Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Tory U-turn on Green Spaces!

Well, well.

At the full council on November 16th, the Conservative group will " CALL ON THE LEADER AND CABINET TO SCRAP THE AREA GREEN SPACE PLANS". That's the ones that they, along with Labour and LibDems, supported just a couple of years ago!

Could there be an explanation for these dramatic contortions?

It CAN'T be on principle...

After all, this is the ideologically driven party that plans to sell off Britains' publicly owned (and profitable) forests to private speculators and investors - with the extra bonus of being inheritance tax free! (Petition against it here)

This is the party whose local councillors are backing tax-exile Lansdown's bid to build a stadium on the Ashton Vale green belt, trampling on the lawful rights of local people.

So, if it ain't principle, could it be - dare I say - electoral opportunism?

Next May will see more than one Tory councillor having to explain to angry voters why they backed a strategy to sell off much loved local parks and open spaces in their wards. In Bishopsworth, for instance, where Kings Head Park is under threat. In Frome Vale, with where six sites have been identified for sale. And here in Stockwood, where several open spaces could be lost to the community for ever, and Cllrs Jethwa and Morris have been desperately distancing themselves from any responsibility for it.

But it's not just about hanging on to these seats - there might be new opportunities for electoral gain. Brislington East and West, Hartcliffe, Hengrove, Hillfields, and St George East are all threatened by a loss of open space, and in all of them the Tories might expect to benefit, if they play their cards right.

Call me a cynic........

Anyway, the Tory motion submitted for the next full council meeting is:

COUNCILLOR M WESTON TO MOVE

THIS COUNCIL CALLS ON THE LEADER AND CABINET TO SCRAP THE AREA GREEN SPACE PLANS

Public consultation has shown that the planned sell-off of parkland and valued leisure land, identified in the ideas and options proposals, is a step too far and that community open space is not for sale.

The original Parks and Green Spaces Strategy was meant to dispose of
land of low value, poor quality plots or areas that attract anti-social behaviour.  Instead, the developed plans have earmarked well-used and highly valued recreational space.

Alternative funding sources must be sought for investment in our
Parks.”


Which just happens to have been the Green Party position for the last three years. Welcome on board.

[Note: Petition against forest sales]
[This post comes with a self-interest declaration - as a likely Stockwood candidate next May]

8 comments:

between-the-lines said...

None so cynical as the politicians themselves.

It couldn't be because there's so few of them on the council that, like Vince Cable, they can't believe that they would ever have to make good on the promise, could it?

sacredspring said...

Glad to hear the tories have jumped ship. Local resident groups can sort the parks and open spaces with a small bit of help-no need for grandiose schemes costing the very open spaces themselves.

between-the-lines said...

Good point. Big Society being a Tory policy and all.

Stockwood Pete said...

Funny thing is, we had a meeting here yesterday where residents were really keen to get involved in a hands-on attempt to improve and look after the area - and our Conservative councillor reminded us that we shouldn't let the council off the hook, we should make sure we get our pound of flesh from them.

It took a PCSO to point out that we were simply putting the Big Society into practice!

Glenn Vowles MSc, PGCE, BA said...

Whatever the Tories reasons, they have changed their stance and given at least one decent reason. Lets see Labour and the Lib Dems do the same thing.

Stockwood Pete said...

I've signed up to the Tory petition, Glenn - not often that I do that! Of course it does need Labour and, crucially, LibDem support, given the current balance of votes on the council. Trouble is, many LibDem-held wards tend to gain through the sell-off, though some, like Hengrove and Bris West would be serious losers. Hard to see how LibDem councillors there could support the sell-off, unless Gary and the Exec lean on them very heavily.

Sadly, it'll be down to party solidarity (again) rather than councillors doing what they think is right.

GeaVox said...

There is a Facebook Group, called STOP the Government from selling off Britain's forests to cut the deficit!... (which doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, I have to say! :o)

Check them out at:

http://www.facebook.com/gea.vox#!/home.php?sk=group_169976793015223&ap=1

Paul/BemmyDown said...

To be honest, the Tory councillors did not need much leaning on here in Bishopsworth. Once Kings Head Lane Park was under threat there was only ever going to be one outcome, espescially as they played their part in securing the new play area. Actually, I reckon they made a good point in showing what the original GSP was about.