Chairmans Report for year ending 31 August 07Brian Worthington Chairman
Social EventsWe have had a full, interesting and wide-ranging programme of talks and local walks arranged by Mike Pascoe, although Fate brought to a halt Suffragettes in Bristol (a false fire alarm) and the Visit to the University Botanic Garden (torrential rain). They will be included in next year’s programme. Greater success and appreciative audiences were achieved with Publishing: for Love or Money?; Leigh Woods 100 Years Ago; 18th Century Ballooning in Bristol and a Walking tour of Hotwells – as is expected to be the case with Victorian Pleasures and Pastimes (18 September) and The Coaching Era in and around Bath and Bristol (23 October).
Next year’s programme will incorporate talks and social events appropriate to the Fortieth (Ruby) Year Commemorations. A group visit to Bletchley Park organized by RoseMary Musgrave will take place in late September. Last year’s address by Stan Szecowka about The Clifton Chronicle was sweet and sour: after the paper’s demise he was appointed to an editorship in the Middle East. A Christmas Drinks party to encourage new members was given by Delphine Lyddall.
DonationsCHIS has funds which it gives to help local initiatives. The annual rent of £835 for the Lower Mall Gardens was received. A grant of £300 was put into effect by members in Vyvyan Terrace for help with provision of ornamental floral tubs. £1000 was given and has yet to be called upon, to the Committee to Reinstate Brunel’s Swivel Bridge in Hotwells for investigative work and an application to the National Heritage Fund. Those who had given pledges for expenditure arising out of the Society’s appeal over the Suspension Bridge Road (Visitors’ Centre) Stopping Up Order received sums in proportion to the difference between their contribution and the costs incurred, a process that is now complete.
Letters of AppreciationThese are offered when a building, landscape or something else positively improves the area.
- Congratulations upon the superb restoration of Clifton Hill House were tempered by our comments on the hideous alterations made in aid of disabled access; our view had the support of one of our severely disabled members.
- Frank Martin was thanked for his long-standing help with Trees policy; an appreciative letter was sent to the Downs Interest Group and to Councillor Barbara Janke for her invaluable encouragement when Leader of the City Council and to the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol for the superb work in cleaning and restoring the Wills Tower. First Bus was congratulated upon improved indicator signs.
- Cllrs Brian Price and Simon Cook, Stephen Williams MP and Steve Perry (Chief Planning Officer) were thanked for their help to the Society
- Mike Pascoe was thanked for his long-standing contribution to CHIS from its foundation
Documents Studied and Meetings AttendedThe Bristol Evening Post is read nightly and relevant items followed up. The Western Daily Press often consults CHIS, as do the Clifton Life and Bristol Life magazines as well as BBC and HTV local stations. The demise of the Clifton Chronicle was regretted as was the loss of its full, balanced and informative coverage of the Society’s policies and activities.
Members of the Committee have attended meetings on many topics including
- rubbish collection,
- street cleaning
- Bristol in Bloom
- Remembrance Day
- Conservation Advisory Panel of the City Councll
- Society for the Preservation of Ancient Bristol
- National Organisation of Residents’ Associations
- Avon Gorge Hotel and Spa Pump Room projects
- McArthur’s Warehouse project
- the Downs Stakeholders’ Committee
- Urban Creation’s project for the Pro-Cathedral
- the projected development of the WH Smith – Aruba café site
- the City Council’s Forum for Recycling schemes
- the grand plan for the development of Bristol University’s Precinct
- the City Council’s aim to improve local libraries (including further hopes for a community centre in Clifton Library)
- paving in Princess Victoria Street
- Canynge Hall
- the re-siting of the Samuel Plimsoll bust
- the Swivel Bridge restoration
- Bridge House
- Mortimer Road Class A drugs Unit
- Suspension Bridge tolls and closures
- Byron Place Gardens
- the Bristol Planning Network
- the Core Strategy Report
- the Parks and Open Spaces Report
- the Cumulative Impact Report
- the Rocks Railway Society
- Legible City project
- the Civic Trust conference
- Heritage and the Built Environment
- Clifton Library wall
- Green City Launch
- the old NatWest Building on Blackboy Hill development and the Bristol China Company
- delivery lorries to Tesco and Somerfield’s
- lighting and lamp-post design
- overhanging vegetation
- lawless cyclists
- obtrusive bill-boards
- café tables and chairs on pavements
- the plethora of estate agents’ boards and their late removal
- the Zoo residents’ group and the Bristol Parks Forum
Parking and TrafficAfter a legal delay, officers promised to allow two hour parking in central Clifton before the end of 2004. It has been implemented in places. We are still opposed in principle to applications to turn front gardens into hardstanding, off-street parking, now more so for its effect on flooding. We welcome the developing controls on parking and riding on the Downs. We encourage the City Council to establish a promised re-assessment of yellow lines etc in the area and to stop cars parking dangerously on lowered pavements. The ward police officer has helped in the reinstatement of cycling police in our area and is strict in fining law-breaking cyclists. Regular discussions are held with the area Police Officer at his stand in Clifton Down Shopping Centre. We have successfully requested better signing on bus routes 8 and 9 and are keen on a bus from the Park and Ride venues. We have expressed concern about double parking in The Promenade by Engineers’ House.
Local MattersThe Committee has not been idle. In addition to achievements previously documented.
- A commemorative plaque was unveiled to Thomas Guppy at Berkeley Square by Adam Hart-Davis.
- Radio Bristol expressed interest in our possible commemoration of Edward St. Daniel VC.
- We gave advice to Judy King of Farmers’ Markets about possible sites in our area.
- The project to pedestrianize Boyce’s Avenue and King’s Road has been put persuasively to traders and the Planning Department.
- We hope to restore the fountain by Victoria Square and complete the painting of the railings and gate in St Andrew’s churchyard
- We are still lobbying the City Council about several unsightly aspects of the unfinished Victoria Square development e.g. some crude paving, wrong placing of alighting platforms, cycle racks, unemptied bins and seats and screening for the waste bins as well as planting.
- The prevalence of graffiti and illegally posted bills is a national problem; we are investigating ways of tackling it and appreciate the City Council’s actions.
- Developments such as the Observatory, Bristol University’s plans which might move the Students’ Union activity to Redland, the large-scale Avon Gorge Hotel project and mobile phone companies’ applications to erect antennae such as by Litfield House are under continued scrutiny.
- The steady restoration of The Rocks Railway is actively supported by CHIS.
- The competition for a poem to celebrate the Centenary of Sir John Betjeman’s birth was a success with varied and interesting entries. The joint winners were J.M. Goulden and J. Killingback.
- We agreed to the request by the Leader of Bristol City Council that we monitor and report on responses by members to the new waste collection scheme.
- The website continues to expand in range of information and audience at home and abroad – a reward for the work of Maggie Shapland and the original webmasters, Jon and Sue Goodland.