What is the best use of Temple Island, should we build an arena there or are the alternatives more appealing? This is the question that Mayor Marvin Rees proposes to bring to September’s cabinet meeting with a recommendation.
When this question is being addressed we would expect to see the term ‘best’ encompass social, cultural and environmental considerations as well as pure economic and employment considerations.
However, looking specifically (and only) at the economic and employment considerations, Marvin has said that the best economic and employment outcome for Bristol could be to not build an arena on Temple Island. He has stated that it is difficult to walk away from the potential alternative uses of Temple Island. As a Green, I'm all for looking at the evidence on the alternative uses of Temple Island, so where do things stand on this at the moment?
Marvin said, “I have to consider the Value for Money Report that says that… a mixed use site including a conference centre, hotel and residential brings an economic output of over 900 million pounds and over 2000 jobs.” Of course, this ‘value for money’ report had no calculations of the social, environmental and other impacts of this decision, let alone the enormous effect that rejecting a city centre arena for an out of town site would have on the city centre economy.
You might get the impression from listening to the Mayor that these numbers had been generated and thoroughly assessed by KPMG, who drafted the report. So where do these numbers come from and can we rely on them? Buried in the detail of the KPMG report it states, “Although alternative use plans for the Temple Island site have not yet been fully developed Bristol City Council has undertaken an initial ‘land use optioneering’ exercise to consider and develop potential options for the site.”
So, at this stage, it’s solely on the basis of the Council’s own obscure calculations that KPMG has noted down that a conference centre, hotel, 460 homes, and shops and offices could be fitted onto the relatively small plot of land where it is planned that the arena will be located.
The council then builds on these assumptions to generate some even more extravagant employment numbers. The council told KPMG that over 1800 full time jobs could result directly from the alternative Temple Island development. While the informal response to this number of jobs on this relatively small plot of land might be, “You must be having a larf!” the equivalent response of the professional services is more restrained: “KPMG has not validated Bristol City Council’s estimates of the direct employment associated with the Temple Island site.”
In other words, the experts engaged by the council have declined to provide professional judgement on the numbers provided by Marvin’s own staff that form the basis of any claims that alternative uses of Temple Island will generate higher employment and economic activity.
So in summary, at this stage, councillors and KPMG have seen no proper alternative use development plans for Temple Island – all we have is numbers from a back of the envelope style ‘land use optioneering’ exercise that has been carried out by Marvin’s staff. Even if accurate, these numbers would be insufficient to support an informed decision as they say nothing about the social, cultural or environmental impacts of the decision the Mayor faces.
Finally, as with the vague assertions made around the Filton arena, these unverified numbers are then being repeatedly requoted and weighed against the statistics for a Temple Meads arena as if they were equally valid. Bristol deserves better than this.
Green Councillors press for WECA to take action on Climate Emergency
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Bristol Councillors give thanks to Green Lord Mayor at final meeting
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Greens back Youth Climate Strike against airport expansion
Caroline Lucas spoke in support of another Youth Climate Strike taking place in Bristol this Friday 24 May, this time protesting the expansion of Bristol Airport.
Bristol Greens call for ban on dangerous pavement parking
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Green Councillor shows flaws in plans for polluting gas plant in heart of Bristol
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European Election Campaign & Hustings
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Bristol Green Group response to Climate Change report
“Both Conservatives and Labour are now talking the talk on climate change, but they need to follow it up in their actions. This is an emergency and it’s not enough to talk about the climate – we have to do something about it."
Council risking deaths and crime with proposed cuts to drugs programme
A Green Councillor has raised concerns about Council proposals to cut prescription services for vulnerable drug users in Bristol
Making Steps Towards Carbon Neutrality
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South West Greens launch ‘re-elect Molly’ European election campaign
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Open letter to EU citizens in Bristol
Leaders of the opposition parties in Bristol joined together today to send an open letter to EU citizens living in Bristol.
Bristol Greens welcome Magid Magid
Green Councillors and candidates in Bristol are today (8 April) hosting Magid Magid, Green Lord Mayor of Sheffield
Green Councillors welcome landlord licensing extension
A cabinet meeting on Tuesday 2 April approved extension of Bristol Council's landlord licensing scheme to 12 wards in Central Bristol. Green Councillor Carla Denyer welcomed the decision.
Green Councillors condemn Mayor’s delay on clean air action
After repeatedly missing air quality deadlines set by the national government, Bristol’s Labour administration has gone back to the drawing board. The Council now expects to submit a final clean air plan a full year after the original deadline.
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Green letter re Brexit shambles
Letter re Brexit-balls
Mayor refuses to come clean on ex-chief executive pay-off
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Did Mayor lie about ex-chief executive pay-off?
Greens councillors will be asking the Labour Mayor next week why the Council’s ex-chief executive received a £196,000 severance package, half of which was discretionary, following a report that confirms their concerns over the process used and it’s lack of transparency.
Mayor must take action on fossil fuel funds
Green Councillors have submitted a motion to next Tuesday’s Full Council meeting (19 March) calling on Bristol’s Labour Mayor to meet with the head of Avon Pension Fund and discuss divestment of funds away from fossil fuel industries within 5 years. Despite a similar Green motion passed in 2015 (1), the Avon Pension Fund continues to hold significant investments in fossil fuel industries. A recent UN study found that resource extraction industries are responsible for half of the world’s carbon emissions and more than 80% of biodiversity loss. (2) Bristol’s branch of local government union UNISON (the second largest union in the UK) also backs the campaign for pension fund divestment.
Bristol Greens back return of student climate strike
Thousands of students are expected to strike over climate action once again this Friday 15 March in Bristol. Green councillors welcomed the news and praised young people for putting the Climate Emergency on the agenda.
Job Advert: [Paid] Campaigns Manager Wanted
The Bristol Green Party is looking for a Campaigns Manager to help elect Sandy Hore-Ruthven as the UK’s first Green Mayor. You will be an experienced campaigns manager and have a commitment to Green values. The role will build the groundwork for an effective campaign for the elections in May 2020. Deadlines for applications is the 21st of March.
Green Group Leader's letter to the Prime Minister
As Bristol’s Labour administration voted through a budget which takes millions from adult social care and children & families services, Eleanor Combley, Leader of the Green Group, wrote to the Prime Minister to demand an end to the “triple whammy of cuts” hitting local authorities.
Green Councillor - Labour incompetence to blame for bin collection delays
Over 200 streets in Bristol were recently impacted by bin and recycling collection delays of as much as two weeks due to the failure of ‘worn-out’ vehicles due to be replaced.
Greens refuse to vote for Labour’s ‘no action’ budget
Bristol Green councillors have abstained from voting for the Labour administration’s budget at the budget council meeting this evening. While Councillors passed successful amendments, they said the budget overall was still not good enough, lacking key action on critical areas and continuing the rollout of cuts to services voted through by Labour in the 2018 budget.
All Green amendments at today's Budget meeting
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Greens: scrap City Hall perks and pay foster carers more
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Greens present budget amendments to create more housing and save money
Green Councillors have proposed measures to Bristol’s budget meeting tomorrow that would create additional council housing and independent housing for adults with social care needs – while saving the council hundreds of thousands of pounds per year.
Fund climate change adaptation, stop fly-tipping and tackle local flooding
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