I am Bristol born and bred, married with two daughters and live in Southville, which I love because it is such a strong and vibrant community. I used to be a commercial lawyer so I understand the business world but I shudder at the economic and social inequality I see in Bristol.
One of my key priorities is supporting local businesses. I co-founded the Bristol Pound to help support Bristol businesses and supply chains by encouraging people to ‘shop local’. It has been a huge success and has supported 25 other areas to launch similar schemes. I’m particularly proud that the Bristol Pound pays the living wage. All businesses in the city should do the same by default, and I’ve been working at City Hall to try to ensure factors like this are part of all the Council’s spending decisions.
As traffic and air pollution become rapidly worse in this city it’s clear to me that proper cycling networks and good public transport are vital for Bristol. All Bristolians should be able to travel by public transport that is frequent, affordable, integrated and reliable. Many local streets in Southville are dangerously clogged with parked cars and I’ve been challenging this administration over its refusal to take action on this. As a Bristol City fan I’ve also been lobbying for the park and ride at Ashton Gate to be open for football matches. It’s ridiculous that the biggest car park in South Bristol is closed during game days and this causes a parking nightmare for everyone else in the area.
Bristol is in the grip of a housing crisis and in my work at the council I’ve pushed to make it harder for big housing developers to weasel out of building affordable housing, by making viability assessments public. There’s still a long way to go however and we need to see much higher levels of social and affordable housing built in this city. One of the reasons I’m concerned about the large housing development at Bedminster Green – as are many local residents – is that it has quite low levels of social housing. It is also important that new housing is as energy efficient as possible – if not we’re ‘building in’ climate failure for the future. Ideally, I’d like to see the council undertake an ambitious, large-scale program of retro-fitting housing for more insulation and better energy efficiency. More jobs, lower bills, warmer houses, less carbon – what’s not to like!
You can follow me on twitter at @southvillesteve