M32 Park & Ride update

An update on the status of the M32 Park and Ride proposals – January 12th 2019.

The consultation on the proposal closed on Monday 7th Jan.

How did the consultation go?

In sum: You made it happen. We had an email from Marvin Rees, the Mayor of Bristol on 2nd January saying “Clearly the land at Sims Hill is of real significance as evidenced by the number of emails I have received” – and the campaign was only 10 days old at that point!

We had over 3,000 people reading our call-out for action on the website, over 150 shares of the action on Facebook, and media coverage in Bristol Post, BBC News, a radio interview on BBC Radio Bristol and a news story in local newsletter The Week In. We don’t have the data from the consultation to know exactly how many responses they had yet, but we are trying to find that out too.

Both Kerry McCarthy MP and Darren Jones MP gave full support to get the P&R proposal site relocated. You can read their responses to the consultation here: (Kerry) (Darren) and the letters they received from Marvin Rees in response to their further conversations with Bristol City Council in support of our project (Darren) (Kerry).

We also had enormous public and background support from Bristol Food Network, Green Bristol City Councillors and the Blue Finger Alliance. Their efforts were invaluable to help us understand the situation and mobilise all you lovely people to respond. Thank you thank you thank you thank you.

Has our collective action made a difference?

At this stage of course we can’t be 100% sure – new plans have not yet been published so we can’t count our chickens (or leeks) just yet. However, we are confident that the actions everyone has taken has shifted the debate and influenced some of the politicians who will be making this decision. The Mayor’s response so far has stopped short of making promises, but he has expressed publicly his “clear preference… for a site further north, nearer the M4 junction.” He goes on to say:

“we have a responsibility to preserve important green space for local food production and for public and environmental good… I would be interested to explore how our publicly owned land can connect with aspirations for peri-urban farms… I would support any opportunity to develop this on Bristol City Council owned land.”

The whole spatial plan is a negotiation between the four local councils (Bristol, S Glos, N Somerset & BANES) so having the Mayor in favour of changing the proposed site, strong support from local MPs, and a vocal public on our side is a really good place to be at this point.

What happens next?

There are two parts to this.

What will the council and West of England authorities do next?

The West of England spatial plan will be negotiated between the councils over the next few months and the consultation responses will inform this. We expect a second stage of public discussion around May, when there will be an inspection of the whole plan, considering what has been proposed and the consultation responses. We or other organisations on our behalf should hopefully get the chance to feed into this inspection, so we await that stage.

Beyond this, if the current proposal doesn’t get changed there will be several more stages to the negotiations and there will have to be local consultations on more specific plans. None of this is going to happen overnight, or even in 2019. That means we can keep fighting, and in the meantime we can definitely keep growing and eating.

What will you do next?

We are massively grateful for the incredible outpouring of support in a crisis – it has meant a huge amount and we think it will really pay off. Our ‘real’ work and fun continues though, and we would love to share more of the everyday love with you all as well.

1.Keep in touch. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, and we will keep updating the website as the situation develops.

2. You can join our next volunteer day on Sunday 20th January (or the third Sunday of any month) if you want to get your hands stuck in to some practical solidarity. It’s always a fun day, and it makes a huge difference having some extra helpers to get work done. See here for more details.

3. Eat our delicious vegetables. We are feeding over 110 homes (we were too modest in our campaign!) across Bristol but we have space for a few more. It’s £7/week for a half share, or £12/week for a full share. Be the vegetable revolution.

4. Become a “vegetable champion” supporter. If you can’t manage the vegetables but could put some money towards the cause, we gladly accept donations to help us strengthen our project and do more work with the community. Donations can be as little as £2/month but it really does help. Join our network.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch with us via the contact page.

Stay warm, share the love and eat your greens x