Tonight Rising Up activists continue to occupy the threatened land and trees in Stapleton whilst riding the waves of anticipated eviction! Yesterday afternoon a meeting took place between the Mayor George Ferguson and Director of Place of Bristol City Council Barra Mac Ruairi who stated that that there will be no change to the MetroBus bus-only Junction.
Rising Up activist Daniel Balla states: “We refuse to give in to the political injustices of the consultation and planning process, and cannot sanction the destruction of this immensely valuable land. We strongly feel that local opinions and concern for greater ecological and social sustainability has been ignored and we have been let down by a planning system not fit for purpose.
We also strongly believe that our council are being dictated to by short-term economic pressures – such as legal action by South Gloucestershire Council if Bristol were to change elements of the scheme. This week revealed an increase of £20mto the city-wide project, and these spiralling costs are not worth risking against the loss of our invaluable Green Capital – the valuable agricultural land, wildlife corridor and woodland habitat which make the site unique.”
Through Rising Up we want to show people that taking Direct Action is a valuable and vitally important way to both empower and stand up to unjust power structures and ecological destruction and we call for anyone in Bristol who shares our values and concerns to join us in support.
Rising Up have made several requests, including:-
Instigate an immediate conversation with the West Of England Partnership – including South Glos. Council and request they allow the removal of the MetroBus M32 bus-only junction;
Communicate immediately to the Department of Transport and request that the funding parameters are adapted to allow for a sustainable transport solution that meets real local needs alongside safeguarding growing land and conservation areas, i.e. the removal of the MetroBus M32 bus-only junction.
Redesign the MetroBus NFHP route to remove the M32 Bus-only junction to preserve all the land occupied by the Rising Up Collective;
Investigate the planning process and practices of planning officers, Committee Chair and Director of Planning involved in the NFHP Planning application Committee meeting and subsequent implementation;
Request a covenant on the entire land of Stapleton Allotments and Small-holdings, including the currently occupied land.
 Bristol City Council 2015/16 Budget (revenue and capital budget) and 2015/16 – 2017/18 Medium Term Financial Strategy
We are on high alert for the coming week- anticipating an eviction at any time! Could be in the morning, noon, or next day- we just don’t know! Many folk think tomorrow! People on the ground / in the trees are asking you to
a) Come down and join in – numbers are needed, bailiffs or not!
b) Be on standby for an immediate call out
c) Get ur contacts / friends on board!
All or any of the above!
Though we have peaceful and non violent ways, are happy, friendly and sociable folk – we will not be leaving here quietly or quickly! We need squirrels, badgers and voles, climbers, diggers, lockers & observers! We are watching..we are waiting, we are Rising Up! Come on Bristol..all aboard!
Last night on the land a special night of community togetherness with land & tree activists and local folk. The only negative aspects were the roaring generators & massive flood lights ( 6 in total), flooding the whole of the Conservation area with bright lights and noise, causing the birds to sing all night & surely bemusing the bats, badgers & other wildlife . The harris fencing all around the site is also deemed as in contravention of badger laws and a danger to wildlife Calling any proactive people out there who want to take this on and report Bristol Green Capital Council for their appalling treatment of wildlife please do so asap!
Here is the letter local MP’s and councillors have written to the Mayor Of Bristol who so far has been as helpful as a wet fish, or maybe even less so! He thinks he has done something – but can’t seem to see the difference between a bus only road and a park & ride…
His response is the same (as it has been all along – ( one big advert for MetroBus!) and states very obviously that in depth work into alternatives HAS NOT been done! WHY IS THAT THEN? Surely an assessment including design work, surveys, consultation, economic assessment, safety audit etc should have been done BEFORE this valuable piece of land was chosen to be destroyed!
In relation to Planning conditions and lawful activity – George also fails to address the fact the tree felling was due to start the first week in February – when – IF the work comes under MetroBus NFHP Planning consent – many conditions including 2 – which state that no works INCLUDING SITE CLEARANCE can take place before the condition is met – which it had not been – as admitted by Planning Officers David Grattan and Director of Planning Zoe Willcox.
But hang on – suddenly David Grattan said that the tree works came not under MetroBus consent but under the consent given by the Secretary of State to decommission the allotments…mysteriously there is no evidence of this and consent documentation has no reference to Trees in a Conservation area being cut down…all requests for further evidence has been ignored including a FOI request – deadline now past!
All of the above and even the Councils plan to start the felling around 2 weeks ago was refuted in court by the Councils QC and her solicitors from Green Capital Sponsors Burgess Salmon…
BUT WE KNOW THE TRUTH!
George has also been overheard referring to our precious land in Stapleton as “insignificant”. Well guess it depends what your priorities are!
In regards to a democratic processes – a thought – George was voted in on his “Vision” which included a promise to “scrap” the BRT scheme ( MetroBus) and “Redesign the system of decision making in the city to help citizens and communities have real influence over what happens in their area, allowing for more devolution of power and resources in exchange for a commitment to helping the city achieve its priorities.” .
Possession Order granted (at 5pm after 1.5 days of painful hearings) so the Council can have “the quiet enjoyment” of their property!
The site are preparing for eviction, that could take place this evening or tomorrow morning. Lights have been put up on the allotments next door and could be used tonight.
IF YOU CAN GO DOWN TO THE SITE THIS EVE PLEASE DO OR GO EARLY IN THE MORNING FROM 6am- or BE ON STANDBY! Take food / drink / cameras and warm gear. It is vital that there are people there in numbers. Thanks
Bristol City Council call High Court hearing to claim “Possession of the land” at Stapleton Allotments and Small holdings.
Official papers pinned up near the Rising up Land action site in Stapleton have appeared stating that a High court hearing will take place on Weds 11th February with Bristol City Council claiming possession of the land whilst also accusing “unknown persons” of trespass and damage to property.
The people protecting the land and trees in Stapleton from destruction deny any damage has taken place and that the papers contain other errors. They wish to clarify that they are there principally to
– protect the trees and land from unnecessary and unjustified destruction which could be avoided if Bristol City Council / West of England Partnership chose to redesign the route to take out the M32 MetroBus only road system.
– raise serious concerns and questions over planning processes and potential breach in planning consent and control. Bristol City Council refuse to provide further information about this, including not responding to a Freedom of Information Request, which suggests wrongdoing and mischief.
Rising Up spokesperson states that “The Council and the West Of England Partnership talk about the benefits of MetroBus, however they do not talk about the harm it will cause nor the fact that they could still have a MetroBus route without the hugely damaging M32 Bus only junction. They will not talk about the fact that they have not meaningfully considered alternatives, nor tried to lessen the impact it will have on this immensely valuable piece of land. ( Note to Mayor – please listen when we state yet again that this is not about the Park & Ride!)
Rising Up tree and land activists are not in the wrong here – however the Councils actions are both ethically, environmentally and potentially legally wrong. Their disregard for civic involvement at every level has been appalling. People are here to stand up for the rights of nature and local people as well as insist on adherence to planning law. Rising Up take pride and motivation in knowing that thousands of people are supporting this action”
An amazing day today, so many fantastic people came down to show their support, get stuck in, be informed and enjoy this beautiful land. A day full of creation, construction, good food, songs, conversations and more! Waiting for pics from photographers – will post up asap.
The land and our cause need and thrive from the presence, action and love of good people! Come back/along, bring your friends, even if it is just a few hours, there is so much to be done and fun to be had! You can be a part of this.
Councillor Olly Mead
‘The only time BCC could have stopped it without the threat of legal action was at the August 27th planning meeting. We were told that it could not be amended or have conditions inserted, and there was a lot of bullying of Councillors who attended. Not all Greens are the same, and Martin Fodor voted with myself and Margaret Hickman (both Lab) to reject it. I provided my list of about 12 material planning reasons for rejecting it to the opponents, together with a briefing on how the meeting appeared to be biased, so that they could mount a legal challenge. Councilors were provided with no pictures of what was proposed until the actual day of the meeting, when we were on site visits, briefings, and at the meetings themselves for no less than 11 hours solid. I was shocked by what was proposed, and am glad that I ended up opposing it and speaking against it, but the ability of even councillors to scrutinise it was limited by interested parties higher up the food chain.’
Today hundreds of people in Bristol got the clear message- Redesign MetroBus! With colourful banners, music and a friendly atmosphere meaningful communication flowed. Many people took flyers and asked questions about the issues – which most had either not heard about before or only heard about this week due to our press coverage! Awareness raising aim – well achieved!
Local musician Dave Britton who brings us donuts today brought us the most beautiful song- written the Rising Up protective collective! He has given us copies of the words and even the tonic! Here he sings it for us,
Thanks Dave. We will be singing it this weekend during our weekend of Support & Solidarity.
After the rally some people will come up to the site in Stapleton – there will be food, tea and songs with the folks from the Community Folk Choir.
SOLIDARITY SUNDAY – call out to all those who support us but not been up to the action site to come and join us! Show your support, spend time on the land, find out more about the cause and take part in some interesting activities such as singing, wood work and climbing.
Lastly…THOUGHTFUL FRIDAY yet more donations including a poignant song – to be posted up soon, thermal underwear, worlds best cake ever ( lots of it!), a ton of food from Kebele, an axe and and a haul of parsnips and carrots from an allotment holder who would lose his allotment if the road went through! We are eating from some if the best soil in the country and feeling very loved!
(Click above for Bristol Post’s take on todays actions and comedy pic – create your own caption!)
We went along to take part in the tree planting and to also pass on a letter with some serious requests to the Mayor & Secretary of the Environment, food & rural affairs – as it seemed relevant & a poignant moment.
We did gatecrash, but did nothing to scare the children at all. We are doing what we are doing for the children of today and tomorrow! Our issues are local, national and global and there is nothing narrow about what we are doing – quite the reverse. But maybe some are too blinkered to see that. Demonising/putting us down will not change this. The Rising up spokesperson only wanted 30 seconds to speak and pass on the letters. This was denied. We will leave it to you to make judgement on the comments / actions!
Apologies if we did make any kids feel bad – we only requested a dignified 30 seconds ! We ask that the voice of the community is respected, listened and responded to.
Yesterday we had a really touching visit from the gentleman who used to lease one of the small holdings on the site next to Feed Bristol. He was served his notice to quit over a year ago despite having worked the land – which supported him and his family for around 40 years! This denied his daughter her legacy of taking it over – something she said she would have loved to have done. They came with photos to show us what it used to look like, stories about how fertile the soil was ( this is on the infamous Blue Finger!!) and again shared their supportive words for our cause! Thanks so much for sharing, it was really touching!
A great day on site – wonderful community spirit emerging. Again visits from the wider community bearing positive messages. Today our most heartfelt supporter was a local woman who was 96 years old! She said she thought what we were doing was great! Unfortunately we missed the photo opportunity with her.
The woodland was full of birds today and our resident robin was hopping around having a fine time. One of our tree protectors did get some great photos whilst trying to photograph the bluetits already looking for nesting places. No birds in shot but lovely birds eye view from paradise…unpaved upon!
Do come up to the site – there is a positive and constructive atmosphere and we need all the support we can get. We have been overwhelmed by the positive response and gratitude shown by the local and wider community.
Tree felling works on this wildlife and food-growing haven had been scheduled to start on Monday (2nd Feb). Due to the presence of people in the trees and on the ground this has been disrupted.
Today approx. 100 people, including families, children and elderly people from the local community visited the site. Many of these expressed their support and thanks offering donations of food and provisions.
Mike Akers, a local resident said:
“I wholeheartedly support your campaign to prevent the Stapleton allotments being built on. …I’m afraid I’m too old to be suspended from a tree, but I will try and support your efforts as best I can with some armchair eco warrior-ism”
We are still awaiting the response from Bristol City Council to Freedom of Information request on various planning details. Further legal issues are being looked into. In the meantime the group urges decision makers within the West of England Partnership to reconsider their misguided decision to pave over paradise.
A huge thank you for all the support and donations so far. Keep them coming!
Thanks to all those who came down to Stapleton today. The trees are doing well!
In the end tree protectors stayed high in the trees, whilst the Imbolc celebration took place with around 80-100 people taking part in a meaningful ceremony giving thanks and recognition to the land, the life it sustains and our intent to protect it. The police numbers dwindled and some security appear to have been posted for the evening/night.
There appears to be some legal confusion over the boundary of the allotments and Feed Bristol small holding – where the trees are positioned which also adds to the already dubious planning application/s legality.
What next? We are stepping up the action and focussing on our our priority aim to protect the trees and land in Stapleton allotments and small holdings.
View Larger Map
Your presence and support are much needed in this moment and we are calling out to people to come to the Stapleton smallholdings site – by Feed Bristol (Frenchay Park Road BS16 1HB) whenever they can. On Monday please come from 6am onwards ( or earlier if you can!) – we anticipate an early start to the days activities.
There will be information on arrival, bring good energy and motivation, hot drinks and food, music, songs and good cheer! Wrap up warm and don’t forget your camera!
Well, things have started early! Today at 2pm today (Sunday 1st) a group of bailiffs and police came and evicted people from a piece of land by Stapleton Allotments – the site where development is due to begin.
However 6 activists got into the trees – high up and stayed there! Some of them are still there now and intend to be there all night.
We then had our planned Imbolc celebration – with more people than we would have had – and the police and security stayed on the other side of the trees ( they are on the boundary with Feed Bristol). It was all rather surreal and we are expected more reinforcements tomorrow….so it has begun!
So far there is no evidence that the conditions set in the planning permission have been met … we need as many peaceful souls there as possible to so they know just how many of us care …