Packer's Field

News: Packers Community Use Meeting - 14/03/06

The meeting at the Academy was very well attended and had a lot of positives for our campaign. We went along having produced a petition/report, which showed the level of feeling for maintaining access to the field for the wider community. In addition we gave some proposals/ideas for what some local people/users of the field felt should happen to the field and what should constitute a community use agreement.

I was asked to explain the view of the people who had produced this report and did so briefly detailing what we had done and why. Most people listened with good grace, except the three stooges sat in front of me. They reminded me of the two old boys sat in the box during the Muppets (but less funny and they had bred). I followed Ray Priest who set out the Academy view and gave nothing new away as usual. Following this it was time for the view from the floor. Here was where it got interesting.

I thought that the Academy and their supporters trawled out the same old arguments; drugs, vandals, kids and the 'facts' that we as the 'Town Green' group supported drugs, vandals and hated kids. Then they had a new line, which I must admit sideswiped me a bit. They seemed to be saying that unless we asked them (Carlyle Road), or told them what we were doing (John Kiely/Abdul Malik local councilors) that our consultation of 130 residents was un-democratic. However the consultation done by John Kiely at least 3 years ago was democratic and we were a small selfish clique.

In the questions section I felt the chair gave more time to the 'supporters table' and ignored the people at the back, although it was a difficult meeting to chair. However we didn't lose our rag, John Kiely did. He also contradicted himself about the athletics saying it wasn't coming to Packers and later telling the lady that Bristol Athletics Club would be back. We also made some excellent points and in spite of what was said I think the fact that we had done the consultation and presented it worked well.

Points I made from the meeting were;

RP said fence not negotiable, they pay nothing for the field, dog use not negotiable and work will start in spring 2006 and some or all of the field will be closed until September 2007. He also said that The Academy have rejected the draft community use agreement (CUA) as it was too restrictive. He said to me privately that they felt it was too restrictive and not in the spirit intended for a CUA.

I also had private chats with JK/AM/RP and these went as follows.

I challenged John Kiely on his suggestions that we were a small clique and that our consultation was not valid. He was going redder and redder and raising his voice at me. Telling me that we should have informed him and Abdul about what we doing, he had consulted the community, etc. I asked him to stop shouting at me as I wasn't shouting at him and in the end had to remove myself from his company. Abdul Malik was much more reasonable however still suggested that we should have told them what we were doing. In light of councillor Kieley's glowing endorsement of The Academy I am personally glad that we didn't involve them.

Ray Priest talked to me at the end. He said that he didn't think that we were far away from a CUA that met most of our aims. He stressed that fence/dogs not negotiable. He confirmed that school had rejected the draft CUA as it was not in the spirit of what they felt should be in a CUA (too restrictive). Envisaged that they would have two parkies on the site.