Many of the green sites were not seen by Bristol City Council before sale plan
MANY of the green spaces under threat of sale by Bristol City Council were not visited beforehand to see how well they were used, it has been revealed.
Bristol City Council wants to sell up to 62 green areas in a bid to fund improvements in up to 200 more.
The plan was originally supposed to only target "low-value" sites, but residents have expressed concerns about how a number of the sites could have been targeted despite claims they are well used.
According to documents partly obtained under the Freedom on Information Act, just one out of 30 of the sites were surveyed to discover the level of use.
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The council has produced "value assessments" on the threatened sites, one-page summaries of the research staff carried out in the run up to this summer's public consultation.
The Evening Post has seen the assessments for 30 of the 62 sites, but according to these documents a site visit to assess use by the public was carried out at just one location.
And even though officers who went to Okebourne Road Park acknowledged it was well used, the council still wants to sell off part of it for up to 49 houses.
Two other sites were visited according to the assessments but only by council play officers to see if Napier Square park and Cook Street open space in Avonmouth were suitable for children's play equipment.
Friends of Okebourne member Alison Devonshire obtained seven of the assessments under the Act.
They were Okebourne Road; Brentry Hill; Elderberry Walk; Embleton Road; Fonthill Park; Tranmere Avenue; and Trymside open space.
Mrs Devonshire also asked the council to provide the times and dates of any visits carried out to see how well the parks were used.
The response from the officer in charge of the green spaces project Richard Fletcher said: "In most cases, the council did not carry out specific site visits to determine how well each park was used.
"The council did trial a survey method on some spaces early in the process but didn't feel that the information being returned was of sufficient scientific value. Instead, the council adopted a three-pronged approach.
"We consulted internally with officers that have many years of knowledge of maintaining and managing our parks and dealing with public inquiries. We have actively sought feedback through our stakeholder consultation process with communities as part of work to develop area green space plan ideas and options papers.
"The public consultation results will be used to help determine levels and types and uses."
The Post has repeatedly asked the council to say exactly how many "most" is, but no answer has been provided.
The Post has also asked if "most" also applies to all 62 sites, and why the council did not determine levels of use before putting the plan together, but no answers have been provided.
Mrs Devonshire told the Post she thought the council had not carried out enough research on the sites.
She said: "They've not done a full assessment.
"They've left it to officers or parks people, but a lot of parks work is done by contractors, and who are they?
"There's a lot of misinformation in the value assessments. They said there was a covenant on one, then they backtracked.
"I think they're just trying to railroad this through. We've got no faith in them whatsoever."
A final list of the sites under threat is due to be released next month.
The green spaces plan has attracted a record number of responses during the consultation process this year and council officers are collating the results.
The council argues the plan is necessary to address decades of low investment in Bristol's parks, and has promised any site that is not sold off will be protected from development for 20 years.