Tuesday, 20 October 2009
I write on behalf of the members of Malago Women's Institute to object to the proposed superstore development at Ashton Gate stadium (application number: 09/03208/P.
Our organisation objects to the application for the following reasons:
1. The detrimental effect a superstore would have on the local area has already been identified by the assessment made by Bristol City Council planning committee (report DPDS Ref DAM/C10133). The report identified no need for the store, a likely decline in the quality of [Bedminster town] centre in the medium and longer term, leading to decline in the physical condition and attractiveness of the centre. The report also says that the store site offers poor access by walking, cycling and public transport and offers only good access by car (creating traffic, safety and environmental issues), and that any jobs created would be off set by job losses elsewhere, with no evidence of the store boosting economic and physical regeneration.
There are countless examples of areas in which new supermarkets have effectively killed off the local, independent traders – those at the centre of our community that have been so essential in maintaining and stimulating economic growth in much of south Bristol. This cannot be allowed to happen in an area held up by many as a shining example of local high street regeneration, and one with access to plenty of supermarkets already.
2. The potential impact of a superstore at Ashton Gate would have dire environmental consequences for south Bristol. Traffic and congestion would worsen, and the suggested solution of removing bus/cycle lanes on Winterstoke Road to ameliorate a suggested increase of 300 cars at peak time is short-sighted, particularly for the UK's first Cycling City. Increased traffic makes roads less safe for pedestrians, and the route alongside the park is the main route for children attending Ashton Park school. The increase in traffic would also worsen air quality (already an issue), and refrigeration units, delivery lorries and 24-hour lighting would also have an impact on all these areas.
3. The argument for the development as an 'enabling' development is not appropriate, as any suggested benefits of the stadium would create corresponding disadvantages for the local community and retail centre (as outlined above). We do not believe alternative sources of finance cannot be found. If the stadium development cannot be privately financed, it could be argued that the business model is unsound, and therefore sale of the land owned by Bristol City Council would not be in the best interest of its citizens.
4. The outline application does not give enough information with regard to the sustainability of the development. We believe the application does not adhere to Government policy in terms of reducing carbon emissions. If Bristol is set to succeed in its pledge as Green Capital, Bristol City Council must be prepared to insist on developments which support the aspirations to work towards a low carbon future.
The group would like to see a proposal for the site incorporating affordable housing, leisure or sport activities, all of which would benefit the community in significant ways. The WI has a particular interest in environmental sustainability, and Malago WI has developed an environmental policy and action plan setting out its vision for minimising its own environmental impact and exploring ways to support local, sustainable projects. A superstore at Ashton Gate goes against these aims entirely and, as such, is not supported by our organisation.
Monday, 12 October 2009
Malago Women's Institute members pledge to produce a nude calendar if the planning application for a new superstore at Ashton Gate is rejected by the Bristol City Council planning committee on 5 November.
The branch, who welcomed 87 women to their September knitting meeting, feels so strongly about the negative impact a huge supermarket would have on their local area and community that they decided to take a stand.
"We are always being asked when our nude calendar will be on sale," explains Karen Bowers, President, "but always maintained this new WI 'tradition' was not for us. However, when our members were asked to consider make their feelings known about the Ashton Gate application in such a public way, they enthusiastically agreed and the calendar suggestion was met with cheers."
The first nude WI calendar was produced by the Rylstone branch in Yorkshire, who sold 202,000 copies of their calendar in aid of Leukemia Research, and went on to be featured in the film and musical 'Calendar Girls'.
Vice president Lottie Storey says "
The detrimental effect a superstore would have on
Likewise, linking the superstore application to that of the stadium is disingenuous. Branch members believe that sale of the land to Tesco in order to 'enable' the stadium development would effectively 'disable' so many aspects of a thriving neighbourhood, and this is too high a price to pay.
Malago Women’s Institute is set to celebrate its first birthday in October, and has grown from a group of 10 founding members to a membership of over 60. Made up of women of all ages, the group includes those who have lived in the area all their lives, as well as members who are new to the city.
The WI has a particular interest in environmental sustainability, and
Notes to editors:
Image credit: Alice Hendy.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for high resolution images.
Branches of the Women's Institute nationwide campaign on matters of local, national and international importance. Current campaigns and projects include: end violence against women, Fairtrade, supporting post offices, climate change, foodwaste, 10/10 carbon challenge.