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Work on controversial Metrobus route begins

Protesters occupied trees at Stapleton allotments to try to stop them being destroyed for the Metrobus route Credit: ITV News

Work on the two-year construction of the Stoke Gifford by-pass gets underway today.

It's part of the controversial Metrobus route which led to hundreds of protesters camping in trees in the Stapleton allotments.

That area of land will now be developed to make way for the new route. Evicting the protesters cost taxpayers over £1 million.

Thousands spent on allotment security

Protester being evicted from Stapleton allotments Credit: ITV News

Round the clock security will remain in place at a site where protesters were evicted last month in Bristol.

Campaigners camped out at Stapleton allotments in opposition to a new MetroBus route. Bristol City Council won a court order to remove them.

It says ongoing site surveillance and the eviction has cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

Work is underway to reconfigure the allotments, making sure there is no interruption to local food production as a result of work on the MetroBus scheme. No allotments are being lost and improved facilities will be put in place for allotment holders including more parking, more water points and a new allotment building.

Once work on the allotments is complete, construction work for the bus-only junction will get underway. The link, which is part of the North Fringe/Hengrove Park MetroBus route, is expected to reduce journey times between Hengrove and the University of West of England by 27 minutes, linking people in South Bristol with growing job opportunities in the north of the city.

The site will remain under guard, with the situation reviewed regularly. Whilst there is a cost to this, it is far less than the cost of clearing another occupation of the site. The costs of the recent eviction operation and necessary ongoing site security are estimated to be hundreds of thousands of pounds.

– Bristol City Council spokesman


Stapleton Allotments cleared for MetroBus scheme

Land in Bristol that was occupied by tree protesters for six weeks has now been cleared for work on preparations for the city's Metrobus route.

The activists were evicted from Stapleton allotments last week. They say the scheme will destroy wildlife habitat and agricultural land but Mayor George Ferguson says he's looking at ways of minimising its impact.

Protesters removed from Stapleton Allotments

After four days protesters have all been cleared from the Stapleton allotments Credit: ITV News

Bristol City Council says the protest camp at Stapleton Allotments has now been cleared.

Bailiffs spent the past four days removing demonstrators from the site to make way for a new bus route. But the council says it is now preparing to address a separate illegal encampment which has been created near the M32.

Protestors hold out at Stapleton Allotments

Some protestors remain camped high up in trees Credit: ITV News Westcountry

A fourth day of evictions is underway at Stapleton Allotments, as Bristol City Council continues its operation to remove protestors objecting to a new bus route.

A city council spokesman said just five protestors now remain on the site.

“Given the scale and complexity of this operation things have gone very well indeed. The specialist teams have worked with great care to make sure people have been brought to the ground safely and respectfully."

– Peter Mann, Bristol City Council

Third day of evictions at Stapleton Allotments

Bailiffs are at Stapleton Allotments in Bristol for a third day of evicting protestors who are against a new bus route being built through the site.

Yesterday a dozen people were removed from the trees and a derelict building. Bristol City Council says around eight people remain . There have been no arrests or major incidents.

The council hopes to clear the site over the weekend so it can start work on this phase of the MetroBus scheme, with the first order of business being to move the allotments.

“The specialist teams conducted a detailed operation yesterday and safely brought a number of those in highly precarious tree top locations safely to the ground.

“We are increasingly concerned for the safety of those up in the trees, so the team’s focus today will be on safely removing as many people as possible. However, we fully expect this final phase of the operation to continue at least into tomorrow.”

– Peter Mann, Bristol City Council
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