Tag Archives: Stokes Croft

Stokes Croft versus Tesco

Right, so I’ve missed out on all the excitement, but anyhow, here’s the story so far on the campaign to prevent the old Jesters building on Cheltenham Road from getting turned into another Tesco Express…

8th February

11th February

12th February

13th February

14th February

20th February

15th March

16th March

17th March

18th March

19th March

20th March

23rd March

Related links

I leave the last word to Al Shaw from Redland People/Trym Tales:

“…I am surprised that on the official press release by Avon and Somerset Constabulary announcing the eviction the force find it necessary to assist Tescos in their PR campaign by quoting a Tesco spokesman uncritically in connection with the company’s desire to open the controversial store.

“It’s one thing for the police to enforce the decision of a court (which is part of their job); when they act as a mouthpiece for a huge company which is widely disliked and criticised by people from a range of social and economic backgrounds, it seems to me that the force has stepped over the wrong side of a line and manifested a poitical bias.”

[Edited to add links.]

‘For Lambros’ – Bristol commemorates Greek anarchist killed by police

Remembering Lambros Foundas, killed by cops in Athens

Things seem to be heating up around St. Paul’s and Stokes Croft. Yesterday saw a large public gathering to protest against the police-supported eviction of the Jesters social centre, readying it for another Tesco Express; this morning I noticed this graffiti and paint bombing on the side of Decourcy House, the Avon & Somerset Probation Area office on Upper York Street. It memorialises Lambros Foundas, a Greek anarchist shot dead by Athens police last Wednesday. There is an obituary on Act For Freedom Now!

Bristol’s Big Freeze: The word on the blogosphere

I thought I’d collect together all the local blog posts on the recent cold snap that I can find in one handy spot for your reading pleasure…

Aurea Mediocritas (Tony D)

Bristle’s Blog From The BunKRS

Bristol 24/7

Bristol Blogger

Bristol Traffic

Charlie Bolton’s Southville Blog

The Enemies Of Reason (Anton Vowl)

Eugene Byrne

Green Bristol Blog (Chris Hutt)

People’s Republic Of Stokes Croft

Stockwood Pete

Please let me know if I’ve missed anything out in the comments below, cheers 🙂

And wrap up warm!

Banksy stormed!

Banksy stormed!

In the early hours of this morning, Banksy’s ‘Mild Mild West’ on Stokes Croft in Bristol (UK) was repainted by a member of Appropriate Media, presenting an alternative version of this ‘alternative Bristol landmark’.

Through this action, Appropriate Media asks ?What is the value of street art??. How much time and money will be spent to restore this urban ‘masterpiss’ by urban masterpisser, Banksy.

Come on, you only care about it cos its a Banksy and he sells his lazy polemics to Hollywood movie stars for big bucks.

Come on, you only care about it cos makes you feel edgy and urban to tour round the inner city in your 4×4, taking in the tired coffee table subversion that graffiti has become.

Graffiti artists are the copywriters for the capitalist created phenomenon of urban art.
Graffiti artists are the performing spray-can monkeys for gentrification.
We call for the appropriate and legitimate use of public and private property.

We are taking matters into our own hands

We will not seek permission

We will retaliate

From Appropriate Media

ETA (1):

Just to clarify, I am not Appropriate Media, I just saw a post about it on Bristol IndyMedia – so anyone itching to dole out some death threats, hate mail, notes of congratulations or whatever, please bear this in mind 😉

ETA (2):

Some media coverage:

Bristol blogs on this:

You’ve Been Framed: The Google Street View Years

Bike crash captured by Google Street View

Bike crash at junction of City Road, Upper York Street and Stokes Croft, as captured on Google Street View. Perhaps more astonishing than this pile-up (and exactly how did that happen? Is the chap on the left riding an invisible steed?) is that there are no tramps in the background. I guess they heard about the plans to water down White Lightning.

Tip O’ The Titfer: [underscore] via Stefan Goodchild

ETA: Chris Hutt has spotted that The Sun has picked up the picture – it’s the third one in this slideshow, and also mentioned here.

ETA: It’s also featured in this BBC article (5th image in the gallery).

ETA: I can’t find any pictures showing the pre-crash situation, but this picture shows the aftermath in a bit more detail. That skateboarder is definitely acting suspiciously!

Bike crash aftermath

Criterion: The trial

Last year, the (mostly) annual St. Paul’s Carnival was put back from its usual slot in July to September, due to police pressure. In the early hours of Sunday 16th September following Carnival, a man died, having been stabbed at the Criterion pub on Lower Ashley Road. That man was Mohamoud Muse Hassan.

For the past week or so, a young woman has been on trial for his murder at Bristol Crown Court, having already admitted manslaughter. That woman is April Bright.

Today I went down to watch proceedings, for the simple reason that this happened in my neighbourhood, and that the accused is a neighbour. There’s not really much to say, except that it’s a sad case in which many lives have been touched in horrible ways.

This morning there were three witnesses. First was Ms Bright’s friend Courtney Wood, who was presented with a verbal statement he had made to police on the day of the killing, as well as a subsequent statement made this October. Mr Wood had great difficulty recalling details of the day after Carnival, of his talking with police that day, and of the October interview. He did, however, accept that Ms Bright had told him about the incident with Mr Hassan. He denied that she had told him that Mr Hassan had been sexually harassing her, though he said others had told him that. Mr Wood often answered questions “I don’t know,” or “I can’t really remember”.

The second witness was Roy Burnett. He had been at the Blue Mountain until the early hours of the Sunday morning. After leaving the club at around 2:40am, he headed down Wilder Street with a friend in a car, where he spotted Ms Bright with a man called Eldon. Mr Burnett approached Eldon, but he ran off. Mr Burnett asked Ms Bright to get him back, but according to him, she became aggressive and pulled out a large, kitchen-style knife, at which point he pushed her away by the throat, and then left the area. The defence suggested that he had punched her in the face, but Mr Burnett denied this, asking in retort, “Did she have any marks?”, and insisting he had pushed her away by the throat.

The third witness was Simon Curran. He had been at Carnival during the day with his girlfriend and her friend, and then later at the Blue Mountain. On leaving the Blue Mountain some time around 4am, the three walked down Wilder Street. Here there was an altercation with a young woman who broadly matched the description of Ms Bright, in which a large, kitchen-style knife was brandished, with which Mr Curran’s girlfriend was nicked in the face. Mr Curran had a distinctive way of talking. When asked a question, he would often preface his reply, “I believe I said in my statement…” He described the woman he came across on Wilder Street as “petite, slight.”

Also presented by the prosecution were witness statements from a friend of Ms Bright [ETA: Kasmira Conlon], who had been with her and her family for most of Carnival evening, and who had been in Tasties when two Somali men had been harrassing Ms Bright and her friends, and later at the Criterion when Mr Hassan staggered out of the pub with his neck wound. She was in the area still when the emergency services arrived, with the police taping off the scene. She saw Ms Bright there, and described her as looking “pissed off”.

One thing in particular from the day’s evidence does stick out: a statement from one police officer [ETA: PC Jeremy Cowburn] was read out. In it he detailed how he was on duty on the Sunday afternoon following Carnival, in the aftermath of Mr Hassan’s killing. He described being in a patrol car with a colleague, which had responded to a call on Brunswick Square. On leaving Brunswick Square, they drove up Upper York Street towards Stokes Croft, where he spotted Ms Bright and Mr Wood by the billboard at the junction of City Road, Stokes Croft and Upper York Street. The officer describes Ms Bright turning away from him as if to hide her face. The officer says he recognised her from having previously seen her picture. The police car turned left onto Stokes Croft, then all the way around the St. James’ Barton roundabout and up Stokes Croft again, and then turning right onto City Road, down which he could see Mr Wood walking on his own, with Ms Bright nowhere to be seen. It was here that Mr Wood is said to have told police that he had just been with Ms Bright, that she had told him about Mr Hassan’s death earlier that day, and that she had gestured with her hands in a manner which suggested a stabbing motion. Today Mr Wood could not recall such details.

Yet Upper York Street between Moon Street and City Road is one-way; only traffic either making a right turn from Stokes Croft or a left turn from City Road can turn down it. Traffic going up Upper York Street must turn left onto Moon Street, which leads to the North Street end of Stokes Croft outside the Blue Mountain and by St. James’ Barton roundabout.

The trial is still going on, so I guess I can’t really say much more about some of what went on in the court, or outside, or what happened around here when it was all going on last September. All in all it’s a sad little affair, with no winners.

The Evening Post’s reportage of the court proceedings:

My blog posts about the killing from last year:

Edited 5pm 25/11/08 for typos, to add names and latest Post link
Last edited 1pm 3/12/08 to add latest Post link

St. Paul’s: What a gas

Man peppersprayed by Sergeant 2978 on Stokes Croft, 5/11/8

Just after two in the afternoon today I walked up the street to go to the shops. As I turned onto Stokes Croft from the St. Paul’s side, I saw a small gaggle of people on Turbo Island. Walking over the small green towards them I saw a policeman and a couple of plastic pigs. I watched with mild interest as I carried on towards the shop. It appeared to be the Avin’ It Somewhere Constantly‘s recent clampdown on street drinking in the area (which will soon be bolstered by the council’s adoption of a No Street Drinking order over much of St. Paul’s).

Man peppersprayed by Sergeant 2978 on Stokes Croft, 5/11/8

After concluding my business in the shop, I returned the same way. I had left the house intending to also take some pictures of the artwork on the corner of Stokes Croft and CIty Road, so I had a camera with me. As I headed back in that direction, whilst the pedestrian crossing over Jamaica Street turned to the little green man, I could see the copper briskly walking behind one of the Turboheads as he (or possibly she) waddled away from the area. He had his back to the policeman. The policeman raised his arm, and with his hand maybe a foot away from the man’s head, he zapped him with pepperspray. As I was walking across the road I managed to capture the immediate aftermath, with the man screaming in agony, clutching at his face. I could not really hear anything that was being said at this point – things just moved very quickly.

Man peppersprayed by Sergeant 2978 on Stokes Croft, 5/11/8

By the time I got to the other side of the road, the gas-happy cop and the two PCSOs had manhandled the coughing, spluttering, choking man to the ground. The officer with the itchy trigger finger cited section four of the Public Order Act, claiming that “you threatened to break my jaw”.

bloggassing_041

I continued taking photographs as we were all stood (or lying, in severe discomfort) no more than three or four feet apart. It seemed like the only thing to do, seeing as they had applied pressure points to the man’s wrists before cuffing him, and did not appear in a particularly rational state of mind.

bloggassing_051

The proper copper (who by now I could see was a sergeant, serial number 2978) kneeled over him as he radioed for back up. The plastic pigs hovered around, not really giving off the vibe of people who knew what they should be doing. One, a small, youngish blonde woman, did seem to take some pleasure in assisting her mentor in roughly rolling their suspect around on the pavement. Her colleague – older, larger – orbited the scene in what to me looked like adrenaline-fuelled confusion. All three seemed to be keen to look away from the camera as I continued to snap away – turning away from me, bowing their heads, rubbing their faces with their hands. I mostly ignored them and kept my focus on the man on the ground, his faced screwed up in pain, having difficulty breathing, and dribbling a lot.

bloggassing_061

Sergeant 2978, perhaps a little less tunnel-visioned by now, announced to his colleagues that they should step back a little, to ‘let the gas disperse’ or similar (I can’t remember what his exact words were at this point). This gave the jumpy brunette the chance to address herself to me:

Can you stop taking photographs?

She may even have appended ‘please’ to the end, but the tone was not of a polite request.

bloggassing_071

I replied:

Why? There’s nothing wrong with taking photos, there’s no law against it.

bloggassing_081

Provoking the response from her:

But it’s not needed, is it? Stop taking pictures and move on.

bloggassing_091

Sensing that now their quarry was prone and barely breathing on the floor, there was no particular need to provide work for idle hands by standing around and arguing the legal toss with three stooges who found the need to gas someone for daring to drink a can of brew in public, I decided against dialogue, and instead took a long, lingering look at her serial number (8317) and then into her eyes, before carefully repairing to a safe distance, from where I continued to watch the scene, make notes on my phone, and review the pictures I had already taken. The PCSOs under the direction of sergeant 2978 did their best to clear the scene of any witnesses – mostly the brew crew they had initially been ‘talking to’ – citing no powers or authority in doing so.

Go, move on, or I will nick you!

bloggassing_101

With the sound of sirens in the background, and the two PCSOs conflabbing with their alpha male beat teacher whilst all looking in my direction, I decided to head home before the inevitable name-taking, card confiscating and bogus arrest could happen.

bloggassing_111

I uploaded the images to my computer, and after making some basic notes of what was said and done, I returned to Turbo Island within about twenty minutes, only to find no sign of activity – no police, no brew crew, no writhing prisoner.

Whoever that person is, whatever he did or did not do, I hope that he is alright.

===

I am blogging this because it happened right in front of me (I got a faceful of pepperspray too).

I have no idea is the man did or did not threaten sergeant 2978.

What I did see, though, was the man walking away from the police, making no discernible threatening gestures, only for sergeant 2978 to raise up his pepperspray to head height and then gas him at point blank range.

I am concerned on two counts:
The issue of street drinking bans and dispersal orders in my neighbourhood, both in terms of their effectiveness (or otherwise) in actually tackling the issues that supposedly predicate them, and in terms of the police enforcement of them.
The issue of bearing witness to police activity, in light of the concerns raised by photojournalist Marc Vallée and others that clause 75 of the Counter Terrorism Bill will be misused as much as section 44 of the Terrorism Act has been (and, indeed, as they anticipate section 43 will be misused in the future).

[I will return to these themes in the near future, but I have other things I should be doing and I really need to get this blog post up.]

A stone’s throw away, somewhere on Stokes Croft…

On Saturday the LLF and I went for a drink with her brother, who is newly pitched up in Bristol. After a false start at the Analphoney (“Bit… Pretentious here, isn’t it?”), we moved on to the Land Of The Trout for a more relaxed few rounds (interrupted only by the arrival and departure of a grazing herd of Blues Brothers stags), before heading home.

On the way we stopped off for a few cans of carry-out at The Best, possibly the least appropriately-named store on Stokes Croft. Still, it is open twenty-four hours a day, so who cares if it’s staffed exclusively by obnoxious oafs.

Whilst paying (and BTW, six quid for four Stripes? Are you having a – I believe the word is – bubble?!), the next customer in the queue, a rather handsome chap in his late twenties, well groomed and expensively dressed, turned round to us and with nary a hint of shame, embarrassment or restraint, asked us:

Do you know anywhere around here where I can buy some crack? I really fancy doing a bit of crack.

Well, that’s a question one doesn’t often hear around the streets of BS2. Perhaps he was a stranger in town, here for a business conference with no time to research the local retail landscape.

The LLF looked at him thoughtfully, smiling, before replying:

Aww, why do you want to do that? You look too nice to do crack!*

Leading him to retort (obviously, now that I think of it)…

It’s a fucking good buzz!

And moreish, too.

* Now CONFIRMED as her Very Own Words Spoken Through Her Self Same Beautiful Lips.

One balmy afternoon in the inner city…

A charming scene played out on Stokes Croft this afternoon…

(Sallow-cheeked young Scottish man, pale of face and whiskery of chin:)

Fuck you, you dirty slag!

(Gaunt-looking young woman, with a voice suggestive of a swollen tongue and a missing tooth:)

Fucking… Smackhead!

— Exeunt —

Stokes Croft 3, gentrifiers 1

Okay, so we lost the battle over Lakota, but it seems like the groundswell of dissent in the area over the massive changes to the cultural and social makeup of our area proposed by developers is finally being heeded by the council… In quick succession the plans to put up apartment blocks and student flats on the sites of Clockwork and the Attic Bar and adjacent to the Bell have all been thrown out!

For more info on this and other developments, stay tuned to the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft and the St. Paul’s Unlimited Community Partnership websites, and check my Nu.Bristol pages.

PS An interesting little vid with Chris Chalkley of PRSC, SC resident Keval Shah and Hogge from the Cube talking about the area and the challenges it faces:

Pity the fool

I try and make sure all comments on here get published – everything bar blatant spam. Even the mental stuff goes up. The only comment I can remember deliberately not approving was one which did the rounds of Bristol blogs, which claimed to be ‘outing’ The Bristol Blogger.

Then after a week away, I noticed this little gem on the comment waiting list. I’m not prepared to sully my lovely Yuppification section with its ignorant, prejudiced, sub-literate witterings, but for the sake of openness I present it here on the wire for you to marvel at.

A few points:

  • Note the meandering, bitter tone, and the switches of target between the area of Stokes Croft itself and its inhabitants, signs perhaps of an addled liver and a restless (and I use the word in its broadest sense here) mind;
  • Appreciate the erratic use (or absence) of eliding apostrophes (“Its full of”, “You can’t go”);
  • Gasp at the daring omission of letters from words – a triumph of expressiveness given poetic balance by the unnecessary addition of letters elsewhere (“The are whores everywhere”, “heroine addicts”);
  • Applaud the confident yet entirely evidence-free assertions of FACT (“Most residents of the croft ARE claiming benefits”, “There are hostels everywhere”), which are sometimes strikingly specific (“It has a crime rate equal to that of Hackney”, “Most residents are…shooting up in the hallways of the 51º02 block”);
  • Take your hat off to the author’s heroic refusal to be bound by outdated concepts of consistent capitalisation or formatting (“the full moon”, “the UK”, “the croft”, “Hackney”);
  • Revel in the bold failure to connect any of the numbered points to the commenter’s initial statement that “Stokes croft needs to be developed”…

I could go on, but I’m sure you, dear reader, have more than enough meat between your teeth already.

Shirley not!

This past weekend saw the Jamaica Street Studios open up their doors for an open day, celebrating the living art and culture of Stokes Croft and its people. Chris Chalkley of PRSC very kindly has sent round a round robin email complete with pictures from the weekend, and lumme if in one of them it looks like not just one but both Ashley ward councillors! See what you think…

Can it be true? Has the wanderer not only returned, but actually spent time in sunny Saint Paul’s? Or are these actually agency doppelgangers, hired in for the day? Answers on the back of a council expenses claim as soon as possible, please…

(Picture courtesy of People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, which is in no way responsible for this blog!)

Bye bye Lakota, hello yuppies

Just got back from the council committee meeting. They voted for demolition of Lakota and the Coroner’s Court. One committee member voted against, another seemed to have absented himself under instruction from the chair. A further three said they did not think the development proposals were very strong, or expressed reservations about going against conservation findings made by the council itself, but still voted to demolish.

There were passionate contributions from the floor, both in favour and against. Roughly speaking those against demolition focused more on conservation and historical interest, which may with the benefit of an hour or two of hindsight seem a tactical error, whilst those in favour presented it as a benefit to the local community in terms of housing and employment. It was precisely this area that I feel the proposals were weakest – go figure. There were also a handful of paid consultants and silent suits lurking around, and the council officers presented pretty strongly for demolition, despite admitting that the development did not meet various criteria.

Oh well, lengthier post mortems to follow, which seems appropriate for a mortuary. PRSC put up a strong presence in the room, as well as there being various concerned local residents and civilians such as myself, so I imagine the fight is not yet over.

PRSC says: People of Stokes Croft, assert yourselves! (Urgent action required)

Summary

  • The Attic Bar on North Street (right at the St. James’ Barton end of Stokes Croft, formerly the Eclipse) is subject to a planning application which could see it demolished and turned into ‘serviced apartments’.
  • The last day for getting comments and objections to Bristol City Council is this Friday (23rd May).
  • You can see the application online on the BCC website, where you can also have your say.
  • The Attic might not be a great boozer, and it may have been built over the (metaphorical) ashes of rock/goth/pool pub the Eclipse, but it is at least a social space, unlike ‘serviced appartments’, which are creeping up all over the shop, almost as much as yuppie flats and Unite student blocks.


This is the text of an email from Chris Chalkley of the People’s Republic of Stokes Croft, which he is asking people to forward to others with an interest in the changes being made to our local area.

The Planning Process… How we can influence what happens in the Croft…

As you’re probably more than aware Stokes Croft is under massive threat from corporate developers who propose to demolish perfectly repairable and in some cases listed buildings and replace them with unaffordable, unattractive new flats, Currently, PRSC know of 7 separate planning applications of this nature that are being considered along Stokes Croft by Bristol City Council. Proposals vary but all threaten the existence of the great variety of exciting underground / cultural assets we have in Stokes Croft and were they to go through, Stokes Croft would look much like the waterfront does now – bland and monotone, sanitised and gated. The exciting mix of creativity that has attracted people from all over the world to the area for decades would be lost to the mists of time…

All planning applications are published online, and anybody can examine the proposed plans and comment on them… The Council are obliged to take account of these comments.

We will from now on make a point of alerting as many people as possible to all proposed developments within the area. We will endeavour to inform you as best we can as to what’s being proposed and how we can all – from our various individual but connected pressure groups / crews – make our feelings about such developments known.

There are a couple of crucially important things to make clear about how we can make use of the planning process:

1) If enough members of the public ‘comment’ on an application once it’s online, the Council are obliged to call an open committee meeting where people can turn up to make their objections known in person.

2) It is our understanding that anybody may speak at the subsequent committee meeting, for up to 3 minutes, to voice their concerns, challenge the legality etc. of the application in question so long as they apply to speak at least 24 hours before the meeting. This is a legitimate method by which residents, concerned parties, activists can directly address the decision makers and show the strength of feeling and raise legitimate objections. It is the first line of resistance, and organisation between concerned groups will make our voice stronger. It is essential to realise that, just because an application has been submitted, the result is not a foregone conclusion…

By using our legitimate rights judiciously, we can bring force to bear… The planners are not used to masses of people demanding to speak…
In essence, engaging with the process by peaceful means, and working together, will buy us all time in which we can form stronger bonds among our various groups and research our objections more thoroughly, making our case for preserving Stokes Croft as the cultural hub it is, a lot stronger.

ACTION REQUIRED NOW PLEASE…

The Attic Bar.. Part of the Full Moon

There is currently a planning application for the demolition and rebuild of the Attic Bar, next to the Full Moon, on North St. at the bottom of Stokes croft.

The deadline for comments and objections has been extended to Friday 23rd May – THIS FRIDAY

Whilst it falls in the curtilage of the Grade 2 listed Full Moon, the Attic itself is not listed, but is subject to Listed Consent, which means the impact of any changes to the Attic has to be considered with reference to the historic nature of The Full Moon. However, The Full Moon will stay as it is. The Planning Application is to fully demolish the Attic bar – originally built in 1715 as the bar for The Full Moon Hotel and coach house. It was probably partially bombed, then altered in 1955 and was fully renovated in 2006/7. While the Attic building has fluctuated in height over the years, and been almost entirely rebuilt, it is said to have retained its ‘character of age,’ in perfect keeping with the Full Moon, the second oldest known pub in Bristol.

The proposed plans show a complete rebuild, with extra height, and space for “16 serviced apartments” above. The design for the new Attic development is modern, with a curved roof and some of the design attempts to follow the style of the original building. The view from the Full Moon’s courtyard in between the two buildings would be arguably less attractive and the general way the open space there can be experienced now will change. The design statement says that this is to extend the backpackers hostel, which would not be a bad thing necessarily. The current owners have a reputable small company with eco-friendly philosophies.

We would like to know why the entrance to the new building faces directly onto North Street? If the building is intended to be part of the Full Moon backpacker hostel, as the plans suggest, then you’d have thought the entrance would be within the curtilage of The Full Moon and facing into the courtyard. The one-bed apartments are being proposed as short term accommodation for visitors, and could not be sold individually unless the owners applied to the council for ‘change of use’ (from commercial to residential). With the entrance facing directly onto North Street, the division of the new Attic from The Full Moon becomes eminently possible and and is a point, in our view, worth considering.

The Full Moon and Attic is advertised for sale subject to planning permission, and is being marketed as a ‘development opportunity’.

Importantly, this case (should the Attic be demolished?) goes to a closed committee (i.e. the council will discuss this case alone, without the public) on 30th May. They have verbally agreed to extend the time in which people can make comments until FRIDAY 23RD MAY (this Friday). Therefore, if you have an opinion concerning this proposal that you would like the council to consider at their meeting, you must add your comment, by Friday 23rd May at the latest. You can read the full planning application for yourselves, view proposed plans and make your comment here [on the Bristol City Council website].

If there are sufficient objections, then there will be a meeting which will be open to the public, to discuss this proposal…

Apologies for the lengthiness – it’s a confusing business!

Peoples Republic of Stokes Croft,
Turbo Island Studio,
37, Jamaica Street,
Stokes Croft,
Bristol,
BS2 8JP

Mobile: 07866 627 052
Email: chris@prsc.org.uk

I’ll add more links tomorrow, interweb’s playing up tonight 😦

PS I learned a new word from that – ‘curtilage’ 😀

Related links