The Lib Dem vote share in the polls has fallen. The Greens poll share has risen. Cuts, broken promises and the huge compromises of being in coalition with the Conservatives are turning people away from the Lib Dems. In my ward, Knowle, the Lib Dem vote is likely to reduce for these reasons in addition to local reasons and it will be very interesting to see where votes go. As the Evening Post has said, the extremely unpopular and controversial policy of selling off green spaces, including part of ‘The Jungle’ in Salcombe Rd, Knowle, could cost the Lib Dems votes. Hundreds signed a petition opposing the sell off and the man in charge of the sell off policy, Knowle Councillor Gary Hopkins, dismissed these concerns, controversially suggesting that local people were pressured into signing. Cllr Hopkins has seriously upset campaigners working to save their green spaces all over Bristol. As a long term and consistent campaigner for the protection of and increase in green spaces I hope people concerned about this issue will vote for me.
The Post also says that the regeneration of Knowle West is another big issue. A small slice of Knowle West (from Salcombe Rd to Newquay Rd) falls within the Knowle Ward, with the majority in Filwood Ward. This issue may be on the minds of some voters, though it has not become a matter of much party political debate. Political parties have not really involved themselves in the issue very much except where they are in direct decision making roles eg on the council Cabinet or in some cases being the local councillor. I have had some involvement in the issue and contributed in some detail, ideas on sustainably developing the area, where I spent my primary and secondary school days and where both my parents were also brought up. I’m a strong and consistent supporter of the detailed – and pretty green – regeneration plans put forward by the Knowle West Residents Planning Group which I was directly involved with for a period. The council should actively be helping this group bring their ideas to fruition but instead have often been more a part of the problem than the solution! I hope anyone who wants to see the principles of community-based regeneration and sustainable development truly put into practice will vote for me as a long term and ongoing advocate.