Green perspectives on Stockwood and Bristol. Mostly.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Swings and Roundabouts

Whittock Road green space yesterday. By Christmas there should be a childrens playground here.

About time too. Apparently there used to be, in the wooded area far left, which is part of the Open Space Local Nature Reserve, an Adventure Playground. Very popular it was, by all accounts, with local youngsters and their parents. It even had staff - and a phone line. But that was a long time ago, when Stockwood was still young.

Five years ago, when the council launched its Parks and Green Spaces Strategy, this was one of the sites that a local group of residents wanted to prioritise for a playground. We'd toured exemplar sites round the city, held workshops and dicussions, and finally came up with a string of positive suggestions that somehow didn't materialise.

Three years later, out of the blue, the Cabinet decided it could afford a £3.5 million spend on the parks. No public consultation on this one, though – councillors were invited to suggest what was wanted in their wards. The Stockwood councillors' bid - probably on the back of an envelope - was for:
  • The Whittock Road play area
  • Some signs, bins and access barriers at Holsom Road
  • Benches or seats on the Showering Road hill path
  • More rails and paths at the Coots Meadow.
  • [South Bristol Sports Club wanted half a million, too. Dunno what that was for... to extend the car park, maybe?]
Stockwood got the first of these, the playground – which ticks all the right boxes and, at £100K, looks like a fair share of the £3.5 million split between 35 wards. This will fill a real gap in access to play for younger children in this part of Stockwood. 

I don't know who got Hengrove's share, though. Their councillors didn't even put in a bid.


Bob Hopkins said...

I can give some suggestions that should have been requested for Hengrove (Hengrove park).
1. The replacement access gate on Hengrove way that was promised over a year ago to prevent the annual traveller visit.
2. The replacement of two rising bollards that were fitted but one was dug up, and the other went up but did not go down so it was destroyed.
3. The removal of the traveller waste still in the woods that was promised to be cleared up but was never finished.
4. The removal of the results of the annual dumping of tons contaminated munched up green waste dumped around the park, it is contamined with black bag waste and other waste all mashed together.
5. The removal of the mountain of contaminated waste in the council yard probably destined for the park.
6. Replacement gate on Whitchurch lane destroyed by travellers over 3 years ago now replaced by rocks.
7. The building of access routes and paths promised by the council for the mound,s nature reserve around last February but did not happen.
8. The removal of the support building outside of the running track that has now been vandalised and set fire to, after a feeble attempt by the council to secure the building.
That was a few requests that could and should have been made for Hengrove Park.
E mails have been sent to the Parks Dept about some of these subjects but are generally ignored or answered with missinformation.

Stockwood Pete said...

Hallo Bob
By chance, Tessa Coombes has just been blogging about Hengrove Park, and attracted a few comments. She's taking the view that it needs appropriate development (including replacing the existing cinema/food chain area). At the moment it's frozen in a decision making vacuum, and so largely forgotten.

It might be worth raising your issues there - in the lack of any 'official' online forum, it's as good a place as any to develop ideas. Could alert the councillors to that post and comments as well - see if they get involved.

Possibly the Neighbourhood Partnership could kickstart some minor changes within the Sec 106 or 'clean and green' budgets and/or through its environment group - I'm sure you'd be welcome to raise issues there. Worth a try - though I have to say that even with NP support, it takes an age before anything actually happens.

Anonymous said...

I grew up on Whittock Road across from where that new playground is built.
I spent many days at the old Adventure Playground. It was a glorious 1980s death trap and I loved every minute of splinters, rope burns, and even the occasional rusty nail.

I would LOVE to see any surviving pictures of the old Adventure Playground, or the Vench as we called it. Apparently it burned down years ago.