new BCFC stadium.

    Come back in a year and I bet the quality of life of all the residents who actually live BY this excuse for a pub will have improved no end.

    The 2 existing shops have had a monopoly for too long with overpriced and poor quality goods, let them now compete with someone who offers fresh good quality produce. The only reason for them to shut is if they are lazy and don't do anything about it.

    You stay over your side of Wells Road and let us get on with what we want - a choice of where to shop, be it Tesco or the existing shops.

  2. Well, time will tell what impact this decision will have on local traffic congestion, on local road safety, on local businesses in the road and all over Knowle. Lets just say that building extra car parking capacity is hardly likely to cut traffic levels and Tesco Express pushing its way in is hardly likely to improve the number of local shops in the area!! But lets see....

    I think its very short-sighted of you to think in terms of just the next year 'concerned resident' - we should be looking at the quality of neighbourhoods and communities on into the medium and long term future too!

    I dont want any planning laws twisted for my own ends - thats very loaded language from you - all I want is a fair system that everyone can take part in on an equal footing. Giants like Tesco have the council over a barrel (planners and cllrs were very concerned that Tesco would simply go to appeal if refused, costing the council a lot of money...).

    You seem to think that you speak for a lot of local people. Some locals favour the plan of course but I remind you that over 1600 people signed a paper petition against and that these signatures were collected locally. Both local councillors were opposed as were several Bristol-based organisations. Local businesses and the local shopping centre were opposed. A meeting organised by local councillors was packed out with over 100 locals - all opposed to the plans! A listening, democratic council would have rejected this plan.

  3. Whoa there !

    1600 people said 'no'. If put to a vote how many would have said 'yes' !

    I live near the pub and it brings my quality of life down. I note that a number of names on the petition were from people who live a considerable distance away from the area.

    "I think we would all like to see some redevelopment of this pub site..possibly some housing" - quote from Chris Davies - email to me dated 28th Jan 2008.

    Whilst I admire your stance on green issues every now and again I think it clouds your judgement. The pub is a hole - it attracts dross - time for a change.

  4. One more thing. Pop down to Friendship Road on Friday or Saturday night. See if you can get a double buggy down the pavement. You can't as all the pub visitors park all over them. Tesco's building a car park - quality of life up...

  5. Anon time for change, yes. But more quality of life by building a car park, no.

    My point all along is that something better than a Tesco Express and an expansion of car parking capacity is what the area needs. I acknowledge the impact of the current/past pub on your quality of life - but over time this development will decrease it still further and councils should be planning to improve neighbourhoods with local people. The issues you mention should have been tackled yrs ago. With Tesco Express will come increased traffic, more huge, heavy delivery lorries...with all the risk and pollution. And what do you think Tesco will do with the other half of the pub garden??

    There's little doubt that very large numbers were/are opposed to the Tesco. 1600+ people is more than the number that elected the local councillors - and if enough people were keen on the Tesco plan why did they not start a petition to support it??

  6. Well said A Concerned Resident and Anonymous.

    Do another piece 1 year from now, oh hang on that very shortsighted according toyou, 5 years from now and we'll see what it's like then.

    And your last line was really pathetic, scraping the barrel.


Genuine, open, reasonable debate is most welcome. Comments that meet this test will always be published.