Highlights from Westbury Community Forum, 17 April 2018

The Meeting was attended by approximately 35 residents. However, due to the recent resignation of Cllr Clare Campion-Smith, only Cllrs Geoff Gollop and Liz Radford were in attendance.
Below is a brief résumé of the main points raised during the Meeting, including relevant external links:

  1. Police Update
    PCSOs Katie White and Charlotte Thompson attended and they confirmed that PC Steven Harding had been appointed as our new Beat Manager (to replace PC Joanne Robertson) and that he would be taking up his post shorty. PCSO Zaheer Bulbul, who had attended many of our previous Forums, had now moved on to Gloucester Constabulary as a PC. It was confirmed that the new location for Southmead Police Station would be on the Southmead Hospital site, see: www.activenp.co.uk/2018/04/permanent-police-station-for-southmead-announced/
    Crime statistics presented indicated a drop in reported offences – in particular burglaries – when compared with the same quarter last year: Avon & Somerset Stats
    A large proportion of this reduction could be attributed to the arrest and detention of one serial offender who specialised in stealing items from unsecured porches. Residents were advised to keep any porch areas secure at all times. A number of thefts of lead from roofs and bay windows had increased lately and property owners were advised not to make access easy for thieves.
    The Police had advised the Co-op store in Stoke Lane on measures to reduce the probability of aggravated crime. Also, a security guard had recently been employed by the store. The dates and locations for future Beat Surgeries would be confirmed.
    The recent installation of some planters as “temporary” traffic calming measures in Hilsdon Road was raised and it was confirmed that the legality of the installations was currently being pursued with the Council.

    Hilsdon Road Planters (2)

    Hilsdon Road Planters

  1. Revised Policy for Allocation of CIL Funds
    Full details of the background to BCC’s revised funding allocation for the “local” element of the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) were outlined and full details are available at: www.activenp.co.uk/funding/
    Many concerns were raised as to what local projects from the Westbury & Henleaze Ward could be considered for funding. It was explained that this year’s round of potential projects had been drawn from the “rump” of un-funded projects that our previous Neighbourhood Partnership was evaluating when the Council abandoned the NP system last June. The new system for the allocation of CIL funds is still at its formative stage but, henceforth, any of our potential local projects would have to compete with others from across a much larger “local” area of six Wards and be decided by a Committee made up of the 13 Councillors serving those six Wards. The three submissions from the ex-NP3 councillors for consideration in this year’s funding round are: (1) Safety-Related Minor Road Improvements, (2) Environmental Improvements and (3) Henleaze Parking Review. Full details can be seen here: Stage 1 Bids for CIL Funding, 2018/19
    In future, funding rounds will continue on an annual basis. With regards to any local projects that residents may identify for consideration in future, these should be brought to the attention of our local councillors, or raised at the next Forum Meeting on 3 July 2018.
  2. Parking Violations
    Cllr Gollop outlined the statistics that he had received from parking Services for the number of visits they made and the number of tickets issued. The consensus view of those present was that the number of visits was insufficient to cover the gross violations that were frequently observed and Cllr Gollop agreed to feed these views back to Parking Services.
    Introducing any additional parking restrictions in the centre of the village was always going to be controversial, particularly if this resulted in a loss of trade for our local businesses.
    Cllr Radford reported that she was still in protracted negotiations with Bristol University over the issue of obstructive parking by students residing at the Hyatt Baker Halls of Residence. The number of incidents of obstructive parking in Elmlea Avenue and Rylestone Grove had dramatically increased recently since the return of students for the final term of their current academic year.
  3. Planning Applications
    Concerns were raised about the number of local Planning Applications that made no provision for any off-street parking. This was particularly relevant in the centre of the village, where existing commercial premises were being converted into flats – plus the current Application to redevelop the ex-JC Decaux site to accommodate two small semi-detached houses. The latter also proposed the removal of a tree with a TPO (Tree Preservation Order).
  4. Trees
    Stephanie French (our local “Tree Champion”) confirmed that trees with a TPO could be felled if the tree no longer satisfied the conditions under which the TPO had been granted. Also, it should be noted that there were a limited number of locations for planting any replacement trees in the centre of the village.
  5. Westbury Library
    Malcolm Neave reported that little or no progress had been made with securing the long-term future of our local library. It would appear that Bristol’s Mayor is still intent on pursuing his original library closure programme.
  6. Bristol Energy
    Cllr Gollop advised that the company (wholly owned by BCC) was unlikely to make a profit for several years and it was still currently subject to financial support from BCC.
  7. Bristol Arena
    The future of this project (and its location) was unlikely to be decided at the full Council Meeting in early May. Consequently, the final cost of the project would continue to rise.
  8. Future Plans for Bristol’s City Centre
    BCC is currently consulting on the framework for redeveloping its city centre. Residents are encouraged to contribute to the consultation via https://bristol.citizenspace.com/growth-regeneration/city-centre-framework/consult_view/ before the closing date of 14 May.
  9. Henleaze Forum
    The next Henleaze Forum, scheduled for 24 May at Henleaze Library, has had to be cancelled as the library will be used as a Polling Station that day.
    Post-Meeting Note – the rescheduled date for the Henleaze Forum is Thursday 28 June, 7.00 – 9.00pm at Henleaze Library.
  10. Forum Committee Members
    Additional residents are invited to help support the on-going activities of this Forum. Anybody interested in offering their support is requested to contact the current Chairmen at wotforum@gmail.com
  11. Date and Venue for Next Meeting
    Tuesday 3 July 2018 at Coombe Dingle Sports Complex (Old Pavilion), Coombe Lane, BS9 2BJ – commencing at 7.00pm.

The slide show displayed at the Forum can be seen here: Slide Show, April 2018

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