Friday, January 13, 2012

Politicians fail to see big picture

BRISTOL City Council appears to have done it again. Another planning meeting has seen off another sporting scheme. This time, from Gloucestershire County Cricket Club.

The club wants to expand and needs to build a block of 174 flats to pay for that expansion.

And therein lies the biggest sticking point with local residents.

Some might call the decision a victory for those residents, for people power. And it's easy to have sympathy with their local, self-interested view.

That, in essence, is what the councillors who ignored their own officers' recommendations and voted against the scheme did.

In reality, however, the politicians lost sight of the bigger picture.

Firstly, they lost sight of economic reality. Councillors were concerned that the club was offering "just" £83,000 towards local schemes, instead of the required £4.4m. But is that a realistic figure for a developer to pay out on a £10m scheme – in the middle of one of the worst recessions in living memory? Other councils are prepared to demand much less.

Secondly, they lost sight of the absolute necessity for our city to have better sporting facilities.

Bristol City's stadium plan is mired in legislative limbo. And the cricket club now joins it there.

It's a harsh fact, but Bristol needs politicians with the courage to do what's right for the city as a whole – even if that brings them into conflict with some local residents.

whitney cummings human parthenogenesi... patrick fitzgerald

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