Councillors at Bristol's Annual Full Council this Tuesday (21 May) celebrated the hard work and positivity of Green Lord Mayor Cleo Lake during the ceremony that saw her step down as Lord Mayor to be replaced by Cllr Jos Clark. Councillor Lake will continue to serve Bristol as Deputy Lord Mayor for the following year.
Leading the vote of thanks, Councillor Eleanor Combley, leader of the Green Group said:
“You have had some difficult meetings to manage, but where there was confusion, you brought clarity, where there was petulance, you brought dignity, where there was discord, you brought calm. And where there was discord that even you could not calm, you brought some fierce gavel work.
“But what I have appreciated most in these meetings is the warmth and respect with which you welcomed members of the public to this gallery. None of us should forget that we derive any power we have as councillors from the people who have given us their vote, and you have shown your recognition of that fact in the way you have welcomed people who wish to attend, to speak, even to protest at these meetings.
Your role in council is only a small part of the work of Lord Mayor, although it is an important one. You have also attended hundreds of engagements across the city, and across all our many different communities, and I know that you have done so with your customary grace and generosity with your time and energy. It has been a joy to watch you, throughout the year, inhabit this role, managing at the same time to be both entirely The Lord Mayor and entirely Cleo Lake.”
Cllr Combley’s sentiments were echoed by members from other party groups. Labour councillor Ruth Pickersgill said:
“It was so refreshing this time last year to see the public gallery filled with elders from our local community and activists who’ve been working to challenge discrimination for years, and for them to start to feel that this chamber is somewhere relevant for them and that they can play a part in it.”
“Every time you go out and represent us you’re giving a clear message about diversity and equality and I’ve watched your commitment and your incredibly busy schedule and been amazed at how many events you’ve fitted into each day, and how easily you communicate with people from all backgrounds and make them feel included.”
“Your principled stand on anti-racism and your commitment not to collude with historical oppression and to challenge the shameful aspects of our city’s history has been a positive example to everyone”
In her time as Lord Mayor Cleo Lake has brought issues like these to the fore, making headlines early on in her term by removing a portrait of slave trader Edward Colston from her office (https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jun/19/slave-traders-portrait-removed-from-bristol-lord-mayors-office). She also took part in charity events, running a 10K and raising over £20,000 at the annual Lord Mayors charity appeal. As part of the annual Lord Mayor’s Medals ceremony Councillor Lake honoured civil rights campaigners, volunteers, charity workers and teachers, including Roy Hackett, one of the activists behind the Bristol Bus Boycott and the 1967 Race Relations Act. (https://news.bristol.gov.uk/news/lord-mayors-medals-celebrate-bristols-local-heroes). On May 18 Cleo herself received the Dr Paul Stephenson special recognition award at the Bristol Diversity Awards (https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/news/bristol-news/2019-bristol-diversity-awards-winners-2886073).
In her stepping down speech Cleo highlighted the wide range of events she had taken part in. She said:
“South Bristol was one of my focal points for the year and I am proud to say that I made it my duty to visit as many schools as I could, primarily in south Bristol but right across the city too.
“I was honoured to initiate a visit to 3 South Bristol schools with record breaking balloonist Brian Jones. I’ve listened to readers on the reading recovery programme, I’ve read stories to classes, I’ve given out certificates and attended aspiration days and have wondered how many year 3’s have gone home and said to their parents or carers ‘when I grow up I want to be a Lord Mayor’ – or ‘when I grow up I want to have rainbow coloured hair!’
“On top of set engagements and civic duties like fortnightly citizenship ceremonies and the like, with the support of the Lady Mayoress we have also tried to push ourselves to do more. A good example was taking the opportunity to stage a ‘Windrush to Carnival’ variety show at the Hippodrome, with a raft of acts across generations, many of whom might never have played the hippodrome. And likewise much of the audience might never have attended the venue. The event raised over £2.5k for Sickle Cell.”
The Green councillor closed the speech reflecting on Bristol’s nature as a multicultural city. She said:
“I have seen and believe that Bristol is a two-tone city. It is black and white and everything in between. It is ancient and modern, new and old. It is able bodied and disabled. It is gay and straight and everything in between. It is male and female and everything in between. It is vegan and locally sourced hand reared meat eating and everything in between. It is all of these things and more – our diversity is our strength.
“This city was, is and can continue to be a leading city, whether that’s engineering, creativity, sustainability, tech, race relations or equalities. Innovation is our blueprint.”
Greens call for support for Bristol’s “Excluded”
Green Group Leader, Eleanor Combley, wrote to the Chancellor to urge him to end the disparities in government Covid-19 support.
"Cover-ups likely" say Greens
Green Councillor Clive Stevens, Vice Chair of Audit Committee, has warned that cover-ups are “likely” if councillors aren’t allowed to properly scrutinise all Council documents. Councillor Stevens said Councillors on Audit Committee must be allowed to perform their duty and have full access to ‘exempt’ Bristol City Council documents.
Calls for WECA to oppose airport expansion
The tide is turning against Bristol Airport’s expansion plans. Following a Green Party motion at Bristol Council passed on December 8th last year, two of three of the local councils that make up WECA now oppose airport expansion.
Bristol Green councillors join campaign to ensure no-one is punished for being homeless
Bristol’s Green councillors have signed and promoted a petition calling on the government to scrap new Home Office rules that would criminalise migrant rough sleepers and force them to leave the UK.
Council passes Green motion against airport expansion
A Green motion passed at yesterday's (8th December) Council meeting commits Bristol Council to opposing Bristol Airport expansion, overturning the administration’s previous position of supporting the plans.
Parents of disabled students wrongly billed hundreds of pounds
Bristol City Council has apologised after it wrongly billed the parents of disabled students hundreds of pounds for home to school transport. Councillor Fi Hance was contacted by distressed parents and immediately followed up their concerns with the Council. As a result, the mistake was rectified and the Council has now sent a letter of apology to each of the families who were wrongly charged.
Call for council to launch green savings bonds for climate action
A Green councillor has called for Bristol Council to launch locally issued investment bonds to fund climate action projects.
Call for Bristol Council to ‘say no to the mow’ in green spaces
Campaigners are calling on Bristol council to reduce grass cutting in verges and green spaces around the city. The move would reduce maintenance costs for the Council and support biodiversity.
A million reasons to oppose Bristol Airport expansion
Following new research showing that planes have three times the impact on the climate when total emissions released at height are properly incorporated, Bristol Green councillors are calling on the Bristol Mayor to rethink his support for Bristol Airport. Bristol City Council will debate this on December 8th 2020.
Greens on WECA: Stop playing blame game and get on with negotiations
Four years after it was set up, local arguments have again flared up over the future of WECA.
Four years later - Bristol is still waiting for clean air
Four years after Bristol City Council unanimously voted to support a clean air zone for Bristol, Bristol’s Mayor has failed to deliver on his promise.
Greens support “Liveable Neighbourhoods”
Green councillors are supporting communities across Bristol who are sick of air pollution and the congestion clogging the streets outside their homes and instead want to create ‘Liveable Neighbourhoods,’ streets where people and business come first, and communities can grow stronger. Liveable Neighbourhoods are supported by a broad network of community groups, including groups representing older people, young people and children, disabled people, people advocating travel by foot or bike, and groups tackling climate change, have come together to form Liveable Neighbourhoods for Bristol https://liveablebristol.org.uk/ to call for change.
“Our house is still on fire” 2 years on from the first UK climate emergency
Marking the 2 year anniversary of the UK’s first climate emergency declaration this Friday 13th Nov, its author, Green Party Councillor Carla Denyer, has decried a lack of action saying that the clock is ticking and “our house is still on fire”.
Council adopts new housing policy for balanced communities
Following almost four years of work by a cross party group of councillors, Bristol Council yesterday (Nov. 3) approved a new planning policy which will allow the Council to support mixed and balanced communities by restricting the proportion of shared houses in areas of the city.
Bristol’s community spirit has never been more needed
Following the announcement that the rising cases of coronavirus across the country mean we will go into a month long lockdown starting on Thursday, Green councillors are supporting calls for people across the Bristol to follow new public health guidance to save lives.
Green councillor takes telecoms giant to task over disruptions
A Green councillor in Clifton Down has secured a commitment from the telecoms giant Openreach to change and enforce their practices in Bristol after raising residents’ complaints with managers from the telecoms company.
Greens sound alarm as Bristol’s air pollution bounces back
Since the end of lockdown, air pollution has begun to rise to dangerous levels again with Bristol city centre already returning to pre-lockdown levels.
Council consulting on city centre Cumulative Impact Area
Bristol Council is consulting on a new Cumulative Impact Area (CIA) in the city centre, which would set licensing restrictions on night time economy businesses like bars, clubs, restaurants and takeaways.
Helping small businesses
Bristol Council is due to step back from levying street trading fees on businesses trading in suspended parking bays during the coronavirus outbreak. Instead of daily fees adding up to approx. £7000 per year, the council will instead request a yearly charge of just £100 for businesses that seek to take advantage of the social distancing measures imposed by the authority to trade in suspended bays. The move follows persistent pressure fro
Motion on reparations blocked as other parties refuse extra time
Cleo Lake's motion calling on Bristol Council to lobby the government over historic slavery reparations and support Bristol's black cultural centres has been dropped from a council meeting
Council to consult on planning changes to prevent overconcentration of student housing
Following three years of work by a cross party group of councillors, Bristol Council is consulting on a new housing planning policy designed to foster mixed and balanced communities
Enslavement reparations needed
A Green Party motion to be debated at next week’s Bristol Council meeting calls on the Council under the Mayor’s leadership to provide more support for black cultural centres in Bristol and to lobby the government to set up an All-Party Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry for Truth & Reparatory Justice which would discuss reparations for the trafficking and enslavement in African people.
Rebooting democracy in Bristol
Two female politicians from different parties have been working together to reboot democracy in Bristol. Green Councillor Paula O’Rourke and Labour Deputy Mayor Asher Craig are leading the ground-breaking new approach of using citizens’ assemblies to help Bristol emerge from lockdown.
Campaigning during COVID
Bristol Green Party statement on current campaigning
Drop street trading fees for local businesses
A petition is calling on Bristol Council to drop charges for local businesses trading in suspended parking bays during the coronavirus outbreak.
#GiveNTech to combat digital exclusion
Working with institutions like Avon Fire Authority and Bristol Waste, Cleo Lake’s #GiveNTech campaign to combat digital exclusion in Bristol been providing laptops to families and individuals since its launch in May.
Greens welcome 'Downs Loop' proposals
A public consultation is under way on proposals for traffic calming and turning worn paths into an accessible loop around the Downs
Citizens Assembly to steer Bristol Covid recovery
Following a motion proposed by Green Councillors in January, Bristol Council is moving forward with plans to carry out a Citizens Assembly
WECA transport plans must “walk the walk not just talk the talk” say Greens
Green councillors have said they are disappointed that WECAs cycling and infrastructure plan “lacks urgency and ambition”.
Greens welcome first steps towards addressing Bristol’s dirty air
Green councillors have welcomed the announcement that next week Bristol bridge, Baldwin Street and Union Street will be closed to through traffic and new bike lanes installed along Park Row, Upper Maudlin Street and Marlborough Street. The changes mark much needed first steps towards improving dangerous levels of air pollution in Bristol. They will also help people move safely about our city during the pandemic by making more room for walking and cycling.