Leave park as it is, eight-year-old Bristol boys tell councillors
TWO eight-year-old boys chained themselves to their favourite tree in protest at plans to revamp a popular park behind their homes.
Louie White and Edwyn Lewis were furious when their parents told them about the plans, which were revealed in the Evening Post earlier this week.
They decided to chain themselves to a tree and also organised a petition, collecting names from neighbours who are angry about the makeover scheme.
Louie, who lives with his parents in Newbridge Road, said: "I don't want them to touch the park.
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"We spend a lot of time playing there and we want them to leave it as it is."
Edwyn, who lives a few doors away, said: "If they build the new homes, it will block the light out from our homes.
"The noise will be distracting and there won't be much wildlife left."
Louie's dad, professional photographer Dave White, 40, said: "This is something the boys did by themselves – we didn't put them up to it.
"Everyone is furious about what the council has in mind.
"The park is absolutely fine as it is – we want it left alone."
The proposed makeover was highlighted in the paper as an example of nearly 200 parks and open spaces which the council wants to improve during the next 20 years.
Council officials are suggesting that a strip of land behind the houses in Newbridge Road is sold off for housing to raise the funds for the revamp of the park and improvements to nearby St Anne's Wood. People who live in Newbridge Road are horrified at the plans, however, and are organising a protest meeting which is expected to be held sometime next week.
They are expected to set up an action committee to spearhead a campaign against the plans.
One of the neighbours, transport manager Joe Thompson, 41, helped his wife, Nicola, to raise £50,000 for a new children's play area in the park after the council said they had no funds to do it themselves.
Mr Thompson said: "The reason we moved here was because our home overlooks the park and the last thing anyone wants is another row of homes.
"The council says it would help to prevent anti-social behaviour but there are no problems here. It's a popular park and we want to keep as it is.
"If they started building on The Downs or parts of Henleaze or Stoke Bishop, then I would roll over but they will never do that and we don't want it here.
"We will not lie down on this one – we will fight it to the bitter end."
Edwyn's father, Darren Lewis, 38, a human resources manager, said: "This park is a green lung in the inner-city, it's a retreat for us and we regard it as priceless. We don't want it changed. There's no need – it's popular at it is."
Council spokeswoman Helen Hewitt said: "The publication of the citywide Area Green Space Plans and site allocations document follows years of work by council officers. The plans give local people some suggested ideas of what the next 20 years could bring in terms of investment in our parks and land disposals.
"We know people are very passionate about their parks and open spaces and many want to see improvements in the parks near where they live. To achieve these improvements we need to have robust strategic plans in place, which will inform future council decision-making.
"At this stage no decisions have been made. We are now going out to consult with local people to ask them what they think. We are urging local people to take a close look at the options and have their say about what they think should happen.
"Over the next 20 weeks, people can get in touch with us via the website, telephone, or write to us or come along to a drop-in event where officers will be on hand to answer any questions."
For more information on the Area Green Space Plan, visit the council's website at www.bristol.gov.uk/agsp or phone 922 3719 and ask to speak to a member of the Area Green Space Plan team.