Red, Green and blue for Fishponds in Bristol City Council elections
THE Green Party has its first councillor in the Fishponds area after the local elections.
Lorraine Francis came second in the poll for the two-seat Eastville ward on May 6, as a "Green surge" across the city saw the party win 13 seats and Labour lose nine, to leave both of them level on 24 councillors overall.
It means no party has an overall majority on the council and Labour mayor Marvin Rees will have to work with other parties to ensure budgets are passed.
The Conservatives remained on 14 councillors overall and the Liberal Democrats lost one, to leave them on eight.
Notable casualties when votes were counted on May 9 included two Labour cabinet members – Kye Dudd and Afzal Shah – who both lost their seats on a disappointing day for the local authority’s former ruling group.
Eastville elected two Labour councillors at the last elections in 2016. One of them, Sultan Khan, quit the party to sit as an independent before joining the Lib Dems in 2019.
He was pushed into fifth place by the Labour and Green candidates this year in the ward, which covers Fishponds Road and streets on either side of it, from the junction with Stapleton Road up to Hockeys Lane and Channons Hill, as well as parts of Stapleton and Speedwell.
The candidate with the most votes was Labour's Marley Bennett, followed by Lorriaine Francis of the Greens.
Marley said: “I’m so grateful to have been elected to represent the community that I grew up in – huge thanks to everyone who voted for and supported me.
"I’m ambitious for what we can achieve for Eastville and want to hit the ground running.
"My priorities for the term include tackling fly-tipping, improving street safety, working to strengthen community groups, and attracting new investment and opportunity here.
I’m keen to hear from as many local residents as possible to get their ideas too, so if you are an Eastville resident and have any issues or concerns, please do get in touch."
Lorraine said: "I am immensely grateful for the trust that residents have shown by voting for me, with many of you voting Green for the first time. I promise not to take your support for granted!
"Overall, Greens received the most council votes in the city and now have as many councillors as Labour – it’s clear people here in Eastville and across Bristol want to see real action on transport, pollution and the climate emergency. I’ll be pushing to make that happen.
"I will soon be sharing the dates of regular surgeries that I am organising to meet with residents and hear your views."
Marley Bennett can be contacted by email at Cllr.Marley.Bennett@bristol.gov.uk, by phone on 0758 418 2536 or on Facebook at Labour for Eastville.
Lorraine Francis can be contacted by email at Cllr.Lorraine.Francis@bristol.gov.uk
In the other wards covering the Greater Fishponds area it was as you were, with one Labour and one Conservative elected in Frome Vale and two Labour candidates winning in Hillfields.
In Frome Vale, which includes Oldbury Court, Broomhill, Begbrook Park and the north east end of Fishponds Road, Labour's Amal Ali topped the poll, more than 250 votes ahead of sitting Tory councillor Lesley Alexander, who in turn was 164 votes ahead of Labour's other candidate, Mike Wollacott.
Amal, elected for the first time after previous Labour councillor Nicola Bowden-Jones did not stand again, said: "My priorities are continuing our work to improve transport in the area, supporting our community organisations and helping to improve the support in our schools for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
"As well as this, I intend to work closely with our local businesses. They’ve had a hugely difficult time during lockdown – I will work to ensure our covid recovery is as inclusive as possible, and benefits all of them as well as our residents.
"I hope to start holding drop-in surgeries in the near future, so keep an eye out for these."
Lesley said: "Thank you to all the constituents who voted for me – I am very honoured, and the work starts again for all residents in Frome Vale.
"I have plans for the coming term which include work that needs to be done in some of our parks, rights of way and, of course, case work for individual constituents.
"There are a number of highways issues including pedestrian crossings, pavements, parking problems in very narrow roads and potholes.
"Fly tipping and litter are continual problems and I report those that I spot, but would be grateful if I could be advised of others in order to take action."
Amal Ali can be contacted by email at email@example.com, by phone on 0758 418 3077 or via Facebook at Cllr.AmalAliFromeVale.
Lesley Alexander can be contacted by e mail at Cllr.firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone on 0117 965 1935.
In Hillfields ward, which includes the Hillfields estate as well as Mayfield Park, Chester Park and streets off Lodge Causeway, cabinet councillor Craig Cheney and fellow Labour candidate Ellie King were comfortably elected, with a gap of more than 560 votes between them and the Conservatives' Charles Alexander.
The Labour councillors issued a joint statement thanking voters, and said: “When you are out every day going from door to door, listening to the needs, concerns and aspirations of a diverse range of people, you find out so much about what people find important about our area.
"We really want to carry on these conversations and continue to have a great, ongoing relationship with constituents, businesses and community leaders in Hillfields.
"We are focussed on recovering from the impact of Covid and will continue to work hard to promote and improve spaces such as Hillfields Community Hub and Lodge Causeway.
"We also will be looking at the safety of our roads in a few problem areas, to see what we can do to improve them.
"We know that loneliness and isolation has been felt acutely and will be looking at ways to connect with our elderly and vulnerable residents and also get involved in inclusive projects such as community gardens, food growing and tree planting which will offer the opportunity to meet people, learn new skills, feel pride for where we live and contribute to our collective mental well-being.
"If you have any ideas of what you would like to see in Hillfields, want to get involved or have any problems that need actioning, please get in touch, we’d love to hear from you."
To contact Craig Cheney email email@example.com or call 0746 9413304.
To contact Ellie King email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07584 184604.
Both can also be reached via Facebook at Craig and Ellie for Hillfields.
Marley Bennett (Lab) 1,763*
Lorraine Francis (Grn) 1,632*
Sangeetha Wynter (Lab) 1,269
Justin Quinnell (Grn) 1,170
Sultan Khan (LD) 690
Leigh Cooper (Con) 526
Jacob Pereira (Con) 466
Mohammad Rashid (LD) 369
Mike Luff (TUSC) 150
Amal Ali (Lab) 1,521*
Lesley Alexander (Con) 1,266*
Mike Wollacott (Lab) 1,102
Pooja Poddar (Con) 729
Jesse Meadows (Grn) 721
Ed Fraser (Grn) 716
Bev Knott (LD) 215
Keith Fenner (LD) 201
Tommy Trueman (SDP) 112
Craig Cheney (Lab) 1,367*
Ellie King (Lab) 1,255*
Charles Alexander (Con) 690
Lisa Calder (Grn) 620
Rick Lovering (Grn) 557
James Hinchcliffe (Con) 511
Anna Fry (LD) 192
Sundar Ali (LD) 180
Key: * candidate elected
Lab - Labour; Grn - Green; Con - Conservative; LD - Lib Dem; TUSC - Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition; SDP - Social Democratic Party