CHIS Newsletter March 2021

FROM THE CHAIRMAN. Great was the delight expressed by many residents when the induced green slum of the former WHS and Clifton on Ice site was demolished a few weeks ago, to reveal a charming vista: the stylish Kings Road terrace gleaming in the winter sun. How lovely it would be if a philanthropic local benefactor of the Wills tradition were to rescue the view by turning the revealed space into a public place (of the sort advocated by CHIS recently) we dreamed! We print Peter Stanley’s photographs as a poignant reminder of what will be lost by the shameful Massive Mediocrity in the process of being constructed by THAT Group, in the teeth of unprecedented protest by residents. Fateful as was the encouragement of such an edifice by our elected representatives, alarm bells are ringing as plans are unfolding for what is probably the largest private development in Clifton, Hotwells and Cliftonwood since the War. THE BRISTOL ZOO WEST CAR PARK Everyone is saddened by the Zoo’s commercial and ethical dilemma and recognises the duty of the Director, Dr. Justin Morris, to recommend action to the Trustees. We welcome his openness in circulating draft proposals, conducting question and answer sessions via Zoom meetings and engaging in direct discussions with the CHIS Chairman. The legal obligation laid upon trustees of a charity is to maximise financial value in a transaction. In addition the Director has emphasised a parallel commitment, to act as long-standing neighbours (since 1836!) by a promise to enhance rather than despoil this, the handsomest suburb in Europe. The fate of the WHS Site is a terrible warning of what not to do. In later pages we present CHIS’s considered responses to the Zoo’s initial consultation document, produced on behalf of our Planning Group by Christopher Jefferies and the society’s architectural consultant, Michael Woodman-Smith. We believe them to be a positive approach. Secondly, a statement by Dr. Morris of the Zoo’s case. Very many residents are actively concerned to bring about a desirable development. An increase in our membership shows the same anxiety. We are assured that the West Car Park Development will not be cited as a precedent for subsequent building on the main Zoo site, which has worried residents even so. Everyone can help, please, by keeping a vigilant eye on the process and making their views known to the Zoo and Councillors. CLOUDS ON THE PLANNING HORIZON. A suggested nation-wide relaxation of planning approval for changes of use, post-Covid, for shops and offices is an interesting response but will be more than alarming if Conservation Areas do not receive specific protection. Those radical plans for the Western Harbour/ Cumberland Basin’s future have gone quiet. Meanwhile, BCC is organising necessary engineering and maintenance work on the bridges and related structures. RATHER MORE RUSTIC. St. Andrew’s Churchyard is looking better after extensive clearance by Bristol City Council. It is heartening that the devoted attention to planting and pruning the gardens for two decades led by RoseMary Musgrave (aided by our Millennium Fund) is not to be wasted. Councillor Paula O’Rourke is also to be thanked for undertaking to institute more general and necessary pruning, of overhanging hedges at buildings which are reported to her. Best of all, the correct usage, Lime Walk, should be reinstated and Birdcage Walk be re-established in its rightful place, Victoria Square. We may take practical steps to encourage that.
The Children’s Playground near the Suspension Bridge has from the start been popular and still more so in these constrained days. So, our first specially commissioned and intricately decorated seat is appreciated but less happily now that it and the play facilities stand in a quagmire. Parents are urged to seek action by the Council to remedy the problem. We would also remind the Council of their duty to keep this special seat in good preservation.

Finally, I think that whilst members will agree with much of the above, the following seem to come under the Marmite heading, locally and nationally, attitudes to: Joggers, Cyclists, E-Scooters (NB the relevant article on a later page ). Nine hundred years on, an anonymous poet’s spirit may cheer us today: Sumer is icumen in, Lhude sing cuccu! Groweth sed, and bloweth med And Springsteen the wude nu-sing cuccu! Brian Worthington.