Friends of Horfield Common Proud to be YIMBY's!January 18th, 2011
This isn’t NIMBY-ism; this is “YIMBY-ISM” – “Yes! In My Back Yard” – access to green and open spaces which can be enjoyed by all members of the local and wider community.
An application to register Wellington Hill Playing Field as a Village Green is currently being considered by Bristol City Council. This was submitted in response to the proposal to sell the Playing field for development through the recent Area Green Space Plans (AGSP) and Site Allocations Management and Development Consultation processes which were vehemently opposed by local people, youth and sports groups and the wider community in the area.
It is clear that Wellington Hill Playing Field meets all of the criteria to be awarded Village Green status, and its importance as a crucial open space for the local community in Horfield has been recognised through the Area Green Space Consultation process. More than 1,000 residents opposed the sale of the field and responded to the consultation to demonstrate that the field was used extensively by a broad-range of different individuals, organisations and the wider community, in marked contrast to the statements made in the AGSP proposals by Council Officers which stated that the field was ‘little used other than by dog walkers.’
In response to the threat of the loss of the field, in addition to writing to the Council to object to the sale, more than 250 local residents completed detailed evidence questionnaires which demonstrated that the use of the field was extensive, had been longstanding – since prior to the second world war – and that it was used far in excess of what was being recognised through the Area Green Space Plan documents.
Bristol City Council?s Cabinet recognised the inaccuracy of the AGSP information in relation to this site (which was one of 62 green and open spaces being proposed for sale in Bristol at the culmination of a 5-year Parks and Green Spaces Strategy project that had included members from all political parties working together on it, and which was supported in principle by Bristol Parks Forum; a group set up to act as a voice for the open spaces and parks groups across the city). The strategy has been the focus of significant debate in the local press, Council meetings and in local communities since publication of the AGSP proposals in Summer 2010.
Whilst more than 15,000 people in Bristol responded to the AGSP consultation – many of whom oppose the proposals to sell any green spaces in the city – Wellington Hill Playing Field is one of several of these 62 sites which specifically elicited a significant response from local people, and this has been recognised through the consultation process by its withdrawal from the list of sites which will be disposed of through this plan.
In an interview on ITV local news on October 29th 2010, Councillor Gary Hopkins, Executive Member for Strategic Transport, Waste and Targeted Improvement who led the AGSP project for the Liberal Democrat Executive described visiting the Wellington Hill Playing Field site and meeting with local residents, including Geoff Stock, Leader of Horfield Young Peopl’s Club, Kay Thomson, Chair of Friends of Horfield Common, and members of Rozel Neighbourhood Watch and the Ardagh Bowling and Sports Club who all explained that the use of the field had been vastly underestimated by Council Officers in the Area Green Space Plan proposals. Councillor Hopkins stated in the ITV interview this appeared to be because of building work taking place on an adjacent site which meant that access to the field was reduced and that goal posts from the well-used football pitch on the field had been removed to enable access across a temporary road; the field was also used extensively by youth groups after school hours and at the weekends, including 62nd Bristol Scouts, which did not appear to have been registered through the AGSP process.
Whilst the threat of losing Wellington Hill Playing Field as a space for use by all has been staved off for now – it is possible that with a change of council policy in the future, or a further economic crisis – it could be threatened again. The current Council Cabinet have recognised how important this field is to local people, groups, families and the wider community and achieving Village Green Status will ensure that it is protected for use by all into the future. This application is not about a change of use; it is the most straightforward way of recognising the value that the field has for local people now, has had historically and will have for future generations. Achieving Village Green Status for Wellington Hill Playing Field is a way to ensure that the importance of this open space is formally recognised so that the field will remain accessible and available for use by all into the future.
To support the campaign please e-mail your local Councillor and ask them to support this application and also download a copy of the poster and petition from the FOHC website downloads page and add your voice to the campaign. For further information regarding the Village Green Application and other FOHC campaigns, please visit their comprehensive website –www.friendsofhorfieldcommon.comTags: AGSP, Area Green Space Plans, FOHC, Friends of Horfield Common, Village Green Status, Wellington Hill Playing Field Back to news