We should leave green belt alone
I SEE another Bristol institution, this time Bristol University, has chosen to go down the Steve Lansdown route of land speculation in respect of their holdings in the city's green belt off Wild Country Lane in North Somerset. I expect better of such a learned institution, perhaps something philanthropic, recreational or even, dare one say it, educational.
At only 3,750 persons per square kilometre, the density of population within the official City of Bristol boundary is less than in the suburban areas of Filton, Downend, Emersons Green, Kingswood and Hanham – all in South Gloucestershire. About one third of Greater Bristol's population lives in these peripheral urban areas, and they push the density of population up to 3,900 persons per square kilometre for Greater Bristol.
The city planners could remodel their fair city to provide homes for double the existing population of about half a million and still only match the population density of the more desirable London boroughs.
Indeed planners could quadruple the population to two million within the existing city boundaries and still not come near to matching the density of Paris, the "City of Light," with its broad boulevards, grand apartments in the central "arrondisements" and that city's thriving "café culture".
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So surely it is the city's residents who are Nimbys in the current planning fracas, wanting massive new housing developments on green field sites on the green belt in neighbouring authorities, to make their bit of Bristol more prosperous.
It is rather like me wanting to build a flash new conservatory to enhance the value of my house, but insisting I am allowed to build it on my neighbour's back garden – and if necessary I'll change the planning rules to make it happen!
Come on George Ferguson! You are the Mayor of the City of Bristol and an architect; tell us how you would remodel your own city to solve your own city's housing crisis before trying to ruin neighbouring, far more successful and far more efficient authorities.
Leave them to solve their own problems, chief of which is being a neighbour to a city as poorly run as Bristol has been thus far!
You could opt for a modest 25 per cent growth – only half what a previous administration achieved when remodelling a council house estate in upper Horfield, 600 dwellings rebuilt and remodelled into 900 dwellings. Now go for it on a city-wide canvas.