Join us to help improve Fishponds Road

May 11 2021
Join us to help improve Fishponds Road

FISHPONDS residents need more control over what happens to the main road through the area, campaigners say.

A new group is being set up to bring together people who want to make Fishponds Road more "people-friendly", improving the environment and making it easier to walk and cycle along its length.

The Fishponds Road Enhancement Plan would identify projects that could be carried out and ways of funding them.

With the future of high streets in the spotlight following the easing of the latest lockdown, the campaigners say the time is right to do something to make the road somewhere people want to spend more time.

The Fishponds Road Enhancement Plan is the idea of resident Kathe Jacob, who hopes to bring groups and individuals together in a partnership called Fishponds Road Revival that would develop an overall vision for improving the road through small individual projects.

These could include adding green areas for planting, replanting lost mature trees, finding areas for art work and making more of the area's heritage, including historic buildings like the Farriers Arms, which was recently saved from demolition.

Kathe said: "Fishponds Road is an important focal point for shopping and socialising but is falling into neglect, as through traffic steadily increases and careless retail development is given the green light.

"But Fishponds Road is our local high street and has huge potential to have character and beauty, better for walking and cycling, reducing pollution and noise, introducing art and greenery along the way." 

Kathe called a meeting at the end of April to "generate interest in taking more community ownership" of the road, coming up with agreeing changes, including the possibility of a formal 'neighbourhood plan',which would being more control over development. 

The online meeting was attended by 20 people with a host of different ideas and priorities for the area – some of which were opposed to each other.

There were calls at the meeting for changes to the road to make it easier for cyclists to use and to improve road safety, with one resident saying they had had four serious accidents outside their home.

The need to tackle air pollution, encourage independent traders by increasing footfall and address the road's absence from the latest plans for rapid transit schemes was also highlighted.

But other people attending said changes should not be introduced that made it harder for motorists to use the road and access shops, particularly for disabled people who relied on their cars to get around.

Another resident warned introducing a formal neighbourhood plan was a "really bureaucratic" process, requiring a referendum of people living in the area covered.

And others said the length of the road and different issues along its length could make it difficult to coordinate action.

The group will hold a Fishponds Road walkabout, to look at places where improvements are needed and projects could be started, on Saturday May 29 at 4pm.

Anyone who wants to join can meet outside the Upper Eastville Post Office, near Eastville Park.

Later the same day there will be another online meeting, between 6pm and 7.30pm. Details of how to take part are available at the Fishponds Road Enhancement Plan page at eventbrite.co.uk.

Groups and individuals who want to get involved in the Fishponds Road Revival can also email Kathe at kathecakey@outlook.com.

Picture: Fishponds residents Pamela Nova, Kathe Jacob and Annali Grimes are among those who want to bring about improvements through the Fishponds Road Enhancement Plan