Posts Tagged ‘Bedminster’

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Shopkeepers “Duped” Over Broken CCTV Cameras

August 19, 2009

Shopkeepers on one of Bedminster’s main shopping streets say they have been “duped” by the city council, after paying for security cameras that are broken and can’t see crime that happens in their shops.

Several retailers on East St contributed £200 each in February to set up a network of 10 CCTV cameras in the area, which the council claimed would combat crime and anti-social behaviour.

But several of the cameras are currently broken, having been hit by lightning this spring, and there has been a long delay in fixing them as the council has decided to upgrade them. It cannot say when they will be fixed.

East St Cameras - Broken

East St Cameras - Broken

Additionally, many retailers have complained after asking for CCTV footage but being told the cameras do not point at their shops.

One says he feels “duped” and others have demanded the council returns their money, as they believe the cameras are not being used to fight crime, but to raise revenue by detecting traffic offences on the pedestrianised part of East St.

Cash Converters manager Bill Kelly said: “It’s always excuse after excuse. There has been a robbery in one shop, an attempted robbery at the bank, and we have suffered criminal damage.

“On each occasion, we’ve been told there is no CCTV to help us. We feel duped. We have paid for CCTV to make us feel safer and we don’t feel we have got that.”

Rachel Maddox from Peacock’s added: “Someone attacked one of our guards, but there was no CCTV footage to back that up so it never went to court. As far as I know, the CCTV cameras were working.

“It’s not keeping us safe by just monitoring the road. I think it’s disgusting.”

Fiona Lewis from Bakeaway had a similar experience. She said: “I definitely want my money back. We were robbed in December and went to the council for the CCTV but were told the cameras weren’t working.

I would not have paid £200 if I thought the cameras wren’t going to work, and I would not have paid £200 if I had known what I now believe they are going to use them for: to stop cars going down the road.”

Katherine Smith from Stead and Simpson agreed. She said: “The response has been that the cameras weren’t working or the cameras weren’t pointing in the right direction.

“I definitely want my money back because it seems like they’ve asked for money from small businesses for the cameras. But they have used them to make more money from fines and traffic offences.”

Jones The News asked to speak to a council officer or an elected councillor but was told no-one was available. Neither was anyone available from Safer Bristol Partnership, an umbrella organisation of the police and council.

In a statement, Safer Bristol Partnership said: “The system has worked well and has proved effective in improving  the safety for people using the East Street shopping centre.

“There have been dozens of successful outcomess [sic] as a result of CCTV surveillance. For example CCTV pictures led to the arrest of a man who attacked a shopkeeper with a samurai sword, a man was arrested for a cash point robbery and various car crimes, assaults and shoplifting offences have resulted in arrests.”

Audio: shopkeepers on East describe the problems they’ve had

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Bedminster groups “alarmed” and “disappointed” by Tesco plans

May 28, 2009

Community groups in Bedminster say they’re “disappointed” and “alarmed” by Bristol City’s plans to sell its Ashton Gate stadium to Tesco.

The club could raise as much as £20m towards its new Ashton Vale stadium by selling the ground to the supermarket giant for redevelopment.

Tesco claims the plan could generate as many as 1000 jobs in the area, and it could also enable Bristol to host football World Cup games. Yet there is expected to be strong local opposition to the plans.

Ben Barker from the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership told Original he was “alarmed” by the proposal.

He said: “One of the things about the Bedminster area is that it has a lot of character. There are a lot of small shops.

“They’re likely to be driven out of business by a big thing like Tesco: it’s happened elsewhere. Then our area will look like every other area of the country.

“It will have the same shops, the same dominant food outlets and it will lose all character and interest. That’s not good for the community.”

He also says Tesco’s claim of creating 1000 jobs should be offset against the number of local jobs destroyed by the plans.

One trader on North Street, who didn’t wish to be named, told Original he was “deeply disappointed” by the plans but it was something they “would have to work with”.

The club is expected to put its planning application to Bristol City Council within the next few months.

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Bedminster Campaigners Fear For Historic Cemetery

April 14, 2009

A Bedminster campaign group says it fears for the future of an historic cemetery in Bristol.

Hebron Burial Ground, just behind North Street, is the resting place of Mary Baker, better known as Princess Caraboo. Baker hoaxed prominent Bristolians in the nineteenth century into believing she was a foreign princess, inventing her own language in order to do so.

It is currently owned privately, but will be auctioned at the end of the month. A campaign group, Friends of Hebron Burial Ground, says it fears another private developer may buy the cemetery with the intention of building on it. They have now launched a campaign to get the city council to buy the land and maintain it.

1,200 people are buried in the small cemetery, many of whom have living relatives. The last burial took place in 1965.

Mike Meecham from Friends of Hebron Burial Ground, said: “Our fears are that it will go to another speculator who will treat it with very little respect. We would like to preserve it as a quiet area where people can sit and reflect.

“The council have been very supportive. All the councillors I’ve spoken to are behind us, as is the Greater Bedminster Community Partnership, the parks people seem to be in favour as do the local residents. They all want to see it preserved. But it will come down to money.”

Mike also wants to warn potential buyers that the land will be difficult to develop because it is a conservation area.

He said: “We feel the best step forward would be for the council to buy it and bring it up to standard. Grant money would be available to the council or a trust to run it. We’ve offered to help maintain it for the present owner but he’s shown very little interest in that.

“We want to see it maintained properly and respect paid to the people who are buried here.”

Audio: Martin Jones reports

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