PLEASE HELP SAVE THE ARDAGH! E-mail Bristol City Council before 12 noon on Monday 3rd February 2014.
See below for full details - this is the text of an e-mail sent out to all FOHC members:
THIS IS URGENT.
The very short version: PLEASE HELP SAVE THE ARDAGH! TAKE ACTION - E-MAIL BEFORE 12 NOON TOMORROW, MONDAY 3rd FEBRUARY 2014. A SAMPLE STATEMENT WHICH YOU CAN COPY AND PASTE IS INCLUDED BELOW. Please copy the sample e-mail below - add your name and address and forward it, before 12 Noon tomorrow to: firstname.lastname@example.org
The longer version: Those of you who attended the celebration in Wellington Hill Playing Field yesterday morning will already be aware that Bristol City Council closed down the Ardagh building - with immediate effect - on Friday.
This is despite a 4 year process of engagement by ourselves (and other groups), during which time we have repeatedly reached agreements that improvements would be made to the building to ensure that it remained i) open for use by the local community, bowling club, toddler group and other users and ii) so that we could progress with our intention (and the council's stated aim) to move the building and the wider site into community ownership.
These agreements have repeatedly failed to be fulfilled by Bristol City Council.
For information - there is a contract in place to maintain Horfield Common , including the Ardagh which has not been enforced by BCC for decades. It is the failure to enforce this contract - which continues to be paid for - which has led to the poor state of repair that the Ardagh site is in. We have repeatedly sought confirmation from BCC about how they will address this failure, and how they will mitigate for the poor state of the building caused by the lack of enforcement of this contract. To date, this has led to no adequate response from BCC.
Following 3-days of meetings in April 2013 (attended by local Councillors and the then-Chair of BCR Neighbourhood Partnership), Bristol City Council's Parks Operations Manager acknowledged their responsibilities as landlords of the Ardagh building, and agreed to make the urgent repairs to the building that had been highlighted in a BCC-commissioned report which we received in October 2012.
Since that date, there has been no action by Bristol City Council. Now the building has been closed down.
If you agree that this is unacceptable and would like to support FOHC, Ardagh Bowling and Sports Club, Ardagh Toddlers and other users of the Ardagh site - please copy the e-mail below - add your name and address and forward it, before 12 Noon tomorrow to: email@example.com
Meeting this deadline means that these statements will be seen by BCC's cabinet at a meeting on Tuesday this week.
Our aim in this campaign is to ensure that the Ardagh Pavilion building is reopened for use as soon as possible, and that the urgent repairs (the need for which is specified in BCC's own 2012 building survey) are made so that we can continue to work with other local groups and residents to progress our ambitions to move this site into Community Ownership.
It is notable that this outcome is also what BCC states that it wants; however - 4 years of discussions, negotiations and repeated failure by BCC to deliver agreed outcomes mean that many local people are beginning to suspect that the suggestion there is support for a community asset transfer of this site is in fact a stalling tactic, which will eventually lead again to a proposal to close the site down and to sell it for development in the next few years.
Thank you very much,
Friends of Horfield Common Committee
COPY AND PASTE THE BELOW - ADD YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS & PLEASE SEND!
Subject Header: Statement for public forum Cabinet meeting on 04/02/14
REPAIR AND REOPEN THE ARDAGH URGENTLY!
The Ardagh is a vital community resource for residents of Bishopston and Horfield. As well as providing a club house for the users of the adjacent bowling green and tennis courts, it has a well-attended weekly toddler group, hosts a monthly youth group for young people with disabilities, including Aspergers and Autism, and hosts a range of community sports and other community events.
On the afternoon of Friday 31st January 2014, the council closed the Ardagh with immediate effect due to problems with its fire warning system. This has already caused the cancellation of booked events at the weekend, and if urgent action is not taken by the council to make the necessary repairs, could cause the cancellation of others.
We call upon the mayor to ensure that urgent action is taken by the council to bring this building back into use as a matter of utmost priority. Agreement to complete this work has previously been confirmed by a range of BCC Parks Officers and Managers (in their role as landlords of the building) over the last 3 years - most recently in April 2013, but to date - these agreements have repeatedly failed to be fulfilled.
We also call upon the mayor to work with our local councillors to ensure that the long-term future of this essential community facility is secured and guaranteed; the mayor must reverse the decades of neglect and lack of investment that this site has suffered, and ensure that the council repairs the roof of the Ardagh, brings its electrical wiring up to modern standards and makes the building wheel-chair accessible - fulfilling it's basic obligations as Landlords of this building.
The local community has been working with BCC Officers for more than 4 years to resolve the issues connected to this site. Local residents, groups and existing users of the Ardagh are committed to working towards a sustainable future for this site - potentially through the Community Asset Transfer process - but are unable to progress this further until Bristol City Council fulfills it's basic legal obligations as landlords of the building and wider site.