Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

News Management, Council House style

Extraordinary - but not that unexpected.

Tuesday was the day that BCC had to reveal which of the city's green sites it intends to sell off, so that the others might be properly looked after. With a bit of a bonus; 30% goes into the general council pot, and not into the parks at all.

The details eventually emerged in the papers for the Scrutiny meeting next Wednesday.

But well before that, the press and broadcasting media had been called in for a briefing, even before fellow-councillors had been told what was planned for their wards. Then there was a press release, in which Gary Hopkins reveals that the whole Cabinet has already agreed (what? when?) which green spaces should be sold off - subject, of course, to a token hearing of whatever the scrutineering councillors might say, and public statements made at their cabinet meeting.

In other words, verdict first, then square the press, then seal the deal with a 'democratic' dance of confirmation.

The long and comprehensive consultation process looks like a complete waste of time and effort, at least as far as those of us in Friends of Stockwood Open Spaces are concerned; our comprehensive response to the consultation has been lost, stolen or strayed, because it isn't even listed in the verbatim reports among the papers.

Add to that, of course, that a Freedom of Information request for officer assessments of each disposal site continues to be ignored, way beyond statutory time limits.

It all stinks.

Update, Wed 8th:

The council has promised to get the overdue FoI information to me next Monday - which gives about 24 hours to go through 60-odd site details and get representations to the Scrutiny Commission meeting.


Anonymous said...

Hi Pete

You have 3 months to bring any Judicial Review of the decision. It sounds as if your consultation was not taken into account.

Alternatively, to the extent that you can, you should be starting Town Green applications for any site you seek to save. People argue that you might only do this to stop development, but that is the whole purpose of Town
Green law, to stop development on land used for recreation.


Al Shaw said...

I'm no expert, but it does seem to me that the failures you have outlined in the process do represent grounds, in themselves, for a legal challenge to the decisions that are being made.

Paul/BemmyDown said...

Hi Pete.
Kings Head Lane Park has been spared, but as I said at one of the meetings, I never thought it was a serious proposition. The problem now is keeping those who protested against the park sell-off interested in fighting for our other greenspaces.