1. West Country (E)

Bristol could ban BBQs and tree climbing in parks

Bristol Mayor George Ferguson has withdrawn controversial plans about park bylaws from the agenda due to have been debated today by full council. He's sent the plans, which include a ban on tree-climbing, to be scrutinised by a cross-party group.

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Council debates crackdown on tree-climbing & BBQs

A raft of new bylaws is up for debate at today's council meeting in Bristol. It could see many ordinary park activities triggering a fine of up to £500.

They include:

  • children climbing trees
  • having a BBQ
  • playing football in an “annoying” way
  • skateboarding in an “annoying” way
  • making an “annoying” noise
  • putting up a wind/sun break
  • being with a parent in a children's area if you don’t have a child yourself

One Bristol councillor is speaking out against it. Dr Mark Wright, the councillor for the city-centre ward of Cabot is calling on fellow councillors to reject the proposals at today's meeting.

The proposed new bans are a massive over-reaction to issues that are either better managed by education and common sense, or are a natural result of demographics with different world-views using public areas together.

The vast majority of city-centre residents have no garden and live in purpose-built or converted flats.

For them, public parks are the only open space they have access to. The large majority of parks have no designated BBQ facility and most likely never will.

The ban on BBQs everywhere except designated areas is therefore a de-facto total ban on BBQs in the vast majority of parks, and for the large majority of central residents with no garden it is a de-facto ban on enjoying BBQs full stop.

What makes this so unfair is that the public consultation ran during the summer holidays for students, and so most likely excluded them entirely.

It is no surprise that half of all consultation respondents were aged over 50.

This package of bans will quickly lead to a substantial deterioration on relations between the police and young people, who will inevitably be the main target of police action as a result.

– Dr Mark Wright, Councillor Cabot Ward

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