Bristol

Enforcement Bristol City Council style

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Bristol has one of the highest council tax charges in the country.

Furthermore, it also provides tenth-rate services for that money.

Just how ineffective can be examined by looking at one particular so-called ‘service‘: enforcement against fly-tippers and the like.

In the penultimate of a regular series of meetings about cleanliness in Easton and Lawrence Hill wards, BCC’s head of enforcement just happened to mention he’d noticed an ‘issue‘ with fly-tipping in the Chaplin Road area.

Other local residents and your ‘umble scribe have only been reporting a problem in this area for some 10 and a half years, so there’s a clue as to how long it takes our apology for a local authority to notice something is wrong that doesn’t involve chasing non-payment of council tax or the issuing of bus passes (the only 2 council activities that seem to occur on an anything resembling an acceptable timescale. Ed.)

<I seem to recall the head of enforcement suggesting some remedial action needed taking.

That remedial action has now been implemented and is illustrated in the following photograph.

BCC A5 no fly-tipping sign

That’s right! The remedial measures seem to have consisted of sending a bloke out with an A5 corrugated plastic sign and cable ties and attaching it to a local resident’s railings at the junction of Chaplin Road and Normanby Road. Out of politeness, your correspondent shall refrain from asking whether the council gained the consent of the occupier/owner before affixing its notice.

This is the enforcement equivalent of a chocolate teapot, as can be seen by today’s photo of the same site.

Cardboard and other items in front of no fly-tipping sign

Clean streets campaigners are becoming increasingly fed up with inaction from the city council, particularly as it recently recruited several additional enforcement officers (posts passim).

With those additional enforcement officers and the lashings of cash provided by the public, I and other campaigners want more from the council.

So, come on BCC! Surely you can afford to have those nice, new enforcement officers deployed to stake out ‘grot spots‘ around the city outside office hours to catch offenders red-handed?

Easton road unofficially renamed

On 11th October 1721 Bristol-born slave trader, insider share dealer, financier, religious bigot and former Tory MP for the city Edward Colston died at his home in Mortlake, then in Surrey, now in south west London.

In his will Eddie the Slaver left £50,000 for good causes in the city of Bristol, provided not one penny was spent on Catholics or non-conformists. This bequest formed the basis of the charitable works carried out to this day by the city’s secretive and elitist Society of Merchant Venturers.

In the late 19th century the Victorian fathers around the country – and they were all male and rich – were looking round for examples of former local worthies to commemorate. Bristol’s business and civic elite were no different in this respect from their counterparts elsewhere and chose this immoral man with blood on his hands for this philanthropy, even though we would now regard Colston’s wealth as blood money, i.e obtained at the expense of the life of others.

As memorials to his beneficence, a statue was erected to Colston in the city centre in 1895, whilst one of the city’s main entertainment venues was named after him, along with two city centre streets – Colston Street and Colston Avenue.

After the Colston statue was toppled last summer and then taken for an unscheduled bath in the city docks, the city council announced that both Colston Street and Colston Avenue would revert to the names they had for centuries – Steep Street and St. Augustine’s Back (or Bank) respectively – before they removed from the city’s street plan by the Cult of Colston.

Colston's empty plinth after the Black Lives Matter protest

In the east Bristol district of Easton, which underwent major development and expansion in the late 19th century, one of the new streets was named Colston Road in pursuit of this devotion to his cult. Despite years of clamour by Easton residents for the area’s slaver trader memorial street to be renamed, nothing happened (despite the road in question being home to one serving and one former city councillor. Ed.),so locals have now taken matters into their own hands.

Colston Road sign over-sprayed with Toppled Rd.

Your ‘umble scribe has been in touch with serving Easton ward councillor Barry Parsons about the inordinate amount of time Bristol City Council is taking to rename Slaver’s Road BS5.

Barry has been in touch with the council’s Street Naming and Numbering Officer, who is responsible for the naming and renaming of streets within Bristol’s boundaries. The Council’s street renaming policy requires full written consent from the owners of every property affected for a change of name. If such consent is forthcoming, the council the initiates a formal notice period for the name change where notices are erected on the street and wider objections can be made to the courts.

Why are efforts to rename Easton’s Slaver’s Road taking so long? The answer could lie in the fact that the road has 130 residential properties, many of them in the hands of absentee landlords, so obtaining written consent from so many disparate persons is an onerous task. However, your correspondent understands that efforts are underway, probably with that lack of alacrity so typical of BBC, to lower the threshold to 80 per cent.

The Severn Sea

Yesterday your correspondent took a break from the inner city and headed by rail to the North Somerset Coast at Weston-super-Mare.

Plenty of good, fresh air and healthy exercise was had, with my walking from the railway station to the far end of Weston bay at Uphill where the River Axe empties into the Bristol Channel between Brean Down and the semi-tidal Black Rock, as shown below.

View down the Axe estuary to the Bristol Channel

The River Axe flows into the Severn Sea between Brean Down (left) and Black Rock (right).

The eastern limit of the Bristol Channel is defined by the International Hydrographic Organization as that area between two lines between Sand Point in Somerset and Lavernock Point and the western limit a line between Hartland Point in Devon and St. Govan’s Head. Upstream of the eastern limits, the body water is the Severn Estuary, whilst westwards of the western limit is defined as the Celtic Sea.

Landsat 7 photo of Bristol Channel

The Severn estuary, Bristol Channel and eastern part of the Celtic Sea as seen from Landsat 7.

However, the Bristol Channel has not always been used to characterise this area of water.

Until Tudor times the Bristol Channel was known as the Severn Sea. Indeed, it is still known as this in both Welsh: Môr Hafren and Cornish: Mor Havren, whilst on Jacob Millerd’s 1673 map of Bristol shows the Severn Estuary in the Latin, Sabrina Fluvius, as depicted below.

Detail of Millerd's map showing the point where the Bristol Avon discharges into the Severn

Millerd’s River Severn from his 1673 map of Bristol.

A very special bus service

One of the phrases guaranteed to dismay every regular user of Britain’s chaotic and overpriced railway network is rail replacement service. This involves taking the scheduled service off the rails (usually for engineering works at busy holiday periods when everyone either wants to get away and/or visit friends and loved ones. Ed.) and substituting the rolling stock with buses, with the inevitable increased journey times and a reduction in passenger comfort.

However, these rail replacement services do not serve Stapleton Road railway station, where the sign shown below is affixed to the Frome viaduct wing wall on the station approach.

Sign title reads rail replacementment buses

As the station is under the management of First Great Western, an alleged train operating company, you ‘umble scribe assumes it was their staff who designed, wrote and approved the final signage.

For any passing First Great Western signage design drones, here’s a wee tip: a spellchecker now comes as a standard feature of all popular office productivity suites. 😀

As…

From Monday’s Bristol Post.

Headline reads: Pedestrian hit by van as Great Western Air Ambulance lands in city centre

Is this:

  • correlation;
  • causation; or
  • a typical example of a poorly written headline from a Reach plc title?

Only one resident at a time

The flats at Combfactory Court in Easton have a capacious car park with at least 6 or 8 spaces.

However, owing to stringent restrictions imposed on its use – as shown below on the notice on its railings – only one resident is allowed to park at any one time.

Notice reads Resident's Only Parking

Resident’s only? Not a chance for greengrocer’s then!

Whoever is in charge of the car park has contributed to public view a textbook example of the greengrocer’s apostrophe. This is an informal term in British English for the non-standard use of an apostrophe before the final -s in the plural. It would appear the efforts of examinations body the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority since 2006 have been in vain.

Bristol Post exclusive: Journalist eats catering establishment

Today’s Bristol Post website features another of modern journalism’s highlights – the hidden exclusive (posts passim), although this particular style of hackery is not itself peculiar to publications in the Reach plc stable.

Yesterday’s Bristol Post hidden exclusive features Mark Taylor, allegedly the title’s food, drink and restaurant critic, who seems to have eschewed protein, carbohydrates and fat for a more substantial diet, in this case the shipping container housing the soon-to-open Choux Box Patisserie down by the city docks. At Wapping Wharf shipping containers replace the construction materials of more traditional eateries.

Headline reads: Delicious new patisserie to open in Bristol

There’s only one place I know of where eating buildings is not unusual and that’s the tale of Hansel and Gretel, first published in 1812 by the Brothers Grimm.

Hansel, Gretel, the witch and the gingerbread house

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

For some reasons known only the the residents of the Temple Way Ministry of Truth, Mr Taylor’s piece is strangely quiet about the quality of the ingredients used for the shipping container. 😉

Finally, your ‘umble scribe must remark that given his constitution, Mr Taylor may like to start training for food challenges of the Man v. Food reality show variety, of which there are plenty to punish his palette in Bristol.

Priti good new stencil art

A new piece of stencil art has turned up on recent days on a wall at the junction of Russelltown Avenue and Whitehall Road in east Bristol on the building with the ever-changing messages (posts passim).

Merely as a matter of coincidence, it depicts one of those residents of Whitehall, SW1, namely one Priti Patel, an Estuary English elocution expert inexplicably elevated to the position of Home Secretary by part-time alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, after she had previously been forced to resign in 2017 as International Development Minister for breaking the ministerial code by having secret meetings with Israeli officials while serving under Theresa May.

stencil art of Priti Patel holding hammer with the word vandals and the Conservative Party oak tree logo beneath

Since her return to high public office, the permanently smirking Patel has been accused of bullying her staff, resulting in the resignation of Home Office boss Sir Philip Putnam.

I can’t help speculating if the hammer in Patel’s hand was one of the reasons for Sir Philip’s departure.

At the foot of the stencil art the Tory Party oak tree logo and the word Vandals appear.

I have lived most of my life under Tory governments and for the majority of that time, particularly with effect from the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979, the Conservatives have not conserved anything. Indeed they’ve destroyed important ones like manufacturing industry (which used to provide millions of skilled, well-paid jobs. Ed.) and the trade union movement, whilst flogging state assets to their rich friends and supporters.

Given the party’s record of destruction, perhaps the claw hammer in Patel’s hand should have been replaced by a sledge hammer instead. 😀

Trump in Bristol

Yesterday while walking through Riverside Park into town, your ‘umble scribe encountered some street art which immediately reminded him of Donald J. Trump, a tax dodger and serial sexual predator who was inexplicably elected as 45th President of the United States of America.

Grafitti on street furniture in Riverside Park

Your correspondent believes it is flattering to its subject as is shown by a comparison with a photograph of the Orange One captured in a typical denigratory pose.

The Orange One courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Do you agree? Have your say in the comments below.

Free online waste & recycling webinars

Bristol Waste is organising a series of monthly webinars dealing with all you wanted to know about waste, reuse and recycling in Bristol but were afraid to ask!

Visiting Bristol Waste

Image courtesy of Bristol Waste

People can sign up to learn from experts about what happens to their waste and recycling once it is put out for collection.

Since lockdown Bristol Waste has been running these very popular online sessions so as to give residents the chance to ask questions, dispel any myths and find out how to be recycling and waste superstars!

Every other month, there’s a general Q&A session, where people can ask about anything waste related, alternating with a specially themed webinar concentrating on a specific topic.

There is a special recycling event planned for Recycle Week and people can also sign up for a ‘festive special’ to learn how to be more sustainable over the holiday season.

Follow this link to find out more.

The next Q&A session takes place on Wednesday, 18th August between 6.30 and 7.30 pm. Sign up via Eventbrite.

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