Many people in Bristol South cannot afford or even get access to healthy food. I will work to bring local traders back into our communities and encourage local growing to provide healthy food reinvigorating our communities and improving the health and life chances of all.
The big issue
The ‘high street is more than just a collection of shops, it is a hub of social interaction where goods and services are bought and exchanged and where members of the community can engage with each other. It is important to acknowledge that all high streets have their own personalities and should be ‘free to develop’ rather than ‘be developed’ by Bristol City Council.
Good food is vital for good health. We consume increasingly unhealthy food and this has led to a decrease in the quality of life and a staggering rise in diabetes, obesity and related avoidable disease. This causes unnecessary suffering and adds to the burdens on the NHS. A complete food policy combines health, education, procurement and development of local food chains.
Many people on lower incomes cannot afford to eat healthily – especially with the new reforms to welfare such as the bedroom tax – so now it is more important than ever to make nutritious food available for everyone.
What South Bristol needs
Support for local traders To encourage local traders to return to or set up on high streets and housing estates, using incentives to get new businesses into vacant and derelict property and through encouraging local markets.
Fair business rates Review the methodology used to assess business rates for retail which tend to disadvantage smaller retailers in particular
Stronger together We need to encourage traders groups to set up Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to strengthen local shopping areas. We need to support those BIDs which already exist.
Deal with food deserts There are many areas of the city that lack the basic provision of a greengrocer and other independent food retailers. Council-owned properties of relevant size and classification should be rented at a minimal charge to encourage retailers and boost Bristol’s suburban high streets.
Grow our own We also need to encourage the practice of local growing programmes and enterprises. Allotments are one way forward; others include city farms and inner-city growing beds, co-operatives, community orchards and local food swap-schemes for growers. ALL city parks should include growing beds for a range of produce from herbs to vegetables and flowers. Where wasteland lies idle we should encourage people to use it for growing food.