Bristol Green Party have re-selected incumbent Councillor Ani Stafford-Townsend, and selected current Ashley ward Councillor Rob Telford, as its prospective Council candidates for Central.
Currently known as Cabot, the ward was one of Bristol Green Party's most impressive gains in the May 2015 elections. Ani Stafford-Townsend won the ward with 38% of the vote, unseating then incumbent Liberal Democrat Alex Woodman, who slipped to 3rd. Ani also went on to take over from Alex as Chair for Development & Control Committee B.
Cabot was considered a Liberal Democrat stronghold, having been consistently held by the Party ever since George Ferguson first won it as a Liberal in 1973. The Greens will be looking to retain their 1,200 majority.
Since becoming Cabot Councillor in May, Ani has established a regular surgery in Waring, Underdown & Francombe House in Redcliffe , and is working with residents to establish a youth club in the area. Social and affordable housing provision are issues Ani is keen to continue working on. In particular, Ani is pushing the Council to better enforce its policy of new developments having a minimum of 40% affordable housing.
Homelessness is a major issue in the centre, and Ani has been working with Council agencies on what remains a challenging area. Especially so as Tory cuts put more people at risk of homelessness, whilst making it harder to get people off the streets again.
Boundary changes coming into effect in May 2016 will transform Cabot into Central, with changes including: Spike Island, Harbourside, and some of the Brandon Hill area becoming part of a new ward called Harbourside & Hotwells; Kingsdown becoming part of Cotham; and the Lawrence Hill side of Redcliffe coming into Central.
Ani Stafford-Townsend, current Councillor for the ward and local independent business owner, said, "Cabot is a huge and varied ward, and this will remain the case when it becomes Central in May. I have been relishing the challenge of getting to grips with the issues. It's very strange being up for election again so soon with the move to all-out Council elections. I'm eager to be re-elected so I can settle into four years of supporting residents, and in particular want to make real progress with homelessness and housing in the ward".
Rob Telford, current Ashley Councillor and Green Group Leader, said, "I'm really looking forward to campaigning in Central ward. I will be actively seeking to make the city centre as traffic-free as possible. This will lead to improvements in air quality, as well as helping small businesses to attract and keep customers. I want to increase the cultural offer of the centre, and encourage visitors".
Tony Dyer, Green Party Mayoral Candidate, said, "Central ward's location at the heart of Bristol means it faces particularly difficult challenges, especially in transport and housing. Since their respective elections Rob and Ani have demonstrated their willingness to take on demanding roles within the council to help tackle the difficult problems facing our city centre as well as wider Bristol. I particularly look forward to working with Rob and Ani to tackle traffic congestion and homelessness".
 see photo - (from left to right) Ani Stafford-Townsend, Tony Dyer, and Rob Telford outside Waring, Underdown & Francombe House