Bristol’s Green Councillors, now the largest group on the Council, are proposing amendments to the council’s annual budget that would help reduce pressures caused by continued growth. The two amendments would provide funding for calmer and safer streets, upgrading parks and green spaces and develop plans for a liveable neighbourhood in the BS3 area of South Bristol. By making it more convenient and pleasant for people to shop and travel without driving in their local neighbourhoods, the amendments would also help the city reduce its overall carbon emissions.
The budget amendments, proposed by Green Councillors Martin Fodor and Tony Dyer, will be debated and voted on at the Full Council budget meeting on Tuesday 21 February.
Martin Fodor’s amendment seeks to take £4m of unallocated developer contributions (CIL), held in reserve by the Labour administration, and spend it over four years on local street and parks improvements to support neighbourhoods with the pressure of future growth.
Speaking about his amendment, Councillor Fodor said:
“As the city grows we need to make its streets and parks fit for the future. This amendment uses funds that have been sitting unspent and unallocated for years, to invest in helping neighbourhoods cope with the extra demands, people and vehicles. For too long there’s been a shortage of investment in local neighbourhoods around Bristol which are under pressure from development, while the Labour administration has continued to accumulate the bulk of these funds in a large centrally held pot.
“The impact of development is unequal and this funding can help Bristol’s communities cope with the pressures of growth. In our parks this could be used to make them more accessible, add play equipment, drinking fountains, toilets or facilities for traders, or improve and maintain paths as they get busier.”
“Investments in local streets would help make them safer and reduce the impact of more traffic, improving wellbeing by funding improvements like crossings, safe cycle storage, and planting new trees to provide shade and flood relief.”
Southville Councillor Tony Dyer’s amendment would use unallocated transport improvement funds to develop a plan for a liveable neighbourhood in South Bristol. WECA granted Bristol Council £10m for two liveable neighbourhoods over a year ago but so far just one is being developed, in East Bristol – Councillor Dyer’s amendment would use £800K of the funds to draw up a plan and business case for a liveable neighbourhood for the BS3 area of South Bristol, which would then be delivered using funding from local developer contributions and other transport related funds.
Speaking about his amendment, Tony said:
“In January 2022 WECA allocated £10m to Bristol for two liveable neighbourhoods. However the Labour administration have only brought forward plans for one, and used most of the remaining money for relatively low level street changes instead. This amendment would use remaining funds – money not allocated to anything else – to help develop a liveable neighbourhood as originally intended in South Bristol, in the BS3 area also sometimes called Greater Bedminster.
“Greater Bedminster is just outside the Clean Air Zone, has a key strategic route (the A38), and over the next 10 to 20 years this part of Bristol will see some of the highest levels of development anywhere in the city. In my own ward of Southville the number of homes is expected to almost double. With limited street space, parking and traffic are already problems for many residents here – so work needs to start soon to support both existing communities and future residents.”
Liveable Neighbourhoods, very similar to the ‘Low Traffic Neighbourhoods’ being developed by many councils in the UK, are areas of a city designed to be people-centred and support walking and cycling, and reduce residential streets being used as through roads by commuter traffic. (see notes for more)
Councillor Dyer added,
“Local people have been asking for action on traffic and parking for some years now. By developing a liveable neighbourhood in South Bristol as originally planned, we can deliver streets that are safe, accessible and pleasant places to be, boost the local economy, and improve people’s health and quality of life, reducing air pollution and traffic incidents. By making it easier to walk and cycle a liveable neighbourhood here could also reduce traffic in other parts of Bristol.
“This is a great opportunity to deliver changes that are desperately needed in South Bristol at no extra cost – we really need to just get on with it!”