Bridge failures & floods
–Hotwells in the headlines


Near hysteria accompanied the sudden failure of the Plimsoll Bridge to swing just before Christmas; mainly because it happened just before the rush hour. The traffic mayhem, which quickly extended to every corner of the City only served to remind us of the critical role played by a 50 year old piece of engineering. The media reporting seemed to forget that the Cumberland Basin Bridges system does offer a backup via the Junction Lock Bridge but at peak hours, even this can be overwhelmed. Hard to imagine that before the Plimsoll Bridge was built, there was also no M5 bridge and all traffic to and from the South West managed with just a
narrow 2 lane crossing.
According to a BCC spokesman “some minor components in the operating gear need to be replaced. The components are currently being manufactured and, once delivered, will be installed and tested as quickly as possible” Meanwhile tall masted ships, including the ‘Kaskelot’ are stuck in the harbour.
The drama continued into January with an unprecedented (but not unanticipated level of flooding arising from overflowing rivers, coinciding with Spring tides and a storm surge. The Portway and chocolate block path became impassable. A temporary flood barrier protected Avon Crescent. Consequently, no houses were flooded and residents appreciated the concern of the local community and the many ‘flood tourists’ as you can see in Anna Wilson’s entertaining time-lapse video of the event at:
Another unusual sight was water pouring from the river into the harbour at Junction Lock.


Piazza Tree planting set to go ahead

Amidst ever-fiercer budget cuts and the loss of skilled staff we have become increasingly concerned that our (now fully-funded) plan to plant more trees on Cumberland Piazza will be thwarted for a third successive year, simply because TreeBristol no longer has the capacity to administer the project. However, following a site meeting with the project officer from BCC and Midland Forestry, who are contracted to do the work at which the positions for actual tree pits were marked out, we feel more encouraged. The 8 new trees planted in a quite dense clump wil be Red Maple (Acer rubrum var: armstrong) a variety which grows strongly and vertically up to 20m high and has lovely Autumn foliage.





Help us decide priorities for Piazza improvements

Following a successful application for Section 106 funds to the Clifton & Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership we now have a further £21,000 allocated to the Cumberland Piazza project. This is money contributed by developers for local infrastructure improvements as a planning condition for new developments.
We would also like to thank all the people who
responded to our tree planting appeal.
Together with an earlier promise of £5000 from the Clifton & Cabot Neighbourhood Partnership 'Wellbeing' fund we have a total of around £30,000 available.
Most of this (but we don't yet know exactly how much) will be needed for tree planting (see above) but we hope there will be some funds available for other work proposed in our Masterplan for the site. This could include things like:
renewing the temporary planters with more permanent structures and planting these with a mixture of perennials as well as annuals to reduce the maintenance needed.
improving the signage on the site. Currently the 'legible city' signposts end abruptly at the Ashton Swing Bridge.
Installing some interpretation panels to describe the history of the site and nearby Hotwells and the Entrance Locks.
providing more and better public seating.
paying for quantity surveys for some of the planned landscape works so we can submit costed estimates to funding trusts and charities that might support this kind of work.
funding some permanent public art in the space.

Now seems a good time for everyone with an interest in the Piazza to meet and discuss some of these possibilities and also hear from the new Wheels Park Group (see page 6) If you would like to contribute to the Piazza improvement project, or simply want to find out what’s going on.

Come along to the Young Bristol meeting room (opposite the Mardyke pub on the dockside on Wed. Feb. 19th at 19:30
If you are unable to attend then email: or use the twitter account @hotwellsgdo to raise an issue. Do this before the 19th and we’ll make sure your view is fed in at the meeting.