There's a letter of mine in the Evening Post today. Well, part of it, anyway. It's been edited down, which is fair enough (though it would be far more honest if they marked each letter that's been cut, so readers know they're not looking at the original). What's more, they always seem to cut the best lines!
Have blog, will publish. Here is the original; the bits in bold never made it past the BEP editors.
" It's disappointing to see Stockwood councillor Jay Jethwa (August 5) condemn those councillors who decided, on the evidence, that the Sainsbury's superstore should not be permitted at Ashton Gate. There is no reason for her to imply that party pressure was put on those councillors; after all, the LibDems have been as transparently pro-stadium as Tony Blair was pro-war. Presumably Jay writes because, like all councillors, she's been targetted by the club's campaign to get fans to put pressure on individual members.
Jay might have been better advised to challenge the Cabinet decision to hand the club £5 million of land in an unsecured deal, in exchange for 'community benefits' spread over 30 years.
Members of all parties, including her own, who scrutinised the sale advised against such a high-risk comitment of public assets to a very shaky business. Jay's Tory instincts should have warned her against such extravagance with the public purse. Above all, her commitment to her Stockwood ward should have alerted her to the fact that every handout to the club, whether as land, as planning concessions (that's another £3.2 million plus), or as an inappropriate planning permission, must be recouped by squeezing wards like hers even harder.
The 'affordable housing' that Steve Lansdown won't now have to provide at Moorelands will have to go disproportionately somewhere else. The cash that should have come to the council from the Ashton land sales will have to be found by selling off land, or cutting services, somewhere else. Stockwood seems especially vulnerable. And the changed traffic and cash flows caused by such a big superstore would have repercussions throughout South Bristol and beyond.
In short, however much we'd like a new Bristol City stadium, there are limits to the public risks and sacrifices that should be made to get it, especially in a time of savage cuts.
Green Party, Stockwood "