Community garden: we could relocate it - councillor

November 15 2017
Community garden: we could relocate it - councillor

A South Glos Cabinet councillor has told campaigners that Filton's Community Garden could be 'relocated' if the land was needed for future developments.

A South Glos Cabinet councillor has told campaigners that Filton's Community Garden could be 'relocated' if the land was needed for future developments.

Cllr Colin Hunt said he personally hoped it would not come to that but that he had no option but to recommend the council's Policies, Sites and Places Plan which, if adopted, would lead to most of Elm Park safe from future development – but a significant part of the community garden would be at risk.

He did not go into detail about how or where the relocation would happen.

The Cabinet recommended the PSP Plan to the full council which was sitting as Filtonvoice went to press and was expected to rubber stamp the plan.

Councillors said that the only options were to adopt the policy, which covers some 250 green spaces across South Glos, or reject it.

There were no legal options to make changes for individual areas.

The community garden strip, including 200 trees, the boules court, cycle speedway and orchard, would give the council the chance in future to widen the ring road.

Earlier, campaigners, pictured, made impassioned pleas to save the land.

Chair of the Save Elm Park group Dave Mikkelson said: “Ripping up places like Filton Community Garden is not answer. We’re committed, angry and mobilised and we urge councillors to return to green space designation."

Mr Mikkelson said there had been overwhelming public support in Filton to save the land with around 3,000 people signing a petition. He said the garden, created 2013, had previously been no-go area.

He added that volunteers put in more than 3,000 hours of unpaid work a year.

Local resident Elizabeth Elesden said she had real fears about the levels of pollution which would be caused by widening the road.

She said: "Filton was cut in half when the ring road built. Is it now the intention to turn it into motorway? Residents are infuriated.

Filton town councillor Keith Briffett said traffic in Filton was unsustainable.

He told councillors: "Please put people first, not your jobs."

Campaigner Brian Smith said local people had worked hard to give a positive impact on wellbeing with a huge effort put in by residents and councillors over the years.

South Glos Filton councillor Ian Scott said: "If the buffer zone were to go ahead it would be vandalism on an industrial scale.

"Officers would be damaging a well-loved park. Members from all political parties are supporting the campaign as well as our local MP (Jack Lopresti)."

Cllr Adam Monk said another option would be to take land from the Shield Retail Park car park opposite.

Officers said adoption of PSP will ensure the council is up to date with national planning guidelines.

Cllr Hunt said: "I have sympathy. There is no proposal for any land grab at all. We may never have to and I may hope we don’t. But if a future development needs widening then we will have an option.

"But it would still need to go through planning and a local plan. There are times we must accommodate the car. If we do, we have reassurances the garden will be relocated."

Cllr Hunt rejected the idea consultation was not carried out properly.

Community garden 'could be relocated'