Bishopston Society plays vital role in community, says MP Thangam

May 05 2016
Bishopston Society plays vital role in community, says MP Thangam

Bishopston Society plays vital role in community, says MP Thangam

By Zuzana Pohloudkova

THE Bishopston Society gave the public the chance to meet their MP during their public meeting on April 15. Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire talked about her first year representing Bristol West and at the beginning of her speech mentioned the importance of the society.

Ms Debbonaire said: “The Bishopston Society means so much for the city. Across Bristol we have a strong community and the society plays very active role in it.”

She also talked about the potential reopening of Ashley Down station and assured residents around the cricket ground that there is no will or need to extend the days of use of the new 45m tall lights.

The Bishopston Society was formed in 2002 with the aim to preserve the spirit of the area and look at small individual applications. When there are bigger developments, residents get into community groups to oppose the plans. Over the years the society has developed a supportive role for those groups of individuals and thanks to its formal status the committee can submit applications on behalf of the community.

Richard Farrow, treasurer of the Bishopston Society, said:

“We can’t do all the things we want with seven members of the committee. We would like to use all the energy out there.

“We want to develop channels to encourage people to get involved. We have the focus, infrastructure, website and the name in the city, and we are ready to help and provide facilities for our community.”

Recently, the society helped Traders and Residents Against Sainsbury’s Horfield (TRASH) to list the Memorial Ground as an Asset of Community Value (ACV). This is an added protection ensuring that if the stadium is put up for sale, eligible community interest groups would have a six week window to put in a bid to purchase their site, and a six month opportunity to raise the money.

During the meeting Jamie Carstairs, Bishopston resident and supporter of TRASH, talked about the uncertainty about the intentions of the new owners. He said: “It is an internationally famous memorial for all the rugby players in Bristol and possibly it can become a national memorial. It is a very important site of remembrance and it should be used for sport and recreation.”

The society holds meetings two or three times a year, free for around 170 members and open for everybody. There is an annual meeting every September and newsletters are published twice a year. The first, from February 2003, updated among other things, on the Bristol North Baths development. A local action group wanted to keep it as a swimming pool.

Representatives of the Bishopston Medical Practice thanked the society for their support in challenging times as they are moving to a temporary site in Nevil Road and are looking for a long term site due to delays with the Bristol North Baths project.

At the end of the night the treasurer Richard Farrow asked the community to join the society and help with promoting the culture and history of the area.

One way local people can get involved is in monitoring the Cumulative Impact Area between the Arches and Ashley Down Road for any new alcohol licences.

The society has spent a huge amount of time and effort over the past few years trying to stem the pressure for more and more late night alcohol outlets on Gloucester Road.

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Photo: Jamie Carstairs from TRASH talking