CHIS Newsletter, December 2017

Letter from the Chairman

This quarterly Newsletter is the regular, admired means of communicating with members to keep them informed about challenges and achievements. In a different way, the monthly Talks and Visits as well as the CHIS website serve members as does the Annual General Meeting. This year’s was devoted entirely to a demonstration of the work which the Committee does all the year round, so it was heartening to welcome a considerable attendance on 24th October in the Apostle Room. Individual committee members spoke of their particular responsibilities, led by the Treasurer, for areas such as Planning, Publicity and Streetscape. The interest and appreciation shown in members’ questions and comments vindicated our decision to dispense with a talk. There would hardly have been time for one, as it turned out!

Four committee members were re-elected for a period of three years: Katherine Croft, RoseMary Musgrave, Roger Snary and Brian Worthington. The Treasurer put flesh on the annual accounts and thanked the auditor, Michael Coombs, for his services and agreement to be re-elected.

As the fiftieth Anniversary of CHIS approaches in April, it was reassuring to witness the devoted work done by the Committee, maintaining aims of CHIS now as over the last five decades.

This year’s Events programme has been completed in style

In August a very popular day-visit to the Twentieth Century art collection in the National Museum of Wales at Cardiff included, after lunch, a tour of Castell Coch, all organized by Linda Edwards.

In September, at the opposite end of the M4, we visited the historically fascinating Charterhouse and restored museum, near the Barbican in the City of London, under the aegis of RoseMary Musgrave.

She later ensured a distinguished November event, with the lecture by Professor Ronald Hutton on “Europe’s Great Witch Hunt”. This completed the trio of addresses to CHIS on his academic study of folk lore, the previous titles being “Fairies” and “Here be dragons”. We were treated to a superb lecture, “pandopic and penetrating” as the London Review of Books said of his book on the subject, with truly disconcerting implications for the present day. Students at Bristol University assess Professor Hutton as a ‘wonderful lecturer’. Our audience heartedly agreed.

Remembrance Service

The service at the St. Andrew’s War Memorial was begun over twelve years ago when the late John Knott discussed the possibility of holding a service with members CHIS who were working in the churchyard. It was agreed that it was an excellent idea and John contacted the British Legion. The area around the War Memorial, overgrown with brambles and undergrowth, was cleared by John, his friends and CHIS. Attendance at the ceremony has increased steadily to 200 or so children and adults from our area, with a full service and Last Post played on a 1916 bugle. The CHIS wreath was again laid by Peter Stanley.

Plaques

On 12th August William Clayfield was commemorated at 12 York Place. The dedication to that remarkable inventor and first Bristol balloonist was expertly made by the wife of one of his descendants to an audience which included fifteen of the family, young and old. Some had been shown Clayfield’s grave in St Andrew’s churchyard the day before by RoseMary Musgrave. Appropriately, Don Cameron, founder of the Balloon Fiesta was able to attend the plaque ceremony.

Speaking of which, we are pleased to find pictures of two of our many Green Plaques in the newly published in paperback Bristol Plaques by Maurice Fells.

Next year in conjunction with Clifton Club, whose 200th year it will be, we shall put up a plaque at Clifton Library, which is where Clifton Club was established, and an information board at the Strangers’ Burial Ground in Lower Clifton Hill. We also intend to erect long-planned information boards near the site of St Andrew’s churchyard to illustrate its appearance and history before the bombing.

Planning

Details of planning and other matters are to be found on later pages but here are some significant examples.

Happily, the imaginative restoration of the Observatory continues, with what we believe are helpful comments from CHIS, residents and BCC to the dedicated owner and developer.

Most equivocally, two major sites in Clifton Village are still under consideration: the former WH Smith site and nearby Mortimer House. The Planning Group has long kept a beady eye on them, so too on the major site of the former St Mary’s Hospital, adjacent to Brandon Hill, In two of the schemes developers have been required by the City planning department to submit a number of revised plans.

Bristol University

The plan to close Tyndall Avenue to motor traffic in favour of a piazza has been viewed sceptically by CHIS, for a number of concerns about practical consequences.

A different aspect of universities’ presence is highlighted by a Landmark Motion carried at Full Bristol City Council:

The Mitigation of University Expansion

It is appropriate to report the above motion, established by a cross-party group and passed unanimously. Details are on the Council’s website. In brief it asks the Mayor:

  1. to seek legislative change, at national level, to cover the loss of funding through students’ exemption from Council Tax.
  2. to work at regional level with the universities to recognize the impact of unbalanced communities on all residents.
  3. at City level to instruct planning officers to develop a bespoke supplementary planning document, based on the UK-wide best practice and current data, for areas hit by growth in student numbers.

Significantly, a motion has just been passed to the effect that Bath planners will give no permission for HMOs (Houses of Multiple Occupation) in an area that already has 10% student occupation. For our area such a provision would be welcome but it might make a ghost town of the City Centre!

Proposed stone bridge over Bridge Valley Road

As CHIS has devoted much time and effort to opposing this scheme, we are dismayed by the Appeal Inspector’s approval of it. We earnestly hope that the Merchant Venturers’ Society accepts our presentation that aesthetic horror would be inflicted on the North end of the magical Promenade and refuses permission for a misplaced project.

To end on a personal note, we must sadly record the death of Anne Hancock, who was a refined, lively and stalwart CHIS committee member for many years.

Brian Worthington