Council considers shutting Parry's Lane
A road through a large public park in Bristol could be reclaimed as green space to stop van dwellers using it.
The one-way section of Parry’s Lane cuts through Durdham Down from the A4018 to Saville Road.
It is a popular parking spot for people who live in vans and motorhomes, but residents claim members of the community exhibit anti-social behaviour and dump litter and human waste nearby.
Members of campaign group Respect The Downs has called for tougher enforcement of parking restrictions on the roads in the area, and for a ban on overnight sleeping.
Now the office of Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees has proposed addressing the issue either by reviewing existing parking restrictions to make them easier to enforce, or closing the affected stretch of Parry’s Lane and turning it back into green space.
The land would become part of Durdham Down, which is owned by Bristol City Council.
The idea was put before the committee that manages The Downs on July 5 for their “in principle” agreement to manage the extra bit of park land should the council decide to close the road.
The Downs Committee assented, but with several provisos, including assurances about a future location for the van dwellers.
Green councillor Paula O’Rourke said she would not support the adoption of the land by the committee unless the council agreed to provide an alternative site for the members of the community.
“I feel very strongly about it,” she said. “[I agree] only on the proviso that an alternative site is found for people, because I just think we can’t push this problem away to the rest of the city or penalise those people.
“We [can’t] just penalise and punish people who are living somewhere where they don’t really have any other choices.
“I can remember a really lovely young woman who was here working in the NHS and supporting her parents, and she couldn’t afford anywhere to live,” said Cllr O’Rourke, referring to a van dweller who spoke to the committee on a previous occasion.
Committee chair Lord Mayor Steve Smith, who as councillor for Westbury-on-Trym and Henleaze also represents residents opposed to the van dwellers, said the mayor’s office was well aware of the committee’s position on the provision of an alternative site for the van dwellers on Parry’s Lane.
He said the office also understood that the committee would need to see a detailed plan and costings before giving their final agreement to manage the land if it is reinstated as part of The Downs.
Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter