Visitors to Bristol in 2015 will find a “unique open space” in the European Green Capital covered by parked cars, unless councillors reject a request by Bristol Zoo for overflow parking.
Bristol Green Party will object an application by Bristol Zoo Gardens for permission to continue overflow parking on the Downs, off Ladies Mile, at a Central Planning meeting on July 24th.
The Zoo started parking on the Downs in the 1969, initially for just 6 days a year. In 1997 it was recognised that planning permission was required, and a series of temporary permissions were granted to give the Zoo time to develop other solutions.
Councillors on successive planning committees have recognised that permanent use of the land off Ladies Mile as a car park would be unacceptable.
The Zoo’s latest temporary parking permission expired after three years in May 2013. However the Zoo has now applied for permission to park 700 cars on 60 days a year for another five years.
The Green Party has joined a host of other groups in objecting to the renewal, on the grounds that the Downs are guaranteed by Act of Parliament for the recreation of the citizens of Bristol, and that use as a car park interferes with that enjoyment and causes environmental damage.
Opposition includes the national Open Spaces Society, Bristol Ramblers, Avon Wildlife Trust, Bristol Civic Society, Bristol and Gloucestershire Archaeological Society, Friends of the Downs and Avon Gorge, Clifton and Hotwells Improvement Society, and Redland and Cotham Amenity Society.
The Central Planning meeting is entirely public, and it is expected that various objectors listed will attend the meeting to voice their opposition to the plans.
The Deputy Leader of the Bristol Green Party and former Mayoral candidate, Daniella Radice, said:
“Surely it is inconceivable that visitors attracted to the city by its status as European Green Capital, and hearing about this fantastic and unique Open Space, should arrive in 2015 to find it covered in cars.”
“We all have great affection for the Zoo, and that is why successive planning committees have bent over backwards to help them. But it has become clear that the Zoo has no strategy to solve its parking issues other than to continue to rely on the sympathy of the council. No other business would receive such consideration. This has been going on for over 40 years and it is now obvious that they will make no serious attempt to find a sustainable solution until an application is flatly refused.”
The councillors on the Central Planning Committee are: Peter Abraham (Stoke Bishop, Con), Margaret Hickman (Lawrence Hill, Lab), Mahmadur Khan (Eastville, Lab), Jeff Lovell (Filwood, Lab), Charles Lucas (Clifton, Con), Glenise Morgan (Henleaze, LD), Derek Pickup (Hartcliffe, Lab), Robert Telford (Ashley, Green), and Alex Woodman (Cabot, LD).
To show your opposition to the plans, please contact the above councillors.
Photo Above: Green Party member and secretary for Friends of Bristol Suburban Railways Julie Boston representing Open Spaces Society and the 2013 Green candidate for Clifton East Simon Bennett
Main Photo: Green councillor for Bishopston and Deputy Leader of Bristol Green Party Daniella Radice and Simon Bennett