I am exhausted. Ever since that day in November last year. A friend just happened to mention that there were plans to turn to turn the end of my road into the Bristol South Orbital Highway.
What, I thought, she’s got that wrong. Whitchurch Lane is a residential road, it has homes both sides, it is right next to a school and there is a 7.5 ton weight restriction, speed humps and traffic calming measures!
I thought about it a bit more. If it was true, then surely, my local council would have informed me about something that would have a major impact on the community.
My friend then told me about a meeting to be held at the British Legion on 27th November. It was a public meeting organised by Councillor Paul May for the folk of Whitchurch Village. At this point, I did not understand why a BANES councillor was my only source of information. I live within a Bristol City Council ward. Where was the information from Bristol City Council?
I went along - my friend was right. There was worse to come. Along with the proposed road there was plans for 2,500 house in Whitchurch Village and a park and ride on the A37 to name just a few elements? How would the area cope? There is virtually no employment here, the GP surgeries already are struggling, how could more people be accommodated? The people living in the homes would have to work to pay mortgages, with no employment that would mean so many more cars on the road! In additional to the homes, I then saw plans to build a new road on Green Belt land. A road from Hicks Gate roundabout to end at the end of MY road. It was proposed that the congestion on the A4 bath road would be diverted, along the new road and spew out at the bottom of my road, right onto Whitchurch lane. They are having a laugh, I thought. The people at the meeting gave us a list of people who we could contact to share our thought and views.
There was a consultation released called the JSP (The Joint Spatial Plan), views and comments had to be in by 7th January 2019.
I have got not political attachments at all. I suppose I was a bit naive as to how things worked around me. I was at the bottom of, what is turning out to be, a very steep learning curve.
The first thing I learned was that the plans that I was concerned about stretched from the A4 at Hicks Gate Roundabout to the Hartcliffe Roundabout.
This area is divided by a Council Boundary between Bath and North East Somerset (BaNES) and Bristol City Council (BCC).
Then discovered that that this relatively small area is served by 3 MP’s. Bristol South: Karin Smyth MP, Stockwood: Kerry McCarthy MP, Whitchurch Village: Jacob Rees-Mogg MP
Then there are councillors:
BCC The Hengrove and Whitchurch Ward is served by Barry Clark, Tim Kent and Harriot Clark
BCC The Stockwood Ward is served by Graham Morris and Steve Jones
BaNES Whitchurch Village is served by Paul May
My head was overloaded with information.
That aside, I knew that I had to do something to stop these crazy plans. I overheard that that there was someone else who appear to feel as strongly as me, they were setting up a Facebook Group, for local people of South Bristol (or anyone who is interested in protecting the local area) to talk to each other and find out the points of contact regarding the recent proposals for the South Bristol Orbital Route and housing. The Facebook group was called South Bristol Wrong Road.
I left the meeting to start writing emails and to join the Facebook Page.
This was just the beginning, so much has happened (and is still happening) following the twists and turns…. more blogs to follow…….
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