CHIS Newsletter, March 2016

Letter from the Chairman

A plaque to Eveline Dew Blacker (one of the first female architects) will be unveiled at 20 Victoria Square at 11.00 a.m. on Saturday 21st May.

At the charming tea party of the Lord Mayor and Consort, Linda Edwards and I again raised the ever-pressing matter of No Cycling notices on the Downs. The extant signs on Christchurch Green have been repainted (to some effect) but there aren’t enough such signs to warn cyclists of their obligations.

The situation on the Downs between Ladies Mile and Upper Belgrave Road is alarming. Police say that the tarmac footpath (and probably others) is now being used more and more by cyclists who commute to work. Too many are aggressive, expecting pedestrians to step onto the grass. Abuse, spitting, menace and physical threats, once with a knife, are reported. Such violent behaviour is not confined to that area; quite near to the junction with Bridge Valley Road one member of the committee was punched to the ground after remonstrating with a cyclist who had nearly driven into him.

Would that SUSTRANS enforced one of its stated aims, to further the interests of pedestrians. The Downs Committee is reviewing the challenge. To introduce joint cycling/pedestrian ways would be a disaster. The interest of pedestrians and cyclists are quite different – as soon designate tracks for joint use by pedestrians and cars.

Suspension Bridge Toll Booths

After a number of informative discussions with interested groups, the Trust’s architects have settled on designs for the replacement of the Clifton-side structures (cramped and inadequate as they have become). Of the six options these were the ones favoured by most groups. The Somerset-side are Brunel’s and their exteriors are listed.

Planning Matters

The former W.H. Smith site on Clifton Down Road is an ever-more resented blot on Clifton Village – all the more egregious since the grounds of the refurbished Mortimer House nearby are being fully restored. Pressure from many quarters produces no helpful response. Stop-gap remedies include the removal of the ‘Clifton on Ice’ boardings and imaginative painting of the ugly black fencing – all of this adjacent to a bus-stop used by visitors! More details are given later in the Newsletter.

A wish-List for Bristol City Council regarding the conservation area:

  • Enforce the cutting back of overhanging hedges and trees.

  • Ensure that materials used for covering gardens are permeable, not just for parking spaces.

  • Free the pavements of green, black and brown bins by making occupants remove them. Alma Vile Road remains an unreformed shocker. Recently Richmond Terrace and Clifton Road corner saw welcome action by BCC.

  • Inform all residents of the obligations that result from living in a conservation area. Some people offend without realising. Estate agents could help too.

  • Investigate the apparent misuse of Customer Parking

  • Permits by firms that issue these to employees.


The restoration of Clifton Hill House Gardens is forging ahead, aided by a Lottery Heritage Fund grant, for which application CHIS gave support. No doubt we shall be able to see further progress in June at the weekend of the third ‘Green Squares and Secret Gardens’, which is arranged by a group of CHIS members.

Cheeringly, Spring in St Andrew’s Churchyard is coming out daily. The tree-planting in Victoria Square is complete and more trees are promised in the grounds opposite the Students’ Union, though not big enough to hide it.

Work on Beacon House (formerly Habitat) goes on apace, with the promise of a much to be desired improved forecourt. The Life Sciences Building Gardens (commended by CHIS’s Award for Excellence) are to have a public work of art.

Brian Worthington