Keeping Gloucester Road happy and healthy

212 on sunny morningOne of my campaign pledges is to prioritise the long term health and viability of Gloucester Road as an independent high street and valued community resource.

Gloucester Road is a precious resource for the entire community. I don’t want us to take it for granted. A healthy high street builds community, encourages more journeys by foot and by bike and supports local employment and pride of place.

What would I do as councillor?


There are three areas to focus on – planning, supporting local traders and making sure transport changes support the High Street. These are all important, interconnected, and as councillor I would work on all 3. Continue reading Keeping Gloucester Road happy and healthy

An informed perspective on key issues

At this time of year, with polling day looming, other parties tend to produce leaflets describing our policies and activities in ways that we sometimes regard as negative and inaccurate.

The Green party is committed to positive campaigning. We will always focus on what we have done, and what we can do, for local communities and for the city. We will always acknowledge complexities as openly and transparently as we can, so that you can make up your own mind from an informed position.

Below we lay out our position and our actions on a number of key issues in response to some allegations starting to fly about: Continue reading An informed perspective on key issues

Green transport manifesto for Bristol

templemeadsA key issue for many people I talk with in Bishopston is transport and an overall frustration with the transport system in Bristol. So I have made it one of my priorities  if elected, to strengthen the Green call for a public transport system in Bristol that is FAIR: frequent, affordable, integrated and reliable.

Below is our 15 point mini manifesto for improving transport throughout the city. These are issues we would like the Mayor to address over the next 12 months. You can read the original press release here.

Continue reading Green transport manifesto for Bristol

The serious business of play

stay and playOne of my campaign pledges is to support greater levels of outdoor play and activity in our streets, public spaces and green spaces.

At first glance, this may seem a trivial issue to some. Or even an indulgence – somehow missing the more considerable challenges many of us face day to day in our lives.

But that would be misleading. Play is very serious business. In this piece I outline just a few challenges that can be addressed by paying proper attention to play. Continue reading The serious business of play

Some reflections on Sainsbury’s and the Memorial Ground development

Now the dust has settled:
Some thoughts on Sainsbury’s and the Memorial Ground development:

Memorial Ground overheadMy personal position:

Although I support Bristol Rovers’ (or any football club’s) wish to expand and develop, I have always been opposed to building a large Sainsbury’s on the Memorial Ground site. This was initially a personal view not a political one, formed many months before I even considered becoming a candidate in an election.

I live in Maple Road, a 5 minute walk from the ground. I have two small children. As a local resident, my opposition to the new Sainsbury’s was based on my understanding of the potential impact on: Continue reading Some reflections on Sainsbury’s and the Memorial Ground development

Community Asset Transfer (CAT) for the Ardagh?

web-ardaghOn Tuesday March 25th Friends of Horfield Common (FOHC) held a public meeting to launch our intention to transfer day to day management of the Ardagh Site to the community.

There is a long road ahead – this is not a quick process. We will need to bring the community together, consult extensively with local users of and stakeholders in Horfield Common and the Ardagh, and work very closely with Bristol Council. A process like this typically takes 2 years or more.

Nevertheless we are excited to now be moving forward with a bold, sustainable and innovative vision about what is possible. Horfield Common and the Ardagh Site is an amazing local resource which can be developed to serve the whole community.

As a committee member of FOHC and someone leading on ‘Project Ardagh’ I gave a short presentation introducing the idea and process of Community Asset Transfer.

Here’s a clip that introduces how St Werberg’s Community Centre successfully used a similar process to transfer into community owndership (and pave the way to raise £1 million to refurbish the building).

Continue reading Community Asset Transfer (CAT) for the Ardagh?

Changing the way we think about Money, Values, Community and Banking

The Money and Life event I organised was last weekend.

The purpose was  to engage local people with some of the innovative projects in Bristol that help us rethink our approach to money, values, community and banking. We had some fantastic organisations represented.

The clip below is made by a UWE student Rom Preston-Ellis, who is doing a project on the Bristol Pound. It gives you some idea of the event overall:

If you didn’t manage to make the event, but are interested in how as individuals we can play a role in reshaping our out of balance finance system, do check out some of the links below: Continue reading Changing the way we think about Money, Values, Community and Banking

Interview with Bishopston Matters (April 2014)

Bishopston Matters - interview April 2014I was delighted to be interviewed recently for Bishopston Matters by Hilary Douglas Smith (also known as ‘Bishopston Mum’). We talked about my work with the Ardagh, my recent book and my role as candidate for the Greens in the local election.

Click on the image to see a larger version of the article.

Hilary and I also had a great conversation about early years schooling, the increasing pressure faced by young children driven by national education policy and the need to keep early years schooling play based with plenty of unstructured time for kids to be kids. I hope to write more on that soon. For those interested the Too Much Too Soon campaign is an interesting site to visit.

Your money and your life – 15th March 2014

I am organizing “Your Money and your Life” a free local event to showcase projects, ideas and films that support people to use money in ways that are life enriching.
Money_flyer_v3 - correct logo
Here is the original article I wrote for Bishopston Voice outlining the rationale and purpose behind the event. (The eventual article was similar but edited down a bit for word count)

Your Money and Your Life – Bristol leads the way in innovative projects:

Since the financial crisis began over 5 years ago the national conversation about money has focused on austerity.

The austerity narrative is uncontested by the major political parties (though other voices such as the New Economics Foundation do critique it). Evidence suggests that austerity measures fall hardest on those with the least, and are increasing levels of financial inequality.

The idea that as a country, a city, and as individual families we have less money and so need to cut back, now powerfully influences how we think about national spending, public services and personal life choices. Continue reading Your money and your life – 15th March 2014

Bristol at 20mph

Community SpeedwatchI joined David Said our Police Community Support Officer for a local speedwatch this week together with Councillor Daniella Radice. On a cold, drizzly morning, David, Daniella and I watched about 75 cars drive down a residential street in Bishopston, clocking their speed with his nifty pocket radar and noting those that were doing significantly more than the new 20mph speed limit. They will get a letter from David politely reminding them of the new speed limit and drawing attention to the reasons behind it.

This is all part of increasing awareness of the new 20mph limit in Bishopston streets, a measure introduced in January to improve: road safety,  health – by encouraging more walking and cycling and community atmosphere – through reducing traffic noise (among other things).
Continue reading Bristol at 20mph