“Brian Meekle’s caravan is parked beside the M32 motorway that cuts through the eastern half of Bristol. Meekle has been living there for the past two months because he doesn’t earn enough from the 33-to-45-hour weeks he works at a nearby retail warehouse to pay the rent for a flat.
“The rents in Bristol have rocketed,” he says above the roar of lorries and cars. “I am doing agency work but it could dry up on Monday. It’s all minimum wage stuff.” Meekle’s temporary home is in a ramshackle line of 16 caravans and vans. There are at least seven other vehicle encampments in the city, including in wealthy neighbourhoods such as Clifton Down. Bristol city council estimates that around 200 people are sleeping in vehicles across the city.
While some of them enjoy the freedom of life on the road, many are low-paid workers who have been priced out of Bristol, which has in recent years experienced some of the fastest-rising rents and house prices of any city.
Rents in Bristol have gone up by 33% over the past four years, according to the government’s Valuation Office Agency. A one-bedroom flat in the city now costs on average £795 a month. “There are a lot of people in this situation that don’t want to be,” says Meekle. “But it’s better to have a roof over your head than be out on the streets.”
He will soon be forced to move on to a new road because the council has served all the vans and caravans with eviction notices following complaints of antisocial behaviour. …”
In an extraordinary rant – no cancel that, Swire seems to be ranting much of the time these days so it isn’t at all extraordinary! – Swire accuses those campaigning for the retention of beds (gone)and services (some) remaining of “weaponising” Ottery St Mary hospital. By implication, he appears to include his arch-enemy, Claire Wright in this “weaponisation” (aka peaceful campaigning).
In a recent Exmouth Journal article (which they will presumably allow campaigners to respond to as a right to reply) he says:
“Regrettably, Ottery Hospital has been weaponised by an anti-Tory coalition for nigh on ten years with them telling a naturally alarmed local community that it will be sold off or closed. I have spent 10 years trying to counter this scaremongering. … “
He then goes on to puff up his recent visit to Ottery – well what do tou call a hospital with no beds? – let’s say “closed community bed building” with the new Secretary of State for Health, when said Secretary refused to meet tireless campaigner Claire Wright and other local people who are keeping up the pressure on him and his mates – though rumour has it that Sarah Randall-Johnson was somewhere in his vicinity. You know, the woman who thinks her DCC committee has no need to scrutinise these changes.
SWIRE MAKES NO MENTION OF THE FACT THAT THE MINOR INJURIES UNIT AND ALL INPATIENT BEDS HAVE ALREADY BEEN CLOSED AT THE HOSPITAL DURING THIS SO-CALLED 10 YEARS!!!!!!!
He says we must look to the future not back at the past and see how our changing needs can be met.
Owl has a suggestion: with the ageing population in East Devon how about a Minor Injuries Unit and Community Hospital beds?
First they came for the green field sites, then they came for the green belt, then they came for the national parks … and by renaming AONBS they came for them too ….. The developer lobby has now come for everything.
Sit back and watch those developers get even richer … while those who need affordable (TRULY AFFORDABLE) housing get shafted again.
“People living in the countryside have to accept a “steady supply” of new homes need to be built in National Parks, the Government adviser in charge of a major review has said.
Julian Glover, who is running a review of whether to add to England’s 10 National Parks, said more homes had to be built in these protected areas.
Mr Glover also raised the prospect that new national parks will be created on the edge of major cities like Birmingham so people who live in urban areas can easily access them.
Another idea is to find new names for England’s 30 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. …”