CHIS Newsletter, January 2017

Letter from the Chairman

This year the decade has reached 17 and CHIS will be 49 in April. We look forward to commemorating our half-century in 2018. Some members may recall that celebrations of our Ruby Year included the booklet Forty Years of CHIS and a stylish dinner and reception. The Committee is floating ideas for the Fiftieth events and would appreciate suggestions from members as soon as possible.

CHIS was established by residents who were concerned about various inappropriate plans for the area and early on were outraged by a plan to despoil the Gorge with a high-rise building. Their success in fighting the scheme was the first of many challenges, major and minor. As a result CHIS established itself with a large number of members and acknowledged influence. None of that would have been possible without the untiring work of a succession of committee members.

However, in common with many voluntary societies, as CHIS becomes dependent on a shrinking number of people ready to join the committee, we begin to wonder what are the odds on celebrating another decade, much less another half-century.

All the more welcome, therefore is Peter Stanley, elected as a Trustee at the AGM in October, along with three re-elected members: Gill Blakeman, Linda Edwards and Olwen Laszlo. One Trustee’s place remains unfilled and of course we have space for co-opted members. Please think seriously about this and let the Secretary know of your interest.

An audience of 50 or so attended the AGM on October 25th, to receive a reassuring report by the Treasurer, Roger Snary, on the year’s income and expenditure, followed by the Chairman’s review of highlights of 2016, all detailed in the four Newsletters. There followed the lecture by Richard Bland, former Committee member, on Roads and Ghost Roads on the Downs. This had been requested as a broadening out of his telescoped talk a year ago when four speakers spoke variously about the Downs. The historical and technical details were greatly appreciated. Officers were elected at the subsequent Committee meeting; all four incumbents were re-elected for a year in their respective roles of Chairman, Deputy Chairman, Treasurer and Secretary.

Congratulations to our new committee member who was awarded ‘Her Majesty's Lord-Lieutenant for the City and County of Bristol’s Certificate of Meritorious Service rendered by Peter Stanley with Clifton College Combined Cadet Force’.

You will see that RCAS – our sister society across Whiteladies Road – has awarded us jointly with a Gold Star Award for work done by some of our members who volunteered to help with the restoration work of the Downs Haven.

We had regretfully to replace the December Newsletter with a News Sheet, because of an unusual amount of pressure on the compilers. In the event a number of approving comments were sent to the Editor and we are considering whether or not to make one of the four annual publications a News Sheet.

The talks series was completed with another dazzling lecture by Professor Ronald Hutton on Dragons: fascinating historically and socially. Lucienne Boyce’s informed and at times alarming account of the escalating “civil disobedience” by the Bristol Suffragettes was enlightening.

This year begins in style with Bristol Zoo: one of Clifton’s Crown Jewels by its director, Dr Bryan Carroll on January 17th.

Please see the enclosed card for further topics, including the Spring Lunch on March 11th.

The Royal British Legion service of Remembrance at St Andrew’s churchyard was again well attended. The CHIS wreath was laid by Peter Stanley.

A now regular event, The West Bristol Art Trail, has received CHIS support from its beginning. Each year the interest in it and popularity grow.

Whatever the year major challenges continue, old or new. The WH Smith site, Somerset House in Canynge Road and the proposed stone bridge over Bridge Valley Road are major and highly controversial proposals, which we are vigilantly watching. The coarse bin shelters in the Avon Gorge below the hotel are a blot on the landscape and surely can be improved by the new owners. Clifton College is to instal extensive safety fences around the Grade II listed buildings.

LITTER. Who would not welcome the Mayor’s campaign against fly-posting and litter in Bristol? If only the responsible officials would enforce the policy, most notably by having removed the disgusting rubbish bins in the west end of Alma VILE Road!

TRANSPORT. Intense pressure from residents and councillors has led First Bus to review the No. 9 bus route, connecting Clifton with Whiteladies Road and Redland. Let us hope for a happy outcome.

A member’s idea about a controlled pedestrian crossing at what is now the zebra crossing between Princess Victoria Street and Boyce’s Avenue has produced varied responses. The back-up of traffic in both directions is often considerable. Perhaps a month’s experiment would show how feasible, for motorists and pedestrians, it is.

TREES. We in principle protect trees wherever it makes sense, not being sentimental about decayed older trees. We also help by funding new plantings, the next being eight trees in Westbury Park Road, where a row of chestnuts is dying. It is Durdham Down land so that although technically in BS6, the area seems to be a justified spot for our support.

MEMBERSHIP DUES. We have had to remind a number of members about renewing their annual payment. The Treasurer would be immensely pleased if a Direct Debit could be set up and so make an even Happier New Year for him and CHIS.

Brian Worthington