Knowle Lib Dems

  • KNOWLE eFOCUS  MAY 2021
  • Our New Secondary School - Success
  • Jubilee Pool - Reopens!
  • Petition for a vote to 'Scrap the Mayor'
  • Standards in Public Services 
  • Liberal Democrat Vision for Bristol.  Our Candidates
  • Wingfield Rd Speeding Measure
  • BokLOK Housing Development 
  • Postscript - Jubilee Pool


OUR NEW SECONDARY SCHOOL - SUCCESS 
We have had a 20 year mission to bring back secondary education to Knowle after the closure of Merrywood School by Labour.
 
The strength of our case gradually grew as numbers increased and our detailed presentations of the need won over education officers some years back. We have pointed out the statistics showing that, whilst Knowle children do better than the Bristol average at primary, their performance drops off to below average as they are scattered to many secondary schools.
 
Unfortunately the first approach from Bristol Grammar School was bodged, as they failed to work with other local schools and The Park. The new Oasis plan was originally going to Hengrove but we worked with other councillors and officers to switch it to Daventry Rd and that fitted beautifully with the plans of the The Park Trust.
 
So we thanked the administration, especially the then housing cabinet member Paul Smith, for the agreement at cabinet.  Bizarrely the Knowle Labour Party objected to the cabinet approval because they did not understand what was going on. Fortunately they were ignored as delay could have been fatal. The opening date was planned for 2023 which was never ideal but there were many stages to go through. We made clear that early opening was very important and the cabinet member for Education promised to keep us updated. She did not. The Mayor stonewalled.
 
We have been stepping up the pressure, with motions to council and meetings with education officers, and our case was further strengthened by the failure of the plans for a new secondary school behind Temple Meads. This has led to East Bristol pupils being sent outside Bristol. Some South Bristol Children have also failed to secure places, even in St Katherine’s in Pill.
 
After the launching of our petition a meeting took place with the officer in charge of education and with assistants, and we can now confirm that Bristol is formally asking the department for Education in government to open the school a year earlier. Temporary accommodation would be used. We hope for an answer within weeks and will notify as soon as we have news.
 
The campaign is being widely supported and we hope that central government do agree to early opening. The chances of success would have been higher if the council administration had started backing us earlier but we at least have a chance.

JUBILEE POOL REOPENS !

Covid Rules for using Jubilee 

You will be given a box for your belongings and a coloured band to show which lane you are booked into. You must wear the band in the pool.

After signing in you go straight to the pool area, where you get undressed putting everything in the box and leaving it along the wall.

After your swim you take your box into the changing rooms to get dressed. You CANNOT use the shower. Leave your box in the changing room and exit via the normal way out.

All surfaces/doors etc are disinfected between swims. The boxes will be collected by staff from the changing rooms and also disinfected.

Child swimming - Children over the age of 8 can lane swim if accompanied by an adult that is also swimming.

Family Swim - There are currently no family swim sessions. They will be coming once some of the COVID restrictions are lifted.

PETITION FOR A VOTE to 'SCRAP THE MAYOR'.
Some time ago Conservatives in Bristol and London legislated for, and campaigned for, Bristol and another 9 cities to have a referendum to switch the council to a mayor controlled system. There was to be no opportunity to reverse this decision. Every other city said ‘No’ but in a very low turnout Bristol very narrowly said ‘Yes’.

When the system had been operating for a short while Liberal Democrats in Bristol and Westminster managed to get legislation passed to allow for a reversal referendum. This could be called either by council voting to give Bristolians the choice or by 5% (around 18000) people demanding it on a petition within a year.
Gary put a motion to council on 16th of March to call for the referendum, which was this time supported by the Tories, but, although there were rebels who felt the people ought to have that choice, the vast majority of Labour and Green councillors voted against this. 
 
We and others are therefore launching the petition. This is the first step and demands that Bristol has a vote. The vote would come afterwards.
Please follow this link to sign the petition -
   https://www.bristollibdems.org/scrap_the_mayor

 
STANDARDS IN PUBLIC SERVICES – What do you think?
Housing figures for Bristol new homes and affordable new homes have recently been published by council officers. We have grouped them into -

Period 1 which was mainly Lib Dem administration but with other parties having influence prior to the mayor.

Period 2  mayor Ferguson’s administration..
 
Period 3 mayor Rees’ administration.
PERIOD !
 
Total new homes - of which classed as affordable-

PERIOD 1
08/09.    2574.            583
09/10.     2189.            510
10/11.      1739.             402
11/12.       1746.             369 
Average.   2067.           466
 
PERIOD 2 
12/13.        878.             300
13/14.        1287.            103
14/15.        1454.            243
15/16.        1539.            173 
Average.   1292.            205
 
PERIOD 3 
16/17.       1994.            199
17/18.       1640.            188
18/19.       1799.            260
19/20.       1350.            312 
Average.   1696.            240
 
With a clearly stated promise of 2000 houses, of which 800 affordable in his 2016 manifesto, should the Mayor, instead of boasting about success in hitting this target, which he did in the media a year ago, be apologising? This boast did in fact rely upon inflated projections for the following year which were never achieved.
In his recently distributed leaflet the mayor claims IN FRONT PAGE HEADLINES to have achieved all of his 2016 pledges. We will look at a number of the others but as the housing pledge is the one remembered by most we will look at this one first.
 
JUDGE FOR YOURSELF IF HE ACHIEVED THIS PLEDGE.
In the detail of this pledge on the back page of his leaflet he claims to have delivered 9000 new homes . IF a really good year followed the published figures he may have reached that but it is still way below previous performances and would require a sudden spurt. VERY UNLIKELY AND IN ANY EVENT A POOR PERFORMANCE
 
He apparently tripled affordable house building
Look at the actual figures.  Affordable housing is actually way below that produced by the council prior to the mayor system. His performance was barely more than the awful performance of mayor Ferguson in this area.
 
THIS IS NOT AN EXAGERATION - DO YOU THINK IT IS A LIE?
He claims “more council housing”. More than when? Very few actually built. Council House building, after a long break, was resumed by the Lib Dem administration prior to the first mayor. Mayor Rees did freeze the council rents FOR THIS YEARS BUDGET, prior to the elections, but not previously. This freeze will, according to his resigned housing cabinet member, “Destroy council house repairs and building”. MISLEADING IN THE EXTREME.
 
Rough sleeping down by 80% . Yes temporarily as it is right across the UK because central government put a special fund forward to allow empty hotels etc to be used.
MISLEADING
 
Whilst we can laugh at these and other ridiculous claims by Rees and his followers, it is a sad fact that some will swallow the nonsense whole and few will challenge it. Most people just have too many other things that interest them to test the claims. This level of misleading propaganda also drags down the quality of debate away from sensible planning and how to deliver things that people actually need and want.
 
Just a short selection of some of the other absurdities
They saved Jubilee pool – they were actually prevented from acting out their closure plan.
 
Saved the Libraries – they actually brought forward a plan to close 2/3 of them but a few Labour Councillors rebelled to support a Lib Dem motion in council and the mayor backed away.
 
Sorted out the financial mess left by the last mayor - You will not find us defending the previous mayors financial foul up but it is dwarfed by what the present mayor has lost.
 
 THE OLD SLOGAN – “BELIEVE WHAT THEY DO NOT WHAT THEY SAY” is very apt and should possibly be taken into account with the quote from old LABOUR MP PAUL FLYNNE ABOUT THE NEW LABOUR PARTY.
 
“THE FUTURE IS ALWAYS THE SAME, IT'S THE PAST THEY KEEP CHANGING”.

COMMENT FROM RESIDENT OF NEWQUAY ROAD 
"Just read the Knowle labour leaflet and thought its outrageous claims of saving the Jubilee and the libraries were both downright lies as they had every intention of closing both. Its two candidates have done absolutely nothing in Knowle, and one doesn't even live here any more. They even copied all the earlier Lib Dem leaflet on what they claim to have achieved. Desperate or what? "


 ELECTION ON 6TH MAY
Please use all your voting power.

We hope that you can give both your votes to Chris and Gary for the Councillor elections. They work very much as a team and it puzzled us last time when many voted for only one of them, but no one else.  Hopefully everyone is now used to electing 2 Councillors. You will need to take a pencil and a mask to the polling station.
 
You also have the opportunity to vote in three other elections on the same day and we have added material from each of our candidates. Please note in the 2 Mayor elections you can make a first candidate into second choice.
Any questions please either ring or e-mail Gary or Chris .


Heather Shearer  standing for Police & Crime Commissioner
Stephen Williams standing for Regional Mayor
Dr Caroline Gooch  standing for Bristol Mayor

A Liberal Democrat vision for Bristol
Written by Dr Caroline Gooch
 
This May, the people of Bristol have a chance to cast their vote for a better city.
 
The Liberal Democrat vision for Bristol is one where everyone has an equal opportunity to flourish and thrive. We are committed to creating a city which invests in the future by prioritising the environment, celebrates diversity and inclusion, and liberates individuals to live the life they choose.
 
I am running on a platform of ‘Scrap the Mayor’ because we need to put the people of Bristol first. Having all the power concentrated in one person, the City Mayor, silences the voices of Bristolians and the councillors who represent us, meaning that decisions are taken which are not in line with the needs of the city. For instance, the city wanted a City Centre Arena which could host concerts as well as sporting events such basketball, and ice hockey. One person has stopped that, so much for One City, it’s more like One Man. 
 
The only way to remove this system is for us to have a referendum in which the people of Bristol vote to 'Scrap the Mayor'. I will fight for, and support this referendum. Whatever the outcome the system won’t switch until May 2024. So I have a 3 year plan to take our city forward - to recover from the pandemic, improve our public services, and invest in the future.
 
I want to create a greener, cleaner city: reduce our carbon footprint, invest in sustainable public transport, tackle waste, promote walking and cycling infrastructure, protect parks and trees, and clean up our air and waterways. 
 
I will prioritise education, particularly Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provision, because children and young people with SEND and their families have been let down time and time again. There are 250 children without a specialist school place for September, delays in education and healthcare plans, and a lack of transparency and accountability from the senior leadership of the city. No family should have to fight to have their child’s basic needs met.
 
I’m proud that the Liberal Democrats in Bristol have a strong record on housebuilding. During the primarily Liberal Democrat administration in 2008-2012, the average total new homes each year (2062), and the number of which were affordable (466) were higher than under either George Ferguson (1290, 205) or Marvin Rees (1696, 240). Even in their worst year the Lib Dems built more affordable homes (369) than Marvin Rees has done in his best year (312). We must do better. I want more council homes, and I want to tighten restrictions so social housing doesn’t end up being sold off to end as private rental at higher rents than under the council.
 
Our candidate for the West of England (WECA) Regional Mayor, Stephen Williams lives in Bristol and is a former MP and Housing Minister. He introduced Zero Carbon Homes standards (with Allowable Solutions) through the Infrastructure Act 2015, which he wants to re-introduce in the region. His plan for the West of England includes the creation of West of England Homes Social Enterprise to build green homes for sale and private rental, with surplus invested in homes for social rent.
 
Stephen will lead the region to becoming England’s first carbon neutral economy by 2030, creating a West of England Centre of Excellence for Green Technology and driving forward a massive programme of tree planting to include a range of native trees. He will invest in local businesses, creating a West of England Investment Fund with an initial value of £100 million. He will prioritise sustainable transport, franchising the buses to lead to new services which link towns and villages, regulated fares, and non-polluting buses.
 
Stephen will stand up for the West of England, and for our city. Working with him we can harness our tidal power via lagoons and an Avon barrage, and create a hydrogen plant to provide clean energy, fuel and jobs.
 
We also want to improve safety in Bristol. With a Liberal Democrat, Heather Shearer, as the Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset, transparency, fairness, and proportionality in policing will come first.
 
Heather is a member of the Safer Somerset Partnership and has experience of supporting and scrutinising the Police as vice chair of the Police and Crime Panel. She believes that everyone deserves to feel safe wherever they live, and so she will prioritise crime prevention and increase resources for community police teams.
 
Preventing violence against women and girls must be a focal point. Heather will work hard to improve rape and sexual assault conviction rates, prevent domestic violence, and support victims and ensure their voices are heard.
 
Heather will also focus on high-volume crimes including speeding and illegal parking, burglary, scams, and fly-tipping, and take a public health approach to drug-related crimes. Evidence-based approaches are essential.
 
Voting for the Liberal Democrats this May is voting for a fairer, greener, and more caring city. A city where nobody is held back or discriminated against. A city which invests in the future generations and tackles the climate emergency. A city which puts the people of Bristol and their needs at the heart of every decision.
The Liberal Democrats have a plan to transform Bristol and deliver for our communities. 
 
WINGFIELD ROAD SPEEDING MEASURE
Thanks to all those that have sent in responses so far, but whatever your view, we do need more to be fully confident that we can represent the clear view of the vast majority of residents if a bid for funds is to be made.
 
BOKLOK HOUSING DEVELOPMENT 
Chris and Gary continue to keep an eye on the development at the end of Ilminster Avenue where they have helped with the design to include a dog free play area and additional bus stops for the 27 dwellings consisting of semi-detached accommodation including 4 affordable homes. The community infrastructure levy money of £22,3966.27 is shared across 6 wards.  

POSTSCRIPT - Jubilee Pool - this should not be necessary but we  promised to publish details about the Jubilee procedures. Here is the original motion proposed by Graham Morris Tory Stockwood (it was the Tories turn to put a motion) together with the Labour amendment.

Tory Motion
"Save Jubilee Pool (Golden Motion) This Council is concerned that the future of this much-loved south Bristol swimming pool has once again been put is regretfully under a cloud of uncertainty because of rising costs due to the coronavirus (covid-19) pandemic. by the Labour Mayor. The last review, conducted in 2017, over the cost of running this heritage facility, resulted in a plan and a promise to subsidise it for a further five years. This Council is therefore surprised notes: that (i) a consultation has now been launched around its proposed closure, with the Mayor indicating a willingness to consider other options including unless a community asset transfer (CAT) can take place;, even though the Administration’s own consultation does not recommend this course of action. (ii) the impact of the Hengrove PFI deal, signed in 2010; (iii) more than 1,000 new public swimming pools opened under the previous Labour Government, contrasted with numerous pool closures and cuts under Bristol’s Lib Dem administrations; (iv) the loss of at least 300 public owned and state school pools since 2010, contributing to more than one in three children leaving primary school unable to swim, following a decade of Tory cuts to local government; (v) the unforeseeable and far-reaching impact of the pandemic on leisure facilities in Bristol and around the country. Given that this leisure pool serves some of the most economically deprived parts of the city, it seems unlikely and unrealistic to expect local users to muster sufficient finance to secure such an acquisition. Consequently, Council calls on the Mayor to: Page 7 Agenda Item 11 (i) withdraw this threat over the pool; extend the current consultation for a further month to enable further exploration of options; (ii) allocate the necessary (and relatively modest) capital and revenue funding to enable it to continue to operate in a COVID secure and safe way, and; establish a cross-party group comprising relevant cabinet member(s) and councillors, working to look at potential solutions including those discounted in the consultation (reopening with additional funding; finding a new contractor; taking the service inhouse; awarding the service to a community trust; and a CAT); (iii) continue to work to assess options on how to honour the previous agreement made with the provider Parkwood Leisure to maintain this public amenity until at least 2022. Council further resolves to: (i) Support the Mayor and Bristol in lobbying in national Government to follow through with their original promise to do “whatever it takes” to compensate councils for the impact of the pandemic; (ii) Support the Mayor and Bristol in lobbying in national Government for sector-specific support for particularlyaffected industries, including the leisure sector, to support Jubilee Pool and countless other swimming pools in similar situations."

Labour Amendment  
"This Council is concerned that the future of this much loved south Bristol swimming pool is regretfully under a cloud of uncertainty because of rising costs due to the Corona Virus (Covid +19) pandemic. The last review, conducted in 2017, over the cost of running this heritage facility, resulted in a plan and a promise to subsidise it for a further five years.   This Council notes; (i) a consultation has now been launched around its proposed closure, with the Mayor indicating a willingness to consider other options including a community asset transfer (CAT) (ii) the impact of the Hengrove PFI deal, signed in 2010; (iii) more than 1,000 new public swimming pools opened under the previous Labour government, contrasted with numerous pool closures and cuts under Bristol Lib Dem administrations; (iv) the loss of at least 300 public owned and state school pools since 2010, contributing to more than one in three children leaving primary school unable to swim, following a decade of Tory cuts to local government; (v) the unforeseeable and far reaching impact of the pandemic on leisure facilities in Bristol and around the country.   Given that this leisure pool serves some of the most economically deprived parts of the city, it seems unlikely and unrealistic to expect local users to muster sufficient finance to secure such an acquisition.   Consequently, Council calls on the Mayor to: (i) extend the current consultation for a further month to enable further exploration of options; establish a cross party group comprising relevant cabinet member(s) and councillors, working to look at potential solutions including those discounted in the consultation (reopening with additional funding; finding a new contractor; taking the service in house; awarding the service to community trust; and a CAT); (iii) continue to work to assess options on how to honour the previous agreement made with the provider Parkwood Leisure to maintain this public amenity until at least 2022. Council further resolves to: (i) Support the Mayor and Bristol in lobbying in national Government to follow through with their original promise to do “whatever it takes” to compensate councils for the impact of the pandemic; (ii) Support the Mayor and Bristol in national Government for the sector–specific support for particularly – affected industries, including the leisure sector, to support Jubilee Pool and countless other swimming pools in similar situations." A later amendment by Gary calling for repairs to be done while we waited was voted down by Labour. Rippington now claims there was no vote.   When we eventually got a meeting of this “working group” which deflected Chair Jos Clark (Lib Dem Bris west) and Vice Chair Gary. Councillor Rippington suggested a terms of reference that would have ensured no reopening any time soon, and this was voted down by Lib Dem and Tory Councillors in favour of one that considered the short term position first.   When the actual facts and numbers were put in front of the working group, as opposed to the previous propaganda, there was no choice and we all demanded an early reopening. By this time the campaign was unstoppable with masses of public responses to the slanted “consultation”. Had we followed Councillor Rippington’s Terms of Reference that he brought from the cabinet we would have been in fantasy land, and the mayor has still not answered sensible questions from the Friends’ group about the terms of any asset transfer.  

FOR PREVIOUS EDITIONS OF eFOCUS CLICK ON LINKS BELOW. 

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2015 May.pdf 2015 May.pdf
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