Newsletter Masthead

No. 42 - Christmas 2001 edition

In this Issue:

Mucking out the Malago

The Old Vicarage

Campus Consultation

Hitting the Road

Looking Forward to Spring

Sustainable Living: from Bishopsworth to Bondi Beach

The Programme

Coffee Day 2001

Who's who


WELL, this should have been the 'November' Newsletter, but there always seem to be more things to do than time to do them in. So let's make a virtue of necessity and start by saying 'Merry Christmas' to all readers.

In the hustle and bustle of preparing for Christmas festivities, I don't suppose your mind will particularly be on considerations of architecture and town planning. But, if you can, keep your eyes open for anything new in the local environment which you think has enhanced our part of Bristol during this last year. As usual, we shall be announcing the winners of our Environmental Awards at our A.G.M. in February, and we'd like your nominations.

You can nominate anything which you think is an improvement to the public face of BS13. It can be a new or a converted building, or 'hard' or 'soft' landscaping either as part of a new development or in an existing park or open space. The only limitations are that it must be visible to the public, and it must have been completed during 2001. Please let any M.V.C.G. committee member have your ideas.

Whilst on the subject of Christmas, don't forget our usual (i.e. unusual) Christmas Party. It's on Tuesday 18 December at St Peter's Rooms.

We're circulating with this Newsletter the leaflet which Dundry Hill Group have recently produced. We'll be having a short introduction to what D.H.G. are planning for the future at our January meeting. In the meantime, please have a think about getting involved, and make a note of the date of the meeting.




MANY OF YOU will have seen in the newspaper that major engineering work is planned in Manor Woods (we gave advance notice of this in Newsletter 38 in March, but things have slipped a bit, and additional work has been added).

Wessex Water are constructing a large underground holding tank which will receive pollution from the foul sewers when heavy rain causes an overflow. This will reduce the number of such overflows into the Malago from several dozen each year to just a handful. We'd prefer none, of course, but that isn't an option, both for financial reasons and because of the impossibility of predicting all possible weather conditions.

The bottom of St Peter's Rise will be closed to traffic for some weeks, and this will cause temporary inconvenience, but pedestrian and cycle routes both on the road and through Manor Woods will be maintained.

The construction work is between the Bishopsworth Library entrance to Manor Woods and the path down from the (now demolished) garage on Bishopsworth Road. There will be occasional vehicle access from behind the Library once the work is finished, and there will be a turning circle off the path and a new access shaft which will be slightly above the existing ground surface, with the earth mounded around it.

M.V.C.G. welcomes the work and looks forward to a significant and permanent improvement in water quality in the Malago.



WHAT a pleasant surprise that was! After considerable and wide-spread concern over the planning application for the Old Vicarage, Bishopsworth, we now have a planning permission which has been universally welcomed.

The applicants had withdrawn the proposed six new houses (which would have been hopelessly crowded on this site), and we asked the City Council's South & East Development Control Committee to strengthen the condition of planning permission relating to replacement tree planting. This they did, and permission was granted on 21 November. We look forward to this important building in the Bishopsworth & Malago Conservation Area finding a new lease of life.



HARTCLIFFE COMMUNITY CAMPUS are carrying out a public consultation exercise as they work up their plans for the next stage of development. Caroline Jenkins of H.C.C. came to a recent M.V.C.G. committee meeting to put us in the picture, and comments from anyone will be welcomed by the H.C.C. team.

One issue is whether and where there might be housing on the site which would pay for other improvements. There is a Site of Nature Conservation Interest by Whitchurch Lane (the area formerly identified for a hospital) which would be retained and managed. Hartcliffe School would be rebuilt under the Private Finance Initiative. Sport provision and linkages (pedestrian and vehicular) are also under consideration. A questionnaire is available from the Campus office (phone 964 4513) and should be returned to them by 14 December.



TALK OF A NEW ROAD to link the A38 (Bridgwater Road) and the A370 at Long Ashton recently firmed up to become a consultants' study. North Somerset Council, in whose area any new road would be, have appointed JMP Consultants to consider possible improvements aimed at relieving congestion in Barrow Gurney and Winterstoke Road; improving access to Bristol Airport; and promoting economic regeneration in South Bristol.

The consultants have been asked to recommend whether a road should be built, and, if so, where it should run. Of course, there is a line on the map for the Avon Ring Road which was to have connected the A38 with the A370, and a major concern is that this study will renew suggestions that the line of the Ring Road should be completed from the A38 eastwards, through Highridge, Bishopsworth and Withywood to the Cater Road roundabout.

M.V.C.G. has decided not to take a view on the current consultant's study - though we shall be looking at their report in April with great interest. However, we have done some checking about the line of the Ring Road from the A38 to Cater Road. Bristol City Council Planning Committee declared in December 1998 that that part of the Road would not be built. Since then, we understand that it is in the process of being removed from the Replacement Structure Plan, and it does not figure in the latest Transport Plan or Bristol Local Plan consultation. It has also been confirmed to us that senior politicians on Bristol City Council remain opposed to any thought of resurrecting this line.



ENCOURAGED by the fine display of daffodils in front of the 'Elm Tree' last spring, following our planting efforts a year ago, we decided on some more planting this autumn.

M.V.C.G. strikes againOn Saturday 10 November, over a dozen people gathered near Bishopsworth Library to plant 1500 bulbs. Our youngest member, Jamie, was there in his buggy and we think he enjoyed the experience as it was a bright, sunny morning. We planted the area at the corner of Bishopsworth Road and St Peter's Rise with a small rowan tree surrounded by 'February Gold' daffodils.

Right: M.V.C.G. strikes again.



Jamie getting the hang of itLeft: Jamie getting the hang of it

A few of us crossed the road and went to plant around the three trees and along the wall below Chestnut Court, and on the patch of ground opposite near Bishopsworth Manor House. There we met some resistance - or rather our spades did, as the ground was rather stony in places.




You dig the holes, I'll fill 'em

Right: You dig the holes, I'll fill 'em

Like last year, the bulbs were supplied by Riverside Garden Centre at a good price, and we are grateful to them for their help. There was a bucket of bulbs left over, and these have now been planted around the larger tree at the top of King Georges Road.


Stefanie Preuß, our visiting German student, hard at work



Left: Stefanie Preuß, our visiting German student, hard at work



Photographs by Digital Danny


If things go as well as they did at the 'Elm Tree', there will be a treat in store, come the spring, when you're visiting the Library, or going to the shops, or off for a walk in Manor Woods!




IT WAS A PLEASURE to hear Ian Lillington again when he came to talk to us. Ian, Jo and the children have lived for ten years in Australia, and they are on a visit to his mum and dad in Bishopsworth, and to other family and friends in the U.K.

Ian's talk and excellent slides transported us to Willunga, near Adelaide, where he lives. He teaches and practices permaculture - a term coined from 'permanent agriculture', but which has a myriad ways of approaching and defining it.

In an article he wrote in 1992 for Earth Garden magazine in Australia, Ian says: 'Permaculture is about the optimal use of your land, time and resources ... It is about minimal use of fossil fuels - good design can save some energy, human effort can save some more.' Ian emphasised that the permaculture approach is equally applicable in sunny Australia and grey old England; in several acres of land and in a small back garden - or even if you don't have a garden at all.

In his Earth Garden article, he answers the question, 'What can you do?':

1. Keep in touch with Nature. When did you last look at the moon, poke some frog-spawn with a stick or feel a tree bud about to burst?

2. Spend money locally. However little, you can help keep that cash in your community by using local shops, trading with friends and neighbours or setting up a co-operative. Money spent in a big supermarket is rapidly lost from the community.

3. Use less fossil fuel (every little bit helps). Mains electricity is a very inefficient way to use fossil fuel. Products such as aluminium cans are also expensive in their contribution to global warming - so recycle aluminium wherever you can.

Ian emphasised the 'power of humans working together' to improve and change their environment wherever it is, in Willunga or in Bristol. This very encouraging and optimistic note is what I shall especially remember.



  • Things seen in and from a Bishopsworth garden in recent weeks: great spotted woodpecker - grey squirrel - buzzard (how often do you look up?) - and (hurray!) a fox.



MALAGO VALLEY CONSERVATION GROUP'S own events are shown by the symbol. The regular evening meetings on the third Tuesday of each month are held at St Peter's Rooms (by the side of St Peter's Church), Bishopsworth, and start at 7.30pm. The Greenworks Project of CSV Environment are carrying on the Dundry Hill Group programme of walks until D.H.G. re-establishes itself. These events are shown as (DHG). All welcome!


NOVEMBER would not be the same without our annual Coffee Day. This year it was held on 8 November at Chris and Mike Lillington's. Thanks to them for hosting it, and thanks to members and friends for their contributions. We hope that everybody who took part, helpers and customers, enjoyed the day. We had the best bring and buy stall ever!

The proceeds, as usual, went to the Avon Wildlife Trust, the University of Withywood and M.V.C.G. We raised £72.65 for our funds.

Malago Valley Conservation Group


André Coutanche

964 3106


Lola Hardingham

964 1116

Hon. Secretary

Lis Pibworth

987 0825

Hon. Treasurer Beryl Heaton

964 5780

Committee Members

Anton Bantock, Don Bartlett, Brenda Docherty, Royston Griffey, Mavis Palmer

Co-opted Members

Tania Case, Valerie Gay, Peter Hall, Audrey Milton, Ted Thomas, Sue Walker, CSV Environment, Cllrs Bernard Chalmers, Peter Crispin, Richard Eddy, Ron Hodges, Dave Johson, Mary Sykes (All the City councillors for Bishopsworth, Hartcliffe and Whitchurch Park wards are invited to become co-opted Committee members).

Newsletter edited by André Coutanche, 14 Queens Road, Bishopsworth, Bristol, BS13 8LB; telephone 964 3106; e-mail; web address Letters, articles and suggestions from readers are welcome. The opinions expressed in this Newsletter do not necessarily represent those of M.V.C.G.


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