Land in Bristol worth fighting for!

Tony Gosling tony at
Thu Feb 7 14:32:56 GMT 2002

Plans to build on Bristol allotments
Thursday 7th February 2002, 1100 GMT 

Plans to build on Bristol allotments

The current hospital at Barrow Gurney is becoming too old.

Plans to build a psychiatric hospital near homes in Knowle are to be fought
in the High Court. A proposed new psychiatric unit has angered many in the
area. The Knowle Open Spaces Action Committee now has a petition of 200
signatures against the scheme. A replacement is needed for Barrow Hospital
in Barrow Gurney. But campaigners say building the new unit in Brislington
is too close to a primary school. Barrow Hospital in North Somerset is
ageing and the hospital trust wants to move it to Brislington, in the south
of Bristol. The mental health charity MIND also argues the site would be
too noisy for patients, as it is close to a busy road.

The proposed area is rich with wildlife. "It's a very rich wildlife site
and there has been a very strong protest against an increase volume of
traffic," said Dennis Stuckey, the chairman of the local protest group.
"Patients will not get the seclusion they get at the 150 acres site."
Opponents argue that there is enough space for the development at the
existing hospital, which is run by the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health
Partnerships NHS Trust. Protesters have accused Bristol City Council and
the health authority of putting commercial interests over social and
ecological implications.

 The Knowle Open Spaces Action Committee 

19 November 2001 - Allotment Site a Vital Green Lung The Avon Wildlife
Trust strongly opposes the planned development on the former Callington
Road Allotment site in Brislington. Jon Gething is the Trust's Director:
"The allotment site is a vital lung in a densely developed part of the city
which has few such open spaces for the local residents to enjoy. It also
provides refuge for a wide range of wildlife, from breeding birds, through
bats, badgers and slow-worms to rare plants and the butterflies and other
insects that depend on them." The area is designated as a Site of Nature
Conservation Interest (SNCI), which is protected under Policy NE5 of the
Bristol Local Plan. The overall impression of the site, despite its urban
setting, is of a calm rural hillside where people walk and children play.
It is a valuable green space for the local community. Angela Stuckey, of
the Knowle Open Spaces Action Committee lives nearby: "It's a wonderful

We have a list of 38 species of birds using the site and another 8
overhead. We've recorded 10 different butterflies and very large numbers of
slowworms, then there are the badgers, bats and deer. The plant list is
impressive with wild parsnip and smooth tare, small teasel and lady's
bedstraw - an indicator of ancient meadow. All this is far to valuable to
destroy. Please leave it alone." Jon Gething again: "There are blackcap and
whitethroat, song thrush and woodpeckers nesting in spring and early
summer. In winter, the redwings and fieldfare come to feed. There are rare
plants which attract many insects and the birds and bats that feed on them.
There is even a very rare moth which is not known from any other site in
the southwest." The proposed development would destroy half the SNCI and
damage the overall wildlife value of this site severely. The damage should
not be seen in isolation, land to the south is designated as a 'wildlife
corridor' under the Bristol Local Plan and is protected by Policy NE7. The
Local Plan declares "the fragmentation of good wildlife habitats through
the loss or reduction of individual sites, particularly as a result of
development, is a major problem for nature conservation." 

For further info. ring Mary Woods on 0117 917 7270

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