First and foremost, it was a great honour to be selected by the local Conservative party to stand as the Conservative candidate in the Mayoral election in May. I have been entrusted to deliver a better Bristol and wish to reach out to the whole of the city asking the electorate to make the smart choice in voting for me.
I am a local councillor for Clifton and have learned over my term of office how the council works. During my time as a Councillor I have tried to serve the people of Clifton and assisting them in getting things done.
This I believe I have achieved having learnt how the Council works and this is not straight forward. In addition I served as a Cabinet Advisor which gave me an insight as to how the council is run and also how it could be run.
Beyond the outgoing incumbent, I am the only candidate who has any experience within the council and how it operates. This experience is vital if you are going to achieve anything.
The main issues I wish to correct in the city when I am elected are transport and housing.
The city is grinding to a halt and the current administration shows no desire to improve traffic flow unless you are on a bus. Prince Street Bridge needs to be reopened to motor vehicles – not just bikes. I would review the 20 MPH limits imposed on the city and repeal all those limits except where it is needed or wanted ie outside schools and parks etc.
Bus and bicycle travel across the city is vital and should be encouraged. Unfortunately the balance is wrong at the moment and Bristol isn’t moving. Motorists are caught in endless tailbacks, bikes are forced to weave in and out of cars which is very dangerous and buses are also getting caught in the jams. We need a city where traffic flows freely, for the benefit of everyone.
I support the current MetroBus project as it should help traffic flow, but at what price?
The huge cost means this scheme will have to deliver and only time will tell if it does.
I also will look to improve traffic flow for all road users by opening up existing bus lanes to all users outside of peak times.
I will introduce the Brunel card producing an integrated method of payment for all forms of transport in Bristol, including our bus network.
The current administration has not engaged with the rail operators to re-use the partially remaining rail network here in our city. I will reopen stations and our internal rail network.
I will complete the Henbury Loop whilst working with all stakeholders to make sure it works for everyone.
Bristol has a huge housing shortage. We need to build thousands of new houses at all levels in the market and in all sectors of the market. I would seek to relax planning laws and also improve resources to the planning department.
I will use compulsory purchase laws to free up land for new homes.I will force developers to stop land banking land which could be used for new homes.
We need to provide homes to the rough sleepers in Bristol by using CIL monies to fund the necessary accommodation they require to help them get a job and get back on their feet.
I would introduce a new Council veto when 75 per cent of the Councillors do not agree with a mayoral decision they have to power to block the decision and make the Mayor think again.
I want to work with the residents democratically elected representatives to deliver a better Bristol for everyone.
The city’s cultural offering must be maintained and invested in. Whilst I welcome the new arena, it is coming at a cost to already existing cultural centres in the city such as the Bristol Museum and Gallery. We need to ensure that new developments don’t come at a cost to what we already have.
I will actively seek to assist the Colston Hall complete its redesign and remodelling programme through its 45k for 45m appeal.
We need to increase our numbers of school places particularly in secondary schools to respond to adjusting demographics. The mayor is not addressing this issue.
I will help businesses and back growth to help them deliver more jobs to facilitate greater growth in our economy through greater investment in our city.
Bristol deserves better. So, for all the reasons above please support my campaign to deliver a better Bristol for everyone.
Charles Lucas is the Conservative candidate for Bristol mayor.
Bristol24/7 is hosting a mayoral hustings featuring all candidates at The Lantern at 7pm on Thursday, April 28. Entrance is first come first served. For more information, visit www.colstonhall.org/shows/mayoral-hustings/