There's a little local difficulty over the sale of six blocks of council-owned garages in Stockwood, to release land for 'affordable homes'. You might think a 'Green' would welcome this, because at first sight it puts people before cars. Think again!
Closer to the city centre, the council is embroiled in controversy over residents parking zones - because road spaced is so prized that it must be rationed out in an artificial market created to favour residents (at least, those who care to pay) for the privilege of on-street parking close to home.
Yet out here in Stockwood, the same council wants to empty garages, forcing more cars to park on the streets. As if that wasn't enough, the emptied sites will be used to provide more homes - and by definition, still more cars.
The sites include such as Dutton Close (above). Most would agree that this isn't the most marketable of sites, especially in a recession. The immediate neighbourhood gets more than its fair share of mentions in PACT meetings, and there will be fears that more social housing won't help. Very few houses on this estate have off road parking, car-dependency is high, and there are problems with pavement parking and other road safety issues for pedestrians and cyclists. Bus fares are prohibitive, it's a long way to the nearest stop - and it's considerably further to the main employment centres.
Building here, then, is sure to add significantly to the number of cars that never leave the roads, without adding a lot to the council's land sales receipts. It might provide a handful of 'affordable homes' but it's in a place that's otherwise far from cheap to live.
All in, it doesn't tick any of the right boxes. It's an ill-thought out project, dreamed up in isolation from any joined up thinking about how Stockwood, and the city, should develop.
Running parallel with this bit of nonsense from one section of the council is another department's effort to raise cash from selling off public land in the area. For the stakeholder group looking at the future of parks and green spaces in Stockwood and Hengrove, Tuesday 13th is 'low value' day . 'Low Value' means low amenity value land that might be sold off to help fund parks provision, and it looks like we'll be expected to find some from our 'surplus' to help those parts of the city, rich or poor, that are less well provided for (this blog, 22nd December). Should be interesting!
Send your ideas of 'low value' land to me at stockwoodpete (at) googlemail.com - or post a comment.