Sunday 11 January 2009

Clifton: the edgy part of the city

Saturday's Evening Post front page covers a spot of bother in Clifton. Our local correspondent, the Green Bristol Blogger, set out to get some pictures of the area, which is in the "unionist quarter" of the city.

Apparently the residents of Cornwallis House, Clifton, were unhappy about someone parking in the keep-clear bits outside their driveway/access point, complained to the driver and took some photos to pressure the council to do something.

The person who was photographed appeared to think that the photographs were some attempt to persecute him or take paedophile photographs of his kids, chased the (now deceased) photographer into a nearby pub, fetching some friends and saying  "I'm going to burn your pub down and smoke him out." As such conduct is apparently unusual in a Clifton pub on a quiz night, the police came out and the relevant driver now sentenced to 12 weeks imprisonment.

The E.P. appears shocked by this behaviour, which means they haven't noticed parking issues in Clifton are as sensitive a topic as parking in Southville, or the who-gives-way-to-who protocol of Montpelier.

The Cornwallis House complex has a large private parking area, all signed up with a "private road no turning" sign to make clear no use of it by outsiders is permitted at all. Every parking space is numbered and actually appears to be followed: cars are only parked in marked spaces. We have no data on whether the residents voted for or against the Clifton Resident Parking Zone; it is not in the catchment area of the forthcoming Brandon Hill zone, looking at the voting map it's on the boundary between the ward that voted 49.4% yes and 25.7% no.

Alongside the entrance is hint of a pavement with at least the front two cars (KR08FYA and and CE58-) seemingly parked on it. If you don't park on the pavement, or you have a wider vehicle: you block the road.

The road curves round a bit to Hensman's Hill, which has some keep clear markings to protect the garages and make it possible to turn in/out of the road. We don't know precisely where the vans were parked, but the photo in the web site implies it was around where the mini was -it's the only place here where the road curves.

There are different ways to view this conflict
  1. A dispute about parking, in which someone parking wider vehicles broke the local rules on who can park on the road (probably on the pavement) without blocking access for everyone else.
  2. Evidence that the near-total absence of Bristol Parking Services is forcing locals to come up with solutions to such problems themselves.
  3. People are very sensitive about being photographed in public, and feel that anyone who takes a photo of anyone under 18 is some kind of criminal.
  4. Civilisation is a thin veneer over humanity, and when the Coming Collapse occurs, the battle for the last packet of twiglets in stock in Somerfield Clifton will be as brutal as it will be in Asda Bedminster.
Whatever, its' a bit of a mess.

In our limited experience, photographing cars without drivers causes less trouble. Taking photographs of cars outside schools is less controversial if you are on a bike and using a small compact camera rather than walking around with a big camera. Even so, it's better to avoid confrontation. After all, these car drivers/owners haven't actually done anything wrong, merely come up with their own solutions to the challenge of driving and parking round our fair city.


Dru Marland said...

The comments after the EP article are positively scary. Nothing new there, then.

Nice to see the fox in photo number 2!

Anonymous said...

thank Chris Hutt for the fox pic

Chris Hutt said...

I had no idea I'd caught a fox in the pic. I certainly didn't notice it at the time. But they are quite common around Clifton, especially in the small hours when there aren't many people out and about.

A tip when taking pictures. If I think any one's watching I pretend to take pictures of the general streetscape and architecture so it isn't so obvious what I've after. I have been accosted a couple of times including once when a young 'hoody' type told me quite emphatically to "delete the last three" since I'd captured him in one. Fortunately we were in view of many people passing so I judged, correctly as it happens, that the implied threat was just bluster.

Anonymous said...

2 links to help those understand the law re: photos in public.