Every quarter there is a Neighbourhood Forum meeting open to all residents of St George to bring local issues to council officers and police. A list of the issues raised at the previous meeting and what has been done about them is circulated at the meeting.
Different speakers are invited to the meeting to talk about issues that are of interest to the neighbourhood.
For this meeting on Tuesday 12th May, 2015, speakers introduced themselves and their subject and then were available during the breakout session for people to approach individually and find out more.
Matt Jones from Bristol City Council was introduced; Matt is filling in now that John Atkinson has moved on elsewhere in the Council.
Rob Acton Campbell congratulated Cllr Sue Milestone and Cllr Fabian Breckels on being re-elected in St George at the recent local election.
Darren Warr, Local Neighbourhood Beat Team – Crime and Local Policing Update
Darren explained that they have now combined teams with Trinity Road and the City Centre teams. Darren introduced PC Matt Clements who will be the Beat Manager for the St George area from now on. A number of our local PCSOs were also present at the meeting and were available for questions in the breakout session.
Darren reported that there have been 10 more crimes in the St George ward than this time last year although the total number of recorded incidences has reduced slightly. Dwelling burglaries have gone down whilst theft from sheds has increased; items such as mountain bikes are particularly at risk. Darren explained that the Crime Prevention Team will be providing shed security advice. Shop-lifting has slightly increased.
PC Matt Clements (badge number 755) provided an overview of some of the present crime issues in the ward. He explained that St George is not a particularly problematic area compared to some. Recent issues include anti-social behaviour issues with a couple of local residents, including one who likes to go to the toilet in public, and moped riders in off-road areas.
Cllr Ron Stone asked a question about the issue of the caravans presently encamped in St George Park car park. He explained his difficulties in getting hold of someone to deal with the matter when he rang 101. He expressed concern about the removal of the car park barrier going into the car park and about the toilets in St George’s Park being heavily used and becoming very unpleasant. A member of Friends of St George Park explained that the barrier has been removed at the request of the Parks Department so that they can get their vehicles in and out. Darren explained he has been focussing on this issue in the past two days. He confirmed that Travel Liaison Officer from BCC has offered the group an alternative site and that a letter has been served on them but it could take up to two weeks for them to be removed.
Friends of St George Park
asked Darren about how they should ensure that incidents in relation to the lake in St George Park are officially recorded. Darren explained it was important to get a log number from the police and said it was also useful to keep a diary of any anti-social behaviour that has been observed.
Rob Acton-Campbell – Neighbourhood Partnership Updates
Rob explained that the Partnership had been awarded some Green Capital funding towards a Green Map. As part of this, auditing of local walking routes will be undertaken with an emphasis on providing access to green spaces. He explained the Section 106 money and Green Capital money is being used to improve routes through the St George and Greater Fishponds area. The intention is to create a network of walking routes, improving access for people off-road. Groups are presently being asked to prepare bids to do the map and there is a Briefing Paper available for artists (details on the table at the back).
Rob outlined the plans that have been put forward for a cycle through Crews Hole which would run through the bottom of the woods adjacent to Conham Road. This is the section of road where a one-way system was previously put forward. The provision of the cycle route through the woods would enable a continuous off-road cycle route for cyclists between the Bristol Enterprise Zone all the way to Keynsham. If it receives planning permission, the next step will be for Bristol City Council (BCC) to identify potential funding for the route. Phillip Bird said that the application has gone back to the applicant with a number of questions from BCC. Rob explained that John Richfield from BCC will be at the next Traffic and Transport Sub-Group meeting to discuss the cycle route further.
Laura Gosling – Community Speedwatch
Laura explained that a Community Speedwatch Team is now in operation on Crews Hole Road, Troopers Hill Road and on Nags Head Hill. Four volunteers have received training from the police on using speed detection equipment and are regularly monitoring speeds on these routes. If drivers are observed exceeding the speed limit by the team, their registration details are passed onto the police and they will then receive a letter from the police with the aim of educating drivers to reduce their speeds. Repeat offenders may receive a visit from the police and a warning.
If you are interested in becoming a volunteer and/or setting up a team in your part of St George, find more details on the St George NP website or speak to the local policing team.
Grenville Johnson – St George in Bloom
Grenville outlined how George in Bloom was set up in 2013 and how it aims to create a sense of civic pride in our local area by making it more welcoming for residents and visitors. He said research has shown that a cared for street deters crime and anti-social behaviour as well as improving health and well-being.
He explained how residents on Kensington Road created a Community Garden and won an ‘outstanding’ award from the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) South West in Bloom in successive years which led to the formation of St George in Bloom who won the Gold Pennant from RHS South West in Bloom in 2014.
The Kensington Road Residents Association recently applied to the RHS Community Street project for an area needing refurbishment and their application was successful. As a result, a Show Garden of Kensington Road will now be replicated at the Hampton Court Flower Show (30th June to 5th July).
This summer, St George in Bloom will invite residents, streets, shops and other groups to participate in St George in Bloom. Entry is free and more details can be found at http://www.stgeorgeinbloom.org.uk/page3.html. Friday 10th July is the deadline for entries.
Grenville outlined how St George in Bloom is working on an Urban Pollinators project with Bristol University; it aims to encourage people to think about bees and pollinators in their displays.
From Monday 18th May for one week, Grenville’s garden will feature as part of the Chelsea Fringe Festival. See http://www.victorianhousegarden.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/ for more details. Advance booking is required and there is a small fee for entry.
Rob Acton Campbell – The Neighbourhood Plan
Rob explained that the plan sets out the priorities for St George over the next three years; it is on the Neighbourhood Partnership (NP) website to view. He encouraged the audience to get involved with sub-group meetings which cover matters relating to traffic and transport, the environment and health and well-being. Meeting dates are on the NP website.
A communications sub-group is being set up and will meet immediately after the end of the meeting.
The Annual General Meeting of the NP will take place in June, if you would like to get involved please speak to Rob or Matt Jones at the end of the session.
Any other business before break-out sessions
Cllr Ron Stone – concerns about speeding on Whiteway Road and Plummers Hill.
Member of the public also expressed concerns about ‘near misses’ outside of Air Balloon Primary School.
Darren encouraged both to set up a local Community Speedwatch (CSW) group as he said this was the longer term solution to speeding problems in local communities. Darren explained that the police will do speed enforcement based on CSW data. The Mobile Speed Camera van will be deployed at locations where speed has been identified as an issue through CSW data.
Here is the action tracker that shows the issues recorded at the Forum showing some of the actions taken to date.