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Delivering Prosperity for Bristol

Delivering Prosperity for Bristol

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Published by Tim Collins

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Categories:Types, Speeches
Published by: Tim Collins on Nov 14, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Mayor for Bristol

A Plan For A Better City
Photo © The Post (Bristol)

The upcoming election for a new Bristol Mayor is your chance to decide how you want our city to be shaped as we go into the future. I want to share with you my plan to make Bristol the UK’s best regional city to live in, to work in and to enjoy and be proud of. I have lived in Bristol for 49 years and in this time I have grown to take immense pride in this great city. We have always shown ourselves to be entrepreneurs, industrious engineers, scientists and artists that have made us world renowned. But we are living in turbulent times. If we are to recapture the spirit and atmosphere that will put us on the atlas once again, we need a new approach. We need the authorities that govern this city to foster an environment that is based on self-sufficient economic growth to take us out of recession in the best possible position. Unlike other independent candidates, I have experience of working in the council as an Avon County Councillor. In my roles as chair of the Planning, Highways and Transport Committee and subsequently as a planning consultant, I learnt how to work around the politics and turn plans into reality. I believe my experience and enthusiasm can help Bristol get designing, building and working to its best ability. I hope you share the vision I put forward in this document and put your faith in me as your servant and leader. Tim Collins

Filton Airfield
At the heart of my policies for economic resurgence is an asset that Bristol has loved and lived by for over 100 years. It has driven much of our economic development over the years and is important both locally and nationally because it is one the main UK sites supporting the successful aerospace industry. Nationally, this sector has a turnover of £24.2bn and directly contributes £11.4bn to the UK’s GDP. Civil aerospace in particular remains in a strong growth phase, with revenues increasing by 5.1% in real terms in 2011. Traditionally this sector has been supported by localised aviation capacity. No Airbus manufacturing site is currently without an operating airfield for this reason. In May 2011, the owners, BAE Systems, proposed to close the airfield in order to redevelop it for housing. I believe this is a cynical, short-term decision to redress BAE’s own financial problems at the expense of the future growth for Bristol’s high-value economic output. Bristol City Council has so far failed to take a proactive role in the debate and this must change – it is not a subject outside our control. With 4,500 direct local jobs and a further 12,000 local jobs in the supply chain currently dependent on aerospace and aviation activities, it is not an issue we can shrug off. I promise to lobby Westminster and local authorities to put plans in place to encourage aerospace and aviation business to Bristol and prevent Filton’s closure.

Economic Growth
By concentrating on getting businesses of all types and size to form and locate in Bristol, we can generate the wealth that we need to continually fund projects and infrastructure to make our inhabitants proud and happy to live here. This requires a coherent approach to governing the city. I propose and will lobby for a Greater Bristol authority, based on a “growth coalition” involving politicians of all parties, the public and private sectors to encourage the inward investment my plans would need. Careful planning of enterprise zones will ensure we can nurture our knowledge-based industries whilst retaining the income from business taxes locally, to benefit those businesses and the people who work here. Using well-considered spatial planning, placing like-minded businesses in the creative, scientific and technology industries close to one another stimulates a critical mass of innovation and export income. But it’s not just big businesses I want to encourage. I want the council to be a friend to small and medium enterprises as well. Many businesses have complained that Bristol isn’t conducive to doing business. That needs to change. We need the education, infrastructure and support to catalyse this innovation. I will set up a team to provide practical support to such businesses, coordinate industry partnerships and develop local smallbusiness financing models.

We need to ensure that the city’s secondary and tertiary education is geared towards targeting local needs and the enterprises that will flourish. I will coordinate education task teams to work with schools, colleges and universities to help develop curricula that will hone both academic and vocational skills to support a healthy supply of jobs for our children in years to come.

To facilitate this planned resurgence of economic activity, it is imperative that we design and implement a truly integrated transport system that serves the public how, where and when they want. I will use my experience to ensure that transport hubs are properly connected using the technically best solutions. We need to look to the rest of the country – and the world – to see where good practice has yielded an approach to public transport that works for everyone. I want to lobby Westminster for a true Greater Bristol Integrated Transport Authority – the Prime Minster has promised to consider this if the argument is strong enough – one that is independent of party political whims and is headed up by professionals in the field to drive the research and development of a high-frequency urban rail network, replacing congested and slow bus routes where feasible. I want to avoid the folly of opting for second-rate solutions such as the BRT, for the sake of chasing limited promises of quick-fix cash. We need environmentally and public friendly vehicles running routes based on demographic demand and road policies that don’t penalise any particular group of users.

Planning and Tourism
We must use the opportunities afforded by private sector development around the city, and in particular around the Temple Quarter to improve our gateway to the city. At the moment, it presents a poor welcome to vistors arriving at Temple Meads station. By redesigning the remnants of the overbearing Redcliffe Way dual carriageway and the psychological barrier that is Temple Circus and by rezoning nearby land, we can both encourage people to make journeys into the city by rail and make the built environment less forbidding. This would allow a European-style piazza to be developed around the immensely pretty, but much hidden St. Mary Redcliffe church giving it the vistas it deserves. I would also like to create much-needed plans to enhance the very centre of the city, with a spatial strategy to open up the corridor between Broadmead and Lewins Mead to pedestrians and zero through-traffic (i.e. essential movements only) in the very centre of the city. I would like to see the Frome released from its concrete encasement under the centre and replaced with an inviting riverside linear parkland leading into the harbourside. I would like to see outstanding and sympathetic examples of architecture and urban development for our city. Bristol is a British gem - we need to show it off to the world!

Arts, Leisure and Culture
The key to a successful city is ensuring its inhabitants are catered for with a full range of facilities and pastimes. When I sat on the Avon Economic Development committee, I championed the arts in Bristol, helping deliver £250,000 in annual grants for Bristol’s famous Old Vic theatre, for example. Facilities such as these put Bristol on the map and prevent economic and cultural drain to other cities. However, Bristol lacks modern facilities for major touring shows and musicians. I would include plans for the Temple Quarter enterprise zone which combine a major regional arena which can generate revenue for the council, alongside other leisure facilities, including a modern replacement for the lost Ice Rink that previously occupied the Frogmore Street site. This will provide spectator seating for ice hockey matches and other revenuegenerating activities. I want to see a city that entices people to walk and cycle, but we need to plan and implement infrastructure by looking to European cities where cycling provision works well – with free-flowing, part-segregated routes.

With a growing economy and facilities to match our status, Bristol can once again become a city that the country – and the world – looks to as a fine example of planning and vision.

Prepared for and on behalf of Tim Collins (Independent) 12B Eastlake Close, Bristol, BS7 9XQ

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