You are on page 1of 8

Hotwells bus stop withdrawn without warning

First Bus services have abandoned the bus stop at Dowry Square in Hotwells. The Company claims there are ‘health and safety’ issues with the stop in the lay-by outside Carrick House flats but they are also concerned by the delay experienced as drivers try to rejoin the main road by Hope Chapel Hill.
The change means bus users travelling into the City Centre now have to walk a further 300 metres to reach the next stop near Ambra Vale. For able-bodied residents living at the far end of Hotwells, on the Portway, it means their nearest bus service is now a 10-15 minute walk. For less mobile people this can be a significant problem. Elisabeth Marlene from Hope Square said: “There was no consultation, and the ground for this decision, i.e. that turning into the lay-by was dangerous, is nonsense. The lay-by made it safer. The real reason was that the drivers objected to having to wait at the junction to get into the main stream of traffic again, and this is not a good enough reason to force dozens of passengers to walk another 300 yards to the next stop. Some of the more frail passengers will simply give up using the buses” the handwritten notice greeting passengers at Dowry Sq. after First Bus has not only made no attempt to consult First Bus withdrew all services with local people about this decision, it seems they without warning—the suggested have not even thought to discuss it with the Council. distance is incorrect As Alan Sibley the Transport group manager told us: “It was only on the day of the change (in late November) when a chance conversation between our Senior Inspector and a First Supervisor revealed the withdrawal of all First services from the stop. In response our Inspector prepared a hand written notice on the spot to warn passengers - we will now get this replaced with a new poster” (editor’s note: we’re still waiting for this replacement as we go to press!) The only permanent solution to the problem that has been suggested is to move the bus stop out onto the main road where visibility is better for drivers and passengers and delays in leaving the stop will be minimised. In 2011, plans to do this fell through when Greater Bristol Bus Network funding earmarked for the project fell victim to an overspend in other areas. HCCA attempted to secure funding through a local Sustainable Transport grant to improve the road layout again last year but again, the money was not forthcoming. Meanwhile the Wessexconnect 505 which is a half-hourly, Council-supported service from Bower Ashton to Southmead Hospital does still stop at Dowry Square. This service is a vital lifeline for many for whom our steep hills are a physical barrier that prevent them reaching Clifton shops and other services on foot. All this is perhaps a warning of greater changes to come in our public transport network. If the Bus Rapid Transit route 2 comes to pass, the intention is to re-route all the First North Somerset services along Cumberland Road, missing out Hotwells entirely! The Dowry Square bus stop which has been used for many
Ray Smith years but now ruled unsafe by First Bus



Published by Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association, 3,Charles Place,

Hotwells, Bristol, BS8 4QW



Community News
Chair’s Report
27 people came to Holy Trinity for the AGM on 13th November. During the last year, HCCA held 4 open meetings in a change of practice following the cessation of the Community Links group. Unfortunately these open meetings did not attract the interest we had hoped for. However we shall persevere with open meetings 3 or 4 times in the year, so look out here and on noticeboards for details. Thank you again to the Panto Committee for their generous support of our work. Thank you too to all those who contribute to the 500 Club. Your membership gives you the chance to win some money and provides the HCCA with valuable income to pursue our work. We heard from Ray Smith about the very positive progress towards a revitalised playpark in Charles Place and the rather more tortuous progress towards fulfilling the first stage of our plans for Cumberland Piazza. Our thanks to Ray for pursuing these two developments with such vigour. We also heard from Richard Hancock about the work of Transition Hotwells and Cliftonwood which is contributing to more sustainable living. Our thanks also to two members of our committee who have decided to step down. Steve Perry, who we are sure will remain active in the community and Rosemary Stibbon who has made a huge contribution over many years to HCCA and for the last 4 years or so, has also been supporting us in the office. We wish her well with all her activities.
Dennis Gornall

Hotwells hustings success
HCCA was very pleased to be able to host a Mayoral hustings meeting in Holy Trinity Church church in October when 11 out of the 15 candidates for Mayor were present along with some 230 people from the neighbourhood. All the candidates expressed their appreciation for the opportunity to address so many and this old-fashioned form of electioneering demonstrated just what a difference it makes to see candidates face-to-face; especially when there are so many of them! We think it might be useful to hold more such meetings at election times. Thanks to Dennis Gornall for organising this event.

page ‘Charles Place Playground’ set up by Luise Holder. We now know, through these many contacts that a lot of you care what happens to the space and still use it, despite its current limitations.

Charles Place play park - currently looks more like a car park....

New Trustee
We are pleased to welcome Anna Wilson to the management team. Anna was instrumental in setting up the first West Bristol Arts Trail and also co-ordinated the ‘Art Under the Flyover’ event in 2011. Her interests and enthusiasm will certainly prove a great asset to HCCA.

Play Park Progress
Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their ideas about how we can improve our little park at Charles Place; either by e-mail, by completing the survey at h t t p : / / w w w . s u r v e ym o n k e y. c o m / s / LBWWRHG or through the Facebook

Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association 3 Charles Place, Hotwells, Bristol, BS8 4QW

We hope a support group can be set up to get involved in practical work to continue improvements once refurbishment is complete. Three local people and our local Councillor Trevor Blythe, attended a further meeting with the Council project manager, Vicki Abel on Dec. 4th. This discussed whether the existing planting needed to be changed as part of the project. We were told that the existing tree needs to be replaced but hopefully this can be organised through ‘Tree Bristol’ or some other agency. We also asked that both metal and wooden play equipment should be costed as options. The Council will now produce a tender document to be sent out to around 10 design/build contractors. The shortlisted designs should be available early in March. We will ensure these get the maximum possible local discussion before a final decision is made, with the aim of starting work on site in April/May. We may even have a new park before the Summer holidays! If you haven’t already responded through one of the channels listed above and want to be certain of seeing the plans before a decision is made then contact us now.
Ray Smith

tel: 0117 9291883

Praise for power company
Lee Kay pursued a problem with Western Power Distribution about loose stonework by Pillinger Place in Hotwell Rd. (next to the petrol station). Drunken revellers had started to chuck stones at each other and other people’s windows. “After ringing Western Power because it’s at the side of a sub-station of theirs, within a week they have completely removed the loose rocks and cemented it all ...After flat… I’m impressed how fast Before.... they understood our problem and the speed of service from the first phone call, to the job being done”. How nice to be able to offer praise for a change!

Management Committee
Dennis Gornall (Chair) Brenda McLennan (Treasurer) Rosemary Stibbon Administrator Ray Smith Communications Mike Timmins Open spaces Helena Kowalski Anna Wilson


Community News
Pizza Vin attempts to return for another slice
At a licensing hearing on Jan. 3rd, Pizza Vin (now known as Red Pizza Company) lost its application to keep the takeaway open until 4am. It was the subject of a contentious licensing application a year ago, when it won the right to sell alcohol for home delivery until 4am. In support of the application, the owner of Pizza Vin, Paul Singh, assured the hearing that the takeaway would close to the public at 11:30pm and then only respond to telephone orders for home delivery with alcohol supplied at ‘restaurant prices’. Now, no more than 3 months after the shop opened, the company has been selling bottles of wine at £5.99; more like a typical off-licence than any restaurant and wanted to extend trading for walk-in customers until 4am, 7 nights a week.

green light
from Transition Hotwells & Cliftonwood

Disease triggers tree-felling
Four mature trees had to be felled on the traffic island in front of Holy Trinity church in October. Stuart Swann, Arboricultural Officer with the Council gave the following explanation: “Fireblight is a bacterial disease which can spread very rapidly within the infected tree as well to neighbouring healthy stock of the Rosaceae family, killing leaves, shoots, branches and ultimately the entire tree. There is no effective method of controlling fireblight. In the case of the four trees, pruning to reach healthy timber is not an option”. The remaining trees will be closely monitored through the forthcoming growing season to check for cross-infection. The Council intends to replace the four felled trees as soon as possible with a suitable species that is resistant to fireblight”.

Council dithering Piazza planting


Red Pizza premises on Hotwell Rd.

Many people saw this as a cynical disregard of the views of local residents and the undertakings made at the previous hearing. Among them is John Bradfield, a retired doctor who lives nearby in Rownham Mead: “A previous Committee of the Licensing Authority ruled against the Pump House public house being allowed to remain open until the early hours of the morning. This committee should not break this local precedent, particularly in the light of current changes to government strategy on alcohol”. Many local residents sent letters of objection as well as local Councillors, HCCA, CHIS, Pooles Wharf and Brandon Hill residents associations, the police and local PCT. Our thanks to John Bradfield for orchestrating the campaign on behalf of the community.

While trees are felled in Hotwells, elsewhere on Cumberland Piazza, attempts to plant more trees have been thwarted yet again by the dead hand of Council bureaucracy. We reached our fundraising target of £10,000 within a few weeks, thanks to a £5,000 contribution from the Neighbourhood Partnership and the balance from generous individuals. But in spite of much of the planning work having been done already by Landmark our landscape designers and Caroline Grazebrook our architect, Parks dept. insisted that 5 months would not be long enough to organise getting the trees planted before the end of the Winter season. This was a bitter disappointment, especially as we missed out the previous year when promised Council funding ran out. However, Janey Robson has organised the re-stocking of the temporary planters on the Piazza, using end-of-season leftovers from Blaise Nursery. Information panels are also being installed around the site to explain our development plans to a wider audience.

There have been plenty of fun events this autumn including the "Ethical Finance" conference, on ways to make banks use our money to safeguard our futures, rather than destroy them. Wonderful talk from Bristol's own James Vaccaro from Triodos Bank (office near Central Library) which aims to support good projects, like renewables, which also make a profit ( The Bristol pound launched (see article page 5). Bristol Power Cooperative, who aim to make Bristol the UK's first Solar City, working one street at a time, launched a share offer following successful beginning in Lockleaze and Bristol now has an elected Mayor with a commitment to sustainability, so prospects of more good things to come.

Speaking of which; here’s a view from the site of Avon Wildlife Trust’s ‘Feed Bristol’ campaign near Frenchay.

If you would like to learn more, or keep in touch with with other sustainability activities in Bristol, contact Richard– to join the the Transition Hotwells and Cliftonwood mailing list, or come to one of the "Lion" meetings - dates listed on the ‘events’ page and on the HCCA website.

November working party at Cumberland Piazza


Hotwells’ 1960s inheritance -The Cumberland Bridges Scheme
What event was responsible for the most radical change to the life of Hotwells in its 300 year history? The economic collapse of the spa around 1800? The expansion following the construction of the Floating Harbour in 1809? The destruction of World War II? They were all major traumas but the ‘Cumberland Basin Bridges Scheme’ must be up there in the top league of all time greatest upheavals. Prior to 1965 all traffic to and from North Somerset went along Merchants Road, across the narrow Junction Lock bridge and over the top deck of the Ashton Swing Bridge (occasional trains heading for Canons Marsh goods sheds still used the bottom layer). Bear in mind there was no bridge (or M5) across the river at Avonmouth. Hotwells was the lowest crossing point, apart from the Suspension Bridge, for traffic heading from the Midlands and North towards the South West. Concentrating all these vehicles on a narrow two lane road was obviously bad for traffic but it did allow much of Hotwells relative tranquility. But this was the sixties, the traffic problem had to be solved and the solution was radical. This was the era of Inner Ring Road underpasses and gyratories hacked through the City centre with plans for the infamous ’Outer Circuit Road’ threatening even more devastation. The ‘Cumberland Bridges Scheme’ emerged as a lot more than just a new bridge; in fact nothing construction work at Cumberland Basin 1964 less than a complete reorganisation of the highway system from Hotwells to Ashton Gate. The big idea was that traffic should be unimpeded by shipping movements at any time. Thus the existing bridge at Junction Lock and a new bridge at the Entrance Lock would work in tandem. To achieve the aim of seamlessly switching traffic flow from one bridge to the other required a bewilderingly complex arrangement of ramps on and off the flyover and an ingenious array of adaptable signage. (Strangely, this design achievement was forgotten by a later generation of traffic engineers who, by converting a ramp to a dedicated bus lane made a nonsense of the intricate logic of the original). The incidental damage from this ambitious scheme was the demolition of three entire streets of houses, several shops, five pubs and the 18th century ‘Long Room’ built for the Spa (later used as a school). The displaced residents were re-housed by the Council. Some of the businesses were lost. aerial view of Hotwells The heart of Hotwells suddenly became a giant roundabout surrounded by in 1930s showing are a later demolished for the flyo 3 and 4 lane roads to accommodate a new one-way traffic system, leaving ver marked in red the houses bordering Cumberland Basin that had not actually been demolished as ‘the island’; a term we use to this day. It’s hard to think of a more determined attempt to destroy a community outside of wartime (except perhaps the savagery wreaked by the planners on Totterdown a little later. Perhaps with a slight twinge of guilt, the Council commissioned famous landscape designer Dame Sylvia Crowe to ‘develop a place that will be frequented and enjoyed by people. The centre of life will be a piazza under the arches of the new road system’. Crowe’s vision for the piazza, shone with the idealism of sixties urban renewal: ‘The central feature of the piazza is a pool and a fountain ….. The fountain, a Swiss invention known as the Butterfly, has a central jet and eighteen nozzles, which produce a series of water displays of changing form and colour ……lighting and containers of flowers will also enliven the area --- a children’s playground to replace that displaced by the roadworks is placed in a sunny and sheltered position …. A café with space for tables in the open air is suggested adjacent to the children’s playground, giving views over the river’ (Cumberland Basin Bridges Landscape Report, 1964). Crucial to the success of the scheme was the access to this little paradise on a traffic island. A footbridge to the site from Hotwell Road was never built because of objections from the almshouses which needed to provide the land to make it possible. There was not even a light-controlled crossing until the 1980s. Then came the discovery that lead in petrol could damage children’s mental development; so who would want to use a playground there? Little by little Sylvia Crowe’s ‘centre of life’ for Hotwells degenerated into an inconvenient and poorly-maintained embarrassment, aided by the apathy of both the City Council and local residents. It was, eventually, the Community Association which asked for the defunct, vandalised and dangerous fountain and pool to be filled-in.
Ray Smith
rland vision - Cumbe Sylvia Crowe’s Piazza soon af ter opening


it? it? ? need use it for we I o ho is hy d w do W W Ho
The combination of a difficult economic climate with the increasing homogenisation of our high streets does not, on the face of it, sound like a very healthy recipe for Bristol’s independent businesses. However, out of bad circumstances some good ideas can arise, and one of these has recently hit the high streets of Bristol in the form of a new currency, The Bristol Pound, or £B. The Bristol Pound is defined by its creators as, “a complementary local currency designed to support Bristol’s independent businesses, strengthen the local economy, keep our high streets diverse and distinct, and help build stronger communities” and was launched to national and international press attention at St Nick’s Market on 19th of September 2012. So, how does it work? The £B can only be spent with Bristolbased companies, thus keeping the money local, as opposed to handing it over to large global companies where it would be spent with national or international suppliers, so leaving the local economy. Bristolians can spend Bristol Pounds at every participating business using either paper Bristol Pounds (all of which have been designed by Bristolians to depict Bristol’s character and heritage), or from a Bristol Pound account using an sms text by mobile phone, or over the internet. To date, the amount of businesses and individuals signed up to the scheme means the Bristol Pound is currently the largest alternative currency in Europe. As with the wider idea, Hotwells and Cliftonwood’s participating independent businesses could expect an uptake in trade via £B transactions, as well as supporting the local economy, so helping to safeguard it in the future against economic recession. There are a number of businesses in Hotwells and Cliftonwood that currently accept the £B and this is expected to rise as the scheme matures.

where can I spend my
Hundreds of Bristol enterprises have signed up; supplying everything from bread to pole dancing lessons. Here’s a selection of some local to Hotwells:
Grain Barge Mud Dock Deli The Bag O’Nails Climate Works Ltd (Create Centre) The Good Cook School (Create Centre) Yoke Design (Spike Island) Spike Island Cafe Thali Cafe, Regent St.

the essentials
Bristol Pounds are exchanged for sterling and can then be spent with business members in the region. Bristol Pounds are spent just like pounds sterling with £B1 equal in value to £1 sterling. The Bristol Pound is a complementary currency, designed to work alongside sterling, not replace it. Business accounts are available to traders that are independently owned and based in or around Bristol. Individual accounts are available to anyone. Anyone will be able to pay with or accept printed Bristol Pounds as they will be in free circulation. The Bristol Pound is a not-for-profit partnership between Bristol Pound Community Interest Company (CIC) and Bristol Credit Union. For full information about the scheme, including how to gets your hands on some £B and for a full list and map of participating businesses, see the Bristol Pound’s informative website:
written & researched by Jayne Marshall

Bristol’s new mayor, George Ferguson has promised to take his £51,000 salary in Bristol Pounds!

royal seal of approval
When the Queen visited Bristol late last year, part of her visit included being presented with a set of Bristol Pounds. Former Hotwellian and pupil at Hotwells School, Hrothgar Stibbon, was commissioned to make the leather wallet in which they were presented to HM.


Events & Reviews
Hotwells Pantomime
King Arthur and the Knights of the Cumberland Basin’ Hotwells Panto boldly takes a new direction this year with a plot you may have never come across before (perhaps for good reason). It means you will have to stay awake through the entire show for a change (unlike the thieves pictured in last year’s ‘Ali Baba’). What is unlikely to change will be the embarrassment of seeing your neighbours in bizarre attire and the jokes. Expect sumptuous sets, gorgeous damsels, awsomely hunky knights and a fearsome Dragon. Well.... there’s no harm in expecting. King Arthur runs from Wed. March 6th to Sat 9th at Hope picture: Catherine Roperto Chapel, Hope Chapel Hill. 19:30. Tickets go on sale at both The Tobacco Factory and ‘Recession’, 8 Jacobs Wells Road, on Friday Feb 1st. £8 adults, £7 concessions and £5 children. All profits go to local community projects.

Hotwells Arts is a new group we're establishing to develop site specific public art projects. Firstly we will be exploring the flyover space, Cumberland Piazza. In 2011 we held Art Under the Flyover in conjunction with UPFEST, experimenting with ideas and consulting the public, who were keen to see more art in the space. The development of the Underfall Yard and other public space in Hotwells also offer great opportunities for artists and community involvement.

E-mail Anna Wilson: to get involved. Follow on facebook: ‘Art Under the Flyover’.

includes artists, arts facilitators, administrators, workshop leaders and any interested members of the community. We'll try to minimise meetings and maximise hands on projects!

Hotwells, Cliftonwood and Clifton Local History Society The next meeting of Hotwells, Cliftonwood and Clifton Local History Society will be at the Create Centre 7 pm for 7.30 pm on Wednesday 20th March. Amongst those contributing will be Will Musgrave who will introduce his new book about Clifton and hopefully a speaker who was in Bomber Command during the Second World War. Cost will be £4 to cover our costs but will include a glass of wine or soft drink. Ffi. Sue Stops 0117 9297999 or e.mail

Ferry Company sunk by sodden summer is re-launched


On the 21st November, Bristol heard the news that the city’s iconic Bristol Ferry Company had gone under. The Bristol Ferry Company had been operating since the late 1970s and the sight of their blue and yellow boats was a regular and welcoming site in the Hotwells end of the Floating Harbour, as well as providing Hotwellians with transport around the docks, to the city centre and beyond to Temple Meads. Then in December the fleet of 5 boats was put up for auction by sealed tender. At very short notice a group of 30 local people made cash contributions into a central fund to bid for the ferries. After a day waiting on tenterhooks the consortium learned it had been successful and the ferry fleet was saved to work again in Bristol. The next move is to establish a Community Interest Company with a larger number of shareholders drawn from the much wider circle of Bristolians who want to see the Ferry Boats prosper. This Company will have broad interests, and intends to seek every possible way of making a better service which adds more value for the local community and visitors alike. It hopes to work closely with the authorities, and other operators in the Docks to have coordinated timetables, cross- ticketing with the Railways and Buses too. Happily, Ian & Philippa Bungard who started the business and ran it until 10 years ago are back in Bristol after living abroad for some years. The hope is that they will take over the ferries and get them back into service as soon as possible. If you want to express an interest or to provide any support please write to Bristol Ferry Boats at The Wool Hall, 12 St Thomas Street, Bristol BS1 6JJ, Or email:

Events Diary
Mon Jan 21st– Fri Mar 22nd Tues Jan 22nd Tues Jan 22nd Thur Jan 24th Sat Feb 2nd-Mon 6th May Mon Feb 18th Tues Feb 19th 19:00 20:00 19:00 20:00 when what ‘Making Waves’ dynamic art exhibition and events raising awareness about plastics pollution Clifton Neighbourhood Partnership meeting Clifton & Hotwells Improvement Society talk — Fairies’ by Prof. R. Hutton Transition Hotwells & Cliftonwood Chocolate! exhibition at M Shed tickets: £5 / £4/ £3 Clifton Neighbourhood Forum Clifton & Hotwells Improvement Society talk — ‘The Anatomy of Leonardo’ by Dr. J. Musgrave Bristol Brass Consort tickets £8 Service with Bishop Lee of Swindon Transition Hotwells & Cliftonwood Hotwells Pantomime ‘King Arthur and the Knights of the Cumberland Basin’ HCCA community meeting Clifton Neighbourhood Partnership meeting Clifton and Hotwells History Society where CREATE Smeaton Rd, BS1 6XN ffi: The Pavilion, Harbourside BS1 5JE Clifton Hill House, Lower Clifton Hill BS8 1BT The Lion, Church Lane BS8 4TX Princes Wharf BS1 4RN

Local Links
A selection of internet pages you might find useful + QR codes to open them directly on a smart phone: Hotwells & Cliftonwood Community Association
News and events for our neighbourhood + back issues of Hotwells News

Hotwells & Cliftonwood Facebook Page
Stories, pictures and messages from fans of Hotwells hotwellsBristol


Hope Chapel, Hope Chapel Hill, Hotwells Clifton Hill House, Lower Clifton Hill BS8 1BT

Destination Hotwells interactive tour
(needs Flash player) a fun guide to Hotwells history, buildings and people. hotwells.swf

Sat Feb 23rd Sun Feb 24th Thu Feb 28th Wed Mar 6th-Sat Mar 9th Mon 11th Mar Mon Mar 18th Wed Mar 20th Sun Apr 14th Sun Mar 31st Mon Apr 15th

19:30 10:30 19:00 19:30

Holy Trinity Church Holy Trinity Church The Lion, Church Lane BS8 4TX Hope Chapel, Hope Chapel Hill Pump House, Merchants Rd. Hotwells, BS8 4PZ The Pavilion, Harbourside BS1 5JE CREATE, Smeaton Rd, BS1 6XN Sion Hill (next to Avon Gorge Hotel) Holy Trinity Church TBC

Travel Bristol real time bus arrivals
type in your postcode and select the bus stop you want to use to see arrival times

19:30 19:00 19:00 for 19:30

Clifton & Hotwells Improvement Society
amenity group for Clifton area

10:00- Clifton Rocks Railway Open 16:00 Day 10:30 19:00 Easter Day celebration service Clifton Neighbourhood Forum


Local Services

0117 973 7132

BA (Hons) DO MRO

39 Oldfield Road Hotwells BRISTOL BS8 4QQ Tel: (0117) 927 2100


provides time for stillness in a busy world Gentle Class Thursdays from Jan 10th, 11.00-12:30 Clifton Library, Princess Victoria Street Call Em Sawday to book a place 0117-9738213 or 07833751235