There’s a nice story over on the Green Bristol Blog that’s discovered the city council is quietly negotiating a sell off of a strip of land on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path at Greenbank to mystery property developers, Square Peg, for a speculative housing development.
This news comes just six months after the introduction of the controversial ‘Bristol Parks and Green Spaces Strategy’, an attempt by the Labour Council to raise cash for park improvements through the sale of land of – what they call – “low recreational value”.
So have some council officers decided on our behalf that land around the Railway Path now has a “low recreational value”?
Let’s hope not for their sakes, as the strategy they’re supposed to be working to – that’s been very clearly set out for them by their elected bosses in a lovely glossy booklet (pdf) – sees it slightly differently.
For starters, on page 28 of this brand spanking new strategy we find that cycleways and greenways, including the Bristol and Bath Railway Path – which is even named in the document – are included.
Then page 44 assures us:
“This strategy document is not the end of the decision making process or to community involvement in what happens at a local level. We will develop “Area Green Space Plans ” in consultation with local people and ward councillors, making specific proposals to improve quality and facilities and provide the parks people need in their local area …
… Part of the analysis for producing Area Green Space Plans will be an assessment of value of those spaces identified as candidates for change of use or disposal.”
So where the hell is the “Area Green Space Plan” for this section of the Railway Path, which seems to have been made a prime “candidate for change of use or disposal”?
Surely senior city council officers wouldn’t be engaging in a free-for-all sale of bits of our city’s park land to friendly local developers and ignoring our democratically elected representatives’ written instructions would they?