From your Councillors: Stephen Williams, Caroline Gooch and Nicholas Coombes

Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze truly is the most politically engaged part of Bristol. Seven thousand, eight hundred and ninety-four people cast their ballots for the local election, which is the largest absolute and relative turnout in Bristol.
We – Nicholas Coombes, Caroline Gooch and Stephen Williams – are delighted and honoured to have been elected to represent such a civic minded area. Our four-year term of office to Bristol City Council started on 7th May with the swearing-in ceremony at City Hall.
We would like to thank our longstanding supporters, the many tactical voters, and those who voted Liberal Democrat for the first time. We would also like to acknowledge the work of our predecessors, who have served our community diligently for many years. This recent election was hard fought, but both sides campaigned responsibly on the issues and priorities of local people.

This election was to Bristol’s new committee system of government, in which elected members share responsibility for decision making. This system was chosen to replace the mayoral system in the public referendum in 2022. The mayor was duly abolished after last month’s election. Eight new policy committees will now make the major decisions taken previously by the mayor.

No one party has a majority across the city, so power will be shared. We are determined to work collaboratively for the good of Bristol. There must be an end to failed grand projects, and a return to effective services and good governance. The Labour group sadly refused to accept any Policy Committee chairs, so six have been taken by the Green Party and two by the Liberal Democrats. We are delighted that Stephen Williams will be the chair of the Public Health and Communities committee. He will have oversight of a large range of council services, including smoking cessation support, swimming pools, community cohesion, parks and a lot else besides. Caroline Gooch will be the vice chair of the Strategy and Resources committee, which allocates budgets and coordinates services provided by the council and its partners.

Locally in Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze we are keen to get to work on the issues that matter to you. Should you need our assistance, please get in touch using our new email addresses:

Having spoken to so many residents during the election campaign, we already have several issues to be getting on with! We look forward to reporting back on our progress next month.

Among issues we are following:

Please continue reporting missed bin and recycling collections on the council website after 5pm, or on the following day, and do also let us know if a whole street is missed, or you report and Bristol Waste don’t come back. Service is patchy across the city, so this will undoubtedly be a priority for the new Environment committee, with responsibility for this area.

Canford Lane crossing – we are checking with council officers what progress has been made in awarding the contract for this long-delayed project.

Henbury Hill and Falcondale Rd works – these works are scheduled to have finished by the time this issue of the Voice hits your doormats, please let us know if there are knock on problems.

We plan to have a meeting soon with the Westbury-on-Trym Society and have reached out as well to the Henleaze Society.

North View bus gate – things seem to have gone quiet on this front for now. The new council will push for a lot of changes to buses including bus franchising, with the aim to get a better bus service in Bristol as a whole, which should have a knock-on effect on traffic and might negate the need for such restrictions.

Potholes – Now that the Southmead Road roundabout is fixed, the section of Parry’s Lane above the crossing is vying for worst craters in the ward. Please report potholes either directly to the council via Fix My street or tell us about them.

Downs van dwellers – We don’t think that an overnight camping ban will solve the problem on the Downs, as the vans will just move into unregulated residential streets. We are reporting individual issues as and when they arise, but top priority must be the creation of an appropriately serviced site as soon as possible, so that the people who live in the vans have a safe and clean environment. We are meeting with council officers to discuss a range of solutions but above all to stress the need for urgent action.

There are many other issues in our “in-tray”, and we look forward to updating readers in future editions of the Voice.