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We have called on Bristol’s councillors to refuse the zoo’s latest planning application to park on the Downs. This is to be considered by a planning committee on Wednesday, 24 July.
‘There is no justification for this. The zoo points out that it is a charity, but this does not mean it can ignore planning requirements. Our planning system is not there to judge the merits of applicants but the merits of proposed uses of land, in the public interest.
‘The zoo says that the loss of parking on the Downs would mean that it would have to reduce its spending on the development of its facilities and conservation projects abroad—but it has provided no evidence of this, nor of the sums of money involved, presumably confident that it does not need to. It has no plans to end, or even reduce, this “temporary” use of the Downs.
‘We urge councillors to put a stop to this now. The people of Bristol have been deprived of the full use of one of the best parts of the Downs for well over 40 years. The Downs are for Bristol’s residents and visitors to enjoy, not for people from outside the city to park on. All the planning policies support this. We call on councillors to apply them.’
Julie Boston, a local member of the OSS, who will speak on our behalf on Wednesday, said: ‘Protecting the Downs for people’s enjoyment is essential. Over 150 years ago the Downs were saved from speculators so we can enjoy this space today. Once again we have to raise our voices in their defence.’