The proposed alterations to our bus route were the trigger.
We did not realize the severity to the traders of the effects until we began to enquire and found out how many were planning to close down with the resulting losses in both jobs and local services.
At the B.E.S.T. (Bristol East Side Traders) meeting in the ‘Old Bank’ on October the 11th (see previous post) we found certain things difficult to stomach, e.g. Redfield traders told us that they have been blackmailed by council officials with the backing of the ruling Liberal Democrat cabinet on the council.
They have been told that they will not get ‘matched funding’ to renovate their shop fronts unless the so-called showcase bus route goes ahead. This was to keep them quiet about the detrimental effects that they could see would obviously result to businesses along Church Road and Summerhill Road.
As we go to press some shops on Church Road have reported to us that they have had intimidation from people claiming to be officials, to take down posters in their windows protesting against the dedicated bus lane. Posters that they have a perfect right to display, after all this is supposed to be a free country. I am outraged by this incident!
It was all giving me a headache until I suggested to our traders that we form our own association. Let us not forget that B.E.S.T’s (who refused to comment about the meeting to the Evening Post) remit falls into a geographical area that excludes St George completely and anyway only includes part of the bus route.
I propose ‘R.E.S.T.’ as our title, this stands for Real East Side Traders and the real is for the point of view it will give, It voice will certainly be uncensored and hopefully independent of local bureaucratic sanctions. On a lighter note another suggestion has been B.R.A.T. ‘bus route association of traders, ha, ha, ;-)
Please post your ideas for this new association. If you own a business in St George West or St George East and would like to join, please contact either Nik Jethwa on 07909570919 or myself on 01179736812.