Every quarter there is a Neighbourhood Forum meeting open to all residents of St George to bring local issues to council officers and police. An action tracker is kept of the issues raised at the each meeting and a record kept of what has been done about them.
Philip Bird, champion of the Communications subgroup, chaired this meeting.
Different speakers are invited to the meeting to talk about issues that are of interest to the neighbourhood. These were:
i) Libraries – Denis Wise
Denis is the Library Development Officer for east Bristol. He described how a swipe card system will be introduced to St George Library to allow access to the library outside opening hours.
Work needs to be done to St George Library before the swipe card system can be introduced, this will include CCTV, alarms, lights, doors and locks, reviewing fire exits and supplying an emergency phone. Care will be taken to make sure the library in safe for all users, including those with special needs.
People who wish to use the library outside opening hours will need to request the service and will be given a second pin code to use with their card. They will be given a short training session on how to access the library.
When using the library in this way people will need to use their card to carry out the services that are already available at the library, such as returning or borrowing books. Staff will be happy to show people how to use these services if they are not already using them.
Access will NOT be 24 hours a day. Shutters will be raised and closed at advertised times. If people ignore signals that the library is closing alarms will sound and security will be alerted.
ii) Neighbourhood Charter – Gill Calloway
Gill announced the publication of the Neighbourhood Charter, defining the services provided by Bristol City Council and including expected response times for certain services.
Gill is the Neighbourhood Officer for St George and announced that she now has a Facebook page for her role.
She encouraged everyone to be involved in St George in Bloom and asked for word to be spread about the free training available in St George Library on Thursday 19th May.
iii) Bruce Yates – Local resident
Bruce is interested in setting up a planning sub-group within the St George Neighbourhood Forum. He invited people to contact him during the break at the meeting. If you are interested in contacting Bruce about this please contact Abdulrazak Dahir on 0117 903 6409 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
iv) Neighbourhood Policing Team – Matt Clement
Matt reported an increase in theft from sheds. The team do have a supply of alarmed padlocks, contact the Neighbourhood Policing team on 101 if you would like to have one. There is a news item on this subject on the Avon and Somerset Police website which includes advice about securing your shed.
Compared with last year there have been increases in shoplifting, the Co-op on Church Rd has been experiencing this issue. Violence against persons has increase, as has theft from motor vehicle rising from 134 to 244, an increase of 82%. 25 bicycles have been stolen this year. These figures not only include St George but also Fishponds.
Matt reminded the audience about the Impact scheme where released offenders are managed and monitored. More about Impact here.
He also gave advice about home security including not making your possessions visible from outside your home and the type of locks and their positioning that works best. There is more information on the police website.
The meeting then broke up for 25 minutes so different issues could be raised at tables for different subjects around the hall.
Lack of volunteers supporting Rodney Rd Open space. John Hooper would very much like to establish a friends group for the site.
Chicane and fencing on Rodney Rd.
A promised community noticeboard has not yet been installed in Rodney Rd Open space
Rubbish near Freshland Rd.
Fence on side of Freshland Way.
b) Traffic and Transport
Issues were raised about the traffic lights at the junction of Chalks Rd and Blackswarth Rd.
Parking issues related to new flats. More double yellow lines were requested.
Vehicles for sale on double yellow lines. For guidance on who deals with which parking issues please read this. Gill Calloway reported that much good work had been done by Wayne Dewfall in Parking Services involving monitoring and clamping.
Drug dealing on Soaphouse Lane (behind Howard Road).
After the break 3 of 4 newly elected councillors spoke briefly about their aims and views. Fabian Breckels, councillor for St George Trooper Hill, was unable to be present due to work commitments.
a) Steve Pearce – St George Central
He will continue to do case work and will concentrate on extending the awareness of local people of the St George Neighbourhood Partnership.
b) Asher Craig – St George West
Asher spoke of the need to bring in all residents including those without internet access. There is a need for published information. She committed to acknowledging the receipt of issues within 24 hours. She also spoke of changing Neighbourhood Partnerships to make them more open and transparent.
c) Nicola Beech – St George Central
Nicola spoke of the way councillors will be working as a team for St George as a whole and not being parochial about their wards.
Some discusion was then led by Philip Bird about setting local Policing Priorities
Feedback from the audience was very clearly for addressing parking issues associated with local schools.
Diane Jones raised the issue that she was campaigning for the St George Neighbourhood Partnership to join the Bristol Walking Alliance.
Everyone was reminded that the next Traffic and Transport Subgroup meeting is next Tuesday, www.stgeorgenp.org.uk/meetings, a good venue to discuss parking issues and solutions.
The action tracker will be published here soon to show how the previous period’s issues were addressed.