Protect Bristol’s best soils and community food growing land from becoming tarmac. 1 week left.

Protect Bristol’s best soils and community food growing land from becoming tarmac. 1 week left.

Author: Maddy Longhurst – Blue Finger Alliance

Soil or tarmac? Which will feed us? In Stapleton, beside the M32, a movement has been sparked. This historic landscape of allotments and smallholdings used to be thriving market gardens, feeding Bristol every day. But if proposed plans go ahead it will be the site of a new Bus Only Road junction (pictured) a part of the MetroBus scheme and, at a future unknown date, a Park & Ride.

The land which will be lost under the new roads is active food growing land and some of the most high quality soils in the country, Grade 1, 2 and 3, also known as Best and Most Versatile land (BMV) and given some protection  in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The land is also Green Belt, designated wildlife corridor and a site of habitat rich woodland and pollinator rich grassland, both of which will disappear if this scheme goes ahead.

The win? 3.5 minutes off  bus journey time. Is that what we care about when our food sovereignty, biodiversity, open space, health and heritage is at stake?

We have one week left to challenge the MetroBus proposal. It is a huge scheme stretching from Cribbs Causeway and Emersons Green in the north to Hengrove in the south and is supposed to ‘unlock economic opportunities’ by providing rapid buses between north and south. What it doesn’t consider is the cost to jobs and opportunities on the land that it is taking. This area is set to be the heart of a renaissance of urban food growing because of it’s exceptional soil quality. The MetroBus team have failed to recognise all of these exceptional long term benefits which will be lost. 

We desperately need some very good public transport solutions in this congested and polluted city of ours. But it is a foolish and lazy design which destroy ones best soil, half of an award winning community food growing Project (Feed Bristol) and 43 allotments in the process. And this junction alone will cost millions.

Please help us to ensure that the planning committee rejects the scheme as it is and takes at least this part of the scheme pack to the drawing board. 

You can find out all the key issues and the important policy references by going to we’ve done loads of the hard work for you to try and make the enormous, impenetrable planning application accessible to ordinary people.

You can submit an objection online, by email or by post. The official deadline is 2nd June 2014 but they have said they will accept submissions for a little while after that date too.

Please write a unique comment. Don’t cut and paste our words directly. Use planning policy references as much as you can where appropriate and bring in solutions wherever you can see them. You can look online to read what other people have written, or we have uploaded some of these to the website for you to peruse.

Thanks SO much for taking the time to do this. You are not alone and your voices WILL count. There are many people across the city on our side, including the mayor and some senior officers who totally get the terrible mistake it would be if Green Capital sold it’s food growing land up the swannee.

Good luck and do get in touch via the website with any thoughts or questions and let me know if you’d like to be involved in the Blue Finger work in any way.


Maddy, Bel and the Blue Finger crew.

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