Bristol residents are angry at a £200m “white elephant” bus scheme that won narrow approval at a council meeting.
Residents gathered from the north of the city to protest outside Bristol City Hall holding white elephant placards to protest at the huge, largely unwanted expenditure of taxpayers’ money. The scheme, which involves building a bridge cutting into much-loved Stoke Park, is profoundly unpopular locally.
“We have got to take this city into the 21st century,” said a local transport campaigner at a packed Council meeting. But during the decision-making session, protestors felt the real reason for Bristol City Council wanting to proceed with the expensive project was revealed. If they didn’t approve the application, the route would lose its allocation of Government – taxpayer – funding. The protesters believe this is frequently used as an excuse for bouncing councillors into making unpopular decisions because they just can’t resist any opportunity to spend lots of our money.
Protestors at the meeting complained about not being adequately consulted about the proposed bus route and at the loss of agricultural land. They also objected to normal road being replaced by bus and bike lanes as part of the costly scheme. In the end, their objections were ignored as the £200m scheme was narrowly passed by six councillors to four.
The good news, however, from Bristol is that Mayor George Ferguson’s shameless attempt to get his hands on the money generated by selling a Banksy work of art as been rejected by the artist himself who wanted the Boys’ Club, on whose building the graffiti appeared, to benefit from its sale and not the council. Hoorah! They’ll know how to spend the £400,000 windfall far more wisely.